Facebook has become a powerful and cost effective tool for marketers to utilize when attempting to drive traffic and engage with niche audiences of any size. With upwards of 1.5 billion users world-wide, some actually consider Facebook to be the internet in and of itself. It has become the go-to news source for millions of consumers and business professionals. Complex algorithms learn your behavior and interests overtime, delivering content to your news feed that is of interest to you and you alone.
Whether you’re an agency or a brand, crafting a visually engaging Facebook “Page” has become a standard best practice that effectively works for you as a free digital employee. It’s your choice as to whether or not you want to throw some money at it, and depending on your niche that may make a lot of sense. But how can marketers maximize both their organic and paid reach?
Unlike other methods for driving traffic to a website, Facebook has the canny ability to enhance the domino effect of content sharing. Let’s say just one person were to share a piece of content from your website on their Facebook news feed. That same person has 1,200 friends. Your content just reached an additional 1,200 people that otherwise would not have seen it had it not been shared by one individual. Now just imagine that same content being shared just 2, 3 or 4 more times. The math is pretty straight forward. And we’re just talking organic reach.
Now let’s say you decide to throw a little bit of money at a new piece of content you initially published on your website, but also decided to share on your Facebook page. Depending on your niche and the type of content you want to sponsor, just putting $5 down can enhance your reach 10 fold. What this does is get content in front of individuals outside of those who are only following your Facebook page. You’re now targeting individuals who have expressed an interest in a given topic, and they could be any one of the 1.5 billion users on Facebook.
Facebook Audience Targeting
Within the past few months, Facebook has implemented an elegant and precise targeting system that savvy marketers can employ to get content of interest in front of their preferred audience. The trick is not to get ahead of yourself and test the waters with both your content and budget.
Start with an organic posting and observe it for 48 hours (yes, organic content can linger that long in news feeds). Is it reaching a large number of your followers? Is it naturally engaging? If the answer to either of those questions is no, it’s probably not a good post to sponsor. Instead, keep experimenting with content on your page. When you finally come across a piece of content that reaches a good portion of your following, that’s a good indication that it has legs to go viral. This style of content may be worth sponsoring. But still, even when you think you’ve found that gem, don’t throw a ton of money at it, yet. Start small, with as little as $5 per day. How far does it go over 24 hours? Facebook only charges you at a Cost-Per-Engagement. That cost depends on the content’s ability to reach individuals naturally, and also the type of content in general. IE: Financial content will probably cost more per engagement than content about butterflies.
The Power of Facebook Pages & Paid Advertising
The above post had legs before any advertising dollars were ever invested in it. A colorful, enticing visual with a power-word packed headline helped to improve organic reach naturally. Having seen this, I invested only $300 over a month-and-a-half period which resulted in over 237,000 views, 4,000 likes, 642 shares and 343 comments. What this image doesn’t show is that it also drove over 20,000 people to click on the link and visit the website, while growing my Facebook Page following by 1,500.
However, it wasn’t as simple as just throwing money at this ad. It took daily refinement. Between implementing a certain budget one day to a drastically different one the next, in addition to constantly tweaking my targeting to reach an audience that actually wanted to see this content.
Many marketers will drop thousands of dollars up front on a piece of content and get half the reach that the above article did. Instead, set your budgets low and enlist individual budgets for 24 hour periods. Gauge performance after 24 hours, and then raise or lower the next days budget accordingly. Once your content has achieved a substantial amount of engagement, you’ll find that it has become well entrenched within individual Facebook feeds, browser bookmarks, Pinterest shares, Linkedin shares, Tweets and more. The domino effect in full force. These residual effects didn’t cost me a penny, but it all started with well manicured marketing on Facebook.
Tips for Organic Facebook Reach
Organic reach refers to getting content in front of individuals without paying for it. When you post content without sponsoring it to your Facebook page, only a percentage of people who are already following your page are going to see it. That percentage is dependent upon individual interests and the quality of content you’re sharing. People who are not following your Facebook page have ZERO chance of seeing your organic content, unless it’s shared by one of your followers. There is no perfect formula for maximizing organic reach on Facebook, but there are a number of things you can do to improve it. We’ll highlight some tested and proven methods below that we frequently employ for our clients.
Use Good Looking Images
If you’re posting content to your Facebook page, using words alone simply aren’t going to cut it these days — unless it’s a great, inspiring quote. At the same time, dark, poorly-framed or generally grungy images are going to result in low engagement. Facebook algorithms already know this, and it’s reinforced when these same algorithms start to notice people quickly scrolling by visually-disengaging content in their news feeds.
Using well-framed, colorful images that are related to the subject line of whatever content you’re linking to can improve engagement by over 75%.
Use an Engaging Headline
Using the right phrasing is crucial for evoking emotion and or curiosity in your content. Don’t be a slouch and spend some time thinking about the kind of headline you want to use. Think about the kind of emotion or curiosity you want to bring out in a viewer. Is it happiness, indulgence, prestige, humor, novelty, beauty or simplicity? The list goes on. Once you’ve found your emotion, think about what words will bring it out.
If I’m writing an informative article about the northern lights, which headline is likely to get more clicks? 20 Jaw-dropping Places to Witness the Northern Lights or Best Places to See the Northern Lights. Simple changes in phrasing can go a long way.
Use Facebook’s New Organic Targeting Feature
It’s easy to become complacent and just hit the “Publish” button. Facebook recently implemented an organic targeting system that aids in getting content in front of users who actually want to see it. You’re essentially helping their algorithm waste a little bit less of its time by targeting the content yourself. You’re now able to target your audience based on their interests, while simultaneously restrict audiences by Age, Gender, Location and Language as necessary.
Tips for Paid Facebook Advertising
Keep Text Overlays To a Minimum
If you’re using text within your featured images, be sure that it takes up no more than 20% of the visual. Facebook will not approve an ad to run if it contains over 20% text.
Avoid Investing in Facebook Likes
Cost-Per-Like, if you will, can be has high as $3 per like. It’s ridiculous. Instead, post good quality, engaging content to your page and sponsor it. When it appears in user news feeds, the top right portion of that content will also display a “Like” button. Users who engage with this button don’t cost as much, since the cost for that engagement is based on the cost per engagement of the individual piece of content, which is usually over 200% lower. Let your content work for you.
Monitor & Adjust Your Budget Daily
Once you’ve decided to sponsor a post, don’t “set it and forget it” for a month. Facebook is smart, and while they haven’t said this publicly, they know that if you’re willing to drop a large sum of money up front, you’re likely to do it again. They’ll charge you more per engagement and put your content in front of fewer viewers since they know you’re careless. Instead, tease Facebook. They still want your money, trust me, but your dollars will go further while gaining organic reach simultaneously.
Greig Santos-Buch is the Digital Services Strategist at bfw Advertising+Interactive in Boca Raton, Florida. bfw is a tight knit collection of writers, artists, designers, technologists and thinkers who share a common passion for doing great work that makes things happen. For more information call (561) 962-3300 or visit www.gobfw.com.