There’s a nasty hunch that Facebook’s focus on paid reach is making content creators lazy. They can whip up a post that’s poorly written or not very interesting and pay to make it “work.” We’re not thrilled with this practice and offer this tip instead: Craft every Facebook post as if the option to boost it didn’t exist.
Hopefully by now, your chief concern regarding the performance of your Facebook business Page has less to do with likes and is firmly rooted in increasing the reach of your posts, casting as wide a net as possible to allow for more conversions.
There is a big downer to this work, however: Continuous changes to the News Feed algorithm has made organic Facebook reach plummet, forcing many brands to pay to boost the reach of each post.
Given that, we’ve noticed that some pay-to-play posts aren’t that interesting and read too much like advertisements – which is sort of a betrayal to the concept of native ads. After seeing this trend for a few months, a dark chill came over us. What if content marketers have gotten lazy? After all, they can pay to boost any post (and even create dark posts that don’t appear on their Timelines) no matter how great or bad the post is.
Although paid reach is a worthwhile and important tactic to help meet your business goals, you should treat each post as if the option to boost it did not exist.
Boosted posts might reach more users, but they lose their effectiveness if they don’t actually convert. You should still focus on creating engaging, shareable content — even when you are paying for bigger reach.
Remember: You Are Writing a Post, Not an Ad
Boosted posts are still posts. But since advertising dollars are involved, many content marketers lose sight of what works and doesn’t work in a user’s newsfeed. Scrolling past a post that is obviously an ad (we call these items “obvi-ads”) is the equivalent to fast-forwarding through the commercials on your DVR.
Although some social media users are in fact “deal hunters” and are always looking to share coupon codes, deals and other incentives, most don’t respond well to overt marketing on Facebook. Your sponsored post should read less like an infomercial script and more like native content. Take a look at your own News Feed and make a note of which posts you read and which you didn’t. Ask everyone on your team – or better yet, a sampling of customers – to do the same. Most likely, something random, like a picture of a co-worker’s niece’s first birthday, will get more attention than the umpteenth obvi-ad for an overstock fashion website you’ve never heard of.
Make Sure Sponsored Posts Are Relevant to Your Targets
You’ve heard the adage “know thy audience” a zillion times before, we know. But if you’re paying for friends of fans or other specifically targeted groups of users to see a post, it still has to be relevant to them. Hopefully, you’ve created buyer personas to understand the content needs of your customers and prospects.
What content engages best? It depends on your brand and audience. In addition to reviewing your buyer personas, monitor your Facebook insights to see which posts seemed to organically “click” with your fans – which posts had the highest rates of reach of interactions. Boost those items, or create new posts on similar topics.
Offer Something of Value in Each Sponsored Post
The most engaging social ads offer something other than marketing copy. The offering can be a free resource – either contained within the post, like a recipe or text image, or linked to from the post, like a free white paper or a news-you-can-use item.
Recently, to promote a client’s major expo and trade show for event planners, The Fairmount Group sponsored a series of posts that each contained an event planning tip and with the call to action to get more inspiration at the expo. Based on the client’s Page data, tips were popular, and the 12 posts that were part of the campaign made for content that stood on its own as great, relevant posts on the client’s Timeline.
Shareable Content Helps Paid Facebook Reach Dollars Go Farther
Targeted users may comment or share an engaging sponsored post, increasing its reach. Going back to the event planning expo example from above: Many targeted users tagged colleagues and friends in comments of the sponsored posts, asking them to attend the event with them.
A word of caution: Be sure not to “beg” for shares in any type of post, as Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will penalize you.
Quality Still Counts
Facebook does review sponsored posts to ensure they meet specific guidelines; be sure to follow them or else you’ll have to recreate your sponsored post.
After your boosted posts run, look at all of their metrics, not just reach. Some boosted posts will be more successful than others. Just as you would with organic posts, focus more on creating sponsored posts that mirror the content or approach of your most shared and engaging paid content.
Does Your Social Media Marketing Need a Boost?
Contact The Fairmount Group today. We offer services from social media audits to digital advertising campaign development and more.