By day I’m the director of digital content for a pair of local TV news stations. I’ve been in the digital game a long time, helping businesses grow their audience and leverage platform algorithms to their benefit.
I don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, but I can help with what’s worked for me over the years. I’m going to start using this blog to help you, too, especially those of you who are a little older, like me, and feel left behind by technology and digital content, unlike me.
It’s rather easy to do this in the macro: provide the reader with value, use the platforms the way they want you to, spend some money, and repeat often.
Let’s talk about Facebook for a second.
I’m working with a bunch of folks to start brand pages. I’ve started a brand page, too, to help promote music I post to YouTube. If you have any focused personal or business objective, you need to get off the ‘friend page’ and onto ‘pages,’ what we might call a business or brand page.
You’ll also want to associate a credit card with that new page via business.facebook.com.
At some point, I’ll blog about how to do that. But let’s say you’ve got your brand page and are posting content to it. Here is the simplest strategy to grow your Facebook brand page.
It goes like this:
- Post compelling, interesting content
- Put money behind it against a targeted audience
- Convert those who react to your post into fans
Something about my Facebook page that I’d like you to ignore is how poor my art is. I’m going to spend a few dollars on fiverr.com to get my cover photo a whole lot sharper. The goal for my page is to bring attention to music videos I record, covers and originals. The ultimate conversion is for viewers to become fans or to visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel. To be fully vulnerable and transparent: I haven’t spent nearly the time and effort on my own pages as I should have.
This is me documenting that process.
This is what I do.
Post compelling content
For me, that means that I’ve recorded a music video, cover or original, that I think was particularly well executed. I post the video to my channel on YouTube and am sure to leverage all the fields to my benefit. The first 24 hours is crucial in the life of a YouTube video, so you don’t want to post it today and detail it tomorrow. Do it all from the beginning.
Also, don’t add one of those thumbnails that has writing all over it. Not at first. You might later; it’s just that you want to optimize the video for a Facebook ad first. Facebook has always said that it doesn’t give much audience to posts that have writing all over the graphic associated with it, but they have really throttled them recently. It’s best if your thumbnail has no writing on it at all, for Facebook.
For YouTube, it appears to be a different answer.
So, we’re posting to YouTube to share to Facebook to grow audience on a Facebook brand page and to drive people to my YouTube channel, and we want to adhere to Facebook’s post preferences just long enough to get an ad on the ground. Afterward, you can go back and add the thumbnail that has words all over it to YouTube.
Put money behind it
Once you get your post live, immediately put money behind it — and do it with your phone. Look for the blue button under the post that reads, “Boost Post.”
Once you click that, you’ll see:
Several things I’d like to note here.
- I strongly prefer to make ‘Get More Engagement’ my primary goal. You can make ‘Get More Website Visitors’ your goal, but I’ve found that you end up with more website visitors if you focus on engagement. Plus, your post does better overall, and you end up with more new fans.
In my experience, focusing on content that produces engagement will take you to your business goal faster indirectly than even directly.
- In the vast majority of situations, you’ll want to use an audience that you ‘choose through targeting.’ Click ‘Edit’ next to that.
After you’ve created one audience, you can save it and re-use it. Or you can create a new one each time. Or you can start to re-market your posts to people who like your page or who have interacted with your posts. For my purposes, since I’m covering mostly songs that were big hits in English-speaking countries, I tend to target either the United States by itself or the U.S. plus Canada, England and Australia.
But that’s not all, I like to target people based on interests. For example, I just boosted a post that linked to a cover song I did for “Lady” by Kenny Rogers. At first, I targeted fans of Kenny Rogers who also like piano, but I found that I got more traction when I just targeted people who liked piano. Typically, adding the artist helps because it tightens the audience. When you create a Facebook ad, it helps to manage it throughout its life-cycle. If the ad is not performing to your satisfaction, make changes!
Once you select an audience, Facebook will critique it and tell you how broad it is:
This audience with all the ages and no interests, demographics or behaviors included is much too broad. Not only do I limit the number of countries that can see my video (which is not shown precisely in the image above), I limit the age grouping. “Lady” was a huge hit in 1981. I figure folks who love the song are pretty close to my age and older. In fact, when I cover 1980s songs, I typically target an audience that is 35 and older.
You’ll see in a moment why I really should be targeting 50 and older!
But I make a couple tweaks, and “voila,” I have an audience that Facebook says is good.
Once you’re done, it takes an hour or so for Facebook to approve your ad. At that point, I’d recommend you start paying attention to the performance of your ad. Do two things, specifically:
- Interact with people who interaction with you. Like their compliments, and thank them. Do not feed the trolls. Be social.
- Look through everybody who has liked your post and invite them to like your page. This part is a must.
Here’s where you’re not going to be impressed, I’m afraid. I only have 153 fans so far.
The truth is: I’ve only posted to the page 15 times this entire year through seven months. If you have a brand page, that’s unacceptable. If I really want to make this page take off, I need to be posting at least once per day — and it needs to be a strong post. Every day.
However, for just a few dollars, I’ve built an audience of 153 people who aren’t my real-life Facebook friends. If I were to do exactly what I’ve done at scale, I’d have 1,000 fans in no time flat — and then 10,000. Everything I’ll show you how to do on digital is about taking micro-steps and doing them at scale.
It’s a challenge when you’ve got a regular job and other life obligations. Preach.
You can learn a lot about the audience that likes you as part of this process, too. For example, check out the results from my $20 ad campaign on the song “Lady.”
From a Facebook perspective, I reached 2,794 people and got 437 engagements on the post. I was able to convert that into 18 new fans, which for $20 comes to about $1 per new fan and a 4.1 conversion rate. Is that good? I think it depends who you are, what business you’re in and what you’ve done thus far — a baseline, if you will. I feel like I could have done a better job with this ad, particularly if I were to have honed in on an older audience.
Check out the bottom of the graphic above.
Most all my audience was 65 and above. Wow. I must be the new Liberace. Long-term, however, it’s not my goal to grow an audience of AARP members, a club I’ll also be in very soon. On the other hand, the 50-80 year-old demographic is absolutely the fastest-growing group on Facebook — and I bet that if I were to re-do the ad and focus on that audience, my conversion rate would be significantly better.
If that were a goal of mine, I’d do just that. For now, I’m content to experiment with another ad on another song. For you, however, whether you’re a Realtor or a comedian or a so-called social media expert, the formula for growing a Facebook brand page, at its easiest, is exactly this.
What about my YouTube channel? How did this ad impact that? It’s hard to say. It did bring the video 342 views, and most of them came in the first couple of days of the video’s existence — a big deal in the world of YouTube. Early performance on YouTube predicts long-term performance, not merely against the quality of the video but also within YouTube’s algorithm.
Plus, with each new YouTube subscriber, it’s hard to know for sure why they decided to subscribe. About the only way I know to find out is to ask them or hope they’ve already “liked” one of your videos, which would show up on their page, I’ll address that later in a blog post. I’m currently at 865 fans and would love to be at 1,000 by the end of the year.
But every time I do a new Facebook ad, I’ll show you the results. If you’d like to come along on that journey, follow this blog. We’ll grow together!
Header graphic comes from ijclark on Flickr