According to the 2019 Sprout Social Index, Facebook is still the number one platform for marketers and consumers alike; however, successfully navigating the Facebook algorithm isn’t as easy as you think. The average number of people who see social media posts that aren’t backed by advertising dollars is very low. In fact, the average organic reach of a Facebook Page post is 5.20%, meaning only one in every 19 fans sees a Page’s non-promoted content and explaining why so many companies use Facebook advertising.
The Facebook algorithm controls the order and presentation of posts, so each individual user sees a personalized feed of what the network determines is most relevant to them. Facebook decides what you see based on your own social engagement – meaning when you like a post, comment on a post, click on a link, or otherwise engage with an individual or a brand’s content, the network takes note. While there are a variety of tactics you can employ to get a Page’s followers to engage with its posts, most strategies will not work as effectively as paid advertising.
Facebook Advertising Does Not Replace An Organic Strategy
While it’s crucial to incorporate a Facebook advertising budget into your social media marketing strategy, that doesn’t mean an organic strategy is pointless. So before we delve into the most cost-effective way to use Facebook ads to help your content reach the desired target demographic, here are three tips to improve your organic Facebook strategy and reach:
- Advise your followers to both Like AND Follow your Page. When a user follows a page, they can be certain to see the organic posts; if they only like the page, there is a lower probability of seeing those same posts. For instance, if a user wants to ensure they see the State Bar of Texas’ posts, they can click the grey box containing the three dots at the far right end of the menu bar.
Clicking the dots will open a separate menu, in which the user should select “Follow Settings.”
Once selected, followers should choose “See First” to see the State Bar’s posts first in their News Feeds and “Standard” to ensure they are notified of all posts, not just the posts Facebook thinks are exciting (“Highlights”).
- Be intentional about the days and times you post on social media because they directly impact engagement. On Facebook, the highest traffic occurs mid-day Wednesday and Thursday, as people become bored during the week and start playing around on social media to get over the “hump.” To reach the most users, the best time to post on Facebook is between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Be sure to vary the types of media you share, while making sure to feature video and imagery prominently. Users watch 85% of Facebook videos without sound, so add captions to make videos more accessible and to increase engagement with users on mute. Visual content garners 87% more engagement; therefore, every Facebook post should be accompanied by a visual of some type.
DO NOT USE The Boost Post Button
Facebook advertising lingo has evolved over the years, but many (including me) who have been using it since the beginning still use the outdated phrasing: “promoted post” or “boosted post.” While you can boost a post by clicking the “boost post” button that appears on every Page post, that type of “boost” doesn’t provide the level of sophistication available in Facebook Ads Manager. While the “Boost Post” button may seem enticing and easy to use, you really should use the Ads Manager platform to create an advertising campaign instead. It may sound over-the-top to create a “campaign” to promote each piece of content you share on your Page, but Facebook Ads Manager provides highly targeted options for promotion that help even a very small budget make a huge impact.
Your first step will be to create a new Campaign and Objective. While it might be tempting to select “Lead generation” since it sounds like what most law firms want – leads for new clients – that option is actually time consuming and a bit deceptive. Instead of driving traffic back to your website, it instead produces a contact form directly on Facebook for the user to fill out. Furthermore, it is annoying because it requires you to log into the network every time you want to check for leads (meaning you will not receive notifications when a form is completed). Instead, you want to select “Engagement” since the goal is to reach users who can benefit from reading your content, have them interact with it, and potentially drive them to your website.
Once you select “Engagement” as your objective, you can then name your Campaign and start building your first Ad Set. If I wanted to promote our most recent blog post on structured data for websites to the lawyers who need to know about it, I would start out by naming the Ad Set “Structured Data,” so I can easily see what content it’s promoting. I prefer to set a lifetime budget for each piece of content of between $35.00 and $100.00. Below, I give the blog $50.00 to spend over one week.
Now that we set our budget and schedule, we move to targeting. I can select and modify Location, Age, Gender, Languages, and Detailed Targeting. Depending who you are trying to reach, you’ll need to make calculated decisions about the persona of your ideal target consumer and then target characteristics of that persona. For instance, you may want to target people interested in Ford trucks if you are sharing content about a defective Ford vehicle part on F-150s. If you come up with a particularly good audience, save it so you can reuse it in future ads.
Once you’ve ferreted out your perfect targeting parameters, you get to pick where and how your ads are shown. Facebook really wants you to stick with the default “Automatic Placements,” but don’t do it. The comprehensive list of automatic options includes features that are either unnecessary or don’t work for law firms, so select “Manual Placements” and start picking what you want. I recommend your manual selections include “Facebook News Feed” and any other mechanism you think will reach your target audience.
On the next screen, you can create a new post or use an existing post. I like to schedule Facebook posts to go live at the optimal times for each law firm’s audience for the best organic reach, and then follow up with scheduling the advertising boost; therefore, I use existing live posts when I am advertising content.
Then Facebook generates a beautiful preview of how your content will look in each type of placement you selected previously. Below you can see how my post will look in the Facebook News Feed.
Once everything looks great, click the green “Publish” button and get ready for increased engagement with users who matter to your law firm.
Facebook Advertising Experts For The Legal Industry
The legal marketing team at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. handles every aspect of social media marketing for lawyers. We work within social networks every single day and make it our mission to master the consistent strategic evolution required to keep our law firm clients competitive. If you need help with Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social network, contact us today to learn more about how we can help your firm succeed online.