With its capability to maximize the viewing potential of any post, many small business owners are turning to Facebook’s “Boost” feature as a way to increase the visibility of their online advertising. However, while boosting your Facebook posts can certainly help you reach a larger audience, it takes a deeper understanding of both your potential client base and their specific needs to effectively use this service as a marketing tool. In episode #98, Elizabeth Larkin, Gene Marks and special guest, Ryan Heisler, provide helpful advice that will enable you to create successful ad campaigns with Facebook’s newest service.

Executive Summary

1:06—Today’s Topic: Is it Necessary to Boost My Business’s Facebook Posts?

1:43—Boost is an additional paid service offered by Facebook that enables your posts to reach every single one of your followers.

3:08—In order to boost your posts more effectively, you need to set up separate audience lists, based on your customers’ various preferences and demographics.

6:20—Be prepared to do some testing in order to find out what type of advertising your audience responds to the most.

10:19—Facebook will reward you if you can limit all your customer service interactions to their platform or any of their compatible affiliates.

13:24—Because Facebook is always changing, it is important to follow experts who can keep you up-to-date on all the latest trends and marketing strategies.

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Transcript

Elizabeth: Welcome back to the Small Biz Ahead Podcast. We have our guest, Ryan Heisler here, and of course, Gene, who I …

Gene: I’m here as well, yes. Don’t forget about me.

Elizabeth: He’s still in the room.

Gene: Yep.

Elizabeth: Today we’re gonna be talking about something that you’ve probably seen on Facebook before, and it’s Facebook asking you to boost your post. So, you either know what that is, or you don’t know what that is and you’re intrigued by it. After we hear from our sponsor, we are going to answer that question.

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QUESTION: Do I Have to Boost My Facebook Post?

Elizabeth: And we’re back. So, our question for Ryan now is:

“Do I have to boost my Facebook post?”

This is probably the simplest question. Shortest and sweetest question we’ve ever gotten, but I’m sure Ryan’s gonna have an answer that starts with, it depends.

Gene: But Ryan, also if I can ask you to explain what boosting means. We see that button there when we post, and Facebook wants us to do this. What is this all about?

Elizabeth: Actually Ryan, if you could explain Facebook advertising to us in the next 10 minutes, that’d be great.

Gene: And Ryan, if you could explain to me … no, keep going.

Ryan: Okay, so very generally speaking, Facebook offers a variety of advertising options. The easiest one that they put out there is that boost post functionality. They really kinda introduced this going on seven or eight years ago now, and it was really their kind of first foray into advertising. What they really are looking for you to do is to hit that to wind up ensuring that your message winds up in all of your page followers’ news feeds. It’s a little interesting that you have to pay money in order to advertise to people who already follow you on social media?

Gene: Welcome to Facebook in 2018, right?

Ryan: Right. Well, Facebook in order to meet their market expectations, always needs to be raising more money. Their primary lever is the advertising platform, and so when you’re talking about a company that has to have two billion dollars in revenue from advertising per quarter, in order to barely meet expectations, you’re going to have your kind of pages get that reduction in free reach in order to start spending money in order to engage with people.

Gene: So, it’s pay-to-play.

Ryan: Without going too too far into it, Facebook owns Instagram, and as we go through this, the Instagram platform’s advertising features are all built into the same one as Facebook. It’s one stop shopping for two different platforms. When you’re boosting a Facebook post, you’re not actually targeting your messaging. You’re just putting it behind people in whatever sphere is auto-set for it. The first thing you have to do if you’re going to be advertising on Facebook is set your audiences appropriately. There’s a really kind of easy functionality in order to be able to set up different audiences that you have. You have the option of being able to upload your email list and match against people who are already on that. You can build lookalike audiences from there.

A lookalike audience takes a slice of your data, where it’s like you upload your email list, and then you say to Facebook okay, we want people who match on some degree of some type of look on the people already on your list. It’s like, oh, these people have this income distribution. We want within 2% of this range, and people have these interests and we want a set amount of this range. It gives you kind of all of a sudden, you have three or four hundred thousand people off of a list of 40,000 that oh, they are more likely than not going to be interested in your product.

Gene: So, my lookalike audience is not necessarily a bunch of bold middle age guys, right? It’s usually different criteria.

Ryan: Right, right.

Gene: I just want to make sure of that.

Ryan: Setting those audiences up will ensure that when you’re trying to actually put your message out there, that you’re putting it in front of the right people. At the end of the day, your advertising money is money that you could have used for some other purpose or you’ve gotta make sure that it’s working to get the message in front of the right person.

Gene: Does it get in front of the right person for like a blip and then it’s gone? Does this work?

Ryan: So, it depends.

Gene: We’re gonna be hearing a lot.

Ryan: Media budget has an awful lot to do with whether or not you’re a blip in front of somebody or if you wind up appearing in front of somebody 20 times and annoying the crap out of them.

Gene: Yeah, sure.

Ryan: It’s finding that right balance and understanding that oh, if my audience is really big, then I’m going to need more money in order to reach them at least two or three times to ensure that they don’t just scroll past me.

Gene: So, it’s like the bigger audience that you have actually the more expensive it gets to be to get your messages out in front of them, right?

Ryan: So, it’s more expensive on a total media budget, but in general, the larger your audience, the less expensive on say a per click or per action it’s going to be. Because Facebook works on a scale like that. The more targeted you are in general, the thought process is the more specific you are and the more scalpel like you’re trying to be, the more expensive it has to be.

Gene: Got it.

Ryan: It’s a lot like diving into a different area like paid search. The more scope and more intent a user has in their search query, the more expensive that’s going to be because it’s more likely that they’re going to take the exact action that you want them to.

Gene: Okay. So, let’s try some specific scenarios. Say I’m on, and we’re picking on Facebook because listen, there’s 70 million small business pages on Facebook. Yeah, right, okay. It’s the most popular social media platform for small businesses, but say I want to be selling something through my Facebook page, and Facebook gives me the ability to do that. You have a buy button, right? Payment button and all of that. Ryan, I want to sell this widget off of my Facebook page. What would be the best way to get the message out there?

Ryan: So, I mean you definitely need to be advertising it and spending money behind whatever posting that you’re doing, so from there, it’s a combination of both standard promoted posts, which is the same basic functionality as a boosted post.

Gene: Let’s just say, let’s stop right now. Say I have a post saying oh, this new widget that we have is coming in a green color. That’s my post, and then I’m gonna promote it or boost it, correct, okay?

Ryan: Yep. Then, you also would probably have variations of that, and you would use Facebook’s Ads Manager tool to do that. So, it gives you the opportunity to reach the same audience and have five or six different versions of the same post out there and being advertised to these people.

Gene: But isn’t the idea also not only to just I want to get my product out there to of course my audience, but isn’t the idea also to reach new audiences? So, how do I do that?

Ryan: So, that goes back to the audience sort of building criteria that you have to do. It’s identification of who’s my existing customer or who’s my existing follower base? Let’s have one version of this going to them. Then, we’ve built a lookalike model or we’ve built some other targeting of these are the types of things like income, household composition, etc.

Gene: Location … right, whatever.

Ryan: All of the elements that you think are most likely to take the action that you want. In this case, purchase. So, you’d have a separate group and a separate funding pool to reach just that audience. So, your message might be the same to the two audiences. At least that way, you have a little bit more control over the two of them, where you can see oh, you know what? My current customers aren’t buying this like the new ones are, so we’re gonna turn that off and we’ll put more money behind this, because they’re taking that action.

Gene: Got it. Do you recommend keeping the posts the same or switching them up or varying them?

Ryan: It really comes down to how much time do you as a small business owner have in order to be able to do this. I always recommend running at least two versions of creative out there and only change one element between the two of them. It’s called an AB test. Basically, you’re trying to control for what element here is resonating with people? So, you take your same audience. You have two different versions of the ad. Say the text is different, but the headline, the photo’s the same. One of them is converting 20% better than the other one is, so obviously you know, alright. Whatever was different between these two worked. So, alright, now I can start testing some other element and be able to optimize. At some point, you do reach kind of the law of diminishing returns. Your AB tests tend to return less investment over time, but then so you’re going to have early big returns by doing some of the testing, but as the campaign goes on, say for like a month, by that third week it’s not worth optimizing anymore. You’re just gonna get what you’re gonna get.

Gene: I was giving you the scenario of selling something on Facebook and accepting payment through Facebook, which Facebook gives you the ability to do. What if I didn’t want to do that? You just wanted to redirect people to your website, and then let them then do research and buy whatever your e-commerce platform is. Does Facebook like that less than if you keep people on Facebook to buy?

Ryan: So, Facebook has a vested interest in keeping you on Facebook. So, if you’re really trying to maximize any type of reach that you get or anything else, always keep that in mind. Facebook’s going to reward you if you’re trying to keep that user within a Facebook interface, so from kind of like a product listing ad, use Facebook’s integration. Facebook does offer a third party integration with a lot of different e-commerce platform, so see if yours is compatible and can be pulled in. You will reap benefits versus just trying to link to your off-site.

Gene: Got it. Does Facebook also track, will it give you statistics for these campaigns that will show you what you’ve put out there versus what either leads or actual sales you got from it?

Ryan: Yeah, so within Facebook’s analytics tool, you have the opportunity to review all of the different data elements. It does require you if say you’re using an off-site, on your own website, you do have to install a pixel. It’s a short snippet of code. From there, Facebook does offer that tracking element, so you can see. It also allows you to do stuff like a re-marketing campaign, where say you have people who visited your website, put items in their shopping cart, but then they left and they abandoned their cart. Well, you can run an ad to that audience specifically to bring them back to complete their purchase.

Gene: Got it, got it. If I was just getting started selling on Facebook, what specific advice would you give me?

Ryan: Be ready to spend a fair bit of money in order to really kinda get things off the ground.

Gene: I remember when you said that to me, like when I wanted to increase likes on my Facebook page, and I was saying … say I wanted to get 100,000 likes or whatever. You’re like, first of all, you gotta give me $100,000 budget. I was like, the first thing that you said because you gotta do that, right?

Ryan: It’s getting more and more expensive on the day-to-day basis. That being said, Facebook is the least expensive platform for you to run a product listing ad or other selling-based campaign service. You can try and use Amazon with their product listing services, unless you’re on Amazon Web Services, I really don’t recommend taking that tactic. Google is just going to be simply expensive to run on, because you’ve gotta compete with all of the different e-commerce sites that are otherwise out there. Facebook’s going to give you a little bit more latitude.

Gene: Great. Ryan, that was awesome. Elizabeth, anything else?

Elizabeth: Yeah, I just wanted to ask Ryan to remind us of who you follow to stay on top of what’s happening with Facebook. We talked about this in the previous episode, but some new business owners might be listening and they might be thinking, how do I stay on top of this? Facebook changes things all the top.

Gene: So, I had Jon Loomer and Larry Kim. Can you tell us about that?

Ryan: It’s Jon Loomer Digital is the name of the guy who is truly a Facebook expert. The guy has been writing about the topic for going on a decade, and he’s really got a good knack for giving you how-to guides on how to be able to keep up with Facebook’s latest changes. If you’re thinking more broadly, then look at Larry Kim. He runs WordStream at a digital agency out of Boston.

Gene: Hmm, that’s great. If I wanted to just expand my presence on MySpace, what advice would you give? Just kidding, just kidding. Elizabeth, go ahead.

Elizabeth: I was just gonna thank Ryan for being here. If you have any questions for Ryan, if you go to the show notes and you find the show notes, I know we talk about them all the time, by going to smallbizahead.com, and then if you look on the navigation bar, click on the podcast link, and then you’ll see all of our episodes come up. Find this episode, find any episode, and there’s a link in the show notes to submit a question. You can submit a question to Gene, to me, to Ryan. Nobody’s gonna submit a question to me, but either Gene or Ryan.

Gene: Of course they are.

Elizabeth: We’ll have them back to answer more questions. In fact, he’s gonna be here for another episode where we’re gonna talk about Twitter, and that’s coming up in a couple days. So Ryan, thanks for being here. Gene, thanks for also being here.

Gene: Awesome job, Ryan. Thank you.

Elizabeth: We’ll talk to you next week.

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