Part I- Holistic Facebook Marketing & Advertising
Basically: What are the ways we can combine Marketplace Ads, Page Posts, and FBX in creative ways to drive ROI?
Some of the more advanced teams out there already do some of this stuff, but when they are asked about Facebook advertising, they are typically asked about the individual instruments, rather than how they can all work together to be something more. I had a conversation at a recent conference with one of these users, which gave me the opportunity to dig in and discover a more holistic approach.
Here’s the premise: We have a mortgage lender with a Facebook brand page that they want to use to drive leads. However, they also know that if they post nothing but direct response-type posts (e.g. “super low rates – visit us now!!!”), they will never really build or engage with their audience.
So. What to do?
Identify Your Audiences
As with most things Facebook, it starts with knowing your audience. Always remember that Facebook’s environment is like a neighborhood bar (or pub if you happen to be reading this across the pond), and that to engage your perspective audience, you need to be part of a conversation. So with this in mind, the lender should think about the types of audiences they could acquire and engage. There are lots of options, but let’s say there are three primary audiences:
1. Aspiration Home Buyers: This audience is not currently in the market to buy a home (or use a mortgage product), but they’re focused enough to know they need to start learning what it takes to get their financial house in order before they buy a real house.
2. Active Home Buyers: This audience is actively shopping for a home and knows they need to line up the best lending option. Ideally they started as an aspiration audience member who was nurtured over time with page posts and recognizes this brand as a lender already.
3. Existing Homeowners: Pretty self-explanatory group, and hopefully this is someone who engaged with this lender previously. Why engage this audience? Well, lenders want to make them repeat customers for products like a new home purchase, a refinance, or even a home equity line of credit (you know…if you’re like one of those dozen or so home owners out there with equity).
Build Targeted Content & Engage Your Audiences
With these three audiences, we can start to build content to engage the interests, needs, and the perspective products of those groups. First, it will start with a balance of these items. As mentioned, we do not want posts that are all focused on “buy now!” messages. It’s not going to have any shot of breaking through the noise of the typical Facebook experience.
For example, with existing homeowners, you could have a regular stream of “Engaging Content” on improving the value of their home, as well as keeping their credit scores rock-solid. This kind of content engages them best in a Facebook setting. However, you can still have the occasional “Direct Response Content” (DR Content) with a call to action like: “Rates at an all-time low – Is it time for you to Refinance?”
Ideally you have this content curated in some sort of owned blogging platform for your brand, and you can start tagging the audience based on which content they are hitting (more on this later). But even more importantly, this starts building out a framework for building the types of content your various posts:
Balanced Content Types on a Schedule
Next you need to build out a more disciplined schedule and cadence to your posts. Mix it up to engage your existing audience with engaging blog/article content hosted on your site. And mix in the occasion DR content that brings the audience in to review the best products you have to offer them.
Build Content to Audience Goals
A balance of DR and engagement content is most important here, whereas the balance of content that address the various audience is more subject to your specific goals. If you want more of one type of audience, spend more time focused on the content that most appeals to that group.
Amplify Engagement with Advertising Dollars
Up until now this has been an advertising-free effort. It has been done with a handful of internal resources, and you have focused on the most important part of Facebook: Building Engaging Content. But now it’s time to start allocating your marketing budgets in a disciplined way that fits your specific goals.
Rather than a scattershot approach to your Facebook advertising to “get likes” or “make sure our fans see ALL our posts,” you now have a better understanding of the various audiences and goals of all your posts. Why is this important? Well, remember when we said the content schedule gives you a framework for deciding which audiences to focus on? Now it’s time to ensure that your most engaging content of the right type is reaching all your existing fans and even gets used to acquire more fans.
This is where Sponsored Stories come to the forefront. For those of you who don’t know what Sponsored Stories are, here’s a quick definition from Facebook:
“Sponsored stories are messages coming from friends about them engaging with your Page, app or event that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people see them.”
Basically, it’s an ad type that allows you to use your advertising dollars to ensure that specific content or a specific audience sees interactions that you target via the Facebook Marketplace Ads targeting options. You can target all your fans, friends of fans, and subsets of both with social context about how your friends engaged with that content (“Your friend ‘Liked’ this article!).
(We who think we are all cool with our fancy Facebook jargon call this “Amplifying.”)
When & How to Amplify Content to Engage & Grow Audiences
If you have limited budgets, and you’re trying to spend wisely (congrats if that’s not you!), you need to be disciplined about which specific posts you choose to amplify. And if you are following a more disciplined approach to what kind of content you’re building for which specific audience, you can be even more calculating in which kind of posts you choose to amplify for specific goals.
Want to build out your audience of “Aspirational Home Buyers”? Then build more engaging site content for them, post links on your page, and when you see that you have organic engagement, spend your advertising budgets to amplify those posts to both fans and friends of fans. Keep in mind that “Likes” on a Page Post Sponsored Story don’t equal a “Like” of your Page (and thus don’t acquire new fans), but you can combine that ad blitz with “Page Like Ads” to similar audience targets (that’s actual audience targeting options of the Marketplace ads) at the same time.
With this approach, you are now more aware of your audiences, as well as how you build content to the audiences you want and use social ads to acquire more of those types of fans. If you are doing this, you are already many steps ahead of most of the Facebook marketing and advertising efforts out there.
Next steps will be to dive into how we use this framework to target Direct Response type messages at the right time and in the right way with the various Facebook advertising options out there. This will include new and exciting options like FBX and perhaps even a Sponsored Tweet or LinkedIn Ad.