On seeing the light with dark posting…

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If you are not deploying Facebook Dark Posts into your paid social efforts, you are missing the boat. As a reminder, Dark Posts are News Feed style ads that look just like regular fan page posts, but actually go unpublished to your page. So they don’t show up on your Timeline or in your fans’ feeds organically. They are essentially dark to your page and only visible to the targeted audience you choose to show them to. They can only be created in the Power Editor, which means you need more that a layman’s level skillset to bring them to life. It is important to take the time to start learning how to do them or find a partner who can execute them for you. #facts

They are great tools for A/B testing creative and copy, especially if you want to really speak directly to a specific subset. Let’s say you post on your timeline and want to promote a protein product. When creating the post, you need to have the asset and language be universal and applicable to all viewers so you don’t alienate parts of your audience. With a dark post though, you can go very specific (i.e. Are you a woman in your 30′s who likes to shop at Whole Foods?”) which as you can imagine is highly effective at capturing the attention of users that fit that profile.  The possibilities are endless.

One highly effective usage case we like to deploy for our clients, is promoting retailer relationships. First off, that is a mission critical component to the success of the brand, because if they don’t help massage velocity reports at their retail partners, they could end up off of their shelves. Buyers these days will ask brands about their social presence and will often look at follower counts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook as a proxy for their brand’s social prowess. To be honest that is the wrong metric for success in this equation. It is irrelevant how many followers they have, what matters is how many people they reach. If a brand can show a buyer that they have figured out how to support their orders with hyper local and narrowly targeted ads, that facilitate awareness and foot traffic, then they really pique the interest of those buyers, most of whom have never heard of dark posting in the first place.

Below is an example of a campaign we created for our client Kidfresh Foods, to support one of their biggest retailers, Walmart. We targeted fans of Walmart and added in some other qualifiers too (can’t share it all with you here) who live in specific geo-targeted areas. We then made sure the copy and asset had the retailer’s name most prominent so we could capture the attention of those users, on the back of their household name. We included the two most important brand messages; the fact that they are tasty (they really are BTW) and that they can be found in the frozen aisle. These are two key messaging hurdles that the client feels are most important to convey via social and we put them front and center with this Ad.

The post was a real success. It reached 40,000+ people and earned a ton of engagement, including a lot of shares and comments, which were almost entirely super positive. It served up a number of opportunities for us to go in and answer questions and/or strike up a real dialogue with our fans and local consumers, which is the whole point of social media in the first place.  Added bonus: this one dark post created a nice audience of “people who recently engaged with our page” that we can specifically target with additional messaging now too.

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We then took these findings (with proof of concept in hand) and ran them back against all of their key retailers. We also gave their sales team a real weapon to show to new prospects and buyers out in the field.  This is a real winner when it comes to converting those types of sales and helps the company grow.

If you aren’t pivoting, learning and adjusting to the new ways of marketing and using tools like Dark Posts, then it could be lights out for your brand.  See what we did there? ;)

 

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Facebook Marketing and Messaging- A “Must Have” Component of A Social Media Plan

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Social media is evolving and I find that most businesses are still struggling with how to understand the necessary functions for their business. First off there is an underlying need to be active and participate in the social conversation and you need to have someone who is actually managing that process.  The day to day facilitationof the conversation, known as “community management” is mission critical for all types of businesses these days.  Whoever is at the helm, needs to be well versed in a few core areas:

1) Social Media Management: The most important piece is the day to day community management for the brand. This includes design and development of content/assets that users/fans/followers of the brand will want to consume and engage with and strategy on how best to use the various social networks to their advantage. It is very difficult to find a person internally that can do all of this effectively, especially at the price most will want to pay for the role. As a baseline a brand should consider this to be a full time position and should allocate a junior level salary to it: At least $2,500 per month ($30,000 per annum). Outsourcing is a great option for guaranteed results.

2) Social Media Marketing: This is the actual marketing component of social media and you will need to allocate a budget that is specifically marketing related. Most small businesses have not really tried to leverage Twitter of Pinterest Ads yet, though both definitely have value and are powerful.  When it comes to social media marketing, I think most have only dabbled with Facebook’s advertising platform.

The data and targeting abilities of Facebook make it one of the most attractive and compelling platforms I have ever experienced in online marketing.  When attacking Facebook Ads we generally recommend a starter test budget around $500-$1000 per month to get a feel for the platform. Depending on the goals of the client we need to assess what type of CPL, CPC, CPA OR reach and impressions we can drive.

We encourage businesses to look at Facebook spending in two distinct categories:

Facebook Marketing: As described above is marketing on Facebook with an allocated budget and some clearly defined marketing initiatives and/or agendas in mind.  Most marketers and CFO’s should feel very comfortable with this, as it is very ROI driven and very measurable via Facebook’s analytics platform, which is very robust.  If you want to track sales, Likes or even reach and impressions on key marketing messages, you can do so very easily via Facebook.  This platform offers low cost marketing, super narrow targeting and very detailed insights = a marketer’s dream.

Facebook Messaging: This is spending to strategically target your Facebook content and statuses at specific audiences.  Even for brand’s who are not spending on “marketing” on Facebook, it is very important to allocate funds to promote your branded messages. Page post engagements guarantee delivery of your posts to different users. With organic reach plummeting, brands are up in arms and some are even leaving Facebook.  As they run away, I encourage my clients to run towards the platform.  A little money goes a long way here and you can craft content and then deliver it to the right eyeballs consistently. Want to:

Target messages to your email subscribers on Facebook?  YES

Target messages to people who visited your website or even specific pages on your website?  YES

Target messages to audiences who’s profiles just “look like” the two audiences mentioned above? YES

Some content you might just want to show to your current fan base and customers, so you can “boost” that to your current fans.  Other content that specifically highlights your Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s) would be great to target at fans of your direct competitors, and they offer that too.  Taking it one step further, perhaps you might want to target specific messages at subsets (i.e. only female fans) and you can also do that without even posting it on your timeline for others to see. These are called dark posts which are hardly new, but are vastly underused.

Bottom-line is that there is so much you can do with some allocated funds on The Social Network, and allocating no budget for either marketing or messaging is a big mistake. It will compromise your online efforts and leave you feeling very unfulfilled.  An investment here will give you highly targeted messaging to real users, who are most likely to care about what you have to say.  No other medium offers that.

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Dark Posts: Test Your Content

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If you already have an established fan following on Facebook and do not want to spam the people who trust your brand, then why not take advantage of Dark Posts? The primary use of Dark Posts is to create unpublished posts in order to test your message. Before this feature, pages that wanted to test content would have to blast their message out to their entire fan base, and most were against this strategy for obvious reasons.

Targeted Posts

Let’s say you want to test a message to a specific group of people among your fan base. With Facebook’s targeted posts, some of these problems were solved. Targeted posts allow page managers to limit their posts to a specific group of fans.

Although this is a cool feature, there are substantial limitations. For example, there are only seven means of narrowing down your target market: location, language, gender, age, relationship status, education status, and gender interested in.

Dark Posts

This feature gives page managers total control over who sees what message. For the first time, you can create posts for the sole purpose of promotion, and the content never has to show up on your page.

The other major use for unpublished posts is to cater messaging to certain populations of people. As mentioned earlier, some of these capabilities exist with targeted posts, but the added layer of interest targeting makes unpublished posts an even better option.

Limit Yourself!

Yes, unpublished posts are great for message testing, but make sure you always stay true to your brand on Facebook. DO NOT use Dark Posts as a way to deviate from the overall voice of your page.

Always remember that promoting unpublished posts that have nothing to do with what your page offers, what your product does, or what your brand is about are misleading and will only result in you losing fans.

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