If you’re a marketer using Facebook, you know you have to pay to play.
Unless you’re Apple or HuffPo or George Takei, you can post as often as a teenager and the odds of people seeing your posts organically will get slimmer by the day.
But if you know Facebook is a good use of your ad dollars, the question becomes: How do you target the people you want to engage AND get them to read what you write?
There are lots of ways, but here are four we’ve found effective.
1. A post is the setup, not the story.
Presumably the content you’re linking to cannot be fully explained in a Facebook post. If it can, stop reading this and go post it.
Otherwise, use the art of the setup to your advantage: Tell people what you’re talking about and why, but don’t tell them everything. Jamming every element of your article into a post is clunky, and curiosity is good, as long as it points you toward a real, interesting answer.
And before you scream clickbait, this does not mean sensationalize what you’re saying. Not only does, “YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHICH FORMER SUPERMODEL IS SO FAT!” suck from both an editorial and human perspective, but Facebook’s much chattered about new algorithm will drop you out of the feed for it.
- What’s interesting about this story?
- What would make me want to read more — and then be happy that I did?
It’s a good way to make sure you’re delivering on what you promise.
2. Hold something back.
In this case: money.
When you map out your budget for the month, factor in some extra dollars for timely posts, but also to boost whatever is performing well.
A topic that doesn’t get much traction one day may draw views the next. Keep some cash in your pocket so you can ride whichever tide is highest.
3. Try scope and scattershot.
I am not a hunter, but walk with me here.
The targeting options on any given Facebook post are vast, though they essentially fall into 3 big buckets:
- Followers + friends
- All the other options (age, location, interest, people who’ve visited your website, etc.)
Targeting by interest is an obvious way to get your content to the people it will matter to (scope), but don’t underestimate the power of going broad (scattershot).
For example, a post about veterans offering peer counseling for mental illness will obviously resonate with a few audiences:
- Service people + people who support military causes
- People who work in mental health
- Counselors and support groups, and so on.
But don’t forget that it could also appeal to people who haven’t indicated publicly (i.e. haven’t liked, clicked or commented on those topics in a way Facebook could track) that they care about those issues.
Despite how it feels, Facebook doesn’t know everything about us (yet), and sometimes people just want to read good stuff. Put a little money toward getting in front of your followers (and their friends), and it can go a long way.
4. Change up your angle & entry point.
Once you’ve been successful targeting a post one way, change things up.
Create anchor links (hidden or visible) within long-form stories to start readers somewhere new (as long as it makes sense).
Change the image, headline and teaser text on Facebook so you can target new people with one piece of content.
To wit: this story about the neonatal abstinence syndrome epidemic in Tennessee can be targeted to:
- Healthcare professionals (scientific angle)
- New/expectant moms (a real look at how this syndrome affects a newborn baby)
- The addiction/recovery community (a frank discussion of what addiction is and how people overcome it).
If you come at your content from the same angle every time, you’ll grow bored of it quickly and so will your audience. But if you space out your posts properly, looking at things through a different lens will allow your audience to do the same.