What are Facebook dark ads, how can I use them and how do I track them?
Ask your questions by emailing me at darren at darrenslaughter.com, or on social media at #Tradeshelp
Ask your questions by emailing me at darren at darrenslaughter.com, or on social media at #Tradeshelp
Having an effective online presence is good branding. It’s also going to be what separates you from your competition over the next few years as social becomes more of a trust factor.
But a solid online presence is also dependent upon understanding trends and expectations in social media. Your online marketing strategy must take into account which social media networks are most popular and which are best suited to your business. In recent years, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ have been the place to be online, but where do you need to be going forward?
Ideally, you would be on as many social media platforms as possible, those listed above plus Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and any number of others. Of course, you need to consider the time and resources that you have to put into your online marketing to determine which networks are most important to your business.
Facebook is the most widely used social media network in the world. It is easy to set up a business page that your customers are able to “like” so that they see everything that you post. When they share your posts, they become visible to their friends, putting your company name in front of hundreds of new prospective clients.
Facebook allows you to create “dark posts” which are visible only to the demographic that you designate, enabling you to utilize personalized marketing messages without inundating your followers.
Log on to Twitter and enter the rapid fire world of microblogging. A company profile will allow clients to “follow” you and view everything you post. Twitter posts are a maximum of 140 characters in length, and it is advisable to post multiple times each day in order to stay on followers’ radar.
Most people are following hundreds of others, and posts fly by, causing infrequent posts to be lost in the crowd. Twitter “retweets” and “favorites” let you see which posts are most effective. You can also use hashtags, and encourage your followers to do the same, to track specific events or topics.
LinkedIn is a social network that is most commonly used by business professionals. A LinkedIn profile has the appearance of a resume, and people are allowed to “endorse” others for job skills that they have indicated that they have.
You can also create company pages that recommend your business and employees can link to you as an employer. Your satisfied customers can post public recommendations, for a personal touch that establishes you as an expert. LinkedIn is the ideal platform to reach young professionals as potential customers.
Google is one of the biggest names online. The Google+ platform is their latest effort to enter the world of social networking. It has taken a few years to take off, but Google+ is finding its niche, especially among entrepreneurs and professionals.
Self-employed professionals, such as writers and designers, use Google+ to connect and share ideas. Features like Hangouts and unlimited photo storage are attracting new accounts each day. Since Google is the most frequently used search engine, it makes sense to have your company profile on their highly visible social media network.
Before creating your company profile on multiple social networks, be certain that you are prepared to properly maintain them and interact with your online friends and followers. A social profile is only an advantage to your marketing strategy if you keep it updated and continue giving people a reason to follow them. Create a schedule of posting and content ideas before creating your profiles to determine that you are ready for the work that it will take to do things effectively.
Quality posts, not just advertising, need to be featured on your profiles. You need to give your clients a reason to follow you and share your posts. That’s where blogging comes in. Getting your message out there on these outposts is what builds your brand over time. Earn your reader’s friendship and trust by sharing and commenting on their posts in return. A well maintained social media profile can increase customer loyalty, increase visibility, and give your sales numbers a boost.
Remember a few years ago I told you social media had the ability to replace testimonials as a serious confidence factor? Well Hubspot did a survey where 80% of the respondents had this to say about Facebook. Contractors who thought Facebook wasn’t useful, take note! It’s costing you business!
We launched an online advertising program here at Darren’s at the start of the year which you can read about here, but the 10,000 foot view is that it is a hybrid social media advertising/Google Adwords play that drives a one-two punch of traffic to your site. If you’ve hung out here for any length of time, you know I want you to try it, then if you don’t have time or expertise to keep doing it, that’s when you call us. So today is a quick overview of Facebook dark ads and how you can use them.
If you feel like you are in the dark about Facebook unpublished posts, you’re not alone. Dark ads are worth educating yourself about because they allow you to manage your Facebook marketing posts and avoid clogging your timeline with advertising. Being “friends” with your customers on Facebook is a wonderful opportunity to target marketing efforts, interact with customers, and build brand loyalty. However, those same customers who may be quick to become your friend can just as rapidly remove you from their feed if you flood them with ads and information that is not useful to them. That is where dark ads come into play.
If you are on Facebook – and we know you are – you have seen “sponsored posts.” These are the dark ads that those sponsors have created. These posts allow business Facebook users to create items that show up in targeted friends’ news feeds without filling your timeline with advertising. In other words, these posts show up only in front of the people you have indicated. This allows you to create multiple ads at a time without causing your customers grow weary of your spiel, because each person will only see the posts that you want them to see.
Also referred to as unpublished or invisible posts, dark ads enable targeting ads to certain followers while not appearing to post several ads at once. This is helpful because too many ads can scare your “friends” away.
In order to create these posts, you may use the Self Serve Ad Manager or Chrome’s Power Editor. Both are somewhat clunky software but not too difficult to use. With a little bit of practice, you can be a pro in Power Editor. In settings, you will need to select to manage pages with Power Editor.
Ads should include pictures that are 1200 x 627 and no more than 20% text. Choose an audience for each ad, and schedule your campaign. Your audience can be customized according to several factors, including gender, relationship status, education, interests, age, location, and language. Quick tip: offer less than suggested by Facebook for promoting your ad. You can always increase it later when you have had a chance to analyze your results.
Looking at your posts’ reach will show you the most basic statistic of your ad’s effectiveness. Based on different times of day and targeted audiences, you can track how many people had the ad placed in front of them. By comparing the reach of different ads you can adjust your marketing campaign.
Along with the ad’s reach, you will want to consider the number of likes, comments, and clicks that your post received. If your post is not receiving the kind of attention that you had hoped for, you can make some changes to your campaign.
Using the information about your ad’s reach and effectiveness, you can improve the ads that you place and create additional posts to target specific prospective customers.
These targeted ads allow you to perform tests to see which variation of an ad is more effective. By writing several versions of the same ad, you can see which receives the best reaction without putting all of them in front of the same people and risking losing them as followers.
Using Facebook dark ads can allow you to find a healthy balance between marketing to your Facebook followers and being a good friend.
Sure a contest can provide a quick spike in traffic and awareness, but like just like pricing, if the only way to drive traffic is by giving something away, you diminish your overall value. Stick to growth that is determined by more people wanting more of the stuff you do!
Facebook is a valuable – and FREE – marketing tool for contractors that can help you build customer relationships and gain new leads. If you are ready to move beyond the included elements that Facebook offers, dark ads are a paid option that can put your business profile in front of thousands of new prospective customers and still cost only a fraction of what you pay for print advertising. Best of all, you are able to customize what kinds of ads appear in front of people of chosen demographics. For contractors, dark ads can significantly increase your online selling success.
Contractors have great opportunities on Facebook for building relationships with customers and sharing images of your work with prospective clients. Don’t limit yourself to pictures of the finished project. Take snapshots of your clients happily enjoying their new space and tag them in the photo. That automatically puts you in front of each one of their Facebook friends and well as your own, and your work is featured in an extremely positive light.
Use Facebook to create a connection with your customers by providing them with information that is useful to them, not just sales material that you would like them to be interested in. Share information that they can use that does not benefit you as a business, besides building a good relationship. For example, a blog on home winterizing tips or fall landscaping. Feel free to follow up these posts with information on your services that could help, but not in the same post.
Dark ads can help you reach out to more prospective clients while using your Facebook page to build loyalty and exclusivity with your existing customers. Also known as unpublished posts, dark ads are items that you can share on Facebook but limit who sees them. This enables you to customize different posts for various demographics and avoid inundating your followers with posts that are not relevant to them.
For example, if you have a special that you would like to promote to new families and another that is dedicated to empty nesters, you can choose only those people to see each post rather than putting ads in front of people that aren’t relevant to them. Since the risk of being unfriended or unfollowed exists if your posts become too much of what people do not want to see, dark ads are incredibly valuable for Facebook marketing that avoids becoming a nuisance.
While you can create groups and post to specific followers among those who are already your friends, dark ads allow you to personalize status updates that show up as ads to people who do not already follow you. If you carefully craft these posts and choose your target audience wisely, these posts can significantly increase your Facebook followers, who will hopefully eventually become paying clients.
These posts do not clutter up your timeline and profile, but only appear in the news stream of the demographic that you have chosen. This means that your followers find the helpful posts that they are looking for when they visit your page rather than a stream of ads.
Dark ads can also be used for testing marketing messages. You can play around with various posts and measure which are the most effective before choosing one for wider distribution. Ads with images tend to be the most effective, and a link to more information is always preferred over a lengthy post.
Once you have created posts targeting specific groups, make sure that you follow up with posts that will continue to appeal to them. Your organic posts need to be broad interest enough to appeal to a majority of your followers. Anything that is likely to appeal only to a fraction of your followers should be designed as a dark post and targeted to the appropriate audience. With a cleverly designed dark post campaign, you can develop an exceptionally successful marketing campaign with no larger investment than the time spent crafting your message and posting schedule.
It is important to continue maintaining your public posts while creating your dark posts. When you do attract new followers, they will want to see fresh material and evidence of an interactive page within the content of your timeline. Remember that your dark posts will not show up on your profile, so if that is all you are posting new visitors will not see any evidence of communication between you and your followers.
“Almost overnight, the Internet’s gone from a technical wonder to a business must.”
Whatever your business, if you are not online making use of social media, you are missing out. Home improvement contractors are using social media to grow their businesses in numerous ways everyday!
Provides interaction and support to current clients
When all is said and done, word of mouth is the best form of advertising, every contractor knows that. Social media is word of mouth on STEROIDS! By engaging and interacting with clients on social media, you keep them happy and informed. It helps you stand out, so your clients will want to share your services with all their friends because they know, like and trust you. Easy and outstanding recommendations, Check!
Draws in new clients
People still use search engines like Google, yes, but searching for recommended businesses through social media has become a common practice. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn all see massive search traffic for goods and services. If you are not there, potential clients cannot find you, but they are finding your competiton. a
Shows off your best side
Home improvement lends itself tremendously to social sharing. From educating and teaching your followers to posting pics of that awesome makeover you’re so proud of, social is where you share them! Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic for this. Picture posts even get lots of interaction on Twitter.
You can also shoot a behind the scenes video of your work and have it uploaded to your site (all content should originate on your site!) Youtube, Facebook and even Instagram. Visual media and social sharing allows you to show both the business and human side of your company.
People want to see not just your services, but what drives you as a company. Showing, rather than telling, the quality work you do, is far more engaging and convincing. Someone can discount you in a consultation, but they cannot argue against “seeing” the results of your work.
Hiring experts to represent you and your home improvement company on the social media landscape can provide long-term rewards for years to come! You cannot beat brand awareness and customer loyalty. Nothing provides both like social media.
As Clay Shirky said,
“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”
Either get on board or be left behind!
In the world of social media, many internet users have yet to try out or are still new to Google+. First launched in 2011, the site has over 540 million users but almost half do not use it for social networking purposes, according to The New York Times. If you have Google, then you have a Google+ profile, which is located at plus.google.com.
As a home improvement contractor, you’re probably wondering: Where is the value in being part of this network? Well, for starters, Google is the most used search engine in the world. Well written posts on Google+, which contain relevant keywords, will show up in search results for people in your network. The more frequently you post, and the more relevant your posts are, the better your chances are of showing up in search results.
Second, Google+ allows its users to create author profiles. If you are a home improvement company that writes blogs and news articles (and you should be!), your name and Google+ profile picture will display alongside the content in search results. Not only are you building authority and credibility by utilizing Google Authorship, you’re increasing the chances that people will click the link and head to your site. According to the Online Marketing Institute, some companies have even seen their click through results double because of adding authorship!
Another reason to use Google+ is because of its integration with YouTube, which is also owned by Google. You can add videos right into your Google+ posts, and any comments that people leave will show up back in YouTube. You can also use Google+ and YouTube to live stream events, such as a webinar or major company announcement.
Like other social networks, Google+ uses profiles, comments, hashtags, social share buttons, and Likes – or in this case, +1s. Unlike other social networks, you can tailor your messages to specific audiences. Google+ allows you to create Circles, or groups of people, within your network. You can also join communities, such as this Home Improvement group which has thousands of members. Using Google+, you’re able to connect with current and prospective customers, share content from your website or company blog, and engage in conversations with likeminded people within your industry.