It’s getting tougher and tougher for brands to make an impact through organic means on Facebook.

In a recent tweak to the news feed algorithm, companies that run Facebook pages have seen a substantial drop-off in reach as Facebook prioritises content from users who your followers engage with the most.

That’s not to say that it’s now impossible to get your unpaid posts seen by your fans, it’s just that they’re more likely to only be seen by users who regularly engage with your page.

I discussed the pros and cons of this at greater length in the above linked article. Indeed the news feed change has scuppered many small publishers and businesses with little-to-no budget, but then again there’s an argument to say that if your content is engaging enough and tailored for your specific Facebook audience, then you shouldn’t see too much of a drop-off.

Everybody needs a little push now and then though. I run a Facebook page for my own music review website. I don’t make any profit from it, I just do it for the love of being mean about Skrillex. 

Previous to the algorithm change each of my posts would easily be seen by at least 100-150 users. In the last few months however this has dropped off substantially to around 20. The Facebook page was a great way to engage with readers as it provoked a lot of interesting and funny conversations. This isn’t the case anymore.

Whether you feel this is down to the quality of content, or whether you feel that Facebook has been unfair with this change or not, it’s difficult to argue with Facebook’s commitment to providing its users with a more personalised, tailored experience.

However, and this is a big however, Facebook has made it incredibly easy to market your branded page and its posts.

As I said above, I don’t run my page for profit, but I am willing to give it that extra little push with a few quid I have lying around. 

This is a how-to-guide, looking at the process of creating three different types of ads:

  • To promote an individual post.
  • To get people to Like your page.
  • To drive clicks to your website. 

As I’ll be using my own Facebook page, I’ll even show you the results afterwards.

Promote post

One of the first things you may want to try, being as it’s the most prevalent call-to-action in the administrative version of your page, is ‘Boost Post’.

This brings up a small pop-up which can be used to target users and set your budget.

As further proof that organic reach for pages is non-existent, here there’s an option to target the post directly towards your existing fans. This is a good option if you want to remind your existing audience that you do indeed still exist.

The more you spend here, the more friends of your fans will see it. This however may not necessarily mean that your post will be seen by people likely to care about your brand.

Instead I’m going to choose people through targeting.

As you can see you can specify by location, gender and age, but also perhaps more importantly interest. Here I’ve targeted fans of artist pages who I feature in the article I’m promoting and a couple of rival publishers.

You can set the budget, how long the post will run for and then it’s just a simple input of your credit card or PayPal details then you’re away.

The minimum spend is £5 which Facebook estimates will make my post be seen by 1,300 – 3,300 people. You can choose to increase this at any time for as little as a £1. 

I’ve chosen to spend £9 (estimated reach 2,000 – 5,200) and run the promoted post for two days.

Results:

  • Post engagements: 24
  • Reach: 8,031
  • Average cost per engagement: 37p

Here’s how the engagement breaks down further:

I’m not going to be making Pitchfork or NME shudder in their winkle pickers with these kinds of numbers, but with a fairly minimal spend I did get my post seen by 8,000 people more than normal. As you can see from the breakdown below, before I boosted it, the post had only been seen by 34 people.

Now you’ve entered the world of paid Facebook marketing by boosting a post, how about creating an advert to promote the entire page?

Get more Page Likes

You can access ‘Advertise’ from your page’s dropdown menu.

This brings you to Facebook’s own marketing overview, featuring case studies and FAQs. Click on ‘Manage Your Ads’.

Here is your ads dashboard, where you can see the progress of your campaigns, run reports and change your account details. You can create an advert from here.

This is where you can make a choice as to the results of your campaign.

We’ll be angling for Page Likes here. If you run multiple pages, you can choose which one to market below.

It’s then possible to add images from your desktop to create your advert. The recommended size is 600 pixels x 225 pixels. Stick to this because your image will be fitting into a specific Facebook ad format. You can however choose up to six different images to create a variety of ads.

Here is basically how the ad will look. 

This is where you can enter your headline text and write your ‘attractive’ ad copy in the text box.

Scrolling down the page will reveal demographic options and a handy little meter that will tell you how broad your targeting is.

Once you’ve set your audience, at the bottom of the page you can finalise the remaining details of your ad. Name your campaign something memorable if you’re running lots of different ads, set the budget accordingly (this big spender will be using £3 per day for two days) and schedule your start and end dates if it’s not running continuously.

As a final note, leave the Bidding option on ‘Likes’ as this is what your current advert is optimised for.

Results:

Facebook promised me between seven to 10 Likes with this campaign. Let’s see how it worked.

  • Likes: seven
  • Reach 2,166
  • Average cost per Like: 86p

Yep, seven Likes, exactly as predicted. I spent just under a one pound per Like. Is it worth it? Well it seems quite expensive just to get someone to Like the page, when there is no guarantee that person will even see future posts from it. 

I could probably get similar or better results from running campaigns on other social channels to drive traffic to the Facebook page. Then again, at a cost of only £6, that’s 2,166 users who have potentially become aware of my ‘brand’. 

In order to achieve results that I’m happy with, I have to think about why I’m running the Facebook page in the first place. Personally, it’s in order to drive traffic to the website. Let’s see how we can achieve this.

Website clicks

You can access adverts that provide ‘Clicks to Website’ in exactly the same menu as above.

Enter your URL and upload an image (this time the recommended size is 600 pixels x 315).

Then you can write some ‘stunning’ ad copy. As you can see I am definitely not trained for this skill.

Once the advert is up and running you can change the image, its position and the text as much as you like. Each time you do this, Facebook has to review the ad, but in my experience this takes a matter of minutes.

The other key feature here is the call-to-action button that you can embed in the post.

I’ve gone for ‘Learn More’ and because I’ve referenced the Kaiser Chiefs I will link this call-to-action to the URL for the Kaiser Chiefs review on my site. 

There are other options too.

Just ensure that the call-to-action relates to the page you’re sending them to. For instance if it’s ‘Shop Now’ link to the product page that you’re advertising.

As with the Facebook Likes ad, you can then scroll down to specify your audience. I’m choosing not to target Kaiser Chiefs fans as I feel this is a little baity, but I am targeting Star Wars fans.

Finally set your budget and time-frame, then you’ll be up and running as soon as you receive confirmation. Again this didn’t take long at all.

Results:

Based on a spend of £10 over two days (£5 per day):

  • Website clicks: 24
  • Reach 27,372
  • Average cost per click: 42p

In terms of driving traffic to my website, this was obviously the most successful of the three, however its biggest achievement was its reach.

There is obviously a heck of a lot of testing that needs to be done when it comes to running any ad campaign. The three attempts above were only my first forays into Facebook marketing. 

Next time I run a campaign I might test different demographics, interests, what time of day or day of the week the advert runs, different types of images, calls-to-actions… there really are endless ways to find the perfect formula that works for you.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t need a massive budget to achieve an extra boost in reach nor is it particularly difficult to create and maintain an ad campaign.

I spent around £30 over the last week on three different ads. Before I started, my weekly page insights told me I had reached 40 people. After a week, it now says this:

We run an excellent and thoroughly up-to-date training course on Facebook marketing that goes into far greater depth than the above. Book your place here: Facebook Marketing for Brands.