Facebook recently announced a new change to its algorithm which gives news feed preference to personal experiences over commercial experiences. That’s great news for your mom, but not for bar communicators.
Simply put, we have to work harder to create awesome content that can drive shares, comments and likes/emoticons. Plus – if you’re not already – it’s time to explore affordable Facebook ads to help connect you with your targeted audiences to achieve your communications goals.
Facebook ads can seem daunting like any new process, but it’s doable. In fact, all it takes is five minutes, $20 and good content to make a successful ad.
This spring, The Missouri Bar ran a short Facebook ad campaign promoting free forms and clinics for National Healthcare Decisions Day. We boosted posts as well as ran Facebook ads (Tip: I've found boosted posts have a lower return on investment when it comes to clicks compared to ads). In this particular campaign, we invested a $100 into an ad ($20 per day over four days) and reached 13,054 people in our targeted audience, garnered 54 shares, nine comments, 180 likes/emoticons for a total of 314 post engagements at a cost of 32 cents per engagement with our target audience of Missouri citizens 40 years of age and older.
You can achieve the same or better with your own ads, keeping these tips in mind:
- Target your audience - the more targeted your audience is typically means a better engagement rate. If you’re advertising a veterans’ clinic, create an audience which targets the zip codes for the area the clinic is serving, the ideal age range, self-identified veterans, even those who support our troops, for example.
- Include eye-catching graphics/image/video - although Facebook has supposedly relented on the no more than 20 percent text rule on images, still follow it because it will help your ad perform better. Use this free Facebook tool to test your image rather than having it rejected by Facebook and having to reset the campaign. Always keep in mind that what matters most is how awesome the content you are sharing is to your audience. Be creative and get those thumbs to stop on your content.
- Ask a question – questions spur natural engagement with the ad. For example, we asked folks if they have their end-of-life-care wishes in writing. When someone posted "yes" and shared their story, we liked it, congratulated them and even called them trendsetters as most people haven't completed their advance care directive. Also be ready to answer questions with helpful resources on your call to action. We included links to free forms they complete on their own as well as a listing of free clinics to attend.
- Don't set it and forget it – be ready to engage with comments on the ads, especially outside of business hours. Look at your page's Facebook insights under "Posts." The first item on the page is titled "When Your Fans Are Online" and it’s a graphic that likely looks like a humpback whale. That's because your highest number of fans are online in the evenings and weekends. That means schedule your ads to begin in the evening and run over weekends. But this also means you need to have alerts set up so you or your team can be responsive and engage whenever your fans and new connections are online. Download Facebook Pages Manager (Android, iPhone, Windows) on your mobile device to make this easy to do on the go.
- Tag or share with partner organizations – if you have partnerships with other organizations and groups in real life, extend those relationships to your virtual platforms. We had some health care nonprofits and nursing facilities co-hosting our events, we worked to tag them and encouraged them to share our posts. Shares are the most powerful tool on Facebook (Share > Comment > Like/Heart/et al) as it lets you reach the audiences of your audience!
Find more great tips on how to run successful ads on Facebook and Instagram here and don’t be afraid to experiment to see what connects most with your audience.
Now go forth with your five minutes, $20 and creative ad design and make Facebook ads part of your communications go-to tools!