Silly! Facebook is like a garden, not a supermarket

Scott Rawcliffe is a fitness instructor who also coaches other fitness pros.
His content is solid, posting a couple times a day with a strong mix of photos, motivational quotes, and interesting tidbits.
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His reach was usually under 100 people (the number of people who see his posts) and he got only a handful of interactions.
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So as many businesses do, he boosted a post here and there, spiking reach as high as 5,000.
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THE THORNY PROBLEM

But without keeping an “always on” strategy to develop light weight engagement over time, the page loses momentum. It’s on, then off.
And the posts that businesses typically promote are promoting immediate sign-up.
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These conversion-only, heavy sales posts typically get low engagement, in this case, none.  Small businesses get frustrated with Facebook, claiming that it’s not doesn’t drive sales.
The click-through rates on these ads are abysmal.
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A low CTR (click-through rate) means a high cost per click, often over $3 per click. That’s why you must micro-target your audience to just a few thousand people. You don’t have the budget of a soap manufacturer to reach millions.
The lack of micro-targeting meant he wasn’t hitting exactly the right audience, so he was getting only a handful of LCS (likes, comments, and share). In this case, only 9.
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MIRACLE-GRO FOR YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE

People see Facebook like a super market. Go to the cash register, pay for your vegetables, and immediately receive it.  Google AdWords is like this.
But Facebook is actually a garden, you plant seeds and nurture the plants, until eventually you harvest them.  It takes time, but the net result is an on-going bounty of delicious, inexpensive produce right in your backyard.
Enter the strategy of audience, engagement, and conversion.
 
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  • Audience: get your posts seen in the newsfeed by exactly those you want to reach, but wouldn’t get organically, mostly non-fans.  Yes, you must pay to get your posts into their newsfeed. If you have a few thousand fans, you can use friend-of-fan targeting to give social context to your posts (Justin Lafferty likes this). If you don’t have many fans, but have a few dozen good posts, you can run page like stories to get more fans. When users become fans, they automatically move into the engagement campaign.
  • Engagement: This is the workhorse of your Facebook amplification strategy, to make sure your fans are seeing your messages. You’re not making special ads here, just paying to make sure your organic posts show up.  You’re running sponsored stories to amplify the word of mouth effect, to let your target audience know when their friends have been engaging with your content.
  • Conversion:  Now you’re targeting fans with your offers. You wouldn’t propose to a total stranger, so why not show some tact on Facebook by selling only to folks you’ve warmed up and gotten to develop a relationship with?
Paul Adams, a product manager at Facebook, calls this lightweight interactions over time.
It’s about building relationships, much like the dating or gardening analogy.

WATERING AND FEEDING THE GARDEN

So our friend Scott implemented this strategy of Audience, Engagement, and Conversion.
He’s spending $3 a day on his audience campaign and $3 a day on engagement campaign.
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His click-through rates are literally 100 times better, as high as 10%.
Being in the newsfeed, as opposed to the right-hand side also helps.
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And by having one ad that promotes the most recent post (the dark orange slice on top of each light orange bar– sorry that it’s hard to see), he’s building momentum.
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And it’s costing him $6 a day.

NET RESULTS

Likes, comments, and share are consistently trending up, even though people are spending less time on Facebook during the holidays (at least most of us) and he’s spending less on ads than before.
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He’s got 125 PTAT (people talking about this) on a base of 320 fans.
In other words, his active user base is 39% of his fan base, it’s a 39% engagement rate.
Most fan pages are at a couple percent at best.
Provided that he continues to post 2-3 times a day with interesting non-promotional content, he’ll keep building up awareness in his community. Over the long run, as his name gets out there, he’s generating more business via Google, email marketing, Facebook, and referral.
Are you watering your garden and patiently waiting for your plants to grow?
Have you implemented the AUDIENCE, ENGAGEMENT, and CONVERSION strategy yet?

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