Facebook is the most widely used online platform for adults. With the vast majority of people using Facebook daily, brands and businesses can achieve maximum visibility with a Facebook marketing strategy.
Nothing is easier than getting started, but we will help you get your Facebook marketing campaign off the ground with seven steps.
Let us explore some ways you can use the platform most effectively in conjunction with some content strategy ideas.
Facebook Marketing Basics
1. Pin important posts
Facebook allows you to pin a single post to the top of your Page’s timeline for up to a week. Use this to feature important content, and make it more visible to fans who visit your Page. All new status updates will appear below the pinned post until it is unpinned (or a week elapses), whereupon it will fall into its original chronological position.
After creating a post, hover over it until the pencil icon appears, click it and choose ‘Pin to Top’. In particular, posts to consider pinning include special announcements, contents, promotions, etc.
2. Boost interaction with Facebook-embedded posts
In August 2013, Facebook rolled out the ability to embed personal profile or Page posts into an external website. Use embedded posts to lift conversations from your Facebook Page to help encourage and boost interaction with your statuses in places away from the site, like as part of a blog post, or even in an e-mail newsletter as a way to drive readers to your Page.
As long as the status update you post is public, anybody can embed it from your Facebook Page or re-embed them from wherever else it appears, which – if your status is really shareable – could give your Page and content a lot of exposure. Embedded posts even include buttons for viewers to “Like”, comment, and Share the post, and a button to “Like” your page.
How to embed a Facebook post
1). Hover over the post you want to embed, left-click on the arrow that appears, and choose “Embed Post”.
2). Copy the code that appears and paste it as HTML on your website or blog.
3. Re-post top notch content, but don’t be spammy about it
As not everyone checks their Facebook News Feed all day every day, and only a small proportion of your fans will see your content first time around, if you have a killer article or link to share, post it several times as a way for as many of your fans to see it as possible.
However, make a concerted effort to share the information under different guises, e.g., different wording in the text, an image with a link, a link share post, etc.
Although image-with-a-link posts are worth experimenting with, traditional link share posts come most often recommended because they reflect the way that the average person uses Facebook… when did you last see a friend sharing a link with an uploaded image? Facebook will penalize your reach if you publish the exact same status over and again, as it has found people react negatively to “copy and paste” posts.
4. Encourage clicks through call-to-actions but avoid “click-baiting”
To encourage higher click-through rates from Facebook and other social media to your website and blog, being specific about what you want your customers to do using a clear call to action is often a good bet, e.g. “Click here for more information [your link]”. Sometimes that little push can make all the difference between a successful status and one that sinks without a trace.
Note: In relation to the above, it is worth pointing out that August 2014, Facebook amended its News Feed algorithm to crack down on so-called “click-bait” article-sharing. These are typically articles with vague and over- promising headlines like “You’ll never believe who puked on the red carpet last night… CLICK to see our exclusive pic!” that do not make it plainly clear what the post will entail. Facebook wants you to share valuable content that people will read and share with their friends, so if it spots that your fans are clicking on these types of links and returning straight to Facebook (because the content is poor) and not sharing, similar posts will receive less visibility in the future. Conversely, high quality links that get shared many times over will benefit from higher reach.
5. Guarantee views with “Get All Notifications” and “See First” strategy
One tactic that can be used to all-but guarantee that fans see all of your Page’s content is to train them to select the “Get Notifications” and “See First” options, found in a drop-down menu when hovering their cursor over the “Liked” and “Following” button underneath your Page’s cover photo.
With this selected, every time you post a new status update, the fans in question will be informed with a notification under the blue “globe” icon in the status bar of their Facebook account, and your new content will appear at the top of that users’ News Feed respectively.
These requests are best communicated through a status update with a screen grab of the menu, to demonstrate the exact action that you wish them to take. Whether or not you are comfortable with asking at the risk of appearing pushy is up to you, and you should judge it based on the strength of the relationship you have with your audience.
If you do decide to do it, I wouldn’t force it upon fans very often, particularly as they are unlikely to be right on your Page when they see your instructions appear, and even more unlikely to click through and carry it out.
6. Optimize blog images to make an impact on Facebook
In September 2013, Facebook introduced a significant increase to the size that thumbnail images from linked articles appear in the News Feed. When you post a status update including a link, Facebook will automatically pull an image from the article, and as long as it is of sufficient size, that image will display at full width on your Page and in News Feeds, with the blog title and blurb below it.
In exact terms, for a linked article’s image to display at full width on Facebook, the width of the image needs to be 1.91 times its height. Facebook recommends an image that is at least 1200 × 630 pixels, which, truthfully, isn’t realistic for most bloggers.
Instead, aim to produce blog posts that include at least one image that is 600 × 315 pixels (even if it an image that is uploaded large, but shrunk to fit your blog’s formatting style), as this is the minimum size that Facebook requires for any linked article’s image to display at full width in any position on all devices – desktop, mobile, or tablet. If your linked article’s chosen image is below 600 × 315 pixels, Facebook will automatically shrink it much smaller.
Note: When you paste a link into the status box and the automatically- generated preview appears, two small arrows appear on top of the thumbnail image allowing you to select the most appealing photo from the article. If none of the available thumbnail images takes your fancy, click the “Upload Image” link and choose one that is saved on the hard drive of your computer.
You can edit the text in the headline and description fields that are generated, too, if you wish to make them more effective. On the rare occasion that you paste a link to share and no preview image appears at all, you may have to debug the page – essentially forcing Facebook to refresh its cache of your site. Simply visit the Facebook Debugger tool at https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug, paste in the URL of the Page with the problem image, and click “Debug.” Wipe your status box clean and try pasting the link again; the problem should now be fixed.
Note: Somewhat related to the previous tip regarding the popularity of images and quotes in particular, why not try the following: Pick out a blog post’s most quotable, shareable snippet and turn that into an image either as a quote on its own or coupled with an appealing photo. Then, link back to the blog post from the text box in a status update and monitor how well the post is received.
7. Alternate between YouTube-linked and Facebook-uploaded video
The emergence of video content on Facebook has changed the landscape of the social network, and it’s only going to get bigger. In many cases, it pays to upload engaging video content directly to the site, rather than, for example, sharing a YouTube link.
This is because native Facebook video is given a more favorable ride in terms of reach (but keep an eye on your analytics to see how things go). If the video is “evergreen” in nature (i.e. it’ll still as relevant in the future as it is now) why post the video twice – once by uploading directly to Facebook, and at a later date via a shared YouTube link?
Strategies to maximize the impact of videos uploaded to Facebook
- Videos uploaded to Facebook play automatically – and are muted with no audio – within the News Feed. With that in mind, consider how you will hook your fans into watching your clip (and turn the sound on) from the very first frame – catching someone’s eye with movement in the first 2-3 seconds is one way to do this, or if a person is seen talking in front of camera, fans who are interested will click to hear what’s being said.
- Organize videos into playlists via the Video tab on your page (to encourage increased watch time), and choose one video to Feature. The Featured video will appear in prime position below the “About” section in the sidebar of your Page – a great opportunity for an introductory video to your business, or to highlight a current promotion.
- Tag people who feature in your videos, add descriptive labels, and select the best thumbnail available in the menu that appears after the file has been uploaded (or upload your own custom image). And don’t forget to grab the video embed code to include in a blog post on your website to encourage more exposure and interaction – choose between embedding the whole status update, or just the video player itself for a cleaner look.
8. Use hashtags to encourage engagement and conversation
In June 2013, Facebook joined sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ by rolling out the use of hashtags, which appear as clickable links in Page and personal profile updates and in posts on the news feed.
Hashtags are a way of grouping similar types of content together, and can be created by typing a hash or pound symbol directly before a word while composing a status update or comment on your Page or personal profile, like this: “What do you love about your local #walmart? Tell us using the hashtag #lovewalmart and we’ll choose the best to feature on our website” or “It’s Gap’s summer sale, with up to 50% off! Come take a look… #gapsale.” where “#walmart” and “#gapsale” are clickable. Clicking on a hashtag will open up a feed where you’ll see stories from the Pages and people who have posted with the same hashtag.
People can use hashtags in Facebook search to discover posts related to specific topics or interests. Billions of pieces of content are shared on Facebook every day – peaking in the 8-11pm primetime slot – so hashtags provide a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to participate in conversations in a meaningful, relevant and timely way. While hashtag use hasn’t blown up in the way Facebook imagined it might, used sparingly they still can be of benefit.
Several ways to use hashtags effectively on Facebook
- Use one or two strategic hashtags related to your brand or industry in your Facebook posts, particularly if they will be used for cross- platform promotion), e.g. #yourbrandname. You can also use hashtags as a way to express an emotion or sentiment relating to your post, e.g. #shoptilyoudrop, #excited, or #itstheweekend.
- Every Facebook Page has its own unique URL with a status update box at the top; the format of the URL is www.facebook.com/hashtag/yourhashtag. Drive traffic to that URL from other locations, e.g. your blog, other social networks, business cards, in-store marketing materials, etc. to encourage conversation. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly to make the link even more memorable.
- Discover new Pages and partners by scouring for specific hashtags in Facebook search, and track your own hashtags to monitor what people are saying about you and your brand, then join the conversation.
9. Ask for Likes and Shares – and invite Likers to Like your Page
Ask users to ‘Like’ and Share your content when you post, so that it will be shared on their walls and in their News Feeds, therefore increasing exposure for your Page.
Don’t appear desperate by doing it too often (Facebook will limit the reach on these types of posts if you do, especially if the content associated with the post is poor), and word it in a way that endears you to your fans. Buddy Media found that action keywords like “post,” “comment,” “take,” “submit,” “like” or “tell us” are the most effective.
Be direct in your request, and fans will listen and take action. Enhance the experience by creating a community that encourages your fans to discuss topics and interact with each other within the comments. Did you know, too, that you can invite people who liked a post but haven’t liked your Page, to do so?
When a post has had more than a handful of likes, the message below it will read “[name], [name], [name], and [number] of others liked this.” Click on the “others liked this” bit for a list of everyone who liked that post, and a notice of whether they have liked your Page or not (chances are that many people will only see your post as a result of someone else engaging with it, and they being notified).
If they haven’t, you can click “Invite” next to their name to send them a notification asking them if they’d like to. If they’ve enjoyed your content once, there’s a greater chance they’ll be open to seeing it again.
Note: On a somewhat related point – and here’s an opportunity to create common bonds and emotional ties between your brand and fans – did you know you can humanize your Facebook Page updates by sharing what your business is feeling, watching, reading, listening to, drinking, eating, playing, traveling to, looking for or exercising? Just click on the smiley face in the status update box and select one of the options.
10. Keep your engagement timely
If someone comments on a status update you make or posts a public message on your wall, be sure to reply to it as soon as possible. Any chance to further the conversation, answer a query, or give thanks for a customer’s support is all but lost if there is no reply – and it’s something a lot of businesses on Facebook fail to do, to their detriment.
If your Page is really busy and you simply don’t have the time to respond to every fan comment, giving a “like” (rather than ignoring them) will at least show that you are listening to what they have to say.
11. Use @mentions to be personable and up engagement
When replying to individual fans’ comments on your Page, use the @username function to address each person individually. It’ll add a personal touch to your service and make the customer in question feel special, especially as they’ll receive a notification to let them know you replied.
Type @ and begin typing the name of the person you want to reply to immediately afterwards. When their name appears, select it with a mouse click or the tap of a finger. If you want to be more informal and address a customer only by their first name, place your cursor at the end of their surname (after it appears in the comment box) and hit backspace a few times until their surname disappears.
To that end, add a personal touch to any status updates or comments you make by ‘signing’ with your first name. This is especially useful if multiple admins are addressing fans on the same page.
Using @mentions can also be beneficial towards the number of people that see your Page’s content. In February 2014, Facebook announced that when one Page tags another in a status update, e.g. “Thanks to @Perfect Pizza for supplying our prize giveaway this week – you guys rock!,” or “Here’s an awesome insight into how @Perfect Pizza makes its delicious food [link]”, it may – depending on the levels of engagement – show the post to some of the people who like or follow the tagged Page – Perfect Pizza, in this case.
Knowing this, always @mention other Pages when giving them a shout out in one of your posts, and also select top-performing posts from Pages that your fans will enjoy, and share these (with @mentions) on your own Page.
The Pages you mention will receive notification that you included them in a post, and this kind of cross-promotion is good for relationship building, increasing the chances of traffic being sent to your Page as a result – either through reciprocal treatment in the future, or if Facebook re-shares your status to fans of the Page in question.
12. Add Timeline milestones, use as marketing opportunities
Facebook allows you to add Milestones in the history of your business (past and present) on your Page by scrolling through and marking dates on your timeline (e.g. when the business was established, your 1000th sale, etc.).
These help flesh out your company history and can give customers a fascinating insight into your growth over the months and years (particularly if you were in business way before Facebook rolled around).
You can even use upcoming milestones as a way to connect with customers and provide them with an incentive to remain engaged, e.g. “Here’s to each and every one of you for helping us reach 20,000 fans! Check back tomorrow at 6pm for a special promotion to say thanks!”
As a twist on this strategy, and as a way to really make your customers feel a sense of ownership over your Page, why not highlight them and their stories as milestones on your Timeline?
Ask fans to submit stories that explain how your product or service has affected their lives for the better, then add them – with images – as milestones that show just how much a part of your brand your customers are, and as encouragement for other people to invest in you just as much.
13. Thank your newest fans and have a fan of the month
Post a special ‘Thank You’ message about once a week to welcome new fans, even listing them by name if there aren’t too many – find them via the “See Likes” link in your Page’s Admin Panel. Doing so adds a personal touch to your communication, and reflects well on your image as a brand that cares about its audience. To encourage further engagement on your Page, launch a “Fan of the Month” initiative.
By highlighting one of your most loyal fans in this way, you indirectly encourage other fans to engage more, so that they can win the coveted title the next month. For an added incentive, offer a little prize to the winner. There are several free “Fan of the Month” apps available via the Facebook search bar, and paid versions with additional options if you’re interested in delving deeper.
14. Create Facebook Offers
If at least 50 people have liked your Page, you can create an offer on your Facebook Page. When a fan claims an offer, they’ll receive an email that they can show at your business’ physical location or a code to enter online so that they can get the discount.
Offers aren’t free to run (there is a minimum spend of around $5 – $10), but they are useful in promoting special deals, rewarding loyal fans, and encouraging them to spread the word about your business to their friends.
To create an offer from your Page, click Offer, Event + and click Offer from the top of the status update box. Fill out the details to make your offer shine, including Headline, Image, redemption link, start date, and expiration date. Preview your offer in the top left and make any changes, then click Post Offer.
Some pointers to help run a successful offer include:
Make offer discounts substantial (at least 20% off a product or service, or the opportunity to get something else free when purchasing is recommended for the best results), and ensure that it is exclusive to Facebook fans. Keep your offer and its terms and conditions simple, and give people a reasonable amount of time in which to claim it (this also allows them time to spread the word about your great deal to their friends.
Use simple and direct language in your headline to reduce any confusion, and showcase the value of the deal your fans will get, rather than just using a slogan.
Use a clear and engaging image to represent your offer, but not your profile photo, as that will often be displayed next to the promotion around the site. Pin the offer to the top of your Page for added visibility, and train your staff so that they are prepared for when a customer wants to redeem their offer.
15. Facebook contest strategy for success
As of August 2013, Facebook re-allowed contests to be administered on Page Timelines, not just through third-party apps like Woobox, Shortstack, and Heyo. Businesses can:
Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post (e.g. “Like this post for a chance to win one of our new sandwich toasters – releasing March 21!” or “Comment with a funny caption for this photo – the one that makes us laugh the most / gets the most likes wins X prize.” or “Post a photo in the comments of you using our product – our favorite will win X prize.” or “Suggest a new menu item in the comments below, our favorite will go into production and the inventor will win X prize!” Another spin on this entry method is to ask viewers to comment and tag a friend to enter. Your fans will tag friends who would be interested in winning the prize, and this will drive interest in your Page and product or service. This route works best if you can reward the winning commenter and their tagged friend with a prize, e.g. dinner for two at your restaurant, or two free gifts of your product.
Collect entries by having users message the Page (e.g. “For your chance to win this fantastic sweat band, message us using the button above and tell us why you deserve to win!”) Utilize ‘Likes’ as a voting mechanism, e.g. “Help us choose our next smoothie flavor. Click ‘like’ to vote on your favorite pic and we’ll choose one lucky person to win a $20 gift card with us!”
Note: Free tools like Agorapulse’s Timeline Contest page (http://contest.agorapulse.com/) give an easy way to host and select winners from Timeline sweepstakes, quizzes, or photo contests.
While creating a promotion on a Page Timeline is faster, easier and cheaper (great for a spontaneous giveaway for example, but more likely to attract poor quality entrants), third-party apps – while requiring a small fee – still do have many advantages, and I would certainly recommend them over Timeline-only contests for bigger and more serious campaigns. Advantages of apps include:
- A more professional and customizable campaign, more in line with your branding strategy.
- More space and flexibility for content than a Page post alone, as they are hosted on a Page tab.
- The ability to collect data (such as e-mail addresses) in a secure and structured manner.
- Easy to add “share” buttons to increase virality of contest once someone has submitted their entry.
Whichever type of contest you run on Facebook, there are still important legal guidelines to follow, including offering terms of eligibility, and releasing Facebook of any association. I implore you to read the Promotions section of Facebook’s Page Guidelines for a full rundown: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
16. Promote Events on Facebook – Ask fans to subscribe
Click on the Events tab in the status update box to create your event, whether they will happen offline (like a store’s grand opening) or online (like a live webinar or the start of a sale). Be sure to upload a photo of the event – a step that is often overlooked, and also build excitement with countdown statuses reminding people to confirm their attendance as the event gets closer.
When you create an event, you can also add targeting so only the most relevant people will see your Page’s event in their News Feeds. You’re even able to target your event’s invites based on criteria such as gender, location and age at the bottom of the Create New Event window.
Events help promote your Page organically because when someone RSVPs to one, it will create a story in their friends’ News Feed. To get more fans on board, post the event well in advance and periodically remind (via Page posts) that it’s all happening soon!
Note: Page admins can easily repeat a Facebook event with the Create Repeat Event option in the drop-down box on your Event page. In addition, to prevent the need to invite fans to events within their area, you can invite them to subscribe. When a fan subscribes, they will automatically be notified when your event is in their locality – ask them to subscribe by clicking on “Events” below your Page’s cover photo, and hitting Subscribe.
17. Cross-promote with (and on) other Facebook Pages
One of the most powerful ways to increase the number of genuinely interested eyes that come across your Facebook Page is to work with other Page managers within your niche, or businesses local to your own. Get in touch to discuss ways in which you can occasionally cross-promote each other’s Pages, share posts, conjure up offers and increase exposure for your businesses.
For example, a kids’ clothes store owner might get in touch with a local ice-cream parlor – places that share the same clientele – to work a cross-promotion arrangement on Facebook.
Additionally, you might want to communicate with other businesses to encourage them to add your Page to the Featured “Likes” section of their Page, and agree to do the same in return. This works great with complementary products and services, and helps spread the word of your business, as Featured Pages sit prominently on your Page, and display on rotation depending how many are set up. To add a featured Like on your Page, Facebook Page:
1). Visit and “Like” a complementary business while using Facebook as your Page (or by clicking the three dots underneath its cover photo, choosing “Like as Your Page…” and selecting your company’s Page if you’re browsing under a personal account).
2). Return to your Page and click “Settings” and then “Featured” on the next page. Under the “Likes” section, click “Add Featured Likes” and choose the Pages that you would like to showcase on your Page.
A more covert way of making your brand known (especially to the audience of rivals in your business niche) is to engage and post relevant, friendly, and useful (not spammy or self-promotional!) comments on statuses of their Facebook Pages, posting under your Page’s username (make sure you are posting as your Page by clicking on the flag icon beneath the post you want to comment on, and choosing “Liking and commenting as [your page]”.).
Your profile photo and link to your Page will be visible with every comment you make, hopefully encouraging people to visit and check you out. Again, make your comments interesting, helpful, insightful, funny, witty, charming, etc., to increase the chances of a click-through! The last thing you want to do is come across as shady or desperate, especially like those “It’s Andrew from Andrew’s Aardvark Farm – just popping over to give you a Like! Check us out!” kind of posts that commonly occur. If I ever see any type of blatant self- promotion on my Page, it gets instantly deleted!
18. Use private messaging for customer service
Facebook Page owners have the option to allow customers to contact the page administrator directly (“Settings” > “Messages” option). If you have the resources to cope, you should definitely leave this option on, so that customers can get in touch, particularly if they don’t want to share their message on the public wall (and this may also prevent unsavory comments being broadcast to all of your fans).
19. Utilizing Facebook Groups to build your business
Facebook Groups are a convenient way to network with peers, strengthen relationships with current customers, or attract new ones – whether you create your own or join one of the millions that already exist. To get the most benefit from groups which focus on discussions concerning your chosen industry, your aim should be to position yourself as an authority figure: be active, give help, and be genuine, i.e. no focus on selling.
Over time, your knowledge and influence will be recognized and this will help to pique people’s interest, perhaps enough to make them want to consider your product or service.
Another big opportunity for business is in local community groups that focus on buying or selling all manner of products and services; most people in built-up areas will be able to find one set up for their town or city. Find your local group, scope out how trade takes place, and offer up your wares in an appropriate manner.
Alternatively, if you create your own group, it can exist as a place to provide customer support, promote upcoming events, get feedback on upcoming products, and for customers to connect, collaborate, and share (valuable consumer insight for you!). Use the group’s About section to explain how the group works, and to steer the conversation and activity you would like to see.
20. Track your progress
Use Facebook Insights (click “Insights” at the top of your Page) to track how your Facebook Page is performing day by day, and over a longer period of time. The Likes tab displays your overall Page growth, and where your audience is finding you, while the Reach, Visits, and Post tabs will show you which types of updates – text, links, video, etc. – are preferred by your audience (click on individual posts for more detailed stats about engagement), and at what times they are most likely to be on Facebook to digest your activity.
On the People tab, you’ll be able to learn about the demographics of your audience, including gender, age, language, and location. All of this data is extremely useful in helping you to tweak and tailor your ongoing content strategy, and to deliver the kind of stuff that you know your fans will love.
Another notable section of Facebook Insights is Pages to Watch, a feature that allows you to track a variety of metrics relating to your rivals’ Facebook activity, including the number of posts, engagement rates, and new Page likes. Adding the competition to this list will enable you to keep an eye on their performance to see what is (and what isn’t) working for them, and you can use this knowledge to influence and improve your own strategy.
In addition to direct competitors, it is often useful to pay attention to other companies in a similar, but not identical, field, e.g. another retail or B2B venture within your vicinity, as well brands that are unrelated to yours, but which your audience like and engage with (find these by searching for “Pages liked by people who like [your page name]” in the bar at the top of the Facebook website).
Paid Advertising Strategy on Facebook
A budget for Facebook advertising is an extremely important consideration as part of your marketing strategy, particularly because the competition for eyeballs on the site’s content is ever-increasing, in tandem with the site intentionally decreasing organic (non-paid) reach – especially for self- promotional Page posts.
In fact, Facebook now deliberately limits the appearance in the News Feed of Page Post content that features only promotional messages – asking people to buy something, encouraging them to enter a sweepstakes, etc., which makes paid promotion even more crucial.
You wouldn’t launch a real-world business and expect people to just turn up and continue to maintain their interest without promotion, and a Facebook Page is really no different. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune: Facebook ads can be a cheap and effective way to gain new fans, keep existing fans engaged, direct people to your website, or get them to do whatever you please on the way to reaching your marketing goals.
Consider this: if you allocate just $1 of marketing spend per day on Facebook ads, your content will be exposed to several thousand people that would not otherwise have seen it. If you are doing this and your competitors aren’t, you’ll be way ahead in the awareness game for your business niche.
21. Boosting posts
To increase the ordinary reach of your most important posts – like special offers, big events, or a company milestone, Facebook encourages you to use its “Boost Post” tool, located via a button underneath each and every status update.
Boosted posts last for three days and will increase the reach of your content beyond the people who see it organically. In basic terms, boosted posts create a set of instant Facebook ads, without any of the detailed customization options available through the main Facebook ads tool. Boosted posts do the following:
1). Promote your post within mobile and desktop News Feeds of Fans.
2). Promote your post within mobile and desktop News Feeds of Fans, their friends, and via a limited set of variants like age, gender, interests, and location.
3). Generate a Sponsored Story ad within mobile and desktop News Feeds.
The eventual cost of a boosted post depends on the number of people you want Facebook to try to expose to that specific piece of content. Costs range from a maximum budget of just a dollar or two for a few thousand people, to hundreds of dollars if your aim is to reach many thousands of users.
Once Facebook approves your boosted post in accordance with its “no more than 20% text if an image is used” guidelines (more on this topic below), which doesn’t normally take very long, the promotion will begin. The amount you are charged rises as your boosted post reaches more people, but if you don’t feel like you are getting value for money, you can stop the promotion at any time.
On a similar note, you can add to your initial maximum budget if the promotion is going better than expected. If your boosted post does not reach the number of people Facebook estimated it would reach, based on your budget over the three-day window, you will only be charged according to the number that it did reach.
To get the most out of boosted posts, remember the following:
- Wait at least 5-6 hours before boosting a post – let its organic reach take hold and settle first.
- Once a post is boosted, it may take some time until it reaches the full breadth of your target audience. Will it still be relevant as much as a few days away from when it was first promoted?
- Don’t boost every post. Spend money on increasing exposure to content that will drive meaningful engagement or make an impact on your bottom line, e.g. eyes on a new product or service, or clicks through to a valuable blog post.
- Pin your boosted post to create additional visibility for the promotion. Measure the success of your boosted post through Facebook Insights and other analytics tools.
Note: If you’re a small business owner that wants a quick and easy way to increase the visibility of standout posts a couple of times a week, then boosting posts should be a very strong consideration. If you are want a bit more control and customization or aim to build complex advertising campaigns on Facebook, utilizing the main ads tool and Power Editor respectively make more sense – see below for more information on these.
22. Beyond the Boost: Facebook Ads Strategy
If you decide that boosting posts is too simplistic for your needs, the Facebook Ads tool at https://www.facebook.com/advertising is a marked step-up, with many more customization options and, crucially, it’s pretty user-friendly. Some of the options available in the Facebook Ads tool include:
- Choosing what the ad promotes depending on your goal (your Facebook Page, a particular post, a Facebook event, a custom tab with a newsletter sign-up form, an external website, etc.).
- Choosing where on Facebook the ad appears (e.g. desktop and mobile News Feeds, right-hand column).
- Adding a call to action button to ads to increase click-through rates, (e.g. Shop Now, Read More, for web-based targets, or Call Now, Get Directions for local, mobile customers).
- Choosing who the ad targets (based on location, age, gender, interests, and connections). Before targeting non-fans, I would suggest honing in on existing fans (many of whom won’t have already seen your content or promotion organically, as well as your email list – both which Facebook enables you to do).
- Tracking conversions like registrations, checkouts, and views of key pages on your website.
While Facebook’s main advertising tool will be suitable for the vast majority of businesses, those with large and complex advertising needs may prefer to use a tool called Power Editor (http://www.facebook.com/powereditor) to create, manage, and track their ads on Facebook. If Boost Post is for beginners and Facebook’s main ads tool is for the masses, then Power Editor is for “pros”.
It’s the least user-friendly of the bunch, but includes experimental options that may be useful to those who like to micro-manage their ads, and perhaps who are running lots of campaigns at once. The Power Editor too is much more accessible to use than it has been in the past, so don’t be afraid to take a look.
23. Tips for Facebook ad creation
Whether you stick to Facebook’s main ad-creation tool or bravely plump for Power Editor, the following pointers will help maximize the success of your promotional campaigns:
- When writing copy, speak to your ideal prospect; don’t try to be everything to everyone. Tell your perfect customers what makes you unique and why investing time in (and clicking) your ad is worth their time. Craft a headline that addresses the “you” to make the person reading feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
- Create at least four versions of each ad per campaign so you can experiment with different images (both promotional and more natural/lifestyle in focus), calls to action and copy so that you can clearly understand which ones are performing the best.
- Test a variety of ad types (lead ads product ads carousel, video, etc.) in a variety of placements (News Feed, mobile, and sidebar) to see how the results vary. News Feed and mobile ads should (as much as possible) blend naturally into the ordinary stream of Facebook content, while for the smaller sidebar ads in particular, subtle call to actions and images with human faces or simple color combinations, seem to work best.
- Test a variety of target groups, based on criteria such as age, gender, Pages liked, interests, location, etc. Be sure, too, to utilize Audience Insights to gain a deeper understanding of the people you should target, based on Facebook usage, purchase activity, lifestyle, household size, etc.). If your advertising budget is small, hyper-target your audience – around 100,000 people is a decent sample. To target specific individuals and those most likely to be interested in your offering, get savvy with advanced targeting options such as lookalike audiences, custom audiences, partner audiences, re-targeting, website custom audiences, and conversion pixels, in order to get the most bang for your buck (look out for these terms during the ad setup process and use the “?” button next to each for a fuller explanation.
- Use a structured naming convention for your ad campaigns, ad names, and ad sets to make identifying and tracking them easy. With campaigns, for example, I like the format “[Business/Client Name] – [Page Name] – [Item Promoted] – [Objective].” The Business/Client Name qualifier may or may not be necessary, depending on your circumstances.
- When budgeting and bidding, don’t sweat too much over terms like cost CPC, CTR, CPM, etc. Instead, focus on your business’ cost per desired action, e.g. clicking a link and signing up to your email newsletter. This method will allow you to calculate your return on investment, i.e. how many conversions you drove per dollar spent, much more easily.
- Want to gauge early on if your ad is hitting the nail on the head? Look for its Relevance Score in your ad reporting – a rating of 1- 10 based on how your audience is responding to your ad through likes, clicks, comments, etc. It appears after the ad has received at least 500 impressions. One simple strategy is to keep your budget low, tweaking your ad until you achieve a relevance score of 8/10 or higher. At this point, you can think about promoting the ad more heavily, but always keep an eye on the ad in case the score (which update sin real time) starts dipping.
24. Checking your ad image adheres to the 20% text rule
Facebook places a “no more than 20% text allowed” rule on images used for ads – if your image exceeds these boundaries, your ad might be rejected during the review process, thus delaying the start of your campaign. If you want to check that your photos meet the text rule guidelines, there are a number of handy tools to help you do just that, including Facebook’s own Text in Images compliance tool at https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay. Simply upload a file and click the boxes to highlight the areas where text appears. The tool will count up the percentage and let you know if your image is Facebook-ready.
Using Your Personal Facebook Profile for Business
Using your personal Facebook Timeline specifically for commercial purposes is against the site’s rules. However, there are a number of useful little strategies that you can implement via your individual profile that can help support your overall business marketing.
25. Add a Follow button to your personal profile
If you are the figurehead of your company and happy to share your personal profile’s updates with customers as a way to help them feel more closely connected to you, but don’t want them all to be added as friends, consider adding a Follow button to your profile via https://www.facebook.com/about/follow.
Anyone who chooses to become a follower will see posts you mark as Public (toggle this option via the drop-down menu underneath the status update box) in their News Feeds. Use this ability to filter updates about your family to Friends, and updates pertinent to your business, or things that you’re comfortable sharing with a wider audience to the public.
Note: Visit your Timeline settings (“…” button on your profile > Timeline Settings), then click on the “Followers” link in the left-hand menu. From here, you can adjust your Follower settings and also grab code that you can use to embed a “Follow” button on your website, too.
26. Create custom lists to target business posts to friends
Related to the tactic above, Facebook’s custom lists feature allows you to target status updates to customized groups of people who are also connected to you as friends. Again, these shouldn’t be promotional or commercial in nature, but perhaps stuff like news and events occurring within your industry that only a specific portion of your friend list would be interested in:
To create a new custom list:
1). From your home page, hover over the Friends section in the menu on the left and click “More.”
2). Click Create List.
3). Write in the list’s name, e.g. “Current Customers”. Enter the names of the people you want to add to this list in the Members section.
4). Click Create.
By clicking on the links that now appear in the sidebar of your Facebook account, you can easily see, comment, like, and interact with activity from people in your lists. Remember to peruse you custom lists often for opportunities to more deeply connect with your peers, building relationships that will eventually pay off as part of your business strategy.
27. Change your personal profile ‘Work’ to your business page
If people search for your business on Facebook and come across your personal profile, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to find your business Page too. Click on the ‘Update Info’ button at the top of your profile and search for your Facebook Page in the ‘Where have you worked?’ box and choose it when it appears in the drop-down menu.
If you don’t see your Page appear when you type its name into the box, try typing its username instead, i.e. the bit that comes after the ‘www.facebook.com/’ of the Page’s address. If you’re still having no luck, insert your exact Page name, click the drop-down that appears and enter the additional details (Position, City/Town, etc). When you click ‘Add job’, it should populate correctly.
Note: Here are two more soft-sell Facebook Page promotion opportunities: add the URL to your Facebook Page under the ‘Website’ area of the Contact Info section of your personal Facebook profile. In addition, add your personal profile as a Featured Page owner on your Facebook Page. When you add a featured page owner, your personal information will be displayed in the About section of the Page and the Page will be shown on your personal profile.
28. Learn about (and capitalize on) the ad strategies of your competition
If you’re your company’s ideal customer, then you’re going to be your competitor’s ideal customer, too. As such, chances are that you are going to be exposed to ads from your competitors in your personal News Feed – keep an eye out for them.
You may discover that your main rival seems to advertise mostly on Wednesday evenings, that they appear on mobile and not desktops, and that certain types of images seem to get more attention than others. It’s far from scientific, of course, but by grabbing screenshots and making notes, you’ll have some broad information that you can use to capitalize upon when it comes to running your own paid ads.