Every day, nearly 1.3 billion people flock to Facebook to spend an average of 50 minutes posting, sharing and consuming content.
And in case you think your target market is hanging out elsewhere, consider that Facebook remains the most-used social media site among all ages:
In this digital era, it’s no longer a question of whether your business should be on Facebook; it’s how you can stand out in the sea of more than 60 million active business Pages and use your Facebook marketing strategy to meet your larger business objectives.
Enter Facebook advertising, your top tool for generating qualified leads, reaching new prospects through advanced targeting, and building brand awareness.
Wait a minute. Adding paid Facebook ads to your inbound marketing strategy? Doesn’t that contradict the principles of inbound? In reality, the combination of Facebook ads with inbound marketing can have tremendous ROI.
To help you get started, we’ve put together best practices to help you use Facebook ads to meet your marketing goals.
Mark Zuckerberg (you’ve probably heard of him) announced in June 2017 that Facebook has crossed the 2 billion user mark. Whatever your business, your prospects are on Facebook. Not only that, but Facebook is the number one most effective social platform for advertising.
If you think Facebook advertising isn’t for you, think again.
Ever since a 2014 update, Facebook limits the organic reach of page posts that look and sound overtly promotional, meaning that the only reliable way to get promotional posts in front of prospects is to pay Facebook to promote your content.
What’s exciting is that Facebook has advanced advertising tools that can do more for your business than organic posts ever could, making it worth the ad cost when done right.
Employing Facebook ads increases the likelihood of reaching people who would be interested in your content but who are unaware of your page. These ads can also include buttons to drive lead generation and audience engagement. For instance, if you’re promoting an event, the button might say “Learn More,” or for an eBook promotion, you could add a “Download” button.
As if that’s not already enough reason to boost our Facebook ad activity, a 2017 social media industry report indicates that:
At this point you may be wondering, “How will anyone see my posts in the endless flow of content?” Read on.
More than ever, we’re seeing companies get so caught up in fleeting trends and meaningless metrics that they lose sight of their real business objectives. Social media should be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, and therefore requires detailed planning informed by clear business objectives.
At Kuno, our social strategy evolves every month, with every piece of content correlating to a specific campaign. If we just posted at random and hoped for engagement, we never would have seen the kind of return we’re generating today with our social strategy.
Objectives, Ad Sets and Ads
It’s critical that whichever ad Objective you choose aligns with a specific social media and business goal. Start by choosing the Objectives from the list that most closely matches your specific marketing goal. From there, you will design your Ad Sets: audience targeting, placement options, budget specifications (pay close attention to this one) and the scheduling/duration of your ad.
Finally, the Ad section is where you’ll input creative content and fine tune the different ads you want to test. When designing your ads, keep your ultimate goal in mind: Do you want users to visit your website? Download a guide? Engage via comments or likes?
Beyond your objective, consider the user’s objective. What would be valuable to them? On the creative side, is your ad compelling enough to be noticed? Is the offer clear, interesting and relevant?
Choose a specific audience based on your target market / personas. Be sure to name your custom audience to make tracking and split-testing easier.
Because this is part of your inbound marketing strategy, it’s important to focus on attracting people who are likely already interested in content similar to your own, rather than seeking out ways to interrupt uninterested people.
This is where Facebook targeting can really support your inbound marketing strategy. Facebook provides the tools to target a highly specific audience, allowing you to target those who would find your content relevant and helpful. By promoting content around specific, high-priority topics of interest to your target user, or persona, you can build trust with those individuals or groups.
Perhaps the best reason to use Facebook advertising is that it unlocks specific, actionable insights about your audience and content. Continual learning and experimentation based on these insights will help you design stronger ad campaigns. Honing your messaging, timing, visuals, tone, location and other variables is an iterative process. Regularly measure the success of posts over short and long periods of time to understand what works best for your different audience segments.
These tools can help you optimize…
It’s fairly simple to create “clicky” content. The real challenge is creating “sticky” content.
Remember the goal of inbound marketing is to provide meaningful, relevant content to the user. That means we need to create and curate content that not only gets noticed, but thoroughly read or watched. Our most recent top-performing post was the following announcement of a Lunch & Learn with one of our content experts, achieving a high engagement rate for our page.
Don’t shy away from posting curated content. Hootsuite’s rule of thumb is to post 60 percent curated content, 40 percent created content. Note that “created content” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about you and your products or services. Created content still should be focused primarily on what the user will find relevant and educational. HubSpot’s guideline follows the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your content should be educational; 20 percent should highlight your company’s offering.
Wondering where to find great content to share? Facebook has a great tool called Pages to Watch, which allows you to find relevant and high-performing content to share with your audience. Sharing these posts can draw in new audience members who are already interested in the kinds of conversations happening on your page.
Clickbait headlines use extreme wording or make exaggerated promises in an attempt to draw more clicks on a piece of content. Luring users may seem like the only way to get readers, but analysts at Facebook have found that people “prefer to see clearly written headlines that help them decide how they want to spend their time.”
Examples of clickbait:
As of May 2017, Facebook is better than ever at detecting such headlines and reducing the distribution and visibility of pages promoting “clickbait” content.
So, skip the clickbait and try the following instead to maximize your engagement.
The Kuno post below is clear, informative and relevant in its headline and corresponding image. At a glance, the user should know almost exactly what the post is about and how clicking through could be of value to them.
Visuals are more critical than ever. Photo posts get 39 percent more engagement than links, accounting for 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook. Eighty-five percent of marketers use visuals in their marketing and 73 percent plan to increase the use of visuals. When choosing images, think about what might be the most “thumb-stopping.” In other words, what will catch the user’s attention mid-scroll, like the amazing Slack post above.
With all visuals, it’s crucial to pay close attention to dimensions. Square images and videos take up 78 percent more real estate on someone’s feed than the horizontal content that has traditionally been used. Vertical media also may perform better now that Facebook is showing a larger preview of vertical videos on the mobile feed.
If your images have any text overlay, it’s important to use the Text Check Tool to ensure your post meets Facebook’s guidelines. You may need to reduce the amount of text for Facebook to promote the ad. For many more data-backed tips on crafting visually effective Facebook ads, check out this myth-busting study by Sketchdeck.
One of the biggest mistakes social media marketers make is failing to follow up on client engagement. Use landing pages to collect emails and follow up in a timely manner. The value of social media goes far beyond one-time clicks or likes—you can build long-term relationship ROI, especially using behavior-based email marketing.
If users are entering their email in exchange for additional useful content, promptly deliver on the promise with the appropriate follow-up email. Behavior-based email marketing can help guide prospects to take the next step (such as checking out a resource or requesting a consultation).
Sixty-four percent of marketers are using social media for six or more hours per week, and 20 percent of marketers spend over 20 hours per week on social media. When done right, it pays off—88 percent of marketers report that social media efforts have generated more exposure for their business, and 78 percent report increased traffic.
If lead generation or increasing traffic are your objectives, investing in social media typically has a positive effect after spending just six hours per week on social media execution.
Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for Facebook advertising, it will take time and experimentation with the above strategies to determine what works best for you.
The world of Facebook advertising can feel daunting, and it’s just one of the social platforms likely included in your social media strategy. If you found these best practices helpful and you want to learn more about how to advance paid performance across all of your social accounts, you’re in luck. We’ve condensed top research and strategies into our 2017 Guide to Paid Media, available as a free download.
ROI on ad spend is within reach. Check out the guide to learn how to make it happen for your business. And while we’re on the subject, head over to Kuno’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date with additional free resources.
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