In this article, I show you exactly how I utilized Facebook’s Dark Posts feature to reach a significant chunk of Frisco, Texas using high-quality content in the form of a video. The point of this article is to show you that it is possible to make a serious splash in your community or market with your business with a little bit of money and a great piece of relevant content. That is all.
We are living in the most exciting time for business in history. Technology is moving at light speed and never before has it been so easy to reach so many people, so specifically with your brand and messaging if you wish to do so. Plus, the cost to do so has never been as accessible as it is now. As a serial entrepreneur who has built multiple internet companies where almost all traffic came from the web, I have “grown up” around the techniques and tactics used to grow a business online.
Lately, however, I have been helping businesses that have not necessarily had the same experience I have, use the tools I have been using to massively to impact and grow their own local businesses. I like to call it Growth Hacking for Small Businesses. Gary Vaynerchuck (Gary Vee as many call him) is a continually rising star in the entrepreneurial scene who repeats his mantra often: “Market like the year you are in” and I am helping businesses make the transition to this type of marketing.
Gary refers, for example, to the smartphones most of us carry and how they are generally within an arms reach of any of us at any time. Yet, so many businesses have barely scratched the surface when it comes to mobile marketing. Web sites are often way out of date and not optimized for conversions, Facebook accounts are incorrectly utilized (hint: if you aren’t using Facebook dark posts, you likely aren’t doing it right.) Blogs are either never written, or written without an understanding of what their purpose is and how they will impact one’s business long term. There is so much potential, but still a lot of fear and misunderstanding.
When I see a business in this situation, I get excited, because I see enormous opportunity. In my previous businesses, I was going head to head with some very tech savvy companies and in order to compete you either needed a crazy disruptive strategy or loads of dollars. The truth is, many industries are behind the curve and, therefore competing or even dominating one’s niche isn’t as hard as one might think.
I want to show you an example of how I was able to use various social media tactics including FaceBook, Content Marketing, Video Marketing, Instagram and Twitter to create a traffic frenzy over the span of one weekend and specifically in one city, Frisco, TX. So, let’s get to the good stuff.
Create a Bridge to Your Target Market
When you are trying to reach a base of potential customers, clients or followers, there are many ways to go about it from ads to cold calls to social media. Most of these methods take time and effort or money (sometimes a LOT of money.)
Unfortunately (and fortunately) for me, I don’t have a lot of patience, nor do I enjoy cold calls, and if I can build an audience fast via simpler means, I much prefer to do just that. One of my favorite ways to reach out and touch people on a mass scale fast is to build a bridge to that audience. There are many different ways to build bridges. Building a bridge means creating some type of platform that will significantly interest those in your target market, beyond what is your ability to reach them on your own. Ultimately it comes down to providing value. For instance, if your goal is to sell motorcycle parts, maybe you create a blog or video series specific to modifying a motorcycle. You are much more likely to bring in motorcycle enthusiasts to a blog or video which is generally un-confrontational, than to an e-commerce site which is all about the sale, sale, sale!
Or, if you don’t want to build your own blog, maybe you partner with someone who already has a blog and an audience. They provide value to the blogger in any number of ways (content, reviews, products, perks, etc.) and they give you access to their audience. You will need to find a way to provide the blog owner value. If your content is high quality, or your persona is well known, that might be enough value. Possibly you can split some of the revenue from your ultimate offer with them, or barter some time on your own blog once things are moving. However, when you create your OWN bridge you, well, OWN it. So, you can do whatever you want with YOUR bridge and aren’t restrained by the limitations by another site owner.
Creating a blog, or just utilizing your own blog is the quickest simplest way to get going. If you don’t have a blog, WordPress is the easiest way to go and if you aren’t already on WordPress, let me know. I can help. I love me some WordPress!
In my case, I created a bridge with a site I called, “Do You Love Frisco?” My goal was three-fold.
1. I wanted to create a new type of local site which featured the little-known, but lovely people, places and experiences in creative, unique and polished ways not always seen in local media. The goal was to create a site that puts out unique content about the little-known secrets and surprises of fast-growing Frisco, TX, but also provides value to local businesses by offering them a new platform by which they can introduce themselves in unique ways to the city. That was the idea behind “Do You Love Frisco?”
2. I want to show local businesses how to use the internet to maximize their own marketing.
3. Finally, I wanted to demonstrate and test out local marketing strategies for my own understanding and knowledge.
If used correctly, bridges can connect you quickly with a large group of people. However, you have to weight the pros and cons and determine if you have the time to manage the bridge, because anything worth doing is worth doing well. Do You Love Frisco? is not just a bridge for me. It isn’t ONLY a way for me to connect with local businesses or to locate clients. I wouldn’t recommend creating something like this if you don’t plan on maintaining it. So, whether it is your own personal/business blog, or something more intricate… Build a bridge.
Create Compelling, Valuable and Easily Consumable Content
Once we have a bridge built, we need to create, post and promote unique and compelling content on that bridge. While I appreciate the whispery voice in Field of Dreams, simply building it, does not mean that “they will come.” In this noisy social media-driven world, you need to provide a stronger reason for people to come to your site, page, feed, etc. That motivation lies in the content you create. Content could be the written word, it could be a video, it could be a photo or a photo montage, it could be an audio podcast, it could be an interview.
In the case of “Do You Love Frisco?” (DYLF), I happened to be driving through Frisco one day and came upon a man running down the street holding up some signs and doing several interesting hand signals to the cars going by. He had a big smile on his face. I knew in my heart when I saw him that people in Frisco would want to know his story and that I could tell it using video. When I pulled over and asked him if he wanted to shoot a video, he was enthusiastic and ready to go! We shot the video a week later and after a month or so of prep, the video was ready to go live.
Here is that video:
You don’t have to spend months and months on the content you create. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it does have to be something your audience will latch on to and in this case, I felt this video would have maximum impact if more time was spent on it to get it right.
Here are a few types of content (written or video based) you can create:
- Stories – The video I did of Jimmy Lee was a story. Everyone loves a good story. In fact, I highly recommend telling stories whenever possible.
- Entertainment – Entertainment is hard to do well, but if you can do it well, you can make a serious splash that your competition is unlikely capable of doing.
- Tutorials – People are using the internet every day to learn how to do new things. Tutorials are great forms of content.
- Valuable information – You know your market. What do they need to know? What can you tell them that they will eat up?
Compelling content isn’t that hard to find if you think about it. Pay attention to the things you are watching, reading, liking and commenting on using Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. Check to see if other people are commenting, liking and reading the same… If they are, then create content like that. Make sure your content is easily consumable. This generally means short, but not always. Bottom line is, it should be edited down to the essentials. Edit and edit again. Keep it clean and tight.
Get Your Compelling Content in Front of Your Target Audience
The whispery voice in field of dreams should have been a bit more realistic and said, “If you build it, they won’t come, unless you run some Facebook dark posts and put them in front of your target market, so they see your content, and if you have provided a solid call to action within your content, there is a good chance many of them will come.” I mean, let’s get real here. In fact, if you search, you will find a couple of other stories out on the web with Jimmy Lee in them. There is a news story and there is a YouTube video. The YouTube video has around 3,000 views and is a year old. You will see in my stats section how utilizing FaceBook marketing helped me increase that viewer count by an enormous multiplier.
This is the beautiful part. There are many great ways to get your content out in front of your target audience. From social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to websites, blogs, YouTube et al. Notice how I didn’t mention Google ads? For years, if you wanted to reach a target audience online, your 2 options were Google’s ad platform known as Adwords or Google’s search engine where you could try to rank organically by utilizing SEO (search engine optimization) tactics. However, today, Google’s Adwords program is intensely expensive.
When I started using Adwords in 2001, I was paying 5 cents a click. Now, I am seeing some verticals paying $50-$100 a click. It’s insanity. I, as a long-time tech entrepreneur and digital marketing strategist, believe in “test and re-test” instead of “set it and forget it.” Because of that, I am not throwing Google Ads out as they still work for many businesses. However, they are no longer the go-to option they once were. In my humble opinion, the go-to option today is Facebook dark posts. This little-known tactic is the best way to drill down and target only the people you want to see your post or ad. I am going to be running a webinar on how to use Facebook dark posts in your business as well as a Q&A on the strategies I have used here. If you are interested in participating, please enter your email here. It’s free! I promise I will provide you some valuable info.
Alternatively, in spite of all of Google’s algorithm changes, SEO is still a great long-term strategy, but it’s just that. Long term. If you need to create fast results for yourself, you need to use something that will get your content in front of the right people, now. And, no one is doing that like Facebook at the moment. It is with Facebook dark posts that I drove a significant amount of THE RIGHT traffic to my website and video in only a weekend. So, let’s get to the stats.
Let’s Get to the Stats
To be clear, a dark post is a post that doesn’t show up in your feed (unless you “publish” it.) Dark posts are also known as “unpublished” posts by the way. They allow you to market posts to your selected audiences, change the post, change the title, the image, the copy, etc. without it looking like you are posting the same thing over and over on your business page. Facebook dark posts are brilliant and you have never been able to target to an incredible degree the exact person you are wanting to reach like you can now. Yet, most people have no clue what a dark post is or how to effectively use one which is something you can use greatly to your advantage if you wish. Here is a link to Facebook’s ad manager.
Note: According to FaceBook, our stats are much higher in various categories like “Ad Views” or “Page Views” up to around 200,000. I don’t like artificial inflation, and after looking more closely, I don’t feel that number is the most accurate even though FB is showing it to me (check the images below) so for the sake of this post, I am going to focus on the lowest and most concrete numbers (which are still plenty high enough for me.) The bottom line is, we made a big splash.
To promote the video I did with Jimmy Lee, I ran a couple types of ads through Facebook. There are several options to choose from depending on what your goals are. The first type of ad I created was an image ad with the goal of receiving clicks to my website. I let that ad run for a while and Facebook told me that women ages 35-44 were interacting with that ad the most, so I focused on them and set it so that the ad would ONLY show for women ages 35-44 to increase my ROI. I had a lot of people to choose from in Frisco, around 290,000. I set my budget to $40 a day which would allow me to reach around 7,000 to 11,000 people a day.
This image ad drove about 1,500 clickthroughs to htp://doyoulovefrisco.com/jimmy-lee by the way. That’s around 1,500 clickthroughs in 3 days. It comes down to around .14 a click. Folks, that is insane. You are extremely lucky to be paying $5.00 a click for Adwords, and more likely to be paying $10-$50 a click. Why do that when you can be creating great content and bringing them in by the droves at 15 cents a pop?
Next, I decided to run an inline video ad. I hesitate to use the word “ad” here, because I don’t see these as ads. I would rather call them paid postings maybe. A video ad requires you to upload your video straight to Facebook and Facebook will play your video from within the feed of your target audience.
So to break down what you are seeing, here are a few key metrics.
We did 2 separate posts, an image post that led to click-throughs to our website and a video post that led to video views.
Paid Reach: 20,848 – The number of people that were exposed to our ad because we paid for them to be.
Organic (Un-Paid) reach: 10,848 – The number of people that were shown our ad because someone shared it with them.
Clicks to website: It shows 1,193, but as I understand it, that isn’t showing all the clicks. The total clicks through to our site was about 1,600.
Paid Reach: 60,346 – The number of people that saw our video because we paid for them to be exposed to it.
Organic (Un-Paid) Reach: 115,000 – The number of people that were exposed to our video because someone shared it.
So, you may be asking, what is PAID reach and what is ORGANIC? Here’s my best explanation. If I see your ad, you pay for that click. But if I share it and my entire friend list sees it, you don’t pay for any of those views. That is “organic” traffic. I LOVE organic traffic.
The cost for this amount of traffic and reaction was around $300. When you consider that some people are paying upwards of $50-$100 for a single Google Adwords click, this really is quite stellar. I was specifically impressed with the number of new Facebook page followers. NOT because I put a ton of value into this metric as it isn’t the same as it used to be. Virtually nobody sees your Facebook page posts without a boost anymore. If your strategy is to create a page and simply post to it, you are, quite frankly, wasting your time. I do think there is some value in the number of followers you have as it provides your brand a moderate amount of social proof.
You MUST utilize page boosts at the least, but optimized dark posts are your best bet. That said, it says a lot if someone follows your page. One of my previous businesses had traffic in the millions, but only around 8,000 Facebook “fans.” Many pages with tens or hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans are simply not legit. If you choose Facebook’s “get more likes” option and then don’t mess with any of the other targeting settings, you will start seeing bizarre page likes coming in from fake accounts all over the world. Good luck with that…. Getting legitimate organic fans that really liked your page because they wanted to is a completely different story, however. That’s what these were and we gained 1,000 of them in a weekend.
So, I have heard from some business owners who say, “My people aren’t on Facebook!” Are you sure?!? A friend of mine is targeting Facility Managers in the southeast. He said, “Those guys aren’t on Facebook!” So, I brought up the targeting options for Facility Managers (by job title) in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina where my friend is located. There are 2,000 people using Facebook who have the job title Facility Manager in these locations. Do you think those facility managers are used to getting content directed at them via Facebook? Very unlikely. Because, most people think like my friend. “Facility managers aren’t on Facebook!” Wrong…. And, if you address them with high quality, valuable content, then the likelihood of response is high due to the “Law of Imminent Perusal” I wrote about in one of my other posts. They aren’t used to getting Facebook ads targeting them, so they are VERY likely to read it.
So, to conclude… Why would the Jimmy Lee video be considered valuable to my target audience?
- We provided value in the form of information and entertainment. People wanted to know who Jimmy Lee was and the video explained this to them in a way that entertained them.
- The ads were targeted to people who cared about the subject mater. In this case, Frisco residents.
- People want to engage with something they connect with.
- We told a story. Story, Story, Story people! Story is everything. Story in marketing means the difference between communication and captivation, and you can quote me on that. (Literally.)
[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Story in marketing means the difference between communication and captivation. – Craig Lillard, #doyoulovemarketing[/tweetthis]
Now, you might say: “Well, Craig. This video is interesting. Jimmy Lee is well known in the community, so the video would have received views and shares anyway.” This may be true to a small extent, but eventually, we turned the ads off and the views turned off as well. If that idea were true, then when we turned the ads off, things should have kept going to a reasonable degree, but that is seldom the case and only happens with extremely viral content.
So, I hope this post was valuable to you! I am going to be doing a webinar where I show you exactly how I set up these dark posts and I’ll take Q&A on how I ran this campaign as well as what I did to promote it on Instagram and Twitter. If you would like to be a part of it, please enter your email below. Or, if you liked this post and you would like to read some more of my musings, please enter your email as well and follow Do You Love Marketing? on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
If you are in Dallas and wanting to creatively reach DFW with your business, I would love to chat with you! Click here to contact me.
WANT TO BE A PART OF A WEBINAR WHERE I SHOW YOU IN DETAIL HOW I SET UP THIS CAMPAIGN? ENTER YOUR EMAIL HERE:
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