By now, you’ve noticed changes to your Facebook feed. You’ve been scrolling down through the feed, noticing fewer cat videos and business messages. Hell, it’s entirely possible that some of those people who have liked our page won’t see the post highlighting this blog article.
What you probably have seen are two things. The first is more posts from people you likely haven’t heard from in awhile and the second is more sponsored posts.
That’s okay though. It’s not the end of the of the world, only a new nuance; a nuance that you need to embrace. Not in the spammy way you find most of those posts, but in a targeted strategy, focusing on the specific audience that you wish to speak to. But who is that audience?
So far, my own feed has been filled with ads targeting businesses looking to expand their marketing. Most have been close, but not quite right, like they were looking through a murky glass when they targeted me. So what could have made their message or ad more to the point?
Here are six audiences you can target with your Facebook ads.
- 1. Everyone
- It isn’t the greatest option to open your net so wide, but some businesses can benefit. Your best play however is to focus your message to a targeted audience. You can choose to adjust by demographics and general likes such as cooking, cats, or cars.
- 2. An existing audience
- You can choose to boost your post to your current audience in an attempt to get your message out to the people who have already liked your page, but haven’t interacted in awhile. This method works for new offerings or if you want to convert your audience to an email list. Offer them something in return for their email; a free giveaway or coupon.
- 3. A mirror audience
- A mirror audience looks just like your audience, but in a different geographic region or simply those who haven’t liked you before.
- 4. Those you have touched on Facebook
- Have you interacted with them before? You can target people who have liked your posts or navigated to a certain section of your Facebook business page over a specific period. This means you can continue a conversation you were having with them in a previous ad or post.
- 5. A list you create
- If you have a list of emails then you can market towards them. Because your audience may not have used those email addresses for their Facebook logins however, you may not have a significant success rate.
- 6. Those you have touched on your website
- With a pixel, you can trace those specific people who have navigated to your website. You can hone your message to people who went to certain pages like your sales page or to those who didn’t navigate to other pages like your shopping cart. You can entice those who almost purchased to finish, or to those who did buy, to buy again.
Each of these audiences can be further parsed so you can separate them into any number of sub-audiences. Then, by using targeted ads, you can get your message in front of the right people. You can do this with a standard post which you boost or you can create an ad designed to urge them to buy. The type of medium you use will affect the audience you wish to pursue however. That’s because each audience subset will be in different positions down the funnel, or rather, they may be closer to the purchase decision.
You need to use both ads and boosted posts in concert to bring your message to different audiences. Once you have a system in place, you work towards the goals you have set of increasing awareness or increasing profits.
Do you ever get the impression that you’re stage isn’t large enough? That you’re telling great stories and your educational pieces are spot on, but no one is listening?
Finding an audience is difficult work. Businesses spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get to their perfect client. It can be frustrating watching the ad spend tic along if you aren’t connecting to the people you want.
Our advice is always to audit your funnel to see where the conversation is breaking down, at the top where they see your ad or at the bottom as they’re about to hit the submit button.
Social media has become a way for people to test out your knowledge however. You can post different types of information, but you can also try something new.
Groups offer a new take on the helping hand theory. With a group, you establish a venue for like-minded individuals to help each other. They ask open ended questions that someone else in the group can answer.
But how does a business take advantage? You can’t use the group to advertise, but there are ways to show your authority and turn the conversation in your favour.
How a business can use a Facebook Group
As an expert in the field, you can offer your advice to people. You don’t need to answer every question, only enough to show your authority. If you are an accountant, you can set up a group for businesses to work on accounting issues. If you own a pet food store, you can set up a pet lover’s group.
Yes, you may have a business page, but sometimes your audience may not want to engage the same way. A group allows them to have open discussions without it feeling like you are watching, even though you may be. A Facebook group may even educate you on how you can market to your audience. A particular issue that comes up may be worth blogging about or marketing towards with your ads.
Not the way you’re thinking. Sometimes you may find that someone else is answering a lot of questions in the group. If you like what they have to say, why not invite them to see whether they would be a good fit for your business? A great employee always brings their own potential clients with them and if you find someone who already has the raw talent you need then you have less to invest in.
4. Added value.
Sometimes, it isn’t about what happens before they come to you, but after. You can set up a Facebook group for your existing clients so they can discuss how they use your products or services in novel ways. This can also be a way for you to show them how to properly use your services properly if they are mistaken. You can use it as an FAQ.
Facebook groups allow you to change the way you communicate with your clients. You can set the group up for exclusivity so only they get the information and perhaps coupons or other freebies that you’d like to pass on. You can also establish whether someone can see the group at all. With Facebook groups unaffected by the new news feed algorithm, you can have your voice heard a little louder and further away.
If you operate your own business page on Facebook, you’ve likely see the announcement by now by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, then click here.
For those who need a refresher however, essentially, Facebook will be increasing the importance of personal posts and decreasing the importance of business posts. What this means is that your business message is going to organically find its way into the feed of fewer people. There’s no way to sugar-coat this. It’s a bad thing.
It isn’t the end of the world however and just like businesses did when newspapers started to wane in importance, we will adapt and survive. We need to think outside of the feed to get our message across.
3 things to keep your business message top of mind.
Keep the content engaging.
- Facebook has indicated that they aren’t interested in likes as a primary factor any longer. They want meaningful conversations. This means fewer mind numbing videos that you can’t help but watch, while simultaneously kicking yourself for losing all that time. It also means fewer cat pictures, unless of course you tend to have a discussion on those kind of threads. No, your business shares have to elicit conversation with your audience. Ask questions, start polls, or perhaps post long form educational blogs. What matters is that you spark a conversation.
Ask for more.
- Much like spam laws here in Canada, there is now a double opt-in for business pages. Your audience can like your page to see the minimum amount of posts that you share and they can also click the “See first” within the business page to see more of your company shares.
- Facebook is a business and many decisions, though couched as other reasons, will be based in the necessity to earn a return. That’s why the paid ads you see won’t be reduced on your feed. They certainly may become more expensive as more people try to get their message out, but they will still be available to you. You will still be able to boost posts and create ads.
The end of the world hasn’t arrived for business Facebook pages. Things will definitely have to change and no one truly knows how this decision will play out in the end. What matters is that you still keep creating content and relaying your message to those who wish to receive it. Be careful however with how you “push” your message out. There was a time when you could trade a page like for the chance to win a contest. Freebie Friday contests were always appearing from various companies. Like our page and get a coupon. Like our page and get your name in this draw.
While it was once acceptable, no longer will Facebook let this happen. Your page likes have to come organically. But then again, you WANT an audience who will engage with you as opposed to a bunch of people who clicked like for the chance of winning an iPod. There is no question engagement is going to dip, but take this as a wake-up call to create better content rather than sharing useless information.
If you are curious how this may affect you or just want to vent, click here and join the conversation on our Facebook business page.
Do you have an editor?
The act of writing doesn’t come easily for some. The struggle to find the perfect word can be a harrowing experience that takes someone all the way back to their public school days as they raced against the clock to finish an exam that had nothing to do with real life. No one has time to write, let alone edit.
Fast forward twenty years to your first blog post in your newly minted business website and the feelings of helplessness and frustration return. Did you say that right? Was that what you meant?
Even experts in the field can agonize over the placement of words to ensure the quality of the written product is as good as it can be.
It doesn’t matter whether you are creating the post or article for yourself or writing a freelance article for someone else, the prospect of having someone from your audience let you know about a typo or inaccuracy is deflating. The exhilaration of completion was worth a celebration. The prospect of that success being a glaring mistake will affect everyone.
So what can you do about it? Do you just accept the mistake and correct it meekly? Log into WordPress and quietly make the changes as you hope no one else reads your mistakes?
No, you invest in a time machine and a relationship.
The best thing you can do is foster a relationship with someone who may not necessarily have a degree in writing, but does have a keen eye for it. Then, rather than wait to find the mistakes in your writing, be proactive and correct them before you hit publish.
5 ways an editor can help
- Correct typos
They happen. You can look at something a thousand times, but a fresh set of eyes will see what should be obvious. It always comes down to their, they’re, and there.
- Correct errors in action
When you’re writing for a client, as we do at ClickHelp, it’s important that the client reads the posts and signs off on them. This process will ensure any assumptions are verified and your services are as described. Small assumptions can have large consequences.
- Make more sense
Sometimes you can try for hours to make something make sense. An editor can give you a new perspective and like magic, you make more sense.
- Make suggestions for additions
When you’re writing, you can become very focused on the message you’re trying to impart. An editor will often open other options for your piece to explore. In fact, they may offer new avenues for your entire business in the process.
- Tone it down
When you’re in the heat of your argument you can sometimes get too emotional. An editor can tone down the emotional context so you can relay your message without inciting a riot.
An editor can save you time and money, but most importantly, your reputation. You shouldn’t just settle on one that can do the job, you need someone who wants to do the job. You want someone who has the right emotional balance to your own. When you find them, create a plan so they know the image you have of the final product.
When you make that plan, set deadlines for yourself and your editor. That way you have a clear understanding of your relationship. When you’re on the same page, everything will move faster and you will have a clear, cohesive, and concise message.
What is SEO?
And what the heck does SEO have to do with a mountain?
At its most basic, SEO is easy to understand. Your clients want to find you. You go to Google and set up your website and bam, you can be found. With so many other voices trying to be heard, you want a way to be found first. Search Engine Optimization is the method by which you can be found easier, and optimally first.
Unfortunately, that’s where SEO stops being easy. There are elements that are simple enough to understand, but then much of it gets lost in gobbledygook; tags, links, backlinks, etc. etc.
When discussing a client’s position, businesses go through four stages of SEO.
Imagine a business is a person looking to climb a mountain.
The four Stages
A new business that has no SEO and likely can’t be found on Google or Bing. These clients have no position to start with and often don’t understand SEO.
- Nowhere to somewhere
The business has been operating for awhile and has some SEO. You can find them by keyword search, but they aren’t likely on the first page. Their SEO may be done on purpose or it may be just a coincidence because of the things they’ve naturally done with their website. On the other hand, a business with good SEO may be found here during their climb.
- Somewhere to first page
The business that has been operating for awhile and can be found on the first page at the bottom. They have been using SEO to get to this point whether on their own or with an agency.
- King of the castle
A business that has made it to the top. Now try to stay there.
SEO and the mountain
Let’s go back to our mountain for a moment. Imagine the first client as one starting out in the rolling hills. It’s easy to move forward. In fact, they can walk up the hills without much trouble. There is very little climbing and the weather is fairly calm. Because there is so much space, even if they have someone walking nearby, there is enough room for everyone to move forward on their own path without much competition.
As you get further up the hill however, things get more difficult to traverse. Eventually you have to start using your hands to climb and the neighbours you saw in the distance seem to be getting closer, sometimes butting ahead or squeezing you into a small confines as you compete for space.
Eventually you will come to a point where you need to be an experienced climber to travel the last length of the trek. You need to have the proper gear and be ready to fight for your position with the other climbers and with the winds that are buffeting you around. Every once in awhile a rock may break loose and send you tumbling down the mountain until you can recover and start over again.
SEO is the mountain
As you get closer to the summit, it becomes more difficult to make those small advances. It’s not that you aren’t doing a good job with your SEO. In fact, if you get this far, you’re using every SEO tool in your toolshed just so you don’t tumble back down the rankings.
As a matter of course, Google, the owner of the mountain has a strange sense of humour. What may be legal today for SEO purposes, may not be usable tomorrow. That means there will be times that you will fall flat on your face and not know why. Your efforts will seem to be for nothing until you can reset and reengage. To be fair, it isn’t for the sake of change that Google does what they do. It’s goal is to give the client the best experience possible. Sometimes it requires small changes to their algorithm to give the best experience to the most people.
Once you gain the summit, there are others vying to be king of the castle. You have to continue to work just to stay relevant and on top. The work you do at that level is harder and more technical and all for little or no change in position.
What to do about it
The best way to achieve your SEO, especially in the beginning, is to do the right thing for the client. Sure there are some technical things you can do to achieve that last few steps, but to get you there, the best thing is to be supportive to your audience. Not just supportive, but educational. Sometimes you can tell them a joke. And sometimes you have to pat their back and say it’s okay, or for that matter allow them to pat yours in the same manner.
What do I mean by all that sentimentality?
Social, social marketing, blogging, SEO, and even Google adwords.
The best strategy to increase your SEO is literally be engaged with a full onslaught of marketing channels. You need everything firing on all cylinders to ensure your position inches upwards on those rankings. The more people coming to your site, the happier Google is and you rank higher so more people searching find you.
Focusing on SEO alone is a dangerous gamble for most businesses. Sure, if you’re in a market that no one is doing SEO then you can get away with it. Unfortunately, times have changed and many businesses are seeing the benefit of a digital marketing presence. As more voices start to orate then the job of doing your SEO becomes that much harder. You are trying to hit a moving target while on horseback and being blindfolded.
By reaching out with multiple channels then invariably your SEO will naturally feel the boost. Blogging will increase your site size and relevance. That means your summit becomes bigger as you start to rank well with other keywords. Traffic from social platforms will affect your traffic. A well placed Google ad will help now and then as well.
Before you fire your SEO agency, remember there is a lot that goes into building your SEO. Remember to do your research from a non-tainted browser. (See here.)
With this in mind, if they aren’t producing then move on. Just be careful that you aren’t leaving for greener pastures only to find a snow filled mountain.