8 traps of facebook marketing that causes Singapore business owners to burn time and money

You probably don’t need another person to tell you that ”everyone is on Facebook” and your business should also leverage Facebook. It’s widespread these days.

Well, these people are not lying. Facebook records a user base of about 3million people in Singapore. On average, Singaporeans spend 2.2 hours daily on this platform. These are staggering numbers from a marketing standpoint.

The problem is; Facebook introduced so many features & changes in their platform in the recent 2-3 years, its easy to lag behind and misapply outdated strategies that waste our precious resources as SMEs. Having worked with companies ranging from startups to MNCs in their advertising efforts. I have identified 8 common traps you need to be aware of:

Don’t bother posting on Facebook

Are you thinking about what to post on your Facebook page next week? Well, you can probably drop the thought.

This would have been a good move in 2012 when your post can reach as much as 16% of your fanbase. The figure dropped to 6.5% in 2014. Now, it is less than 2%. That’s not all. Only a further 5% or less of this measly 2% is going to pay attention to your post on their newsfeed. That is only about 0.1% of your fanbase. Shocking?

Facebook page organic reach to your fans per post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

It would have account for something if you have a fanbase of say, 10,000. If your Facebook fancount is 300 or less, honestly, the time would be better spent elsewhere. There is absolutely no need to put up posts daily, or even weekly for that matter, as with the case of so many businesses I see. We all love to think that we are very important and everyone is waiting for us to post. Fact?  People are so busy with stalking their friends and relatives on Facebook to give us any attention.

On the other hand, you cannot totally ignore Facebook either. People need to know that you are still in business. Strive to at least post once a month, but there is absolutely no need to scratch your head agonizing what to write everyday.

Be careful of the default

So you learned that your organic posts do not go far and advertising on Facebook is the only way to reach more people at (very) reasonable costs.

Source: Moz

Source: Moz

You started buying ads on Facebook, only to receive alot of likes…. but zero new business. Before you start concluding that Facebook ads are a waste of time & money for businesses, think again.

The problem usually lies with how you set your targeting. By default, Facebook shows your ads to users on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook ad network.



Did you know only the first option is for advertising within Facebook? 2nd option shows your ads in Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram and for the 3rd option, you don’t even know where your ads are displayed!

You may think its harmless but Instagram burns your money faster than fire spreads in the forest. (Instagram is hardly profitable for most businesses) If you do not have a big budget to invest for ‘brand awareness’ , do scrutinize your settings before clicking ‘confirm’, or you may just fall into one of these traps.

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Foreign likes

Lets say you checked your targeting settings hundred times and have made sure that you are targeting high networth individuals in Singapore. Your ads are still not getting any sales. You decided to click into the profile of people who like your ads. To the shock of your life, these are not locals! You got alot of engagement with plenty unfamiliar-looking profiles instead.

Another trap of Facebook advertising is its ‘smart’ algorithmn. Facebook automatically optimizes your ads to appear infront of people most likely to click or engage with ads. Coincidentally, these people may not be people who buys, but people who like to like your posts. More often than not, these are not the locals.

What can you do about it ?

Well, Facebook’s advertising platform is a powerful machine, as long as you know how to tap on its potential. Make use of the ‘exclude’ feature to exclude audience you do not want to target! You can exclude foreigners or other groups you know will never convert into a customer. In one of our campaign for a property company, we excluded all property agents in Singapore.

The shortcut

If you are wondering why the options above are not accessible in your computer, you probably have been boosting posts only.

Amazon and other ecommerce stores have their 1-click purchase to make it easy for people to buy. Facebook came out with their own version of this with the ‘1-click advertise’ option, which is the boost post button.

It saves time&hassle at the expense of cutting out alot of features you would see in ads manager and power editor. To encourage its use, Facebook repeatedly reminds you with messages like this:


Many advertisers have likened clicking boost-post to writing a blank cheque to Facebook.  If you don’t have deep pockets, avoid the trap of the shortcut and instead go deeper into what Facebook offers.

Facebook’s share price has been on the rise as more and more businesses jump on the advertising bandwagon. Without proper know-how, businesses owners are just contributing to the bottom line of Facebook. On the other hand, with the right strategy, you can be among those succeeding.

Source: Convinceandconvert

It’s not traditional one-way advertising

The power of Facebook lies in its social potential. It can go both ways. You ads has the chance of going viral, however it can also backfire.

Check out this ad by OCBC bank.

It looks like any normal and decent Facebook ad, until you scroll down further to the comments section. Did you realize that they are paying money to advertise for their competitor? Guess what, after seeing this ad, I took action and shifted my money to BOC. You can say its pretty ‘successful’.

Many traditional advertisers fall into the trap of approaching Facebook advertising the way they do for newspaper or magazine advertisement; that is to publish and forget. The wonder of Facebook is that it produces alot of feedback for you to finetune your ads over time. Make use of these quantitative and qualitative feedback to improve on your performance. You may be wondering; how should I craft my ad copy then? Well, i got your back. You can check out this video below on a simple formula for tailoring ads to your audience.

Be a geek

Speaking of getting quantitative feedback.

Since Google, Facebook and other digital advertising platforms came into the picture, marketing has largely evolved into more of a geeky sports. The amount of data available for decision making is tremendous.  Your left brain muscles matter as much, if not more than your right brain muscles today.

Fret not, you don’t need to start hiring a data scientist. To make it simple, important metrics to look at include your cost per click, clickthrough rate and conversion(most businesses are not measuring!).

So, what is considered decent numbers? According to Nanigans, a data company, the average clickthrough rate in Asia in 2016 is 1.97%. If you are doing less than 1% clickthrough, you are paying alot more money than you should.

In our own example, we were collecting emails on Facebook with a free ebook.  I changed the ad image from the 1st to the 2nd and saw an increase in clickthrough and leads conversion by 50 %!

1st ad image

2nd image with 50% higher clickthrough and conversion

This would not have been possible if I were to advertise in say, newspaper where I get only one shot at success. Today, the data available for finetuning our ads provides unprecedented opportunity. It makes leads generation a highly predictable and consistent process, almost to the point of being scientific.  Stability, isn’t that what we all want?

Softer conversions

Facebook likes to keep users within Facebook. That’s obvious, no media publisher wants to send people away.  That’s why they introduced new features such as Canvas ads, as well as instant articles to confine people within their ecosystem. As an advertiser, this is not to your advantage. Facebook is the land of shiny objects where a thousand and one things demand the attention of your prospects.

Think cat videos, ex-girlfriend’s pictures etc etc. As an advertiser, instead of trying to sell your product on facebook where attention span is almost nonexistent, strive to get them to click into your website or landing page and opt into an offer that doesn’t take alot of brain power to process. Don’t be overly ambitious in getting them to buy on the spot. Use soft conversions.

Facebook distraction

Facebook distraction 

Scaling your ads

Perhaps your Facebook ads has started to work and you are getting some leads. You excitedly increase the budget of your campaign from $5/day to $50/day. The next thing you realize, your ads do not work as well as before. Clickthrough and conversion rate starts to nosedive and you wondered what happened. Well, thats Facebook’s mechanism.

When you increase your ad budget suddenly, ad frequency starts to increase drastically and effectiveness of ads decline. To get around this, instead duplicate your adset and tweak one of the variables- either ad image, copy, targeting or campaign objective.

Alternatively, don’t forget other ads platform as well.

Youtube ads are fantastic for getting huge reach at low prices. Google search ads are ideal for established industries with proven demand. Video, search and social are all huge in Singapore(check out our stats) A laundry business we helped out with closes 20 over deals consistently a month from Google but didn’t fare well in Facebook.


At the end of the day, don’t stop trying. Getting burnt in Facebook once doesn’t make it a useless platform.  Afterall, isn’t it the spirit of entrepreneurship to keep trying ?  Having taken the time to educate yourself on the 8 traps above, you are better equipped to deal with Facebook than ever before. Like all other aspects of your business, once you find the right formula, Facebook will skyrocket your sales. Importantly, it provides the consistency and stability of business that all of us need. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity! Facebook ads is going to get more expensive over time. The best time to jumpstart your engine is now.

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5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Henry says:

    I m a house agent.
    I need help in FB marketing for my biz. I specialize in HDB resale in North area.

    Will be able to assist?
    Wats ur charges like?
    Are u base in SG?
    Are we able to tok on phone?

    Henry Yap
    Hp. 8777 2927


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