Using Facebook to achieve reach and engagement for your content campaign

Facebook is a brilliant tool in the content marketer’s arsenal.

The ad platform has a plethora of targeting options which allow users to be strategically targeted at specific points within the sales funnel.

This level of granular detail is the reason Facebook is my favorite platform for content promotion and why you should be doing it more.

A balance between social and search engine marketing needs to be sought in order to maximise the reach of your content campaign. Without the hard data which can be found by using the impressive range of organic tools available, content will be created without a purpose, topic or demand.

Similarly, failing to effectively amplify content through social channels will see your content hit a glass ceiling in terms of visibility in search engines.

I cannot stress enough that content marketing begins with defining your goals. The worst possible thing you can do is create content just for the sake of it. Content marketing is purposeful; we’re looking to build an engaged customer base through our content.

If you can’t explain what you’re trying to do with the content, then you’re not doing content marketing. It’s as simple as that.

Specific goals for an individual campaign might be as such:

Are we looking to build general awareness or attract a new type of customer?
Are we trying to engage our current audience or reposition ourselves within the marketplace? Defining your goals will determine the type of content you want to be creating.

From here we need to use data to determine what will work for our goals:

Topical interest in your content ideas 

There are plenty of awesome keyword research guides out there. I particularly like this one. A couple of steps are missing to make your keyword research content ready.

Firstly, you need to categorise your terms by intent. We’re trying to identify which terms are informational as opposed to commercial intent.

There is no easy way to do this. I’d set up a filter to identify any terms which have who what where why how. From there you’re on your own. You’ll need to manually check the SERP for each of your keywords and see what’s ranking. Is it mainly results trying to sell you stuff or is it informational?

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You should already have topical categories and search volumes from your keyword set. From here you just need to filter by informational terms to see what topics are driving interest.

Now that you have identified your biggest topics, you can reverse engineer the best ideas by gathering rankings and estimating traffic levels to identify the strongest pages within the topical set using this template.

It works by using estimated click through rates of a position, times by that search term’s average volume.

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Once you input the rankings, search volume and ranking URLs you just need to update the formulas and the pivot table, and sort by estimated traffic by URL. This gives you the top performing URLs based on traffic level.

Alternatively you can put in your topic and/or the biggest terms into Ahrefs content explorer to get the best content already out there. Identify the top trends that are being used – are they listicles, ‘how to’ posts, is it data led, are they using click-bait, infographics or long form posts?

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Audience insights

Another big source of really useful data is the audience insight section within Facebook. It provides information on demographics, location, Facebook usage, purchase activity and much more.

Facebook audience insights really comes into its own when you utilise custom audiences. Facebook allows you to upload active customers which it will then map to the appropriate account.

You can then target ads towards these accounts, but what’s more, if you go into the audience insight section in advert account manager it gives you the option of collecting insights from your custom audiences.

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If we’re making content that is trying to appeal to people similar to our active customer base, I will create a custom audience based on users who have completed a purchase or goal on site in the past 30 days (doing this with a Facebook pixel to track users who land on our goal/order completion page).

I’ll then have two audiences from this – the clean data set which I will use audience insights to gather intelligence from, then I will also create a lookalike audience for Facebook advertising to reach a bigger audience.

I would then go into audience insights for the clean active user data set and inspect the page likes report to view the pages that my active customers follow the most:

We can then spot trends in the most successful content on these pages similar to how it was done in the previous section.

Facebook audience insights also has a report which shows the likelihood of our content being successful on the platform. This is called the frequency of activities report:

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Here we can see that our audience is far more likely to click on an advert than the general Facebook public. This makes them ripe to Facebook advertising.

Crowdsource ideas

The final tactic we use to come up with content ideas our customers will engage with is to crowdsource content ideas from all areas of the business. Staff on the front line of your business, who have to deal with customers on a day to day basis, should be inundated with questions and comments about your service.

Similarly, customers should be interacting with you on social media, either directly or responding to your posts. Don’t be stuck in a bubble; use the information your customers give you to create valuable content.

You can even go one step further and just ask! Social media is one of the best ways to engage with your customers. You can run contests to harvest questions, photos and testimonials which can all feed into your content. Creating content in this way is audience focused and should lead to greater engagement.

While the discussed three tactics are fundamental to ensuring content is in the best possible position to engage with the right type of user on point of contact, additional considerations are required in order to maximise the reach of your campaign. It really all comes down to testing out your content, and then using Facebook advertising to push your winning ideas.

Test out content

Facebook is the perfect place to test out your content. I would always recommend doing a soft launch of some of your content ideas on your current Facebook audience and measure the amount of engagements you get.

This can give you some insight into what might work and what won’t. Timing is an important factor here, so make sure you stick to the same sort of time when posting content idea tests.

Use Facebook ads

Did you know that the average reach of an organic post on Facebook is less than 2% of the total page’s likes? Facebook advertising is an absolute must for content promotion.

Not only does it allow you to reach a much larger amount of users, its targeting options can allow you to target your content at a specific customer persona, rather than just your general audience base.

You can build lookalikes based on your active customers, create new targeting posts based upon audience insight data and even just target interests based on your topical interest data.

Don’t forget that you can point ads at people who already like your page too! So if you are just looking to update your current audience base you can get over the 2% rule with Facebook ads.

Facebook adverts really are where it all comes together. You have to be willing to spend in order to reap the benefits from this platform but with a data-led approach you can give your content the best possible start it needs to make sure it hits the ground running.

Be wary of the following mistakes, however, or your content will fall flat:

Message too promotional

Time and time again we see great ideas fail because the idea gets lost in a message which has too much of an emphasis on selling. According to a survey done by Facebook, posts which were too pushy will not get engagements.

Content marketing is about providing valuable information, not sponsored messages. People don’t click on ads, they click on things that interest them, which sometimes happen to be ads.

Timing 

Timing certainly plays a big part in content going viral. Some topics can become stale overnight. You have to consider your own resources when committing to creating a bit of content around trending topics. If you know you can’t turn around something in a short space of time, then don’t. Stick to topics with longevity.

Headline/Images 

The better the headline, the higher the click-through rate. If your text just isn’t effectively communicating your content’s value, then people just won’t click. It’s as simple as that. Users don’t often read past the headline, so don’t leave vital information out or in the fields below your ads.

You don’t need to be too smart with your text either. Just explain exactly what the post is and why the user should click; that’s all. We want to engage users with valuable content, not trick people into clicking. Just explain exactly what the posts is and why the user should click.

Don’t forget about visuals either. Did you know that visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media. A general rule of thumb with images is to keep them colourful. Having people’s faces as the focal point also helps.

A/B Test

This brings me nicely on to the last point. While testing content ideas out on your current audience is a great method for understanding what content is going to work, A/B testing your actual adverts is a must to achieving the best possible reach and engagement for your content.

I would always make sure to test your A/B test images and headlines as you never know what is going to perform best. If you want to read more on this topic I have written extensively on it here.

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