Effective Social Media Marketing: The Power of Facebook

Posted on February 16, 2019

In Part 1 of Engine’s effective social media marketing series, we discussed how crucial it is to map out your customer’s journey in order to tailor your marketing funnel to it. This process allows you to create a high degree of relevance and context with your customer, ultimately allowing you to build a long-lasting brand that’s scalable.

Now that you understand the journey, it’s time to set up your funnels and prioritize your dollars and efforts relative to the strengths and weaknesses of the social media platforms. By understanding “the rules of the game,” you’re able to maximize the use of every advertising dollar you put in your marketing system. Better ad-spend allocation and utilization gives you more money to play with, creating your e-commerce money machine and unlocking fantastic growth for your company.

Here are the main social media platforms for paid advertising you need to be working in:

  1. Facebook/Instagram
  2. Google/Youtube
  3. Snapchat
  4. Email/Messenger/SMS

In this edition of effective social media marketing, we’ll dive into Mark Zuckerberg’s pièce de résistance, Facebook, and its companion Instagram!

Facebook/Instagram

Apart from the privacy concerns on the platform, Facebook’s top issue revolves around the rising cost of advertising. Simple economic principles are at the root of how expensive it is now; lots of demand to advertise to the audience, limited supply (supply is defined here as ad units/placements, such as News Feed ads, Instagram stories ads, and so forth).

Five years ago, a competitive advantage held by direct-to-consumer brands was the cheap and effective social media marketing you could exploit on Facebook. The strategies that built brands like Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, Bonobos, and Casper don’t work anymore. The world has changed considerably in the past two years, so it is becoming increasingly difficult to be profitable on the first purchase.

Even though it is harder and more expensive to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, these are still the best platforms to allocate the majority of your budget. I haven’t been a media buyer very long, but I’ve managed enough spend to see how effectively Facebook in particular works.

Facebook/IG Advertising Setup

Growth marketers make decisions based on creative instincts and data. Are you collecting your data correctly? The best way to know for sure is by checking your Facebook Pixel.

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of tracking code that can register literally any action taken on a site and report it back to Facebook to optimize your advertising.

To check and see if you have your pixel installed, download the Facebook Pixel Helper extension on Chrome. Then visit your website and click to see if your pixel is firing correctly. Here’s a gif I made showing how to do so on Kylie Cosmetics.

When you install and check your pixel, make sure to check that your product catalog is properly linked. This allows you to optimize for conversion events such as add-to-cart, initiate checkout, and the No. 1 conversion event in eCommerce: purchase.

The Facebook Pixel Helper will tell you if a product isn’t linked to a product catalog. Just navigate to one of your product pages and run the extension to check.

You can check the data received by the pixel in your pixels tab within the business manager. You’ll be able to see the standard conversion events as well as any custom events that may be configured.

Having your pixel properly installed allows you to segment your advertising effectively at every stage of the funnel. For example, you can choose to retarget shoppers who have added to cart vs. retargeting anyone who has visited the site. By having the ability to separate the stages of the sales funnel in your targeting, you can nurture an individual from a cold prospect to someone with high buying intent, and eventually convert them into a buyer.

Seasoning Your Pixel

For those who are deeper in the Facebook advertising game than most, you’ve probably heard the phrase “season your pixel” at some point. It’s pretty simple, just do what Salt Bae does here.

Alright, so that’s definitely not how you season your pixel. Pixel seasoning is just feeding your pixel data to optimize the Facebook ads algorithm. The data you feed it directly reflects the conversion events you want to optimize for; you’ll get better add-to-cart performance as more people begin to add items to their cart.

Facebook Ads Organization

As with most things in life, effective social media marketing starts with being organized. That’s why, in Part 1, we went through the process of the customer’s buying journey so you can effectively organize your marketing efforts to match it. The same philosophy holds true for running ads.

Having worked with a variety of ads clients, from people who have professionally managed ad accounts to people who threw $100 at ads one day and wrote off ads altogether, I can’t stress enough the importance of having an organized nomenclature for your ads.

Having a clear and consistent way of naming your campaigns, ad sets, and ads will help you analyze data and make optimizations. That means scaling, decreasing budget, or turning off faster than having a messy nomenclature.

Another benefit is that you can explain the structure to other people, whether it is an internal media buyer or an agency, more efficiently. Do it well enough and they won’t even need to ask any questions!

Here are some basic recommendations on ad nomenclature to get you started:

  • Campaign Level: GEO_Objective; GEO → Geography, location of targeting; Objective → Prospecting, Retargeting; Ex. US_Prospecting → This is a prospecting campaign delivered in the United States.
  • Ad Set Level: Campaign+Targeting_Placement; Ex. US_Prospecting_Interest-Golf (M24-65+)_Instagram-Stories
  • Ad Level: Ad Set + Date (DD/MM/YYYY)_Image#_Copy#; Ex. US_Prospecting_Interest-Golf (M24-65+)_Instagram-Stories_02152019_Video1_Copy1

Following the above conventions, or at least creating your own highly organized conventions, will help you improve your Facebook and Instagram advertising ten-fold. You’ll be able to significantly scale up your effective social media marketing efforts.

Targeting for Prospecting & Retargeting

The Facebook algorithm is spooky. The accuracy at which it is able to find the exact people you need to be profitable is not easily matched by any other platform.

Every e-commerce brand advertising on the FB/IG platform needs to be running some level of prospecting (finding cold audiences and exposing your brand to new potential customers) and retargeting (showing ads to people who have already interacted with your content on Facebook, Instagram, and your website).

Prospecting is fairly straightforward. You plug in an audience based on certain parameters including demographics, interests, and age. Facebook finds the people in that group who are most likely to take whatever action you are optimizing for (purchase, add to cart, view content, etc.).

You can take that one step further and use custom audiences and lookalikes. Custom audiences and lookalikes allow you to leverage your existing customer information, such as emails, and give you the opportunity to either advertise directly to those customers (custom audiences) or find people very similar to those customers (lookalike audiences).

One of the most powerful features of Facebook and Instagram advertising is the retargeting. Customer X visits your website and looks at a product, adds it to cart, and leaves. Using a dynamic product ad (DPA), you can show an abandoned cart message using the actual product the customer viewed on their Facebook or Instagram feeds. This allows you to gain the attention of a customer with high purchase intent in the space they pay the most attention.

(As for custom audiences, we’ll go into a deep dive for retargeting in a different article coming soon!)

One thing that routinely trips up people who are new to Facebook/IG advertising is blending interests in targeting. By blending interests, or using more than one interest in an ad set, you reduce your ability to figure out what’s actually working and which audiences are actually resonating with your ads.

For example, if you sell minimalist iPhone cases and your ad set targeting is “interested in minimalism” and “interested in Marie Kondo,” high performance in this ad set won’t really reveal whether it was the minimalism or the KonMari method that was sparking joy and creating purchases.

So obviously, you should try not to blend audiences. That being said, test everything. Test different prospect targeting, from interests to demographics to age ranges. Test as much as you can. There are best practices in this game, but testing trumps them all.

Conclusion

You’ve now mapped out your customer journey and understand the high-level principles for growth with Facebook and Instagram advertising. Go forth and conquer! The most important thing to remember during this entire process is that you have to create experiences that build your brand. When a consumer sees or clicks on an ad, it has to consciously translate a piece of your brand to them. Make it fun, make it enjoyable, and make sure that everything you do stems from the foundations of your brand.

Stayed tuned for the next edition of effective social media marketing, where we will be going into the basic setup for Google! If you have any question, feel free to email me at sanjay@enginecommerce.com at any time!

Effective Social Media Marketing Series: