A Deep Dive Into Facebook Advertising, Big Data and Bots

Social media is one of the best marketing tools available on the market. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood (hence often misused) tools out there.

At Content Queen, we believe that this is often the case due to the potential complexity of Facebook advertising, to start with. And, of course, social media strategies, data analysis and ROI measurement can get complex. Many people are simply unsure how to measure their social media activities; therefore they don’t bother trying it again and again. It all, of course, starts from understanding what to measure, aka goals, and then how to do it the best way possible.

Today, I am going to show you how you can collect amazing results from a number of digital activities including social media. And of course, how you can generate sales from laser focused and clear digital marketing strategies and only a few simple instant improvements to your digital print. One of my clients is currently negotiating their AUD 15,000 deal because of relatively small digital tweaks to their website. Hard to believe? Keep on reading.

Marketing requires time and effort business owners don’t always have. For many small operator, time and resources are scares. And I get it! However, if you don’t have time for marketing you don’t have time for your business. Time to change your thinking around and start viewing digital marketing as a priceless investment rather than an expense.

We’ll go through a few advertising house rules (this might help you understand why your Facebook advertising isn’t performing as well as you expected), Audience Analysis (yep, spreadsheets time – get excited!), we’ll touch on finding your balance between adding value and selling (creativity and CTA, to be precise) and discuss a few controversial topics around technology, bots and influencers (including the brand new sponsored posts’ legislation).

Facebook Advertising Rules That Are Holding You Back

Before we dive into advertising, I must repeat myself by reminding you that social media is called social because people power the channel. And social media is exactly that – the channel. Social media transmits your messages to the masses {grouped by channels}. Unfortunately, this is not how most small businesses treat social media.

I often say that social media users often escape their realities by visiting social media channels of their choice where they watch cat videos, comment on friends’ newborn’s pictures, argue politics and share local news. For that reason, every day offline conversation type of posts always perform better than sales pitches. In fact, sales pitches are dead. Not SEO but sales pitches {giggling}.

To check out specifically what types of posts work better on social, visit my recent blog What Actually Works on Social Media.

Content That Doesn’t Suck

I am taking your time to talk about your content quality here because your Facebook advertising will be affected by it. Hear me out.

Without wanting to offend the owner of the social media post on the right (image below), I want to draw your attention to the things people like talking about on social media.

My friendly post about pets in the office (on Facebook) spiked a spicy conversation dividing the participants into two camps: office pet supporters and animals’ allergy sufferers.

The discussion turned into submit-your-office-pet-picture, lobbying against pets at work due to potential health hazards and passionate pet lovers’ justifications of having animals around. We got into psychology, sociology, health, views, experiences and opinions. I loved it. Should have pet related business owners been around for this? You bet!

what people want to see on social media - Content Queen.JPG

This is why social media for business requires solid planning, ahead thinking, strategies and branding. Your Facebook advertising will need to line up with your organic posts you publish. Guess what, content is essential here. Let’s move on.

Facebook advertising enables your audience to view your content, as simple as that.

A fair word of warning: pumping money into ads isn’t really worth it because if the content/product you are paying to be shown to a larger audience isn’t good than your audience won’t engage with the ad.

Think Like a Customer {not a biz owner}

You really need to step out of your business’ shoes and step into your market’s shoes. What do they want to see online? What problem do you have a solution for? Who cares?

You know how they say, not knowing the law doesn’t free you from it? Same goes for Facebook advertising. Without playing a devil’s advocate, I must warn you that Facebook, similarly to Google, has limitations, rules and best practices of what can and cannot be posted or advertised on their platform. If you decide to use their platform you don’t get to whinge about the rules.

What’s that has to do with stepping into the customers’ shoes? Your Facebook advertising content will improve dramatically once you switch your focus from selling to improving lives.

There are a few simple advertising rules I think you should go over now and re-visit from time to time. Bookmark the page and keep yourself informed.

This is important because your advertising can be disapproved, banned or flagged annoying the living hell out of you. If you know what Facebook allows you to put out there you will sleep better. However, if you knew the rules and believed you followed them; but your ads didn’t go ahead you can appeal. Hey, here is another reason to brush up on your Facebook advertising guidelines’ knowledge.

Knowing is Money: Facebook Advertising Costs

Understanding how Facebook advertising works will affect your costs. Facebook advertising is based on an auction or bidding which means that they charge you whatever is the cheapest possible cost at any given time depending on a whole range of variables including your advertisement’s creative.

For example, if you are willing to pay $5 per each click but your copy is offensive or boring, Facebook can stop showing your ad to the chosen audience. They are not doing it to be a pain in your bottom. They are reacting to the market’s demand. Let me explain.

You are a paying customer so Facebook definitely doesn’t want to lose you. However you are a paying customer as long as there are Facebook users because they are your customers. So, if your content is being flagged {by Facebook users} or is plane boring, it will annoy the social media users. If you’re annoying their users, Facebook is losing it’s advertising powers which in itself will make advertising more expensive and less attractive to you. Facebook must keep the users happy so the advertisers {like you and me} are happy.  It is a vicious cycle, you see. But it makes sense, right.

On the side note, I’ve noticed sometimes people get frustrated with Facebook regularly changing and updating things. This makes no sense to me. Changing is adapting and growing. Of course, a multi billion user company would constantly evolve. That is given. And although it is impossible to keep up with Facebook {unless you are social media obsessed like we are here, at Content Queen}, you can definitely stay ahead of the game if you watch their changes at least from time to time – they usually send notifications and reminders.

For example, Facebook advertising has changed it’s Objective’s names (also adding a few new ones – exciting!) just to keep you on your feet. Kidding! This was done to better summerise what a particular type of advertisement does. Hover over each of them to read more about what objectives each pursues.

Facebook objectives names - Content Queen

Subsequently, a few months later, Facebook advertising layout changed {business manager, not power editor}. A few more updates are on the way, which will take a permanent state next month (April). You can read on about it here.

Facebook advertising changes - Content Queen

Let me Repeat it, Data is Gold

In my blog The Basics of Boostings, I mentioned that before you decide to advertise on Facebook, decide on what you will be measuring such as demographics, time of the day when your page is at its busiest, likes and where they happened, unlikes and possible associated posts, etc. I’d also recommend going through your Facebook Audience Insights and if the Page is old enough, export different slices of data comparing to the past tendencies.

This is a fascinating bit of data allowing you to understand your audiences’ interests, education, marital status, geographical location, etc. This should be your place of visit at least weekly. Google Analytics can, of course, give you a more detailed peak into this; but this is a bedtime story for another night. Audience-Insights-Boosting

Export-Data-Boosting-Content-Queern

Exporting-Data-Boosting-Export-Data-Content-Queen

The exported data isn’t that sexy – it is spreadsheets; but it is extremely valuable. You can review three (3) levels of data, at the time of this article, Page, Posts and Videos. These sheets allow you to analyse your Facebook Page figures in such detail – net likes, daily engagements, monthly engagements, weekly engagements, which posts perform better, where and how the Page was discovered, paid and organic activities and results, etc.  There are literally {okay not literally – but very many} endless rows of data.

At Content Queen, we are a little bit of data nerds so we love digging into different slices and layers of data figuring out what consumers want. Although I don’t really like spreadsheets and figures, I value the powers data grants you. So, most of my reports are colourful so they don’t look like reports. My team won’t let me lie, some of my reports come with unicorns {giggling}. Disclaimer: we don’t usually send unicorn-coloured reports to our clients though.

By the way, you’d want to know if your audience draws unicorns everywhere or like hot or cold coffee, prefers Europe to Asia when planning a holiday, struggling to find an accountant, hates or loves the La La Land musical, etc.

Data is Gold - Content Queen

If your Page is relatively small or too young you won’t be able to extract a very detailed data from it – spend a few minutes every day assessing what content performs better aka what your followers like.

Once you see a pattern, dig into it deeper figuring out why they prefer that content over your other posts. If you are posting regularly, something will stand out. And the more you post, the more opportunities you get to notice a trend.

When evaluating individual posts over a period of time, don’t forget to estimate for seasonality, current events and pay attention to any significant spikes and drops.

Facebook Page Insights - Content Queen

Once you ran enough repeatable content over an extended period of time, run a  poll or a survey asking your audience what did they enjoy the most, what they didn’t like and what would they want to see more of. Don’t be afraid to ask your direct consumers about what they want to see on your Page.

While digging into your followers likes and hates, check out what’s happening in the industry. HubSpot and SocialBakers, for example, are regularly releasing market research which will help you understand what advertising to stick with and what isn’t going to work for you. By the way, HubSpot are using Facebook bots actively at the moment; so if you are researching this area for your business, I suggest you watch the space. And We’ll discuss Instagram bots further down this blog.

Understanding what’s trending will help you decide on your advertising types {read: Objectives}. For example, it’s been noted that Facebook Like ads are reducing {in use} as they have not been as effective and cheap as many businesses hoped for. Mind you, they were extremely good 2 years ago.

Since then, many’ve started to pay attention to Conversion ads instead driving the cost down for all of us. Post engagement ads are almost always the type of advertising I see once I enter a new business and review their advertising practices – this is your boosting, in the nutshell.

Website click ads’ drop was no surprise to me. Unfortunately, many businesses are still putting most of their marketing effort into one (!) tool hoping for quick buck results. If that one tool happens to be social media then website clicks is a common approach when marketers or business owners craft a sales copy to “attract” people to a boring and none converting page because everyone says Facebook advertising works’.

It definitely works but it’s one tool out of the entire armoury – it requires solid strategy and execution.

Asia Pacific Social Media Trends - Content Queen

If you are based in or targeting the USA, Middle East of Africa, your figures will differ. You can find some of them here.

There’s a Wild West side of marketing that is often blamed on the marketers’ competencies {well, marketers are dealing with it so sure, why not}. Unfortunately, marketing – real marketing – doesn’t have a road map. It’s a sloppy messy series of things you do that may not work.

It involves other elements of your business including yours and your employees’ mindset and happiness {or the lack of}, your ability to read minds, your website’s look and feel, your attitude towards your marketing and your customers.

Do you get frustrated with your customers’ enquiries or feeling inspired and eager to help? Do you think Facebook is ripping your business off or gives you a great marketing advantage? Do you feel like learning new skills and marketing trends is daunting or does it present with new opportunities for your business and personal growth? Do you get out of your mind excited when have to learn a new tool or are you procrastinating dreading the day when you absolutely have to do it?

These are only few of the questions, answers to which will determine your success with Facebook adverting {and life, really}.

The Rise of Bots, and The Shift of Influence

This is one of the spicy topics I’ve been hesitant to talk about for some time. I’ve also been collecting relevant data and testing technology before bringing it to you.

Let me start by saying bots are the future. Not only for the social but for business and many other departments of life including health, education and space exploration. Similarly to any technological development,  modern tools and resources can be used for the good and for the ill, depending on the master.

After a long considering at the end of 2016, I finally decided to delete my old (personal) Instagram account starting out fresh also launching a business Instagram account. Instagram wasn’t my social media of choice till one day a good friend and a successful photographer once said “Well, you are in social media – there’s no way Instagram would work for you – it’s not fashion or travel, you know”. Challenge accepted, I thought!

I also made a decision to run bots on both of my accounts and see what’s all the fuss is about. I also really wanted to open this can of worms and start the conversation that, I believe, needs to happen. And so I did.

I’ve encountered way too many business owners, marketers and influencers who find Instagram automation unethical. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t appreciate somebody selling me a Social Media Marketing Workshop teaching the gorgeous content I must put out three times a day omitting the fact that this is not how they’ve grown their following. I know a number of people doing this. However, these techniques are of no interest to me.

Fake accounts, fake followers and none-activated (!) followers don’t generate any results for your business. Therefore, this is not what I am about to talk to you.

Anna Kochetkova instagramContent Queen instagram

Instagram automation {which is a really stupid to name, in my view} is different from Facebook bots {which we won’t be covering in this blog – story for another day}. I am going to explain to you now how bots work and how you can improve your relationships online without cheating the system.

Instagram automation is provided by a number of third parties out there. Just Google it, if you’d like to try this out. These tools enable a number of settings, very detailed ones. In the nutshell, you can automate the human of your Instagram account – liking other accounts, commenting on their content, following and unfollowing different people.

In order to grow a loyal following on Instagram, you have to be active, post amazing content and be an exaggerated version of yourself, really {hence, hail strategy}.  It takes tremendous work, time and effort to grow an Instagram account.

Yes, you’ll be staring at your screen hours on end posting, commenting, liking, engaging, sharing, etc.That is very true and there’s no other way around it. I don’t think anyone else can put it better than a travel Instagram influencer Lauren Bath {image below}.

Feel free to check out her Instagram – it is pretty damn amazing.

Lauren Bath Insta advice

Hence, the automation. The dark side though is that bots are no humans. Therefore,  your generic comments you tell robots to communicate to your following are able to harm your brand. For example, a comment like “this makes me so happy” under an image of an injured animal is a really bad idea; but this is a common reality for bots’ users.

It is also incredibly worthless to let bots generate a large numbers of none-engaged users if your prime service is to promote someone’s product. People who liked your account because bots told them “you look great” are not active or loyal. So, what do you do?

The grey area that I’ve been testing is the combination of robots and humans. Both my Instagram accounts took their beginnings in January 2017. Their followings have grown quickly partially due to the bots “magic” but also my frequent posting and re-connecting with already existing 500 followers.

What made me re-think the {often} negative idea of the automation was a number of productive conversations I’ve started having online. Surely, the initial conversations started with the help of bots who happened to comment on the accounts interested in what I do. They came back to ask more question, leave their comments, share their feedback, challenges and concerned.

My favourite are when other users come back and leave a question under my images. We often get into long discussions. Sometimes end up collaborating or even becoming friends. Gate417 was curious about the content marketing ROI. And so we discussed this.

In fact, I’m in the private messages on Instagram right now arranging a catch up with a complete stranger who I would have never met otherwise. The stranger works in marketing and curious to see if they can connect me with a few people to discuss social media. Shall I book a drinks night out or a weekend walk for this meeting?

Instagram question

This doesn’t mean you let your bots run free. You participate and work hard on building your presence on Instagram on top of what automation does for you. I have not left a single day of any of my Instagram accounts secret lives go wild without a good hour a day of engaging, replying, commenting and sharing.

The bots opened up more conversational grounds for me than I could have. However, I spend all the time available to me nurturing the discussions that came out of the automation.

Sounds familiar?

This is how any digital marketing works.  Whether you automate or outsource, once the leads are in, it is now up to you where you take them next. This is a sales funnel of sort; however I just call it communication. I am an introvert, at the end of the day {giggling}.

I met a civil engineer and co-founder of Investpro Group, Naveesh, who was initially “approached” by one of my bots getting him into a conversation with one of my Instagram accounts. Nothing too magical happened till later on when Naveesh noticed an Instagram post {on one of my accounts} about the 50 Ideas for Social Media Posts available for a download which he went onto getting.

I sent Naveesh a follow up e-mail to thank for the download and ask whether he found the Ideas useful. It resulted in an awesome phone conversation and an invite to talk in front of the Adelaide’s Business Group he is a member of. It also let me share a few personal stories with Naveesh discovering more about his business, dreams, challenges and interest. I truly enjoyed our encounter and currently preparing for an inter state business trip.

It all started with one little bot.

Of course, I am not encouraging you to jump on a bandwagon and automate all your social media activities.  Social media tools are exactly that – tools. You need to add value o your followers’ lives, strategise your content and call to actions and be ready to be there when they need your help.

Finally, on the 1 March 2017, marketers, bloggers, brands and other content publishers became legally required to mention if they have a relationship that could bias the opinions they share. Each country has its own laws regarding false advertising, but the gist of things nearly everywhere is that you must disclose “material facts” not obvious to the person seeing a post or claim you’re making.

That doesn’t mean that influence marketing is on the verge of dying. Disclosure doesn’t have to be hard (even in a tweet). If you are, for example, posting something relating to a client, add this client’s name to your tweet. Did a company sponsor your trip to their annual gala in Las Vegas so you could cover the product launch they announced there? No worries. Give a shout out on social saying so.

Oh, and of course, remember that $15,000 deal my client is negotiating right now? These guys are in the aviation engineering space which is a very niche industry, depending a lot on the respect and who knows who kind of ‘marketing’. I’ve worked with them on the consultancy bases proposing digital strategies and social approaches that can help them get more clients. As an awesome but conservative bunch, we’ve been moving forward slowly. However, it’s been amazing already. First thing we did was sitting down together and sorting out their SEO, optimising their website pages, images and any other tags possible. We’ve also set up Google Maps and strategised social media.

It only took 2 weeks for them to get discovered. They got the call. One of the largest food packaging company in Australia discovered them because of these extra keywords we put in. The keywords initially didn’t look like they had anything to do with aviation. Well, the prospects were coming from a different industry indeed. However, it happened so that my client’s services can be applied in the number of industries.

Thinking outside the box doesn’t always mean going wildly creative or quirky – sometimes it means you got to think outside of your industry.

If you are still unsure what type of social media content will work for your business, it’s time to brainstorm. Remove yourself from your usual working environment, clear up your mind and start writing ideas down. Just let them flow. See what happens. If you need a tiny bit of extra help, download our 33 ideas for your social media posting.

33 socal media ideas - content queen

If you are feeling absolutely lost, book a FREE 15-min consultation with us and let’s get busy.

Free Social Media Consultation - Content Queen team chat

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Social media is one of many digital marketing tools. Although very powerful, it must be treated exactly like this – one of many tools. Once you decided that your audience uses social media, you’re ready to harness its endless powers. Social media content is best consumed when strategised, that is once your short term, long term goals are set up and themes are decided on. To avoid waking up in the morning in horror not knowing what to post, you can follow our easy and effective way of planning your social media activities.

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CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing is like summer romance: first we spend time and effort getting to know each other, aka your perfect client, then you throw yourself into attracting their attention with presents, amazing sense of humor or maybe by fixing their car, aka designing engaging and useful content regularly; and eventually, like any summer romance, you sail apart letting the pleasant memories linger, aka reflecting on your campaigns measuring and reporting. The only difference here is that hopefully your perfect client sticks around for a long term relationship marrying your brand.

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BRANDING

Branding is everything while also one of the hardest business entities to measure. Your branding is your feel and look; and you are not always able to track exact number of sales due to your brand ‘sexappeal’. However, you can set up indirect goals and be able to track how your branding generates revenue in the long run. Social media plays a big role in your branding as well as your logo, your office (if applicable), the way you greet people and all the small things you do.

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BUSINESS

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”, -said Henry Ford. Business is often a lifestyle for many of us. However, it is not always all that pretty – there are bills to take care off, suppliers to deal with, customers to wow, staff to manage, branding to maintain, and marketing to implement…. While we also want to travel, spend time with our families and sometimes literally do nothing. How do you juggle it all? Business models vary greatly – some people might enjoy their ‘day job’ while running a small enterprise on the side, others leave it all behind to fully focus on their own operation, some travel the world while getting paid to Instagram their journeys and there are many more options to create your own business, just like designing your own life.

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