Increasing Facebook Reach: Ads or Boosts?

business facebook ad posting 2015
business facebook ad posting 2015

Is the Free Ride Over?

As many of us predicted for quite a long time, and then knew for quite a long time, organic (unpaid) reach on Facebook business pages is dwindling away. This leads many business owners to a great deal of frustration. Many are feeling that what used to be the best free source for spreading brand awareness has more or less become another paid advertising platform.

That's not all it is though! There are still many tremendous benefits to having a great business page, keeping it up, and investing in its growth. For those out there who do not already have a giant audience, this will most likely mean spending a little more time and money.

There are two main ways of reaching a larger audience on Facebook. You can implement ads on the site, or you can promote posts. This may leave you asking, "Which is right for my business?"

Let's Start With the Good Ol' Facebook Ads

Facebook allows you to pay to place ads which are displayed to an audience you choose through targeting. They offer demographics like age, gender, location, and even specific interests. Once you've chosen your target audience, Facebook will give you an estimate of people that your ad could potentially reach. Don't be mistaken, though...This is not the number of clicks you'll get. That depends largely on the budget that you set, and the quality and content of your ad itself. After all, a million people could see your ad but if it's not enticing, there's no guarantee that a single person will click it.

With an enormous pool of users to target, and a cost-per-click that is drastically lower than many other Pay-Per-Click ad venues like Google Adwords, Facebook ads can be a great tool for content marketing and expanding your reach.

On to Promoted Posts


If the first question you find yourself asking is, "Why would I pay to show people a post when people will already see it?" then you've got a little catching up to do! Before fall of 2012, when you made a post on your page, it would be served up to all of the people who liked your page. Unfortunately since then, there has been cut after cut after cut to the numbers of likers that actually see your posts in their newsfeeds. Facebook has confirmed that ultimately (at some undisclosed time), page posts will receive no organic views. This means whenever you post on your page, the only people who will see it are people who specifically find and click on your page, and then look at your page's timeline. That is, unless you promote posts.

This is done by making a post as usual, and then clicking the "boost" button after you've posted it. You'll then have options to set a budget. You can also decide if you want your post to be served up to people who already like the page, or if you'd like to target a new audience. Once your post has been boosted, Facebook will put your post into the newsfeeds of the audience you select. Your budget will be the biggest factor in determining how many people are reached.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, much like any other form of paid marketing. The simple fact remains, however, that social media is quickly becoming a pay-to-play world for the businesses that have enjoyed free reach for so long.

Content Creation vs. Storytelling

webpage content creation services norfolk va
webpage content creation services norfolk va

Why Aren't People Interacting with My Social Media Posts?

Good Writing and Good Storytelling are Not One in the Same

Why aren't they sharing my pictures? What does Company X have that my company is lacking? If you find yourself asking these questions, you're far from alone. A lot of businesses in the Hampton Roads areas that we meet with face the same questions. Mastering the art of turning an ordinary bit of information into an interesting story is not always as straightforward as it sounds. In this day and age, you're not only competing within your own industry for business, but competing with other industries, causes, and individuals for the attention of a large, shared audience. So what's the answer?

Stop Stating Cold, Hard Facts

I'm not saying to lie, or even to fudge the truth. What I mean is that too many companies create content simply by stating facts and maybe attaching a relevant picture to those facts. They then wonder why people aren't interacting. You have to put yourself into the shoes of an average Joe. Not an average person in your industry, not an average person in sales, marketing, or management of any industry... But an average Joe that may or may not have any knowledge of your specific industry. One of the most common areas where content creators struggle with this concept is in professional services (doctors, lawyers, etc.). It can be very difficult to glamorize content that is, in and of itself, very straightforward. The trick is to focus not on the information, but on how it might apply to our good ol' average Joe.

Don't Write...Tell a Story

If you focus too heavily on structure and accuracy, it's easy to lose the story. The best piece of advice I can offer for getting started with content creation is just to let the pen (or your fingers on the keyboard) flow. In the very early stages, it's perfectly okay to not have an exact direction. Think of a big, general subject, and just start writing. Think of it as a brainstorming session. Leave the graphs and charts out, though. In the infancy of your content creation, rigid structure can steal your story-telling thunder. When you begin this free-flowing brainstorming session, be sure to choose a topic that you know and care about. As you write, you will often find a direction naturally.Make it Relate-able

Now that you've got a direction for your content, STOP! Okay, don't stop altogether, but don't get ahead of yourself. This is where a lot of content-creation takes a turn for the booorrrrriiiinnnnnggggg. Many of us who work all day, every day in our respective fields can be tempted to spew nothing but facts and statistics, because this is how we measure our own efficacy. Your average reader will often be more interested in the following than they will in the writer's measures of personal success.

a) Entertainment
This is one of the best ways to encourage engagement. People deal with enough negativity every day. Pushing your content in a lighthearted, amusing direction will almost always up readership and engagement.

b) Help or Encouragement
Problems, problems, everywhere. People want solutions! More than that, they want solutions that they can understand and achieve. Are you a home restoration expert? Give people some awesome DIY tips and hacks! Are you a doctor? Offer encouraging success stories about people turning their health and lives around for the better. We know you're an expert at what you do. You don't have to blind people with the science behind what makes you an expert. Instead, use that expertise to help people in small ways. This is not only good for interaction, but it's great for trust and client relationship-building. If your content is useful to your audience, then it is also valuable to them.

c) Be Relate-able ("I'm NOT alone in this!")
This is arguably the most important facet of good, quality content creation. Technical terms and industry-specific jargon is all well and good when it comes to communicating ideas with colleagues, but what good is it to the consumer? This is truly where story-telling comes into play. You can take your idea that you got in your brainstorming session, and focus down it into a story (real or hypothetical). Concentrate on showing the audience how the person in your story could easily be them!

To Sum it All Up...

Writing true, relevant, correct content is important. So important, that people often sacrifice the social aspect in order to clearly attain those qualities. Don't be a part of that content-writing crowd. At the end of your piece of content...Whether it's a blog, a short post, or an image description...Think to yourself, "If I came across this in my news feed, would I stop and interact?"

Local Marketing on the Internet

local internet marketing services hampton va
local internet marketing services hampton va

What Makes Sense For the Future of Local Marketing on the Internet?

I've spent the last few months really digging into what Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird - and whatever other Google-inspired animal kingdom program means in its quest to take over the world. At this point, I would have to say Google certainly controls the Internet world. The ripple effects over the last year from these programs has shaken up what the traditional small business SEO industry used to know about marketing their clients on the Internet.

Despite all the technology and coding behind this, what Google is doing makes sense to me. Google’s bottom line mission is to generate the best search results possible to retain and increase their global audience. That, in turn, sustains and increases its Adwords revenues. Simple as that. As the Internet matures, it will continue to take advantage of whatever tools out there to accomplish this. Thus, we are seeing a logical alignment of site load speed, the quality of a site's content, what others are saying about you online, and how consistent backlinks and citations are as all major factors for Internet local marketing in 2015.

Content Will Always Remain Supreme...

Local marketing of a business website used to be a matter of paying attention to details for content following what I keep calling it - logic. The original premise of search engine indexers was to “logically” run through a website picking up keywords and phrases then plugging those numbers into an algorithm that generated the best search results. In the not too distant past, SEO marketers simply had to be a bit creative in employing a number of varying techniques to get these words packed in anywhere they could without damaging the integrity of the actual read of the content. Of course, there has always been more detail to it than this but overall it was a matter of paying attention to the details and following SEO best practices.

However, content is now being looked at differently. It’s always been about content and it still is. Where search engine indexers started out being very rudimentary, over time they have improved to steadily take into account keyword “stuffing” and other means employed to get that first page first position everyone seeks. Google is finally doing a good job of weeding out sites that are simply at the top because somebody put the most effort into cramming content everywhere it can and employing other slightly to blatantly back-handed techniques to get them there.

I like to say that Google’s updates to its indexer over the last 8 months have advanced to the point of defying logic in the areas of being able to more decipher “naturally written” content. These updates also penalize many of the accepted former “white-hat” techniques all of us SEO marketers used to use to market our clients. Now, instead of trying to pack a long list of desired keyword phrase content into a limited amount of webpages, it is looking for a pattern of continual pertinent subject matter content spread out naturally throughout a site.

I feel the only really effective recommended means to do this now is to implement a blog program and maintain it. With this blog program you'll want to pay attention to how it is crafted, or wordsmith’ d, by putting continual thought into keeping on subject using primary keyword phrases and geo-references "naturally" throughout the article. For example, talking about this subject of "local internet marketing" in conjunction with using a geo-reference in the article. An example would be:

“We recently performed a complete internet local marketing campaign for a HVAC company in Newport News. Something we found interesting about marketing this client was…”

Not only did I use a good example for this article, with this being a blog post we just helped our own indexing for "local marketing" and "Newport News" - one of the regional cities we service and want to index better in. The phrase and geo-reference reads naturally and is not repeated excessively or "forced".

What Others Say About You...

With the solidification of social media and customer review sites within the fabric of the web, it makes common sense that Google would also index what is being said by the public about a company’s products and services as part of its ranking criteria. Why not tap into this information to generate the most reputable businesses at the top of a search return based on positive or negative reviews? At this moment, it is not a large factor in ranking, however there is too much talk about it becoming so. As more people use the Internet to express their level of satisfaction with a company's product or service, I can guarantee that this will become critical probably within weeks or months of this post.

Review sites are also within the realm of generating backlinks or "citation" links back to your business website. In the big picture, it is critical to have a very consistent name, address and phone (NAP) format to better identify your particular business to increase what is known as your domain authority. The extreme consistency of this format solidifies your particular business as unique in Google's eyes and not to be confused with any other similar business type or name as yours that may be out there. The more of these consistent citations linking back to you the better. Domain authority criteria is also becoming a larger Google ranking factor.

Adapting To The Changes

So, quite frankly, it seems Google is now encouraging - more like forcing - the Internet to work for its reward. In the past we could post a website with some basics of detail and best practices employed and expect a reasonably effective result in traffic to the site. Now, it takes that foundation - which still applies strongly - and forces pro-activity in generating reviews and adding continual quality content to the site. This, in conjunction with a creative and consistent social media presence.

Businesses that take the time and/or expense to adapt to and follow these new guidelines will be rewarded. Those that don’t, I'm afraid will be left behind.