You just published some great content on your website or blog but without a promotional strategy, almost nobody will see it (related post here on how to create a blog strategy in 5 steps). Google may or may not send you organic traffic. And the build it and they will come theory, or, in this case, write about it and they will come, is not going to get it done.
Ah, but you posted it to your Facebook page, that should good exposure, right? No!
Here’s a graph of results showing the overall exposure from organic Facebook posting versus paid or sponsored posts for a retail client of ours. As you can see the paid post-exposure dwarfs (dark orange) the exposure from the organic postings (the light orange color at the bottom of the graph).
In today’s world of online marketing, you have to “pay-to-play.” This is certainly true with Facebook as the company monetizes its platform. Paid promotion doesn’t necessarily have to be that expensive, but if you want consistent exposure you have to pay.
The worst thing that can happen to a good piece of content is that it gets no exposure – nobody reads it. You spent all this time in creating the blog post or article, but the audience most likely to be interested in seeing it never will see it.
So what type of blog content am I talking about promoting? Anything relevant to your current customers or future customers. Perhaps you launched a new product, are offering a special holiday sale, or maybe you wrote a post on customers that have successfully used your product or service to improve their lives.
Promoting this type of content has big benefits:
Keeps customers engaged with the brand, maintains mind share, and improves sales.
So here are two useful Facebook tactics you can implement now to grow exposure and engagement of your blog posts:
- Facebook Custom Audiences of existing customers or
- Past website visitors
Both groups are highly likely to be interested in what you have to say.
Facebook Custom Audiences: Existing Customer Lists
Did you know that you can load your customer lists into Facebook and match it to Facebook profiles? This is by far one of the greatest features of Facebook ads. You are creating a captive audience of just those people that are your customers that you can reach with ads regularly.
How do you create a Custom Audience of your customers?
Step 1: Login to the Facebook Ad Manager and click on Audiences.
Step 2: Create Audience, Custom Audience
You will see a big green button on the top right after you have clicked on Audiences. Click the drop-down and select Custom Audience.
Then choose Custom List.
Facebook then gives you several options on how to load your customer file: upload a file, copy and paste, or Import from Mailchimp.
Once you’ve loaded your customer lists, it takes Facebook some time to match your list to profiles. And depending on how accurate your list collection is you will probably have a match percentage of somewhere between 20% – 80%, but your mileage will vary depending on several factors.
For businesses that are diligent about collecting their customers’ phone numbers and emails, the percentage match is usually closer to the 80% level. And the match rate will also vary considerably depending on whether the phone number or email the customer gave you was listed in their Facebook profile.
Once the list is matched, you now have a Custom Audience inside your Ad Manager you can target to promote your blog posts and content.
And if your list is large you can further segment it based on all the variables that Facebook’s normal ad platform provides, age, gender, geography, interests, behaviors, etc.
Facebook Custom Audiences: Website Visitors
The other group of people that are highly likely to be interested in seeing your blog content and engaging with it is people that have visited your site recently.
If someone arrived at your site from an organic query in Google, or from traditional media advertising, why not keep them engaged with relevant content that you’re posting on your site? This keeps your brand in front of them.
So how do you create a Custom Audience of past website visitors?
Follow the initial steps in Ad Manager above, but when you get to Create A Custom Audience, you are now going to select website traffic.
After you select Website Traffic, you are presented with the screen below.
Click the “Website traffic” drop-down for more options.
In the above screenshot, Facebook offers several options. Here’s where what you choose depends on your goals and objectives and your logic in including or excluding individual visitors. You need to experiment.
I can tell you the option of “Anyone who visits your website” is pretty broad and not very focused, especially if you have a large site covering many topics.
And don’t worry about creating too many Custom Audiences – if you never do use a particular website Custom Audience it doesn’t matter, but at least you have created it and now have the option as an ad target.
In this case, I selected “People who visit specific web pages” since my content can vary somewhat on the topic of online marketing. I like to target certain blog posts to people I know who visited specific web pages.
After you choose your option in the drop-down, you then paste a portion of the URL on your site that you want to target. And from there you select a time frame. In the below screenshot, it is set to 30 days so anyone that has visited that particular page in the last 30 days will be on the list.
Create several different websites Custom Audiences for the same URL each targeting different time frames (hat tip to Jon Loomer for many multiple time frame targets for a URL).
For promoting a blog post, I often choose “People who visit specific web pages.” But the options here are endless really. Perhaps your website is so focused on a particular topic that promoting any new post to everyone that has visited your site would be effective.
For my site, however, I promote content based on specific pages people have visited before.
As an example, I wrote a post about Yelp Ads and it gets a lot of traffic from Google from business owners that are interested in the effectiveness of Yelp ads and whether they should invest in it. In addition, the post has more comments than anything else on my site.
So I created a follow-on post titled Top 10 Reason Google Ads Beat Yelp Ads. I know from the comments on the Yelp blog post that people have an interest also in Google Adwords and the differences between Yelp and Google and which one they should choose.
So why wouldn’t those same individuals be interested in a post comparing Google ads to Yelp ads? Well, there’s a good chance they would be.
If we look at the data, we can see the metrics are robust and the Yelp post visitors were interested in the post comparing Google ads to Yelp ads. I had a unique click-through-rate of 15% and website visitors at $0.49/visit, which is way cheaper than what I could have bought that traffic for in Google.
Most importantly, I could have never reached these same people if it were not for Facebook’s Custom Audiences.
The numbers reported above could have been significantly improved too as the website Custom Audience I had targeted included some visitors that had visited the Yelp blog post longer than 30 days ago. Had I limited this targeting to only visitors who had visited that page in under two weeks I know the engagement would have been far better.
The bottom line is you can get your content promoted very effectively with Facebook Custom Audiences to the people most interested it: current customers and people that have recently visited your website and have read your existing content.
The benefits of all this:
Greater brand awareness, more customer mindshare of your brand, and better sales.
Have you tried Facebook’s Custom Audiences to promote your blog content? Let me know how it worked in the comments below.