I can remember the early days when I first created Beauty Swatch’s Facebook page. I used to wonder what was the point of creating a Facebook page for a blog, and the thought of replicating content on multiple social media platforms seemed like overkill and frankly a chore.
As my blog traffic grew by the tens of thousands (and my Facebook page barely moved a digit or three), I became increasingly frustrated at the low number “Likes” on my blog Facebook page and there was even a time when I was hesitating whether to even bother including it in my media kit / blog business card, for fear of the thought that my successful blog traffic would be downplayed by the dismal Facebook traffic. But like many things I have experimented with Beauty Swatch, I persisted anyway to see if I could prove myself wrong. And so I dabbled with a bit of Facebook Ads and Marketing.
Please note that Facebook advertising is not the same as “buying likes”, which are a big no-no. In simple terms, Facebook advertising is like purchasing ad space on Facebook, where the cost of the ad depends on how long you run it for, how many people you target and the ad placement (eg. side bar or news feed etc). Facebook advertising is one form of Facebook marketing, which includes strategies that don’t necessarily incur a cost to achieve successful results.
I know I’m the odd one out in the blogosphere by sharing the anatomy of the traffic of their beauty blog. That’s because the difference between me and other tight-lipped bloggers is that blogging and social media is my digital sandpit for me to play, experiment and learn in. The nerd in me gets a buzz from seeing the results (good, bad and mediocre) from SEO, Facebook marketing strategies and the like. This is also the reason why I persist with trying different things, and I also know when it’s time to wrap up when I have done everything I have aimed for.
Without further ado, here are the 3 main Facebook campaigns I have run on Beauty Swatch that are most worthy of a mention. By “campaign” I’m referring to a defined period where I trial a marketing approach. The first two cost me money, whereas the third (and most successful) campaign didn’t cost me a cent.
Campaign #1 – The Lip Swatch
My first ever attempt was a simple Facebook Ad campaign that was targeted at virtually every age and country in the world. The image I used was similar to the one below – one of my standard lip swatches, with the following caption ” Beauty Swatch – lipstick blog helping you find your way through the lipstick jungle”.
I capped the ad campaign to a strict budget and I only needed to pay if someone actually clicked “like”. If no one liked my page, the budget would remain untouched for the duration of the campaign period.
From memory this approach got me to around 30,000 likes over several attempts, and I believe this was due to Beauty Swatch being a niche blog with an eye-catching lip swatch. 30,000 likes may sound like a great result, but in hindsight this was the poorest performing campaign in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). Both engagement and the conversion from Facebook to my blog traffic was low as I wasn’t optimising my Facebook page with my blog content to drive referrals. More on this later.
Moral of the story: Facebook advertising has limited Return on Investment (ROI) in terms of engagement and driving referral traffic to your blog if you don’t optimise your Facebook page.
Campaign #2 – The Lip Tutorial + Targeted Facebook Marketing
It didn’t take long before I got the itch again to try something new and decided to run another Facebook Ad campaign, this time changing the image to a “lip tutorial” style photo to illustrate the concept of Beauty Swatch as a place for lipstick tips. I also changed the header image to an array of lip swatches, knowing that this is the first thing people see once they land on your Facebook page that drives the next call to action. I wanted new visitors to immediately get a sense of what to expect when they arrived at my Facebook page.
This time the Facebook Ad was targeted to fewer regions (based on my research on which countries perform well in the cosmetics industry), placed in the news feed (as this location outperforms the side bar) and most importantly – targeted it to Facebook users who “liked” pages of similar nature to Beauty Swatch (hint: think heavy weight beauty related Facebook pages).
This approach worked like MAGIC and for the same amount of money as campaign #1, my Facebook “likes” skyrocketed to approx. 80,000 and grew organically to around 100,000 until I stopped counting. Talk about value for money, considering I paid the equivalent of a foundation (Australian prices LOL) for this campaign.
Moral of the story: Choose images wisely for your Facebook ad & remember to customise your header page to welcome new visitors to your Facebook page to drive referrals. I know it’s basic, but targeted marketing concepts apply to Facebook just like any other form of advertising.
Campaign #3 – Facebook Marketing tips I learned from Amy Porterfield
The most successful campaign of all was the one in which I didn’t pay a cent. Having tried paid advertising a few times already, I was now ready for a new challenge and was determined to apply what I had learned from Amy Porterfield when I attended her Facebook marketing seminar at Problogger Event 2013. Essentially, Amy’s secret for building engagement and quality referrals on Facebook comes down to:
- Post regularly (she recommends 3 times a day, mixing it up with Instagram posts, content and conversations. I barely manage 3 a week!)
- Post engagement content (eg. behind the scenes, or show your best drool worthy content)
- Upload images with links as captions, as opposed to posting links
- Ask engaging questions. The best are those that compel people to share their opinions and only require one line responses.
This approach took my Facebook likes from 100,000 to the next milestone of 200,000 without paying a cent, and at time of writing it has now grown to 250,000 and counting. The success of this approach stems from the new Facebook algorithm where pages and posts that you “like” are visible to your friends. If one person “likes” your image and their friends share similar interests, chances are they will like your post (and hopefully your page) too.
My most engaging posts are those of lust-worthy products such as the MAC Nocturnals Glitter Collection which drives my followers crazy. The next is swatches. To overcome language barriers with my followers from around the world, I would keep them engaged by asking simple questions, such as which shade lipstick they voted for in a featured swatch. The pic below is my most successful “lipstick swatch” post, where the choice between a pigmented red / nude / pink lipstick is clearly a universal question.
Not only was this approach successful in terms of organic growth, but engagement and blog referral traffic has improved. It’s still by no means the highest source of traffic for my blog (predominantly driven by Google), but I now treat my Facebook page as a standalone social media platform for people to engage without necessarily needing to read my blog post in its entirety to engage with me.
Moral of the story: Facebook marketing achieves greater ROI than ads alone. Get onto Amy Porterfield’s Facebook Marketing free webinars. My little summary doesn’t do it justice.
I suppose you could argue that each campaign may not have necessarily been “successful” had it not been for the learnings from the previous campaign. Which is why I believe in giving things a go rather than holding back in fear of getting it perfect the first time. I hope you enjoyed snooping in the anatomy of my Facebook following and I wish you all the very best for your Facebook pages!