You’ve got to test more ideas in digital marketing and social media.
Because if you only text one post or one post a day or one ad a week, you’re only going to discover so much stuff and you’re only create so much stuff and you’re only going to get a certain level of results.
The more stuff you create, the more ideas you force yourself to have, the more likely you are to find that idea that your customer goes crazy for.
I’m talking about…
Gigantic engagement rates,
Gigantic click through rates,
Incredible conversion rates.
Here’s my analogy. Let’s say, in any sport, like my sport is the NBA. I love basketball. When I watch these guys, I’m like “Wow, there’s some amazing players.” Historically we got Michael Jordan, we’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we’ve got Magic Johnson, we’ve got Shaq, we’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, all these guys are one in a million, one-in-a-billion, right, because they’re freaks of nature in one way or another.
There have been thousands of guys in the league over the years but if we had only had 10 guys in the league, if the NBA hadn’t been so big and hadn’t been so popular and hadn’t been so much money going into it, probably wouldn’t have that many guys and those guys would have done different things with their lives. They wouldn’t have been basketball players. We never would have found those genius basketball players.
If you don’t put enough money or time into your content, you’re never going to find that exceptional outlier of content that performs super well.
I’ve got this post that has a crazy dog in it that gets me 6 likes per penny I spend on it, because I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of posts.
The more stuff you create and the more you test, the more likely you are to find that exceptional, you know, the Michael Jordan of Facebook post, the Michael Jordan of Facebook ads.
It’s probably not the one expect it is. That’s the other thing that’s weird about it.
There’s research that shows that marketing experts, even after 10 or 15 years of experience, do not get better at guessing which content is going to win with the customer.
You could say, “Brian Carter’s a great marketing mind. He’s amazing.”
He still can’t guess which one is going to work with your customer.
All he can do is say, “I think I analyzed your audience and I understand ’em pretty well and based on what you’ve said, you and I are going to figure out some ideas. We’re going to put them in front the customer and we’re going to see which one it works.”
If we only put 5 ideas out there, our chances of success are much lower than if we put out 100 ideas.
Then we’re going to find one or two that really perform amazingly and your customers are going to go nuts for them. That’s not only going to drive down your costs…
Cost per engagement
Cost per lead
Cost per sale…
It’s also going to:
Create much more enthusiastic customers
Who will love you and your brand more.
More excitement and loyalty
But you don’t get that if you don’t test enough ideas.
So many companies out there are just doing the bare minimum. They’re doing checkbox marketing. They’re like, “Yep, we put out our content calendar. Yep, we ran an ad.”
It’s really easy to do. I know. I’ve done it myself. You get tired, you get busy and you’re like, “I created an ad. I’m done. I’m going to go watch Netflix,” you know? “I’ve got so many meetings today, I don’t have time.”
Okay, but you got to figure out how in your process to make this possible.
And if you’re a manager, you got to figure out how to make this possible for your marketing team, give them more time to brainstorm. Figure out how to help them create more ideas and get more stuff out there. You’ve got to do it.
This is a competitive advantage, to be able to create:
More unique, different ideas.
It’s very important today because the better your ideas are and the more you test, the more likely you are to win.
Facebook is the king of social media. It has the most users and the best advertising platform.
You absolutely have to be marketing on Facebook. Everyone does. Period.
And because of the organic reach problem you have to be advertising on Facebook if you want to market on Facebook.
But Facebook advertising is a blessing, not a curse.
Here’s why I love the Facebook ads platform:
13 types of ads
Reach anybody for any purpose
Works for B2C and B2B
It’s a big, sophisticated, powerful platform you can easily get lost in, even if you’re an expert.
So let me simplify things for you.
The 5 Facebook ads every company should run are:
Ads to your ideal customer
Website conversion ads
Email custom audiences (and retargeting)
Promotion of “emotional selling” posts
Video view ads
The #1 Most Important Ads You Can Run on Facebook: Ads Targeted to Your Ideal Customer
The most important kind of ad you can run on Facebook is an ad that targets your ideal customer.
So how do you find out who that is?
If you have the ability to upload a buyer list of e-mails to Facebook audience insights, then you may be able to find out more about them through that tool. If you find out what’s unique about your buyers compared to a list of leads who don’t buy or to your fans, then you’ll be in great shape.
What you want to know is what are
their interests on
their education level
their income level
…and all those other factors that are in audience insights that you can use to target with Facebook ads.
What’s unique about your buyer that you can target with Facebook ads?
If you can’t use an email list of buyers and Facebook audience insights then you may have to run Facebook ad tests using website conversion ads that are fairly aggressive about sales to a number of different Facebook ad targets and see which one responds the best. And I mean being really specific about what you sell and how much it costs so that only the best people will respond to these ads.
Once you have a really good idea who your best customers are and best responders are on Facebook and you’ve figured out how exactly to target that on Facebook then the most important ads you run are going to be the ones that target your ideal customers… whether those are post promotion ads or video view ads or whatever kind of ads, the ones you target to your customers are going to teach you the most.
Because, whatever you’re doing, who cares what some fan thinks, if they’re not buying? If they’re not in your ideal buyer profile?
The most important ads for you to run are not ads to your fans and not ads to people on your newsletter email list- they’re ads to new people who fit your ideal customer profile.
#2: Website Conversion Ads
So many people run Facebook ads and don’t even know this ad exists, and they don’t know why they’re not getting leads for sales.
It’s because they’re not running this kind of ad.
This means sending people to websites or landing pages for leads or sales. And it requires setting up conversion tracking, or the ads won’t function as conversion ads.
If you’ve never set up Facebook ad conversion tracking, you haven’t done this. And that’s why Facebook isn’t working that great for you.
#3: Ads to Email Custom Audiences
Retargeting is really important.
But it’s not magic. It’s not as big a deal as some people think it is. Why?
Because it takes a while to get enough people into your retargeting audience for there to be enough to matter. Since only a few % click on ads, you have to have thousands of people in the audience before it generates any noticeable traffic back to your site. And overall, it doesn’t bring most people back.
But retargeting is a best practice.
It keeps you top of mind. It creates affordable sales you would have lost otherwise.
When most people think of retargeting, they think of website retargeting. Website retargeting means people have been to your website and they’re getting shown ads based on that or based on a specific URL that they’ve been to.
But there’s another kind of retargeting (that’s not really called retargeting but you can think of it that way) and that is the email custom audience which I think is much more powerful for a lot of people and surprisingly few people use it.
What is it? You can upload any email list to your Facebook ad account’s audiences section. A certain percentage of those people will have the same email list for their Facebook ad account and so those people will match and you’ll be able to show them ads.
So you can upload:
Your buyer email list,
An email list of leads,
An e-mail newsletter subscriber list,
All your LinkedIn connections (download them first)
All of your personal email connections or Gmail contacts
…and then target those people with Facebook ads.
For myself, I have a huge list of everybody that has been to all of my different websites all of my LinkedIn contacts and all of my Google contacts all together.
My custom email audience is over 30,000 people.
Think about your email lists- when you send them emails, only about 20 to 30% of them open the emails, right?
But if 50 to 60% of your email lists match on Facebook, you can get ads in front of all of those people. And those people who aren’t opening your emails right now? You can:
Put your latest video in front of all those people.
Get them to interact with your latest post.
#4: Promoted “Emotional Selling” Posts
I have mixed feelings about post promotion ads. There are so many companies out there that have grown fan bases that are completely useless. They don’t understand that their fans aren’t seeing their posts.
They create posts no one sees and they boost those posts and their fans interact with them but that’s all that happens. Their Facebook page is this almost-dead thing they’re clinging to and trying to get people to interact with so that they can pretend their Facebook fan base isn’t really dead.
The Facebook fan base really isn’t doing anything for these companies’s bottom line. They need to step back and think about the fact that they’re in business to make money. And they probably need to grow their email list.
So that’s why the website conversion that is so much more important than a post promotion ad (boosted post).
But there is a kind of promoted post that’s worth doing.
I’m going to ask you do a specific kind of post promotion ad- I don’t want you to just promote whatever post you’re doing.
Because promoted posts are not going to make a huge difference if the posts themselves aren’t that persuasive to your audience. Most of what I see people post on Facebook is not that persuasive.
Some people do a fairly good job of getting people engaged to because they engage people’s emotions.
But very few people bring to bear the decades and decades of copywriting wisdom that’s out there. Be honest: how many copywriting books have you read? How much copywriting have you studied?
Very few people are bringing what they know about their company’s unique selling proposition into their Facebook posting.
And very few companies have done a deep dive into their ideal customer enough to know how to activate their ideal customer through their Facebook posts.
The most important post promotion ads that you can create are the ones that activate your ideal customer’s emotions…
What fears do they have?
What do they love?
What are their dreams?
These are the things you need to identify that are going to emotionally move them towards a purchase.
You won’t know what these are when you start, but you need to have some ideas what they are. You need to develop some questions about what they are… some theories. And test those theories by creating posts.
If you’ve done that work above to figure out who your ideal customer is and how to target them on Facebook… if that work is strong, then these Facebook post that you’re creating to emotionally move your ideal customer will have an effect on your bottom line.
What we’re talking about is the emotional part of selling. The emotional part of marketing. The irrational part of your customer’s decision-making process.
You need to get inside their head and their heart.
And the way you’re going to know that you’re on track with that is
Engagement rate will go up.
Click-through rate will go up.
Some of these posts will create leads and sales.
#5: Any of the Four Types of Video Ads
Videos are so hot right now we can’t not choose the video view ad. People love to watch videos just like they love to watch TV. Videos are powerful and Facebook can get you a lot of video views.
Now you have to keep in mind that there are four different ways you could run videos through the Facebook ad platform. You could use it as creative in a website click ad, a website conversion ad, a boosted post ad, or the video view ad. And each one of those has a different objective. So you’ve got the video you just need to make sure you understand what goal you’re choosing.
If you want to get video views more than anything else the video of you at is your choice. The video view ad is a powerful way to get more awareness for your brand. And it’s a great way to educate people.
I made it the fifth option in part because not every company is creating video yet. I’m trying to go a little easy on those companies that are stuck.
But also because I have mixed feelings about video view ads- you get a LOT of different metrics on videos back, and it’s tough to decide which metric you should judge their success on. If you’re going to look at how long people viewed them for, since every video has a different length, I don’t think you can look at % viewed- look at the sheer duration in seconds. And think about why you are showing it to people- if it’s not to get a conversion, we can’t judge it by conversions… but are we happy with just getting views? Ultimately I’m not- I think videos a are powerful part of branding, but also should be used in website conversion ads to see if they work as well or better than any images you might be testing.
And if you haven’t started creating video, you need to get to it. The obstacles are probably in your head. Your standards are probably too high. A lot of companies and individuals are creating video and people are enjoying it. Don’t let perfectionism stop you from getting something done.
And that’s it- the five types of Facebook ads every business should run.
REVIEWED & UPDATED March 28, 2017- None of the previous tips expired in value or relevance. I’ve added a few new bonus tips at the end for 2016.
This post was originally written in June 2015. And some of these tips have been true since I started teaching Facebook marketing in 2011. I wrote this list a few months back for a keynote talk and have kept them up to date.
The tips are divided into 3 groups
Overall Facebook Marketing
Note that Facebook marketing is a stepwise, funneled process- so, though not every tip is focused on the last step of the funnel, each tip is trying to increase your results down the funnel.
16 Tips That Apply to All of Facebook Marketing
1. Check out Facebook Audience Insights for your type of customer. This tool is located in the Ad Manager. Learn who your fans, prospects and customers really are. I’ll bet at least one thing surprises you. If you don’t have enough fans to see other likes, choose your biggest competitor, or an interest in your niche instead.
2. Don’t bring up a bad thing unless your offering fixes THAT problem. Or unless your specific audience likes warnings (e.g. bad weather) or being negative. In which case, your bad posts will get a LOT of likes. If they don’t, you don’t have that kind of audience. However, empathizing with your customer can be really powerful. Some of our most powerful case studies come from this.
3. Use happy positive faces that are close-up enough for us to read their expressions. 🙂
4. Avoid bland stock photography. Even if you have to take your own photos, find something authentic. If you do use shutterstock, find something exceptional.
5. Animals work. Even people who hate kids love animals. Yes, you can definitely make an animal relevant to your brand and yes people will love it. Yes, even in B2B. They’re still human beings. Open your mind and try it.
6. Cute works. Kids, animals, Ann Handley, etc.
7. Dogs always win. Pugs and labs are some of people’s favorites. This is the cutest dog on the planet.
8. Try something w/e/i/r/d. At the very least you’ll STAND out. Like that joke about my Grandma. You haven’t heard that? You need to watch my keynote videos.
9. Write content about mistakes people make in your niche- if you want to boost conversions.
12. Capitalize on the big winner. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Learn from what did and didn’t work, and come up with new ideas that are more like what worked and less like what didn’t.
13. Learn from what your customers like. What they like is in Audience Insights and how they respond to your posts and ads.
14. Keep testing new ideas. Don’t give up. Don’t settle for what’s the best right now.
15. Shorten your funnel. Try to take out a step or two. Make it easier for your customers. It’ll boost your conversions and profits.
16. Think about whether your customers public and private faces are different. Serve the public one with public posts. Try segmented ads, private videos and segmented email lists for the private ones.
8 Facebook Posting Tips
17. Test multiple ways to say the same thing. Try more than one way to express it. Use science to test diverse language.
18. Include links in posts to get website traffic. (But when it comes to ads, this is not the most affordable way to get website traffic- read this).
19. Include a call to action to get them to do something. Like, “Hey, subscribe to my podcast, it’ll make you a better marketer, better business person, and you’ll smell better too!”
20. Track which Facebook posts work and don’t work. Figure out why you think they work or don’t. Develop your theories and test them with your next set of posts. This is one reason not to create a whole month of FB posts at one time. First, it doesn’t give you time to learn from the current month before scheduling new posts, and second you’ll get smarter every week, but your posts will be up to 4 weeks dumber than you are now.
21. Create coaching and cheerleading posts. Motivate people, and echo their values, beliefs and likes.
22. Find famous and motivational quotes.
23. Use universally revered people for images and quotes. Einstein and Maya Angelou are good. Thomas Edison is not.
25. Always choose website conversion ads if you can (rather than just clicks to website), and use a conversion pixel. Even if you aren’t going for leads or sales, try putting the conversion code on a deeper valuable page your best visitors would check out.
26. Modify your targeting with behaviors like people who use Facebook payments (tells you with more certainty they have money to spend and/or might be a good ecommerce prospect) or lines of credit or other financial info.
27. Test granular creative to granular targets. Did you find 3-4 main demographic personas from Audience Insights? Are you testing personalized advertising to these personas?
28. Try widening your targeting and making your copy more specific. You can “target” by using the ad text to tell them who should click and who shouldn’t.
29. Test retargeting, custom audiences and lookalike audiences. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. But they must be tested.
30. Test using the brand name in headlines vs. not. You could also call them out by job title or interest.
31. Test superlatives. Are you or your product the most/best/cheapest/biggest/etc?
32. Test images featuring the product vs. not. You could also show a representation of their dream aspiration, or their current nightmare.
33. Show a preview of a lead magnet- or use an image in the ad that’s also on the landing page. Then they’ll know they’re in the right place when they land.
34. You can do lead gen ads now in two ways- via website conversion ads, or the new “lead ads.” The latter have a few weaknesses right now. #1, they have been more expensive in our tests. #2 You have to remember to log in and download the emails regularly from Facebook, then manually email people. It’s easier to use LeadPages or ClickFunnels tied to Aweber or MailChimp set up with automatic welcome messages or an autoresponder series. I suppose you could weekly download them, upload those to a system like GetResponse that lets you upload emails, have an autoresponder there, but after a week they’re cold. You’d need to download and upload the emails daily. Some companies are working on a solution to this, but right now it’s a mess. We still recommend website conversion ads combined with a landing page split-testing solution like LeadPages, ClickFunnels, Unbounce, etc.
35. One of the biggest problems we see with clients are when they create their own landing page or lead gen process. Custom programming can create problems, inflexibility, or interfere with tracking. If your website can’t split-test, you should use an industry-standard landing page solution like LeadPages, ClickFunnels or Unbounce. They can be customized to fit your brand and often can be made to look like they’re hosted on your main website or a similar one. Branding can be fixed. A lack of split-testing or the inability to track conversions cannot be fixed as easily.
That’s it- start with a few, and add some more of these tips to your practices every week!
1. Write Posts that are Cheerleads for Your Prospects and Fans’ Values and Goals.
The biggest problem with Facebook posts is reach. You need to get your audience to like them, and that means you need to know what your audience values and what their goals are. If you can create a post that cheerleads for those values and goals, you’ll get likes and that gives you more reach.
2. Advertise to Promote Your Posts to Your Prospects
But we feel that ads are needed to promote posts, because if you only have 1,000 fans and you’re only reaching 50-100 people with each post, that’s not enough. What percentage of those 50-100 will come to your website or contact you or come into your physical store? The number of potential customers drops with every step through the marketing funnel, so out of 50-100 people you may only get 5 clicks to your website. That’s not enough. The average ecommerce website converts 1% of visitors, so you need to be getting 100 people at a time to your site, not 5. That’s why ads are necessary, and fans are an increasingly peripheral consideration. promote your posts with ads that target your potential customers, whether they’re fans or not.
People share posts that are giving (contests), advising (how-to), amusing, inspiring, amazing, or warning (bad weather coming).
People don’t share posts that focus on your company or its employees, are edgy or offensive (except for rare customer groups that are all about those things), are obscure or niche in interest.
When you find that one of your posts is highly likeable and shareable, advertising it will get you a ton more interaction and visibility for a low cost. Our best post ever got us 80,000 likes and 35,000 shares and was seen by 424,000 people for less than a $200 ad spend.
Keeping people on Facebook won’t necessarily help you get sales.
For B2B, blog on topics that help move your prospects toward the decision to buy from you, then post that on Facebook with a link to the post. Then promote that post with ads targeted to your prospects.
Authors, experts, and influencers sold $10 million dollars worth of eBooks in 1995 almost exclusively through Amazon.
In 2014, they sold about $1.6 billion dollars worth of eBooks on Amazon alone.
Now influencers, experts, and authors are becoming more digitally savvy and have built email lists, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter accounts.
They’re using these channels to sell their digital content using a new tool called Heyocart.com.
Heyocart.com allows authors, experts, and influencers to sell to their Facebook fans by asking their fans to simply comment “buy” to purchase. I talked about it at my Social Media Marketing World presentation!
Now, I’ve got additional data to add along with the process, and best practices.
Here’s how it works (you can do this too, it’s free):
Go to http://heyocart.com and click “Try for Free”
Select the fan page you want to sell on then type your status update, upload a strong image of the eBook, put in a product title, set the price, then click the orange next button.
Next, upload the product (Heyo Cart takes care of product delivery for you) and type in how you want Heyo Cart to pay you (either a debit card or your bank account) when you get sales. Click next.
View a live preview of your post and when you’ve got it set how you want, click publish to publish now or schedule it for later.
Once your post is live, fans can comment Buy to purchase and Heyo Cart will automatically respond to them telling them to finish their purchase:
The best part about Heyo Cart is that once fans buy once from you, they never have to put their information in again (they don’t have to click any links!). They simply type “Buy”, and Boom! You’ve got a new sale:
Once your fans have paid, Heyo Cart then takes them to the product page where they can easily download their new purchase:
As sales come in, use the Heyo Cart back end to see who is buying. You’ll get first name, last name, and email (many people say buyers lists are the most valuable – so segment this list in your email marketing or CRM tool for future upsells and product launches).
3 Tips For More Sales From Heyo Cart
Heyo Cart is just a tool- you need a good product and the right price, too!
Price your product between $5-20 dollars (any more expensive and it becomes too big a decision for Facebook buyers)
Put the “Comment Buy” call to action on the image like Kim Garst did here.
Tell your fans to “Comment buy to purchase for $5.99” within the first 3 sentences of your post. During the rest of the post, tell them more about the product.
It’s a good idea once you post your product to alert all your email subscribers and social contacts as well. The sooner you get responses on that Facebook post, the wider it will go.
Brian’s Tip: Never Start With a Wedding Cake
Have you ever spent dozens of hours creating an infoproduct and then debuted to lackluster sales?
I have. I’ll admit it.
Even though I ran a poll about it before creating The Awareness Blueprint… what people say they’ll buy is different from what they actually buy. You can’t find out what they’ll buy until you’re selling it! I only made about $1500 from that, which is not good enough given how many hours I put into it.
So instead of creating a whole wedding cake first, create a cupcake to see if they’ll buy it. If they buy, then make a wedding cake.
In other words, create a small $7 or $17 product first, sell it with Heyo Cart, and then if that goes well, create a bigger version that’s more expensive!
I’ve tested a couple cupcakes now with Heyo Cart, and got radically different responses to each. I’m already saving time by not continuing to work on the less “buyable” one.
I’m going to create 3-5 more and then whichever one does best, I’ll create a bigger product for that one.
How Influencers, Authors, and Experts are Making Money with Heyo Cart
In a recent A/B test conducted by author and info-marketer Sue Zimmerman, Amazon and heyocart.com were both put to the test. Sue posted her latest eBook for sale on Amazon and also to her Facebook page using Heyo Cart to see which would drive more sales.
On Amazon Sue sold 15 copies, earning her $106.76 over the first 10 days.
Using Heyocart.com, Sue posted on Facebook and sold 95 copies, earning her $591.05 in the first 10 days.
“An additional benefit we gained from using Heyocart.com was that it gave us the ability to collect the email addresses and names of our buyers. This made it easy to put them into our CRM like HubSpot, InfusionSoft or OntraPort for future upselling and content marketing. Amazon doesn’t do that,” said Zimmerman.
Heyo Cart CEO, Nathan Latka expects that trend to continue in 2015. Heyo Cart allows authors and infomarketers to sell on Facebook by having their fans simply leave a “buy” comment on a post.
“There’s an enormous opportunity for experts and influencers to sell digital products to their consumers inside of Facebook,” said Nathan Latka, CEO of HeyoCart.com. “This is where consumers spend their time and it’s where they’ll buy.”
According to internal data from heyocart.com gathered in Q1 of 2015, the best price point for authors and infomarketers to sell ebooks and other digital content on Facebook is $9.00. This was based on a sample size of product prices shown to 1m people who are fans of influencers and experts.
According to Heyo’s Q1 2015 data, the best price point for authors and infomarketers to sell ebooks and other digital content on FB is $9.00 <- click to tweet!
As influencers, experts, and authors look for ways to spread their content, make more money, and gain in popularity, Latka anticipates this trend toward social commerce to grow exponentially.
“Total transaction volume done on social media networks on both mobile and desktop will surpass $40 billion by 2025,” said Latka.
How do you know if your posts are resonating? Calculate the percentage of post viewers who liked the post. That’s your engagement rate. It’s should be above 1%. If it’s lower, you’re not creating the best messaging for your audience.
Each of these posts has its engagement rate on it.
See how widely engagement rate can vary? From 0.4% to 8.2% in just these eight posts.
Your Facebook post engagement rate should be over 1%. When you excel, you’ll get 3-7% or more. We’ve seen 11.8%. [Click here to tweet this]
We’ve seen posts get liked by as many as 11.8% of post viewers.
If your post isn’t doing well, it isn’t resonating with your audience. Keep track of what your audience likes and doesn’t like. Put the duds in your “what I shouldn’t do anymore” column. You learned something about your audience. There’s something in that post they don’t care for.
The most common reasons people don’t like posts are:
The post is too self-centered. It’s about you or your company. Make it about your audience. What’s in it for them? Focus on the benefits of your service or product to them. Paint a picture of their dream. How awesome will their work or life be like after they’re your customer?
The post is too obscure. No one cares that you love the band Rush. Sorry! Enjoy that by yourself.
The post is too edgy. Edgy works with certain audiences. But it can backfire and turn people off. They may hate it. They may think liking it publicly would make them look bad. And beware: edgy posts can get a lot of interaction and shares but ultimately hurt your sales.
Find the posts that ARE resonating with your audience. Go for a 3% of those who view it click like on it. Promote those posts.
And by the way, likes correlate more with greater reach than shares do. See the R values in the charts below?
Spend more ad money on the posts that give you the BEST response, not spend more trying to push through the ones people don’t respond to.
The lever Facebook gives us to lower cost-per-whatever with high CTR is dramatic. It’s much more than AdWords gives us. This is why Facebook ads can be so incredibly effective and efficient. You are rewarded handsomely for testing and learning.
I have a post that got 80,000 likes and 35,000 shares for $200 spend. It reached 424,000 people. As soon as I saw that a high percentage of people were liking it and tagging their friends in it, I spent more ad money on it. I was able to get 6 post-likes per penny.
Facebook rewards you for advertising interactive posts. Facebook punishes you with higher ad costs when you promote less interactive posts. That’s going against the flow. Just like Google, Facebook wants you to put out relevant messages. Stop fighting the tide, and go with what your audience wants.
So you’ve created Facebook ads that promote your highly interactive posts. Now what? Duplicate those ads to test 3-5 different ways to target your audience. For example:
Different job titles
Different consumer behaviors
More or less focused demographics
Much wider targeting
You’ll find that testing the targeting will help you get much more affordable interactions, and lower your Facebook advertising costs.
Facebook old-timers [I’m looking at you Dennis, Barry and Jeremy!] remember when we got Facebook page likes for less than one cent apiece. Of course, that was before we all got cynical about the value of Facebook fans. Are they worthless? That’s another debate for another day- and my short opinion on that is that they are still valuable, but shouldn’t be your #1 priority.
Don’t worry- the post we’re going to talk about is below, but first…
See that chart of ads below? Cost per post engagement ZERO. That’s not an error. It says zero because it’s less than $0.01.
Now, I’m pretty excited about the Facebook posts I have that are getting three or four interactions per penny. And no, you don’t have to target a third world country to make that to happen. Not even the whole U.S. I’ve seen similar results targeting one U.S. city, and even one interest within one U.S. city.
The real upshot is that you absolutely must care what people like… you have to be ruthless in testing your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what that means, you probably aren’t even using the right paradigm for your digital marketing. Some people are just throwing darts randomly and not even looking where they hit.
When you find a highly engaging post- that means somewhere between 6-12% of people like it… now hold on a second…you are keeping track of what percentage of post viewers are liking your posts, aren’t you?Those who aren’t are still in Facebook posting kindergarten. Here’s another shocker- Facebook isn’t calculating that “engagement rate” percentage for you. You have to do it. It’s interactions divided by reach. The simple shorthand is likes divided by reach. Do it!
Anyway, when you find a highly engaging post, and it stays highly engaging when tens of thousand of people see it, then what? You’ve hacked your audience’s brain. You’ve plugged into pure affinity. You’ve found their limbic system buttons and you’re pressing them.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
Here’s an example of such a post…
First, everybody I show that post to laughs. Then I worry they’ve missed the point. It’s like when I’m trying to learn screenwriting by watching a great movie, and I forget and just experience the movie. That definitely was a good movie, because it made me forget to learn anything! The post above might make you forget to learn about Facebook marketing. So, keep your brain engaged.
In 65 days, I reached over 424,832 people and got 50,807 interactions for about $225, an average of $0.004 per interaction.
Do you think shares are awesome? Me too. And they only cost an average of 3 cents per share with this promoted post.
Now, my ads and posts aren’t all huge successes. That’s why I say you have to be ruthless about testing. You’re testing in search of the outlier, and that outlier is one post in 50… one ad in 10. Are you creating a lot of them? Are you testing enough different approaches? Are those tests informed by your understanding of your audience? If you’re not sure, check out Facebookize.
Another tip- I am opposed to creating editorial Facebook post calendars a month or two ahead of time. I think you should create one post per day. Why? Because in my experience, I only have a finite amount of creativity and insight at one time. If I create 30 posts right now, they won’t be as good as the 30 I create if I create one per day. If you’re watching your engagement rate every day from yesterday’s post, you’re smarter halfway through the month than you were at the beginning of them month, because you’re learning every day. Not to mention, you see a lot of things… you watch TV, see tons of social media, have conversations, dream at night, and your subconscious has more stuff to work with. Your day 15 post is smarter (and has a better chance of engaging more people) than the day 15 post by someone who created them all two weeks ago. Especially if they only spent a few hours making them, total. Stop doing Facebook editorial calendars.
The other thing is- those results are engagement only. You might also get a few page likes or website clicks. You can alter this some to get website clicks out of it. I find that they still only go as low as $0.30 or so. But at the same time, you’re getting those same supercheap likes, comments and shares. You have to play with the text and call to action in the post to find the ones that will get website clicks, because often, even when you’re trying, you get a BIG FAT ZERO website clicks.
You have to find a needle in the haystack, and you have to create the haystack. Maybe the needle too. I’m not sure I understand my own metaphor. My point is you have to come up with these amazing post ideas. And write the copy. And do the ad tests of format and targeting.
So the sponsored post above did get clicks too, at $0.29 cost per website click- but also at only $0.007 per engagement. So in one day of just a $2 spend, it got 7 website clicks, 141 likes, and 45 shares… this part, getting the website clicks at the same time, is new for me, so stay tuned for more test results later.
UPDATED FOR 2016! More tips added… and one of the BAD things is now a GOOD thing!
I had an email subscriber reply to my latest post about Facebook reply to me, “As much as I’m a fan, and have been for a long time, I’m starting to wonder if I can trust you. You never say anything negative about Facebook… I’m a fan of factual and logical articles, as opposed to the Avinash Kaushik cheerleader approach.“
I admit, I am not a headline-grubbing attack-writer… that’s how some writers get attention. And I know that it’s popular to attack Facebook right now. But I’ve never been a trend follower, unless it makes sense to me.
I do not say everything about Facebook is good. I never have. I am more likely to disparage (without naming names) gurus and companies that recommend Facebook strategies that don’t work as well as others. I was never big on Facebook tabs, while some companies based their monetization strategies around them. I wasn’t surprised when Facebook diminished their role in the ecosystem. I’ve always recommended advertising as part of your Facebook strategy… so I feel like I’ve been ahead of the curve and balanced in my assessment of Facebook and its options for about four years now. To be fair, you would have had to read all my articles everywhere and my books and ebooks to get that.
Facebook is transformative for all of us- it teaches you that the positive, constructive approach (which can sound like cheerleading, I suppose?) works better than the negative one. It’s an interesting topic- I am about to go present to NBC Affiliate TV station Creative Directors, and they are on the front lines of the news vs. social media struggle… which, if we want to be reductive, is negativity vs. positivity… exemplified by Local man mug shots vs. cats, dogs and bacon.
Also, my focus is exclusively about how to get results from Facebook as a marketing platform. You’ll never see me talk about a Facebook Security issue, because that’s more of a user issue, if it really is an issue.
I think the real problem is that Facebook is easy to do poorly- and many businesses don’t put enough time and training into it. So they feel like they’ve wasted their money. They probably have, because the companies that don’t succeed with Facebook marketing are lukewarm about it and go with half-measures. They don’t allocate enough time or money to it. They shut their brains off when they hear anything too complicated about how to get results. I’m still trying to make Facebook marketing more simple and more certain than it is- but there’s only so far you can go. There’s only so much of the learning curve we can short-cut.
The information about how to get results with Facebook is out there- if you haven’t found it or learned it, don’t blame Facebook for your lack of results. BOOM! 🙂
So here’s a list for you… the good, the bad and the ugly. And let’s do that in reverse order, since in order to be credible I have to attack one of the platforms I recommend? Yep, that was sarcasm 😀
Facebook: The Ugly
No customer support for companies they haven’t identified as strategically important.
Some companies sunk a ton of money into fans, assuming (even though it has never been the case and Facebook never promised this) that they would always be able to reach those fans for free. Emails are more valuable than Facebook fans.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste a ton of advertising money and not get any profits. This is also true about Twitter, and to a lesser extent AdWords and Bing. (LinkedIn is just hard to even get a lot of clicks from.)
Facebook: The Bad
There is a sharp learning curve for Facebook marketing, even if you already know how to do other types of digital marketing well. Facebook is a different medium, so you will have to market and communicate differently on it than other platforms. The ad platform is quite different from AdWords and Bing. One way I address that is with my Social Marketing Profits course.
Facebook marketing requires even a professional at least 5-10 hours a week of work, if you’re doing best practices. That includes time for advertising, posting and customer analysis.
Not every business gets satisfying results from marketing on Facebook. (But this is also true of AdWords, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn- and every marketing option…)
Facebook: The Good
Biggest social media platform in the Western world- over 1.5 billion potential customers for you to reach. TV-sized reach. In many countries, more than 50% of the population uses Facebook.
Advertising with the most sophisticated targeting we’ve ever seen (infinitely better ad targeting than TV or radio). Even B2B targeting like job titles are available. In the U.S. you can also target people by income, net worth, home value, lines of credit and more.
Costs are 32x more affordable than TV or radio, and you can start for just $1 a day. Super-smart for businesses who can’t afford the huge TV ad campaigns. And Facebook is the ONLY ad platform that rewards you financially for finding your customer’s passions. When you find the right targeting, images and ad messaging your costs plummet and your profits skyrocket. This is a major reason Facebook gets the lion’s share of companies’ social advertising budgets.
Facebook is fundamentally positive, with no dislike button, so major PR problems are less likely to happen on Facebook than any other social platform. You can block people who prove they are troublemakers and aren’t good prospects. When you develop a passionate following, your fans will jump to your defense against online critics.
Facebook gives you the ability to learn more about your customers than you’ve ever known, which means you’ll be able to do all your marketing in all channels, even traditional ones, better than you could before. Audience Insights gives you over $10k in market research info for free.
I MOVED THIS FROM THE BAD CATEGORY TO GOOD. Facebook changes its features frequently. Any programmer can push things live. They’re trying to be agile and improve performance based on data, but users hate change and unhappy people sometimes are more vocal than happy ones. Still, one reason Facebook has succeeded more than other social platforms is that they try a lot of new features and offerings to help businesses win, and keep what works. That means the Swiss Army knife of marketing that is Facebook occasionally gets some new cool tools. If you’re already there, if you’ve invested the time and money to get it to work for your business, it’s easy to use the new things too.