We’re experiencing what feels like a groundswell of uncertainty around Facebook at the moment.
The company has not been without its controversies over the last few years and I’m starting to see this reflected in conversations with friends and clients.
When we’re onboarding new clients and ask about whether they want their content repurposed on Facebook, more and more of them are expressing uncertainty – either because of personal concerns or because of a lack of faith in organic performance on the platform.
Despite this, Facebook is still the social media platform with the most users on. Talk about mixed messages!
So, I wanted to speak to someone who understands Facebook better than anyone else I know - Facebook Advertising Agency owner Gavin Bell!
Gavin helped clear up some misconceptions about Facebook, provided some incredibly generous and useful advice about how small businesses can maximize Facebook ads, and shared his thoughts on the most effective content strategies.
Click play on the player below and/or read on for Facebook advice from one of the best in the business!
Should businesses stay on Facebook?
Let’s get straight to the point.
If Facebook was going out of fashion…its monthly users wouldn’t still be increasing (as they have done every month for 11 years).
Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, and there wouldn’t be hundreds of successful agencies focusing on FB ads (like Gavin’s!) if it didn’t reap rewards.
As dissenting voices (some with very valid points, it should be noted) become louder, it’s important to look at the situation neutrally.
Separate the personal from the business – you should base your decision to use any platform, service, or tool on numbers and performance. Not anecdotes and gossip!
And, if you’ve tried Facebook but found you’re not getting the results you were hoping for, it’s worth asking… Is that down to Facebook or your strategy?
This is a great point that Gavin made on the show. Gavin is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, speaker, podcast host & director of Fat Pony, a Facebook advertising agency that works with brands across the world. Gavin helps brands utilize Facebook in a way that not only builds their audience but turns that attention into revenue.
Gavin explained that it may well be that with a bit of research, reshaping and repurposing, your Facebook performance could improve rapidly and deliver the kind of results you’ve always hoped it would. And there aren’t many better places to start that research than with advice from Gavin…
How can you repurpose content into Facebook ads?
There are a few stages to this, so let’s break it down into steps.
1. Focus on repurposing into video
Gavin’s work and research has shown him that the most effective content you can share on Facebook is video.
Now, hearing that might send shivers down your spine and confusion through your neural pathways… but this is where the magic of repurposing can help you.
If you’re a video creator then you can create videos native for Facebook. But if you create long-form videos on another platform, this is pretty straightforward - cut your video up into short (anywhere from 15 to 60 second) clips that show off the highlights of a particular video.
If you’re a podcaster, blogger, public speaker, whatever-er, you might be wondering how this will work for you.
I’m very happy to be your example in action. I produce a podcast and this blog – but I’m not a video creator. That being said, I record a video each week to announce a new episode of the podcast. Like the one below, for example. A one-minute video explaining the outline of the latest podcast episode and blog post. No frills, no fancy animations or A-lister cameos. Just me having a quick chat with the camera.
If I can do it, so can you!
Here's a short video about this week's episode:
2. Work out your most effective content
Gavin believes that the secret to great Facebook ads is… not advertising. Not at first, at least!
Take the videos you’re making or repurposing and share them on your page for a few weeks. Then, go to your Insights section to see how they’re performing.
One of the key metrics Gavin recommends checking for is ‘average watch time’. Across all videos on Facebook, average watch time is ~6 seconds. Anything at that level or above it should be considered a success and a signal that it’s worth putting some money behind it.
Don’t just go off your instinct or preferences – use the data available through Facebook.
Share your content organically and see what performs best. Use organic performance as a signal for the content that will perform best in ads.
3. Blend organic and paid content
It’s important to keep creating content even when you’re getting results from paid. Just because ads are working, doesn’t mean you should ignore organic.
Think about it, if you see an ad you like, visit their page, and the last organic post was from a few months ago, you’re going to feel like something’s a bit off with the brand. Using Facebook only to advertise is risky.
Neglecting your organic content could prove to be hugely harmful to the foundation of any customer relationship – trust.
It doesn’t have to take days of planning or producing. Your repurposing mindset should make this easy, and if you’re following step 2, you’ll already be doing this.
Focus on a variety of content, but include video content that feeds into your advertising plan.
4. Start re-targeting once you're more confident
Re-targeting is one of the most powerful things we can do on Facebook. Put simply, it’s advertising based on a user’s previous behaviour.
So, with the help of Facebook, you can show ads to people who have viewed your video before, or visited your website, or put a product in their cart and abandoned it.
It’s a great way of delivering a clearer, more relevant message to customers at different stages of their journey.
This could mean you create a set of videos that speak to people who’ve never heard of you before, people who have shown some interest in what you do, and people who are on the very edge of buying.
Can you grow your business using just organic content?
Yes. Gavin believes that one of the best free ways you can promote content on Facebook is by using Facebook groups.
Find groups relevant to your content and engage in them in an authentic, genuine way. Don’t just spam your videos over and over – try to interact with people, answer questions, and add value as well as posting relevant content.
Sometimes it won’t work. Sharing your ‘marketing secrets’ videos in a marketing group will get you called out for spamming. But a guitar teacher posting a tutorial in a band’s fan group is going to do a lot better.
If you think that Facebook lets you advertise to specific groups of people based on their interests, Facebook groups are a bit like the free version of that – people who are united with a common interest!
Doing this will take time but, ultimately, that’s part of why ads are so successful – they’re quicker to set up and let you access those same groups of people with far less effort. If you don’t have the budget for advertising, Facebook will make you pay in time and effort!
Want to know more about succeeding with Facebook ads?
I’d really recommend visiting Gavin’s website, as he’s got loads of amazing free content, as well as his membership, that will help you supercharge your ads and get more bang for your buck.
All that’s left to say is good luck! I hope Gavin’s insight and a bit of repurposing magic can turn your Facebook experience from dud to dream.
Let me know how you get on!