Six Tenets Of Facebook Advertising: A Digital Marketer’s Creed

Six Tenets Of Facebook Advertising: A Digital Marketer’s Creed

We Believe…

That a plan is necessary to get results
That we can learn a lot from the people who know us already
That marketing is an investment and not an expense
That testing is the best way to determine what works and what doesn't.
That we must be patient
That there will be days of frustration
But if we remain focused, we'll get the results we want.

I get it. You've boosted a few posts on Facebook and didn't get the results you wanted. Hey, it happens, you're not alone. In a world of instant gratification, it's only natural to want results immediately and not to want to spend a lot of money to get those results. With that in mind, I'd like for you to take a step back and think about this… “quality isn't added after the fact, it's designed into the process.” Professor Scott stated those words years ago, during a lecture in one of my undergraduate Process Improvement courses, and they serve as the basis of my marketing strategies today. When crafting your Facebook ads strategy, keep these six rules in mind:

1. Don't wait until the last minute.

Too many entrepreneurs force themselves into a position where they need to make sales immediately. This gives you no breathing space to test and serves only to increase your stress levels. The truth is that you’re going to make mistakes when you first start advertising. In fact, most Facebook ads will probably fail at first. The reason most ads fail at first is that we’re often looking for instant results, which may cause you to turn your ad off before Facebook has had the chance to optimize them. Another reason may be lack of testing. Did you test enough ad copy or image variations? You think that you know what will resonate with your audience, so you publish an ad, but then nothing happens. For ads to succeed, you may need to test multiple campaigns with different text, images, and call to actions.

2. Start with the people that know you.

Take the pressure off yourself by running ad campaigns to warm audiences. These audiences consist of your current customers and email list. Test multiple ads to see which ones resonate with them the best. Once you understand the ad copy and graphics/videos that best appeal to your existing audience, you’ll be in a better position to create ads that resonate with your cold target audience.

3. Invest in marketing.

As mentioned before, small business owners tend to find themselves in a fight or flight position when it comes to advertising. Rather than designing a marketing strategy that creates a continuous flow of traffic, we'll often wait until that last moment. That moment when we need sales. Ironically, this is usually the time when we are also watching cash flow and aren’t willing to put money into our marketing campaigns. See the irony there? Marketing should be a continuous function of business, a budgeted aspect that is part of your everyday strategy.

4. Testing is a given.

Most entrepreneurs will run a single ad campaign and call it a day, whereas professional marketers are running multiple ad campaigns to identify the winning campaigns towards a specific audience. Don’t be afraid to test multiple ads to the same audience. For example, you can run any number of campaigns, I like to start with a minimum of three, but have been known to test up to 20 different ads, to the same audience. After 24 hours, I’ll go in and see which ads are performing better. Ads that aren’t performing as expected are turned off, and the others left to run another day. This process continues until only one or two winning ads are running.

5. Stay the course

We're all susceptible to “Squirrels”, or Shiny object syndrome. In times of need, we'll try just about anything to generate business. You may be trying one type of marketing method, and then another presents itself, and we're tempted to switch. This is a mistake when it comes to Facebook advertising. The reason is that when you change strategies before thoroughly refining the original plan, you'll never get the results you are seeking. You must stay the course and commit to seeing it through. Otherwise, you’ll experience an increase in frustration, a loss of traction, money and time.

6. Expect moments of frustration.

Understand that some days may be frustrating. Yes, things change. Algorithms change. People change. And you have no control over any of the changes. You may even want to swear at your computer, or at your Digital Marketer, and want to give up because things aren’t happening fast enough. Stop. Breathe. Accept it; Don’t give up. Just like anything in life, results take time. By accepting that there will be times of frustration, it’s much easier to run ad campaigns and make adjustments as you are refining your ads and perfecting your strategy. Entrepreneurs tend to fall into one of two categories, short-haul and long-haul. If you’re in business for the short haul and the quick win, you'll fall fast. You’re going to run into a lot of frustrating days, and you’ll probably despise Facebook advertising and digital marketing in general. However, if you’re in business for the long haul, you understand that business is the ultimate brainteaser. And like with any mental challenge, you need to remain focused. Remaining focused is the only way to produce a winning formula that generates the results you’re looking to achieve.

Notes:  Article inspired after listening to a presentation by Ben Angel.

Understanding the Facebook Algorithm

Understanding the Facebook Algorithm

On January 12th, Mark Zuckerberg notified us that a change is in the works and it involves the Facebook Algorithm.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it, do this first:

Take a deep breath and repeat after me….” It's just an algorithm

An algorithm is nothing more than a formula applied to a situation to come up with a solution.

So, how does this apply to Facebook?  Well, the fact of the matter is that there are just too many people posting on Facebook.  On the one hand, this is great!  On the other, it presents a unique challenge to Facebook.

What's the challenge you ask?

Answer:  What should Facebook show within your newsfeed at any given moment in time?

Popular options include:

  • Show every post that a friend makes.
  • Business owners would like to believe that they should show every post that they make on their business page to the people following it.
  • Group Administrators would like for you to see the posts made in the group to which you belong to.
  • Advertisers are paying to have their posts placed in front of you, therefore they should be shown.

With over 2 billion daily active users on Facebook, it simply isn't possible to appease everyone. So Facebook's solution was to develop a set of rules that would, in a way, rank the content to determine what a user would most likely want to see in the Facebook newsfeed.  This is what we call the Facebook algorithm.

So what did Zuckerberg say and what does it really mean?

But first, a disclaimer.  The translation below represents my own views and not necessarily the views of Facebook.  To be clear – I do not work for Facebook.

Zuckerberg:We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

Translation: Facebook wants to be a place you come to improve your life and strengthen relationships. They don't want you to waste your time, but rather, they want your experience to be a positive one where you leave feeling just a little better than you were when you logged in.

Zuckerberg: “But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
     It's easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.”

Translation: A lot of people are posting a lot of stuff and on the grand scheme of life, a lot of it isn't really that important.  It doesn't contribute to Facebook's goal of strengthening relationships, improving well-being and being happy.

Zuckerberg: “We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.
     The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they're entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

Translation: Facebook understands that they have your attention and they don't want to stir the pot, so to speak.  Instead, they want you to do more of what makes you happy, and less of what doesn't.

Zuckerberg: “Based on this, we're making a major change to how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Translation: It's not about what's happening today in the world.  It's about what's happening today in your life.

Zuckerberg: “We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

Translation: Expect more posts from friends, family and the groups you've elected to be a part of to appear in your Newsfeed.

Zuckerberg: “As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
     For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.”

Translation:  If you're a business, brand or media, then you better be posting content that is meaningful to the viewer.  This means that it's not about what the business wants to push in front of the viewer, but rather about what the viewer deems meaningful to them.  Facebook also knows that certain events are extremely important to some viewers, and they won't stop showing those videos, but they will stop showing pointless, time-wasting videos.  If you're a business, consider using Live videos because they spark engagement between the person streaming and the viewer in real time.  By sparking conversations, this tells the Facebook algorithm that a video or post is meaningful to the user.

Zuckerberg: “Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

Translation: Fewer people viewing your posts, by default, results in less engagement. But don't despair, adjust your content plan accordingly and the lower engagement should only be temporary.

Zuckerberg: “At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”

Translation: Facebook cares about their audience and they realize that some people may not like this. But this isn't about those people. It's about the people that want to experience important moments with the entities that mean the most to them at that time.

Why Go Live?

Why Go Live?

Go Live? 

Why would anybody want to do that when you can record videos, publish them and then promote them on your social media channels. I'll tell you why, because it's a powerful marketing tool and you're missing out if you're not taking advantage of the power of live video. (more…)

Are You Marketing To Millennials?

Are You Marketing To Millennials?

The chances are that you are marketing to Millenials and you may not even realize it.

If your client was born between 1980 – 2000, that person is a Millennial.

When it comes to determining the psychographic characteristics of Millennials, the best plan is to survey your clients that fall within that generation. They will tell you exactly what they like, don't like, and what they do when they're not thinking about work.

The Hierarchy of Needs

Millenials represent the largest generation in US History.  Being the largest means that they are your client, or they soon will be.  This means that to survive in business, you'll need to learn how to craft your message so that it appeals to them.

So what are Millennials interested in?

According to my research, it appears that they're more interested in experiences rather than in stuff.

In an infographic created by Goldman Sachs, they stated that Millennials are “putting off major purchases – or avoiding them entirely” because it just isn't a priority for them.  Here's a quick screen capture of the portion about needs:

Millennials view purchasing different

What does this mean?

It means that if you're selling “stuff,” then you need to figure out a way to turn it into an experience.

Accenture put out a great article debunking myths about Millennials.  Here's a quick summary of their findings:

Myth 1:  It's all about online shopping

Millennials are used to online shopping because it's what they know, but that doesn't mean that they don't shop at brick and mortar institutions.  This indicates that they expect congruency between their online and physical shopping experiences.  If you've got a special promotion online that isn't honored in-store, then you risk losing the sale.

Myth 2: Loyalty is lost

Loyalty isn't lost with Millennials; it's just earned a different way. In the past, customers may forego a mediocre experience for a lower price.  However, Millennials aren't necessarily concerned with the price.  Their loyalty will go to whoever is courting them and is producing the best price possible.  They want to feel welcomed and valued, so when you're crafting your marketing messages, make sure that your message conveys warmth and value.  Also, be consistent with your marketing because you do risk losing the Millennial customer to another company who makes them feel more valued.

Myth 3: Social Networks

Millennials may use social media different than we think.  We talk a lot about making social media about relationships, but the reality is that many millennials view social media as a place to communicate and a place to “get deals.” So if you're looking to attract millennials on social media, then you need to offer them what they're looking for – a good deal and a positive experience.

How Millennials think

Here's a great video where Simon Sinek was asked “the Millennial Question” during an interview with Tom Bilyeu on Inside Quest

His advice to Millennials? “Too many companies you will work for are not built to take care of you. Until that changes, please take care of each other.”

Are you currently working with Millennials and have some insight you'd like to share?  Please leave a comment and let us know.

And then to lighten things up, here's a fun video about Millennials.  WARNING — the tune is catchy!


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