It wasn’t too long ago that Facebook pages were able to reach their fans organically without having to pay for any advertisements or boosts. Unfortunately, organic reach has gone down from approximately 16% in 2012 to below 2%, essentially killing ‘free advertising’ on Facebook. On the surface it sounds like a devastating blow to small businesses that rely heavily on Facebook marketing and people all over have expressed their anger over this change. Maybe it’s time to quit Facebook marketing or maybe it’s time to employ effective Facebook advertising techniques that can help boost your business. Keep reading, and you’ll want to stick with the latter.
Understanding & Embracing the Facebook Algorithm Change
The first step is to think about your own experience as a Facebook user. Do you enjoy seeing ads or posts that are constantly trying to sell you something? Since pages were getting so much attention in newsfeeds, it was actually interfering with the user experience. As a result, Facebook made a change to show less of brand pages to its users. For a short period of time, Facebook page managers were able to circumvent this new implementation by posting what is commonly known as ‘click-bait’. Sensationalized headlines, for example, “This homeless man was given $100. What he did next will have you in tears!”. Facebook eventually made an algorithm change to prevent click-bait posts from appearing in newsfeeds. It still isn’t perfect because from time to time stories such as these appear in newsfeeds but the message that Facebook is sending is loud and clear; improve the quality of your content and don’t try to ‘game’ the system.
Improving Your Content
The best advice we can provide is to give your fans what they want to see. Provide value to your fans and always remember to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, ‘If I were a fan of my page, what type of posts would I want to see or interact with?”.
The best way to see how your content is performing is to use Facebook insights, a tool at your disposal as a Facebook page administrator, editor, or analyst depending on your assigned role on the page. Establish which posts are getting the most reach, and or engagement.
Stay Up To Date With the Latest Facebook Algorithm Changes
As long as you’re not trying to outsmart the Facebook algorithm, your page should perform well enough, but if you’re keeping up to date with the latest changes, you will be able to identify opportunities. For example, in 2014, Facebook made an algorithm change placing a higher value on videos. There are two ways to post videos to Facebook. One is to link to a video using Youtube, Vimeo or similar website and then there is posting a video directly to Facebook. A native Facebook video will perform much better and will be favored by Facebook. Facebook insights will also let you know how many video views your video had and how long users are sticking around to watch your videos.
Boosting posts is a great way to ensure that your fans see your content! It’s a first small step for effective Facebook advertising. Once you have identified which posts are performing well (Facebook will often let you know which posts are performing well once you access the insights), you may want to set a budget and ‘boost’ the post. It can be for as little as $5 and boosts can run for up to 7 days and is guaranteed to reach several hundred of your fans each day. You may be tempted to boost some of your under-performing posts but keep in mind that Facebook wants to push its best content out to its users so a boost on an ordinary post may not be the best strategy or best use of your Facebook ad budget. Also, be sure to target your audience correctly. For example, if your page is about makeup, you probably won’t want to push your content towards the males who like your page. If you’re targeting the wrong audience, you’ll be throwing money away!
Often times, you hear professional athletes thank the fans because without them, fame, money and success isn’t possible. The same goes for your Facebook fans. In order to market to an audience, you need fans. Facebook has a feature to gain fans. In order to do so, you need the following things:
- An ad campaign graphic: image sizes vary from 1200 x 444 or 1200 x 628
- A budget: you can set your total budget or you can set it to the value of each like. The first option is easier to manage and Facebook handles it for you
- A headline: an attention-grabbing headline but it is limited to 25 characters
- A description: in 90 characters or less, explain why they should like your page
- Target audience: Facebook supplies you with a wealth of targeting options. You can target specific demographics, interests and more.
Clicks To Your Website
This option has the potential to give your business the biggest boost. This option gives you a chance to advertise to your audience and get them to visit your website. Depending on the type of business you have, B2B or B2C, you can adjust your campaign accordingly.
A B2B campaign may be a little bit more challenging. You’re likely going to want to build up your email list and or gain leads. There are a number of different ways you can approach this. For example, if you’re an agency, you might consider offering a white paper or a pdf with a guide on attracting top talent. Your ad campaign can connect to a landing page on your website with a few things: what the user will receive, what your company does and a form for the user to fill out. It will essentially be an enticing page for the user to perform the action that you would like for them to perform. In this case, it would be a ‘sign up’.
A B2C campaign is generally a little bit more straightforward. For example if you are a sporting goods store, you can promote your discounted goods. Your ad can show a picture of your sale items and once the user clicks on your ad, they will be taken to the discounts section of your website.
Keep in Mind
In an attempt to combat against spammy images or messages, Facebook has a 20% text limit meaning that any image must have 20% or less total text. This also applies to boosted posts! Facebook has created a grid tool to help you stay within the limit. If you do include too much text in your ad image, your ad will not be approved.
Facebook advertising can work to your advantage but it does take some time to come up with creative and compelling campaigns. Ready Artwork has benefitted from performing boosts and other campaigns and we have run them for multiple clients as well. It’s a great way for small businesses to market to relevant audiences. If you’re ready to make Facebook start working for you, contact us or give us a call at 626.400.4511 and we’ll be glad to help!