Category Archives: Facebook Marketing

Is Facebook Messenger the New Email? 3 Experiments to Find Out

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Let’s just come out with it: Email is becoming less effective for marketers. It might not be dead yet, but it’s not exactly the shiny new channel it used to be. Just think about your own inbox — how many marketing emails are you subscribed to that you delete without opening? We thought so.

It was with this in mind that we started experimenting with messenger apps. Facebook Messenger boasts 1.2 billion monthly users — clearly there’s appetite for the channel. Could this be a replacement for email? We decided to find out.

Here are three ways we’ve experimented with using Facebook Messenger instead of email in our marketing, along with early results (Spoiler: Get excited).

#1: Using Facebook Messenger as a Content Delivery Channel

Our demand gen team sends out emails on a regular basis featuring new content offers our audience might be interested in. These content offers are typically gated behind a lead form. After completing the form, the prospect is able to access the content immediately, and we also send an email with a PDF copy attached for easy reference later on.

For those keeping track, email is used twice here: first to promote the offer, second to deliver the content. We wanted to cut out one of these email touchpoints, so we decided to send the following offer promotion email as a test:

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We gave readers two options: to submit the form and receive the content immediately and via email — the traditional way — or to skip the form and get immediate access to the content in Facebook Messenger instead. Approximately 20% chose this latter option.

We then sent regular Messenger broadcasts to the people who had opted in, suppressed them from email sends, and studied their behavior.

After four weeks, the engagement metrics of the two channels showed a clear winner.

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The Facebook Messenger broadcasts had an average open rate of 80% and average CTR of 13%. That was 242% and 609% better than our email controls, respectively.

Takeaway for marketers: As a content delivery and consumption channel, Facebook Messenger delivers in terms of engagement.

#2: Getting Event Attendees to Participate Through Facebook Messenger

Have you ever tried to send an email to event attendees with important information? If so, I’m guessing you didn’t see great open or clickthrough rates. When people attend a conference or another type of in-person event, they’re typically off email and in learning and networking mode.

But they do have their phones on them — to check the agenda, answer texts and calls from other people on site, and follow live social streams. We hypothesized that Facebook Messenger might be a better way to get event attendees’ attention during our Grow With HubSpot Melbourne event. We decided to include a link to Facebook Messenger in our attendance confirmation emails, as well as place physical Facebook Messenger scan codes on seats at the event. Attendees could simply scan to start receiving real-time information and updates via the app instead of email.

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We tried two primary use cases:

1) Sales bot. If attendees confirmed their attendance inside Messenger, we set up a bot that would send an automated message on behalf of their local sales rep. The message contained a HubSpot Meetings tool link to the rep’s calendar in case the attendee wanted to set up time onsite.

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The results for this use case on the day of the event:

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The raw number of meetings booked isn’t astronomical, but the percentage by enrolled attendees is significantly higher than similar messaging via email. That percentage increases when we add in the number of meetings booked before the day of the event as well as afterwards. It’s also worth considering that these meetings — with highly qualified prospects — wouldn’t have happened if not for our Messenger usage.

2) Real time NPS. We asked attendees to rate their experience at GwH Melbourne via Messenger.

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The response rate was significantly higher than email controls.

Some other event use cases we’ve been trying out and that you might consider taking for a test drive:

View the event agenda in Messenger
Submit questions to a panel
Access the slides once the conference is over

Takeaway for marketers: Instead of using email to communicate with attendees onsite or direct them to take a specific action, try Facebook Messenger instead. One of Messenger’s greatest strengths is how it seamlessly connects offline and online engagement.

#3: Using Facebook Messenger in Place of Forms

Our team has a set budget for Facebook ads every month, which we typically use for lead generation. Our ads generally feature a piece of content interesting to our target audience. When someone clicks, they are taken to a landing page with a form. Filling out the form gives them access to the content immediately, and also triggers a follow up email with a PDF version attached.

This experience is less than ideal since the person has to leave Facebook to receive their content. We started thinking — what if the entire process, click to content delivery, happened in Facebook?

We tested out a path that used Facebook Messenger for the “form,” as well as the delivery mechanism. When someone clicked the ad, a bot would ask them the questions usually contained in our form:

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Once the questions had all been answered, the bot then provided a link to the content within the message.

The results here were even better than we anticipated. We saw a staggering 477% reduction in our cost per lead, while lead quality only slightly decreased.

Takeaway for marketers: It might take a little muscle to build a Facebook Messenger bot to collect lead information, but the effort is well worth it. Use Facebook ads plus Messenger as a powerful one-two punch.

We’re big believers in the power of Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps. Next up for us is a similar content delivery test in our North American market, studying how the order of questions impacts Facebook Messenger “form” completion rate, and creating a more seamless sync between the app and our HubSpot portal.

Have you been testing Facebook Messenger in your marketing? If so, what results have you seen? Share your experiments and insights with us in the comments below.

Learn inbound email marketing with HubSpot Academy.

10 Little-Known Facebook Marketing Features and Hacks You Can Try Today

When I first started diving into Facebook marketing for business I was happy to simply send out an error-free post.

No typos? No poorly-cropped images? No negative feedback? Perfect!

But with each new post came new learnings about Facebook marketing best-practices until it came to a point where I could explore all of the useful features that Facebook has to offer.

For the more than 1.8 billion active monthly users on Facebook, scrolling through the feed and catching up with the latest news is easy enough. But for the social media managers and marketers managing successful Facebook pages, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes – Making it a challenge to keep up with all of the new features they’re rolling out on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s important (and fun) for us to share all of this useful Facebook marketing information so that we can create a better experience for our audiences. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about the user.

In the spirit sharing, here are 10 hidden Facebook marketing features and hacks for social media marketers to try today!

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10 Hidden Facebook Marketing Features and Hacks That You Can Try Today

1. Pages to Watch

Though we’ve written about the Facebook Pages to Watch feature in the past, it still warrants a top mention here because of its awesome capabilities. Marketers can follow up to 100 different brand pages, allowing for a quick comparison of page activity (filtered by top posts over the previous 7 days), engagement and audience growth to your own.

To access the Pages to Watch feature, click “Insights”

Facebook Insights

Then find the Pages to Watch tab – directly under the “5 Most Recent Posts” section.

Facebook Pages to Watch

Add the pages you’d like to watch to your list. Once they’re added, hover over the name, click, and watch the magic happen. Facebook provides a detailed view of every one of their posts from the current week. This allows you to quickly check the top posts from every page you follow in a matter of seconds.

2. Search previous posts for specific wording and insights

Many social media marketers are familiar with the standard post performance data under the Insights tab. It’s a powerful tool for measuring performance on pervious posts with stats on: reactions, link clicks, shares, likes on shares, page unlikes, hide posts, and much more.

But some marketers may be unfamiliar with another great Facebook marketing feature that I like to call the Published “Post Search” tool under your page’s “Publishing Tools” tab.

Search Published Posts in Facebook

I love this feature because I can easily search for posts around certain topics and see what wording, images, or a combination of both has worked previously.

It’s also very useful for brands that post content more than once throughout the year (which we find very successful here at Buffer with our Rebuffer tool) as it helps to avoid duplicating poor-performing content.

Before posting an older article, ask: Have I posted this content before?

If no – What other sorts of posts have recently been successful and how can I replicate that success?
If yes – How can I repurpose this content to ensure that it reaches a brand new set of eyes?

3. Like a Page as your brand

A great way to support and show some love towards other brands on Facebook is to like their page from your personal page. But did you know that you can also like other brands’ pages as your business page? Yup!

This nifty little feature from Facebook allows marketers to support their favorite brands from their own business page.

To like another brand from your business page, search for the page you want to “Like” and go to their timeline. Then, click the small gear icon and select “Like As Your Page”:

How to Like a Facebook Business Page

All of the Facebook Businesses Pages that you manage will appear in the dropdown menu and there you can click “save.” Voilà!

4. Save an article for later

With Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature, you can save and bookmark some of the things you see on Facebook to view later, like the links or videos your friends post, upcoming events, Pages or photos.

I love this feature because I’m often on-the-go when perusing Facebook and so it helps me to save things I may want to share later and tag important news about marketing or social media that I should read.

To utilize the save feature:

From your news feed, click the arrow in the right corner on an update you want to save:

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From a page click the “gear icon” and then select “Save Link”

From an event click the “ribbon icon” and then select “Save”

To view saved posts or articles:

You can go directly to www.facebook.com/saved or access your saved articles from your news feed on the left hand side as shown below.

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Happy saving!

5. Suggest Your Page to Email Contacts

Talk about little-known, but totally awesome Facebook hacks! This one is buried within your Page options and magical once you find it.

As a small business or a brand that’s just getting started on Facebook, it’s beneficial for you to be able to invite your email contacts to Like your Page for initial growth.

All you have to do it click on the “…” button on your Business Page:

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Then, select “Suggest Page”:

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Once you select “Suggest Page,” a pop-up menu will give you the various email integration options that you can use to import your contacts. As seen here:

Suggest Page to Email Contacts

Keep in mind that there are a few limitations here. You can only upload 5,000 contacts per day, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to bring in a large customer or subscriber list. Still, 5,000 contacts per day is a fantastic start!

6. Audience Insights

One of my favorite hidden Facebook marketing features, especially with the prevalence of paid advertising, is Audience Insights. Facebook’s Audience Insights provides detailed information about your target audience so that you can create more relevant content. The more relevant content that you deliver, the further your Facebook advertising dollar will go.

It’s also an amazing tool to create interesting and engaging statistical graphics about the global Facebook audience or your specific page’s demographic information. SproutSocial dug into their demographic data to create a fun infographic for their blog and various social media channels – proving that the opportunities are endless.

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7. Invite people who have engaged with your post to Like your Page

For small businesses and brands looking to get the most out of every single Facebook post, there’s a hidden option to invite people who have engaged with your content on Facebook to Like your page.

To access this feature, locate the hyperlink underneath the each post that shows how many people have liked it and the number of comments. It looks something like this:

Invite People to Like Your Page on Facebook

Next, click directly on that link (works for both desktop and mobile). That will bring up the full list of people who have liked the post. On the right hand side of the pop-up menu it’ll show which people currently like your page or not. If they don’t, you can quickly invite them to Like your page directly within that list. Done!

8. Facebook Pixel

For social media marketers looking to measure ROI on social media, utilizing the Facebook Pixel is an absolute must. Facebook provides detailed instructions on setting up your Facebook Pixel for the first time. And have no fear, you don’t have to be a developer to easily set it up.

Here’s how:

Go to your Facebook Ads Manager
Click Actions > View Pixel Code
Highlight the code and then copy the code
Paste it between the header tags of your website
Note: If you’re on WordPress you can use a plugin such as Google Tag Manager to easily host all of your website tracking codes such as Google Analytics and others.

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The Facebook Pixel allows you to:

Build Custom Audiences from your website for remarketing
Optimize ads for conversions
Track conversions and attribute them back to your ads

If you’re spending money to advertise online, social media ads may very well earn you the biggest returns, but it’s important to closely track your results. 

9. Pin posts to the top of your Facebook page

Pinning posts to the top of your brand’s page is a simple, yet extremely useful top-of-mind social media marketing strategy to point your audience to important company posts, announcements, and events.

On your timeline, find the post that you would like to pin, click the down arrow in the corner of the post, and click “Pin to Top.” It’s as easy as that!

Pin Facebook Post to Top of Page

One important thing to remember about pinning posts to the top of your page is to keep them fresh by rotating pinned posts often, especially if they are time-sensitive.

Mixing it up also allows you to showcase a much larger variety of posts. I recommend changing the pinned post once every two weeks or so.

10. Customize the Look of Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook recently rolled out a cool new feature that allows businesses to customize the look of their page based on their business type. This is a great option for businesses looking to rearrange their page and put the most important content first.

To access this feature, go to Settings under your business page and on the left there’s an option to “Edit Page”:

Facebook Edit Page Settings

You’ll then see a new “Template” option you can edit.

From there, you can choose from the default Standard template or other awesome layouts for businesses such as:

Services
Non Profits
Venues
Politicians,
Restaurants
and more!

Facebook Business Page Templates

We currently have the Standard template set up where reviews and recent posts are shown at the top followed by photos and videos that we’ve shared recently. But there are so many great layouts!

Over to you!

Did we miss any hidden Facebook marketing features or hacks above?

We’d love to know which features you use as social media managers and marketers to help make your Page stand out from the crowd!

14 Essential Tips for an Engaging Facebook Business Page

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Whether you’re setting up a brand new Facebook Page for your brand, or you just want to make the most of your existing one, it’s probably a smart move — Facebook is home to nearly 2 billion monthly active users.

It should be easy enough, right? Just slap together a photo, a couple of posts, and expect the leads and customers to roll on in, right?

Wrong.

If you’re not creating a Facebook Page with a comprehensive strategy to get noticed, Liked, and engaged with, the chances of actually generating leads and customers from it are pretty slim. For example, you can’t just choose any picture — you have to choose one that’s the right dimensions, high-resolution, and properly represents your brand. New Call-to-action

But it doesn’t end there — so we compiled the tips below to make sure you’re creating an engaging page that takes full advantage of everything Facebook marketing has to offer.

14 Facebook Business Page Tips
1) Don’t create a personal profile for your business.

We’ve come across many well-meaning marketers and entrepreneurs who create personal profiles for their brands, instead of an actual Facebook Business Page. That puts you at a huge disadvantage — you’re missing out on all of the content creation tools, paid promotional opportunities, and analytics/insights that come with a Facebook Business Page. Plus, a personal profile would require people to send you a friend request in order to engage with you, and the last thing you want to do is make that more difficult for customers.

And while you’re at it — don’t create an additional public, “professional” profile associated with your business. For example, I already have a personal profile on Facebook that I largely keep private; the practice I’m talking about would be if I created a second, public one under the name “AmandaZW HubSpot,” or something along those lines. People usually do that to connect with professional contacts on Facebook, without letting them see personal photos or other posts. But the fact of the matter is that creating more than one personal account goes against Facebook’s terms of service.

2) Avoid publishing mishaps with Page roles.

We’ve all heard those horror stories about folks who accidentally published personal content to their employers’ social media channels — a marketer’s worst nightmare. So to avoid publishing mishaps like those, assign Facebook Business Page roles only to the employees who absolutely need it for the work they do each day. And before you do that, be sure to provide adequate training to those who are new to social media management, so they aren’t confused about when they should be hitting “publish,” what they should be posting, if something should be scheduled first, and who they should be posting it as.

To assign these, on your business page, click “Settings,” then click “Page Roles.”

Also, when sharing content on behalf of your brand, make sure you’re posting it as your brand, and not as yourself. You can check that by going into your settings and clicking “Page Attribution.”

3) Add a recognizable profile picture.

You’ll want to pick a profile picture that’s easy for your audience to recognize — anything from a company logo for a big brand, to a headshot of yourself if you’re a freelancer or consultant. Being recognizable is important to getting found and Liked, especially in Facebook Search. It’s what shows up in search results, pictured at the top of your Facebook Page, the thumbnail image that gets displayed next to your posts in people’s feeds … so choose wisely.

When choosing a photo, keep in mind that Facebook frequently changes its picture dimensions, which you can find at any given time here. As of publication, Page profile pictures display at 170×170 pixels on desktop, and 128×128 pixels on smartphones.

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4) Choose an engaging cover photo.

Next, you’ll need to pick an attractive cover photo. Since your cover photo takes up the most real estate above the fold on your Facebook Page, make sure you’re choosing one that’s high-quality and engaging to your visitors, like this one from MYOB’s Facebook Page:

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Keep in mind that, like profile images, Facebook Page cover photo dimensions also frequently change, so we advise keeping an eye on the official guidelines. As of publication, Page cover photos display at 820×312 pixels on computers, and 640×360 pixels on smartphones.

5) Add a call-to-action (CTA) button.

Since Facebook first launched the feature in December 2014, the options for brands to add call-to-action buttons to their Facebook Page’s have vastly expanded. These are things like “Watch Video,” “Sign Up,” or “Book Now” — and each can be customized with a destination URL or piece of content of their choosing.

It’s a great way for marketers to drive more traffic to their websites, or to get more eyeballs on the Facebook content they want to promote. This is a great way for marketers to drive traffic from their Facebook Business Page back to their website. Check out how Mandarin Oriental uses the “Book Now” button in this way, to make it easier for viewers to make reservations.

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To add a call-to-action to your Page, click the blue “Add a Button” box.

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You’ll then be able to choose which type of CTA you want to create, and which URL or existing content on your Facebook Page you want it to direct visitors to. To get data on how many people are clicking it, simply click the drop-down arrow on your button and select “View Insights.”

6) Fill out your ‘About’ section with basic information, and add company milestones.

We’ve arrived at one of the most important sections of your Facebook Page: the ‘About’ section.

Although visitors no longer see a preview of your “About” text when they land on your page — instead, they have to click on the “About” option on the left-hand column next to your content — it’s still one of the first places they’ll look when trying to get more information about your page.

Even within the “About” section, however, there are many options for copy to add. Consider optimizing the section that best aligns with your brand — a general description, a mission, company information, or your story — with brief, yet descriptive copy. By doing so, your audience can get a sense of what your Page represents before they decide to Like it.

You might also want to populate sections that allow you to record milestones and awards — like when you launched popular products and services — as well as the day/year your company was founded, or when you hosted major events.

7) Post photos and videos to your Timeline.

Visual content has pretty much become a requirement of any online presence, including social media channels. After all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

And while photos are a wonderful way to capture moments and an actual look at your brand, you should probably invest a good amount of time and other resources into video. The 2017 State of Inbound report cited video as the “main disruptor,” with 24% of marketers naming it as a top priority.

“Watch video” is one of the CTAs that Facebook allows brands to add to their Pages for a reason — because it’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume content. But it’s not just pre-recording videos. According to the social media channel’s newsroom, “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.” So don’t be afraid to give viewers an in-the-moment look at what your organization does, but do make sure you’re prepared.

Not sure what your videos should look like? Here’s a fun one that we put together on business lingo.

8) Determine the ideal timing and frequency for your posts.

An important consideration in your Facebook content strategy should be how frequently you post, and when. If you don’t post frequently enough, you won’t look as reliable or authentic — after all, how much faith do you put in a brand that hasn’t updated its Facebook Page for several months? Post too often, however, and people might get sick of having their feeds flooded with your content.

Here’s where a social media editorial calendar can be particularly helpful. Like any other online content, it can help you establish a schedule for when you share particular posts according to season or general popularity. You’ll probably have to adjust your calendar several times, especially in the earliest stages of setting up your Page, since you’ll want to check the performance of your updates in your Facebook Insights (which you can navigate to via the tab at the very top of your page). Once you’ve observed popular times and other analytics for your first several posts, you can tailor your posting frequency and strategy accordingly.

Wondering how to schedule posts? You can either use an external publishing tool like the Social Inbox within HubSpot software, or the Facebook interface itself. For the latter, click the arrow next to the “Publish” button and click “Schedule Post.”

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9) Leverage Facebook’s targeting tools.

Facebook allows you to target certain audiences with specific updates — be it gender, relationship or educational status, age, location, language, or interests, you can segment individual page posts by these criteria.

Just click the small bullseye symbol on the bottom of the post you want to publish, and you can set metrics for both a preferred audience, and one you think might not want to see your content.

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10) Pin important posts to the top of your page.

When you post new content to your Facebook Page, older posts get pushed farther down your Timeline. But sometimes, you might want a specific post to stay at the top of your page for longer — even after you publish new updates.

To solve for this, Facebook offers the ability to “pin” one post at a time to the top of your page. You can use pinned posts as a way to promote things like new lead-gen offers, upcoming events, or important product announcements.

To pin a post, click on the drop-down arrow in the top-right corner of a post on your page, and click ‘Pin to Top.’ It will then appear at the top of your page, flagged with a little bookmark. Just keep in mind that you can only have one pinned post at any given time.

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11) Decide whether you want Facebook fans to message you privately.

If you want your Facebook fans to be able to privately message you directly through your page, definitely enable the messages feature. You can do so by going to your settings, clicking on “General” on the left-hand column, and then looking for “Messages” on the list of results.

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We recommend enabling messaging on your page to make it as easy as possible for your fans to reach out to you — but only do so if you have the time to monitor and respond to your messages. Facebook Pages now have a section that indicates how quickly a brand responds to messages, so if you don’t want that section saying that you’re slow to answer, you might just want to skip enabling that feature.

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12) Monitor and respond to comments on your page.

Speaking of monitoring the interactions your fans have with your page, don’t forget about comments. You can monitor and respond to comments via the ‘Notifications’ tab at the very top of your page. While it may not be necessary to respond to every single comment you receive, you should definitely monitor the conversations happening there (especially to stay on top of potential social media crises.

13) Promote your page to generate more followers.

Now that you’ve filled your page with content, it’s time to promote the heck out of it.

One of the first things you can do is to create an ad promoting your Page. To do that, click the three dots at the top menu bar above your posts and select “Create Ad.” From there, Facebook will let you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals — things like reach, traffic, or general brand awareness. Choose yours, then scroll down and click “continue.”

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After that, you can choose your targeted audience (similar to what you did with your promoted posts above), where on Facebook you want it to be placed, and your budget — you can learn more about paying for Facebook Ads here.

You’ll probably also be asked to add some creative assets or copy. Remember, you’re paying for this, so choose something that’s going to grab attention, but also has high quality and represents your brand well.

14) Finally, measure the success of your Facebook efforts.

There are a couple of ways to execute this step. You can use something like the social media reports tool in your HubSpot software, and you can dig into your Page’s Insights, which allow you to track Facebook-specific engagement metrics. Here, you’ll be able to analyze things like the demographics of your Page audience and, if you reach a certain threshold, the demographics of people engaging with your page and posts. As we mentioned earlier, the latter is especially helpful to modify your Facebook content strategy to publish more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. You can access your Facebook Page Insights via the tab at the top of your page.

How have you set up top-notch Facebook Pages? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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What We Learned From Spending $100k On Facebook Ads

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For a three-person digital marketing team like ours, the prospect of having a big ad budget seemed like a distant dream. So when we were suddenly given $100K to spend on Facebook ads, we were positively giddy.

And unbelievably nervous.

As a lean SaaS startup, we have to be very wise with our marketing investments. Couple that with our low cost-per-sale ($24/monthly for our starter plan), and you can see that being cost-effective while still spending on ads is a challenge.

In May of 2016, we had the honor of working with Facebook Canada. We received a small grant to kickstart our advertising initiatives, and had the opportunity to spend two full days with one of their ad reps.

Other than working with the Facebook team, we are completely in-house. On one hand this was an advantage — since we could make changes to the program in seconds rather than days — on the other hand, we were on our own for creative, landing pages, and analytics.

We ran an early prototype campaign with some decent success. In fact, it performed in the same neighbourhood as our other digital advertising initiatives. Cool beans.

But that was just the start. We’d tasted success, and knew that we were only scratching the surface. So, naturally, we made a pitch to our company’s executive team to increase our digital marketing budget so we could prove that Facebook was a viable avenue for growth. Our commitment to the business: generate trials at a cost-effective rate of $50/trial.

Our pitch was a success, and we found ourselves with a considerable ad budget. Now it was real — it was time to build out an end-to-end Facebook Ads strategy.

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Admittedly, we were quite nervous. Our credibility was on the line.

Here’s what we ended up learning from that process, wrinkles and all. Read on to the end to see our results.

Lesson 1: Fully commit resources or your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will rise swiftly.

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We received our first lesson early on. We had become complacent with the success of our ad creative in May 2016, and tried to replicate that again. Using the same ad creative from AdWords, we launched on Facebook Ads. Initially, it worked. We generated trials at an acceptable rate.

But we mistakenly saw this initial success as a sign that we could set it and forget it. We went back to focusing on our other digital marketing strategies, like creating organic content, while our CPAs gradually rose.

Facebook CPAs have a nasty habit of rising suddenly — I mean, literally blowing up overnight. One morning, we logged into our marketing dashboard and saw that we were generating trials at twice our target CPA of $50/trial. This was crazy business, and we needed to act fast.

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Fixing this problem took a lot of time and resources, and a few calls with our dedicated Facebook Ads guru (shout-out to the brilliant Mike Empey). The problem was Ad Frequency. 

What happened was that our Facebook ad frequency had risen so high that our addressable market was seeing ads 3-5 times a day. Ugh. So of course CPAs rose accordingly — we were irritating people to no end.

We resolved to take two actions: first, we swapped in new creative. In fact, we created 5 new ads to push into market. This had an immediate impact, and gave us a deep understanding of how detrimental ad fatigue can be.

Second, and more importantly, we committed to a new process for our creative. We call it “the conveyor belt.” Here’s how it works:

Week 1: Design and launch new ad creative in 1-3 ad sets. Test and analyze results.
Week 2: Push all variations to all ad sets. Turn off old ads. Analyze initial results.
Week 3: Pick winning variations from ad sets. Analyze and deconstruct results.
Week 4: Assess week 1-3 learnings. Apply those learning to new ad creative.

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The side benefit of this process is that we’ve tested so many ad variants that we now have a repository of “winning variants” that we can quickly call out of retirement if our CPAs rise.

Lesson 2: Segment your audiences to effectively manage ad set CPAs.

Initially, I think we underestimated the amount of ad sets we’d need to manage. Looking back, I cringe to think we only launched our prospecting campaign with three ad sets: USA, Canada, and Europe (today we manage between 50 and 70 ad sets, depending on ad performance).

We weren’t even going beyond some basic audience targeting.

No age specification. No regional targeting. No device targeting. Just a giant ad campaign.

We were confident in our ad creative and landing page conversion rates, but forgot the importance of audience profiling. 

It’s no wonder that our results were really hard to interpret. I remember naively saying to Valerie Hamilton, our digital marketing specialist, “Europe is performing well today. What’s the story?”

We didn’t know. Were women converting better than men? Was a certain age bracket doing better than another one? We had no clue.

And at this point our CPAs were still floating about 25% higher than our target. It would have been a dramatic understatement to say we had some optimization work to do.

We started to analyze our lead generation activities across demographic lines. We used a combination of Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce data. What we found out was that we did remarkably better with people aged between 24-45. This totally makes sense, too.

Folks older than 45 are typically in a more senior role, and rarely the ones actually building or trialing our product. Instead, they are often the ones marshaling their team to demo our software.

Our first action was to split out this age range and only focus on where we saw the most success. By cutting more expensive CPA audiences, we were able to reduce our CPA.

Since then, we’ve adjusted our messaging to the >45 crowd by including more language about “their team” and “data transparency.” We’ve also focused a lot more of our ad buys on video assets instead of advertising our free trial.

It’s worth mentioning that we had good reasons for avoiding audience segmentation. First, we didn’t have the capacity to manage dozens of ad sets. Second, we wanted to keep our addressable market as large as possible and let our learnings help us figure out where to whittle down.

Lesson 3: Geographic bidding makes sense when you know regional lifetime values (LTVs).

The other side of the demographic coin for us was splitting out geographies. Treating Europe as a homogeneous advertising market just didn’t make sense for our business at the time (see Lesson 8, where we experimented with world-wide delivery).

While our European campaign was performing well enough, it was clear that we were missing an opportunity. For instance, we knew that leads from specific geographies often convert to customers at a much higher rate, and that their LTV was much higher on average.

In broad outreach campaigns, for example, we saw that we were attracting a high number of leads at $15/trial from Greece and Hungary. But while we have great customers in that part of the world, we’ve run a number of internal reports that show paid leads from that region convert at a much lower rate.

Despite paying such a low CPA, these leads were not converting and we were paying far too much for them. Internal reports (plus complaints from our sales team) had us digging deep into the data.

This is when the lesson clicked for us; we realized it was okay to spend a lot more on leads from, say, the Netherlands, because their LTV and conversion rates were much, much higher.

By splitting out different geographies, we enhanced our ability to match CPA targets to an appropriate LTV.

Lesson 4: Matching ad creative and landing pages.

This is textbook digital marketing, true. But it was a challenge for our scrappy digital marketing team to prioritize this while managing a $100K budget and driving all the day-to-day campaigns required for a fast-growing startup.

Plus, we could rationalize pushing this aside because our landing page was performing reasonably well.

But when you’re spending $100K and your CPAs continue to fluctuate, every conversion opportunity is magnified ten-fold.

With our small team and only one dedicated designer, we needed to call in the big guns. We went with Unbounce, and it’s had a measureable impact on our landing page conversion rates, helping us grab an 18% conversion rate for Facebook Ads leads. 

As we design ad creative, we create its sister landing page. From there, we can make tweaks to the page to improve conversion rates. Little things like form position, who we featured in our testimonials, and even which button colours we chose amounted to some big improvements.

Lesson 5: The one-two punch of video advertisement.

We’ve always been huge users of video to demo the product and create awareness. We’ve created explainer videos that talk about our primary unique selling proposition and give a glimpse into the product, and these videos have been quite successful in garnering views, holding attention spans, and increasing conversions.

As we launched on Facebook, we put ad dollars behind one particular video. Again, good success, but we felt like we could do better. 

This decision was more on gut feel (it still counts!) that video had a big role to play. I mean, just scroll through your Facebook feed right now. The challenge for us was that we’d committed to the business that we’d generate trials at or below our target CPA for that entire $100K. 

Video doesn’t have that wonderful direct line to trial that a prospecting campaign does. So, we took a chance, and our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, called up an Ottawa video production company we now affectionately call “The Rascals.”

We created a fun, 35-second explainer video that we thought would play well on Facebook and Instagram. The fact is that we generated a hundred thousand views before we could blink.

How? People were actually sharing the video with friends and family, even tagging others in the comments section. We noticed lively conversations taking place directly on the posts themselves, as if the videos weren’t advertisements at all. Here’s that video:

Facebook makes it easy to create remarketing programs by creating lists of users that engage with your video. We set up a list for anyone that watched more than 10 seconds of the video. This was a new cost-effective avenue for generating leads well within our target CPA. Video remarketing leads typically come in at about $30/trial, including the initial video buy.

More importantly, it expanded our reach on Facebook and Instagram exponentially. And we’ve seen traffic to our site go up as a direct result of these ads.

Lesson 6: Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.06.27 PM.png

When we launched on video, we didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of views? Engagement? Shares?

As a metrics-obsessed company, we knew we needed to establish a KPI. After doing some research and chatting with peers and the account team at Facebook, we decided on Cost-Per-10-second view.

We chose this KPI to help us drive better video engagement and brand recognition. If someone was interested enough to pass over cat videos and baby pictures to watch 10 seconds of our B2B software video, then we were doing something right.

This KPI has fed directly into our production process, too. We’ve worked with The Rascals to ensure that each video includes text to account for the fact that Facebook’s default setting is to mute video. We’ve also added captions to the mix because videos on Facebook autoplay with the sound off; a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played with no sound. We would have had disastrous results if we’d relied entirely on the audio within the video to tell our story.

The overall result has been slashing our Cost-Per-10-second view by 50%. This is huge because it means for the same dollar of spend, we’re effectively doubling our reach. And you can bet this metric is front and center on our internal social media dashboards.

Lesson 7: Ask for advice and trade ideas.

I could rant for days about how much we learned from Facebook— they were truly fantastic, and the attention we received ensured we’d be successful. That said, there are no special or secret tricks. You can find everything through a Google search for “Facebook Ads Tips.”

Putting all those tips and best practices together into a single campaign, however, is where the real challenge lies.

Throughout the process we sought advice from those who’ve been there before us, who have been learning from others years before we even thought of going this route. It probably comes as no surprise that our team now pays close attention to what other advertisers do on Facebook. In particular, I think Shopify is a leader in this respect. They do a great job of integrating video.

We’ve also struck up a friendship with the team over at PageCloud , and have enjoyed freely sharing ideas. Many of those conversations have spawned new ad campaigns and experiments. Which leads me to …

Lesson 8: Boldly experiment.

We allocated a percentage of our budget towards experimentation. When we heard about a new product from Facebook called World-Wide Delivery (WWD) we sort of rolled our eyes and remembered what we had learned about geographic bidding from Lesson 3.

But our friend Mike Empey at Facebook persuaded us to give it a try. So we did. What did we have to lose?

The experiment was a huge success and with just a small percentage of our daily budget we were able to practically double lead volume. In fact, this contributed to us setting daily trial record numbers for 3 days in a row.

When the dust had settled, we analyzed the lead quality, made adjustments to our copy and landing pages, and added WWD campaigns to our arsenal of ads.

Lesson 9: Advertising is still top of the funnel.

Asking someone to start a trial of your software is a lot like calling a friend and asking them to catch up with you over coffee in an hour. The message is out of the blue and entails a time commitment. No matter what their interest level is, they simply may not be able to do it right then.

As we stressed about hitting our trial CPA numbers, we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions.

In chasing those numbers, we ended up making a series of small decisions that led to us making a big mistake: we’d cut so much content from our landing page that it had basically become just an image with a signup form.

Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off. Some people were getting so upset that they were commenting on the ads themselves.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.10.52 PM.png

At this point, we’d driven down CPAs to about $10 under our target CPA. Our hands were sore from the amount of high-fives we’d collected and shoulders we’d patted. But in that process we committed an egregious error: we forgot about the customer.

We were so caught up in the metrics that we forgot that leads are people.

So, we did the only reasonable thing. We added essential content back into our landing pages (including video content from Vidyard into every landing page), and worked on optimizing that content so the customer could wring as much value from it as possible.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.11.51 PM.png

Of course, CPAs rose. But our ad relevance and positive scores rose along with it.

That was the kind of customer-centric tradeoff we were willing to take.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: a version of this post first appeared on Inbound.org, HubSpot’s community for inbound marketers. 

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Inside the Thriving Six-Figure Facebook Ads Strategy at Classpass – Mary Rykaczewski [SSM044]

Facebook ads are quickly becoming a staple of almost every successful social media strategy.

They have the power to benefit your business or brand on so many different levels. From understanding your target audience to driving sales to raising brand awareness, Facebook ads are a compelling way to spend your social advertising dollars.

Though implementing a successful Facebook ads strategy is an entirely different story!

We set out to find a company that has a deep knowledge and expertise in driving results with Facebook advertising. The company we landed on? Classpass. Classpass’ Mary Rykaczewski has been an integral part of growing their customer base through the use of Facebook and Instagram advertising. And that part of their media budget has only continued to grow due to its success.

In episode #44 of The Science of Social Media, Mary shares Classpass’ specific approach to Facebook advertising and how marketers (just like you!) can repeat this scientific process.

A huge thank you to Mary for packing this episode full of inspiration and actionable takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking to build a thriving Facebook ads strategy.

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

This episode is available on:

iTunes
Google Play
Stitcher
Sound Cloud

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Mary Rykaczewski shares the Classpass’ scientific approach to Facebook advertising, including how they identify their target audience, where they spend their money, and how they test ads. You’ll also learn other great things like:

Classpass’ story of success with Facebook ads
How powerful advertising can be for geo-location targeting
What you can learn from running 500 Facebook ads at the same time
How to select relevant goals and identify your target audience
A step-by-step guide to getting started with your Facebook ads strategy

Inside the Thriving Facebook Ads Strategy at Classpass - The Science of Social Media

3 Takeaways for Marketers Looking to Set Up a Thriving Facebook Ads Strategy

In Mary’s words…

1. Be strategic

The key is to be as strategic as possible as to where you spend your Facebook ad dollars. If you have a small budget you have to be as highly targeted as possible.

2. Feed the funnel with new users

Make sure that you’re feeding the funnel with new users in order to have a big enough pool that you can Retarget against over time. Many marketers spend most of their time on Retargeting ads because they perform so well, but they’re forgetting the fact that they are still not driving a new audience base or interest.

3. Watch audience overlap

As you’re starting to think about all of the different audiences that you want to target, make sure that you’re taking care of any audience overlap. That’s something we face a lot. You have to be careful not to compete with yourself in your Facebook ads strategy. You can do things like excluding your Retargeting or look-alike audiences.

A Great Moment

Inside the Thriving Facebook Ads Strategy at Classpass - Mary Rykaczewski

“Facebook has a lot of great proprietary data. You get to see what people are interested in, where they live, what they like and then target them based on those data points.”

– Mary Rykaczewski

Awesome People and Stuff Mentioned in the Show

Classpass – The Best Fitness Studios, Classes, and Experience
Classpass on Instagram
Classpass on Facebook
Mary Rykaczewski on LinkedIn
Facebook Audience Insights Tool
Nanigans – Advertising Automation Software
Facebook Ads Manager: The Complete, One-Stop Guide – Buffer Blog
The Complete Guide to Instagram Advertising – Buffer Blog
The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Advertising – Buffer Blog

Favorite Quotes

We’re a reletively new company, but Facebook ads were one of the first channels we started using in terms of paid acquisition. It has been an integral part of our strategy from the beginning.
We are mainly a geo-located business and so we run our campaigns in very specific areas based on data points like area codes and locations.
There are a ton of benefits running ads on Facebook and Instagram over other platforms. One of the main reasons being that they have a lot of great proprietary data compared to platforms like Pinterest and Twitter.
An easy-to-use tool for any marketer is the Audience Insights tool that Facebook provides. You can actually look at your current fanbase and see who those people are and then use that data to develop a “target audience” for your brand.
We rotate and refresh our creatives bi-monthly – at the beginning of each month and in the middle of each month – to help avoid “ad fatigue” with our prospects and customers.
When starting out, it’s very important to first understand what your goals are. Because we are focused on “direct response,” we focus heavily on Facebook Retargeting Ads as opposed to brand awareness.
We are very data-driven with our Facebook ads strategy. We don’t necessarily create new assets on whim – we look at what works and then we build on that.

How to Say Hello to Mary (and us)

Mary is always doing some awesome things at Classpass! If you’d like to follow along with them on social media, you can check out their Instagram account here and their Facebook account here. Or, feel free to say hello to Mary on LinkedIn here – she would love to connect!

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a weekly audio experience exploring the wonderful and exciting world of social media. Each episode is packed with insights, experiments, and best-practices from some of the most interesting marketers in every industry. From minisodes to interviews to stories, we promise to always keep you on your toes and learning.

Consider this show your social media sandbox!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

The Simple Facebook Posting Strategy That Helped us 3x Our Reach and Engagement

In October of 2016 we dramatically changed our Facebook posting strategy.

A gradual, but noticeable shift in many social media algorithms and an influx of brand advertising on Facebook meant that it was important for us to either start experimenting or we’d continue to see a decline in organic reach and engagement.

Getting your content seen on Facebook is no small task. Especially when you consider all the content shared to Facebook every 20 minutes:

1 million links are shared
4.86 million photos are uploaded
763,888 status updates are sent out

We needed to make a change.

We cut our posting frequency by more than 50% on Facebook and began to truly focus on quality over quantity. What happened next, even the most optimistic social media manager couldn’t have expected:

Our Facebook reach and engagement began to increase even though we were posting less!

Here are some of the headline stats:

Reach has more than tripled from 44,000 to 150,000+ people per week on Facebook
Average daily engagements with our Facebook content has risen from ~500 to more than 1,000
More and more of our posts are reaching between 5,000-20,000 people (before we made the change, many of our posts were reaching less than 2,000 people)

I’m super excited to share the data behind this growth with you and take you behind the scenes of our latest Facebook posting strategy.

Let’s dive in!

Data: How posting less increased our reach, engagement, and impact
Posts per day

Most of last year (Jan-Oct 2016), we were posting a lot to social media, especially on Facebook. A quick sift through our data shows that we were sharing more than 125 posts across our social media channels (25-40 posts to Facebook alone) on a weekly basis.

Here’s a quick look at our average Facebook Posts per day between January 2016 and April 2017:

Average Facebook Posts Per Day Visualization

Data Source: Buffer

Reach

Part of our thinking was that we could adapt to the ever-changing social media algorithms by simply posting more. It makes sense, right? Theoretically, the more we post, the more that our reach would add up over the course of a week, month, and even the year.

But, what actually happened was quite the opposite. The more we posted to Facebook the less reach we received on each one of our posts. This graph shows the significant drop in reach during our peak posting times (~4 times per day around July/August, 2016):

Average Facebook Daily Reach Visualization

Data Source: Buffer

However, notice what starts to happen right around October 2016. Our Facebook reach begins to increase at nearly the same time that we began to experiment with our Facebook posting strategy. Not only that, but reach continues to grow as we move into 2017 and beyond.

Today, we’re reaching more than 150,000 people per week on Facebook, compared to the 44,000 or so people that we were reaching during most of 2016.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!

Engagement

In addition to reach, our Facebook engagement began to increase at the same pace. This chart shows our average daily engagement since January 2016:

Average Facebook Daily Engagement Graph

Data Source: Buffer

For me, this was a ground-breaking and exciting revelation.

I didn’t have to post as much to Facebook (more on our new Facebook posting strategy below)
It gave me the opportunity to focus on other creative projects like creating videos, launching the Buffer Podcast, and growing our Instagram account.

The other unexpected thing that happened (as the chart above shows) was that the number of posts that reached more than 60,000 people and received more than 2,500 unique engagements nearly doubled. That was a massive shift from 2016 when were only reached more than 60,000 people with a single post once.

However, this next chart is my favorite one of all.

Overall impact

It’s great to have individual data points as a reference, but I wanted to get a big-picture view of what was happening after the Facebook posting strategy change. To do so, I downloaded all Facebook post data using Buffer from January 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017. No small feat!

I then combined the data in Excel and sorted the posts into four reach buckets:

0-1,999
2,000-4,999
5,000-19,999
20,000+

The results were shockingly awesome – here’s a quick look at the data:

Facebook Average Monthly Post Reach (Comparison)

Data Source: Buffer

The most surprising of all was how many posts were reaching less than 2,000 people on a consistent basis before October. Before this point, I hadn’t realized just how poor many of our posts were really performing. The more we posted, the worse they did! Between February and March, more than 100 posts reached less than 2,000 people.

Take a look what happens to the other categories of reach as time goes on. Posts reaching 2,000-5,000 people stay fairly consistent (which is understandable), but posts reaching 5,000-19,999 and 20,000+ gradually begin to increase and are currently trending upward as of today.

In the next few sections, I’d love to share why this was an important (and counterintuitive) change to our Facebook posting strategy as well as exactly what we’re doing today to ensure these results continue.

Why we stopped posting everything to Facebook
Not every post is the right fit for Facebook

As many social media managers know, it’s a consistent challenge to send out lots of quality content to Facebook every single week. There’s the creation process, the copywriting and scheduling, the monitoring, the engagement with your community – the list goes on and on.

Yet intuition tells us that the more we post the more engagement and reach we’ll get. It makes total sense (at least we thought it did!).

Facebook Posting Strategy - Wait, but why

What we found, however, is that the opposite happens with engagement and reach. When trying to fill the queue with content for the simple sake of posting and having a presence on Facebook, content tends to become diluted and lost in the news feed.

For us, posting less didn’t even seem like a viable option at the time. We have a ton of great content going out on the Social and Open Blog each week – were we supposed to stop posting that all-together?

And that’s where we discovered one key distinction in our Facebook posting strategy: Even though our content may be quality (and awesome), not every post is right for Facebook.

Which leads me to our current strategy…

Our current Facebook posting strategy

The big change to our strategy all started with the counter-intuitive realization that:

“Even though our content may be quality (and awesome), not every post is right for Facebook.”

This was quite tough as I wanted to share all of the great things that our team was writing on our blogs. It all deserved to be shared with our community, but it was becoming clear that it was affecting our content across the board. So I established a quick rule-of-thumb question to help decide what I should post to Facebook:

Entertainment + Educational = Edu-tainment

Edu-tainment: Education + Entertainment

I’ve found that generally speaking, the most popular posts across Facebook can be categorized as Edu-tainment. They are either entertaining or educational. For example, silly GIFs might fall into the entertainment category, while data, how-tos, and infographics fall into the educational category.

The best posts of all tend to have a mix of both entertainment and education and those are the ones I’m constantly on the hunt for on social media.

Finding and sharing “Edu-tainment” content is our overarching strategy, which helps clarify everything that should be posted under the following Facebook posting strategies:

One or two posts per day maximum

The main reason why I believe we’re seeing such a dramatic increase in reach and engagement is that we’re only posting one or two pieces of content per day on Facebook.

This serves two valuable purposes:

It forces us to only share the best of the best content because we literally have limited space
It allows the Facebook algorithm to focus on delivering one piece of content (vs. multiple) to our audience

I encourage you to experiment with only posting once or twice per day on Facebook. You might be surprised at how quickly your best content filters to the top. Limiting the quantity of posts encourages a deep focus on posting quality, which sends positive signals to the Facebook algorithm.

Curated content

Another great strategy for us has been posting an increased amount of curated content to our Facebook page. Previously, we used to shy away from curated content because it didn’t directly affect the bottom-line: traffic, subscriptions, sales, etc.

I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t have been more off here.

Sorting our Facebook posts by “Most Reach” over the last several months shows exactly the impact it has had on our Page and growth:

Facebook Curated Content Strategy Overview

The posts highlighted in a blue rectangle are all pieces of curated content. In other words, 7 of 11 of our most successful posts throughout the last 14 months are curated (not created by Buffer). These posts have combined to reach more than 750,000 people, averaging to about 107,000 people per post.

Curated content may not “directly” affect our bottom line, but it plays a significant role in reach, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and page growth. Which, in time, allows us to deliver Buffer content – content that does drive the bottom line – to a larger, more engaged audience.

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement

Focusing on brand awareness and engagement vs. driving traffic to our website has become a staple of our strategy as well.

We’ve witnessed a shift in many social media networks over the last year. It used to be that brands and businesses could post links to their blog posts and watch the traffic flow in. And while that’s still the case for many publishers, savvy marketers can benefit from thinking about their content strategy as a whole – focusing on both direct traffic as well as engagement.

Posting content that aims to drive engagement only helps to build an activate Facebook audience. Overtime, that audience will go to you as a trusted source of Edu-tainment. Then, right when you need them most, you can deliver a piece of brand content that will help move the bottom line. Here’s a quick example of a recent engagement-only post:

Facebook Posting Strategy - Engagement Focus

Reach: 211,631
Likes: 8,362
Comments: 281
Shares: 872

This post also brought more than 1,000 new Likes to our Page – many of whom continue to Like and engage with our Page today.

Boosted Posts

Last, but not least, I’d love to address how important Facebook boosted posts have been in increasing reach and engagement on our Page. It is worth noting that our daily budget has not changed over the period of the last year. I.e., our reach and engagement did not increase because of an increased advertising budget.

Currently, we spend roughly $40 per day boosting our best-performing content on Facebook.

The only difference between last year and this year is the quality of content that has been available to boost.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-marketing-budget

Boosting posts takes content that’s already performing well and amplifies it on a huge scale. As that implies, the key is to focus on boosting great content, not necessarily posts that aren’t doing well and “forcing” them with advertising dollars.

Doing so will ensure that your money is spend in the best way possible.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! Have you experienced something similar with reach and engagement on Facebook? Or, maybe you have a few posting strategies that I missed above?

I’d love to continue the conversation with you in the comments below!

What has been the best success you’ve found in terms of a Facebook posting strategy? What are your top tips for increasing reach and engagement on Facebook?

10 Little-Known Facebook Marketing Features and Hacks You Can Try Today

When I first started diving into Facebook marketing for business I was happy to simply send out an error-free post.

No typos? No poorly-cropped images? No negative feedback? Perfect!

But with each new post came new learnings about Facebook marketing best-practices until it came to a point where I could explore all of the useful features that Facebook has to offer.

For the more than 1.8 billion active monthly users on Facebook, scrolling through the feed and catching up with the latest news is easy enough. But for the social media managers and marketers managing successful Facebook pages, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes – Making it a challenge to keep up with all of the new features they’re rolling out on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s important (and fun) for us to share all of this useful Facebook marketing information so that we can create a better experience for our audiences. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about the user.

In the spirit sharing, here are 10 hidden Facebook marketing features and hacks for social media marketers to try today!

Check out all episodes of the Buffer Podcast (The Science of Social Media) on:

iTunes
SoundCloud
Stitcher

10 Hidden Facebook Marketing Features and Hacks That You Can Try Today

1. Pages to Watch

Though we’ve written about the Facebook Pages to Watch feature in the past, it still warrants a top mention here because of its awesome capabilities. Marketers can follow up to 100 different brand pages, allowing for a quick comparison of page activity (filtered by top posts over the previous 7 days), engagement and audience growth to your own.

To access the Pages to Watch feature, click “Insights”

Facebook Insights

Then find the Pages to Watch tab – directly under the “5 Most Recent Posts” section.

Facebook Pages to Watch

Add the pages you’d like to watch to your list. Once they’re added, hover over the name, click, and watch the magic happen. Facebook provides a detailed view of every one of their posts from the current week. This allows you to quickly check the top posts from every page you follow in a matter of seconds.

2. Search previous posts for specific wording and insights

Many social media marketers are familiar with the standard post performance data under the Insights tab. It’s a powerful tool for measuring performance on pervious posts with stats on: reactions, link clicks, shares, likes on shares, page unlikes, hide posts, and much more.

But some marketers may be unfamiliar with another great Facebook marketing feature that I like to call the Published “Post Search” tool under your page’s “Publishing Tools” tab.

Search Published Posts in Facebook

I love this feature because I can easily search for posts around certain topics and see what wording, images, or a combination of both has worked previously.

It’s also very useful for brands that post content more than once throughout the year (which we find very successful here at Buffer with our Rebuffer tool) as it helps to avoid duplicating poor-performing content.

Before posting an older article, ask: Have I posted this content before?

If no – What other sorts of posts have recently been successful and how can I replicate that success?
If yes – How can I repurpose this content to ensure that it reaches a brand new set of eyes?

3. Like a Page as your brand

A great way to support and show some love towards other brands on Facebook is to like their page from your personal page. But did you know that you can also like other brands’ pages as your business page? Yup!

This nifty little feature from Facebook allows marketers to support their favorite brands from their own business page.

To like another brand from your business page, search for the page you want to “Like” and go to their timeline. Then, click the small gear icon and select “Like As Your Page”:

How to Like a Facebook Business Page

All of the Facebook Businesses Pages that you manage will appear in the dropdown menu and there you can click “save.” Voilà!

4. Save an article for later

With Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature, you can save and bookmark some of the things you see on Facebook to view later, like the links or videos your friends post, upcoming events, Pages or photos.

I love this feature because I’m often on-the-go when perusing Facebook and so it helps me to save things I may want to share later and tag important news about marketing or social media that I should read.

To utilize the save feature:

From your news feed, click the arrow in the right corner on an update you want to save:

Facebook Save Feature, Facebook, Facebook marketing

From a page click the “gear icon” and then select “Save Link”

From an event click the “ribbon icon” and then select “Save”

To view saved posts or articles:

You can go directly to www.facebook.com/saved or access your saved articles from your news feed on the left hand side as shown below.

Facebook, Facebook marketing, facebook save for late, facebook features

Happy saving!

5. Suggest Your Page to Email Contacts

Talk about little-known, but totally awesome Facebook hacks! This one is buried within your Page options and magical once you find it.

As a small business or a brand that’s just getting started on Facebook, it’s beneficial for you to be able to invite your email contacts to Like your Page for initial growth.

All you have to do it click on the “…” button on your Business Page:

Suggest Page to Email Contacts 1

Then, select “Suggest Page”:

Suggest Page to Email Contacts 2

Once you select “Suggest Page,” a pop-up menu will give you the various email integration options that you can use to import your contacts. As seen here:

Suggest Page to Email Contacts

Keep in mind that there are a few limitations here. You can only upload 5,000 contacts per day, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to bring in a large customer or subscriber list. Still, 5,000 contacts per day is a fantastic start!

6. Audience Insights

One of my favorite hidden Facebook marketing features, especially with the prevalence of paid advertising, is Audience Insights. Facebook’s Audience Insights provides detailed information about your target audience so that you can create more relevant content. The more relevant content that you deliver, the further your Facebook advertising dollar will go.

It’s also an amazing tool to create interesting and engaging statistical graphics about the global Facebook audience or your specific page’s demographic information. SproutSocial dug into their demographic data to create a fun infographic for their blog and various social media channels – proving that the opportunities are endless.

Facebook Insights, Audience Insights, Facebook Marketing, Facebook

7. Invite people who have engaged with your post to Like your Page

For small businesses and brands looking to get the most out of every single Facebook post, there’s a hidden option to invite people who have engaged with your content on Facebook to Like your page.

To access this feature, locate the hyperlink underneath the each post that shows how many people have liked it and the number of comments. It looks something like this:

Invite People to Like Your Page on Facebook

Next, click directly on that link (works for both desktop and mobile). That will bring up the full list of people who have liked the post. On the right hand side of the pop-up menu it’ll show which people currently like your page or not. If they don’t, you can quickly invite them to Like your page directly within that list. Done!

8. Facebook Pixel

For social media marketers looking to measure ROI on social media, utilizing the Facebook Pixel is an absolute must. Facebook provides detailed instructions on setting up your Facebook Pixel for the first time. And have no fear, you don’t have to be a developer to easily set it up.

Here’s how:

Go to your Facebook Ads Manager
Click Actions > View Pixel Code
Highlight the code and then copy the code
Paste it between the header tags of your website
Note: If you’re on WordPress you can use a plugin such as Google Tag Manager to easily host all of your website tracking codes such as Google Analytics and others.

Facebook Pixel, facebook marketing features, facebook marketing

The Facebook Pixel allows you to:

Build Custom Audiences from your website for remarketing
Optimize ads for conversions
Track conversions and attribute them back to your ads

If you’re spending money to advertise online, social media ads may very well earn you the biggest returns, but it’s important to closely track your results. 

9. Pin posts to the top of your Facebook page

Pinning posts to the top of your brand’s page is a simple, yet extremely useful top-of-mind social media marketing strategy to point your audience to important company posts, announcements, and events.

On your timeline, find the post that you would like to pin, click the down arrow in the corner of the post, and click “Pin to Top.” It’s as easy as that!

Pin Facebook Post to Top of Page

One important thing to remember about pinning posts to the top of your page is to keep them fresh by rotating pinned posts often, especially if they are time-sensitive.

Mixing it up also allows you to showcase a much larger variety of posts. I recommend changing the pinned post once every two weeks or so.

10. Customize the Look of Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook recently rolled out a cool new feature that allows businesses to customize the look of their page based on their business type. This is a great option for businesses looking to rearrange their page and put the most important content first.

To access this feature, go to Settings under your business page and on the left there’s an option to “Edit Page”:

Facebook Edit Page Settings

You’ll then see a new “Template” option you can edit.

From there, you can choose from the default Standard template or other awesome layouts for businesses such as:

Services
Non Profits
Venues
Politicians,
Restaurants
and more!

Facebook Business Page Templates

We currently have the Standard template set up where reviews and recent posts are shown at the top followed by photos and videos that we’ve shared recently. But there are so many great layouts!

Over to you!

Did we miss any hidden Facebook marketing features or hacks above?

We’d love to know which features you use as social media managers and marketers to help make your Page stand out from the crowd!