Creating a strategy to target a relevant boating audience and maximizing your Facebook return on investment
If you manage a Facebook business page for your marine business then you already know about the “great fan drop-off”. Your Facebook posts don’t organically reach all your fans anymore unless you pay to “boost” them. Unpaid status updates from pages with 1200 likes may only make it to about 30-50 people.
Facebook obviously realizes how important pages can be to businesses, which is why they have been slowly (or not so slowly to some) transforming it from a free marketing tool to a paid advertising model. “Like” it or not, that seems to be the new way of doing business on Facebook.
Despite this drop-off, Facebook remains a popular social media choice for marine businesses. In fact, according to a recent Boating Industry Magazine social media poll, Facebook is the number one social media site for marine businesses and overwhelmingly ranked as the most valuable network for their business.
For marine businesses that take advantage of using highly targeted boosted posts, Facebook can be one of the most cost effective ways to reach more boaters that are interested in your business. The trick is creating the right strategy that gets your messages to a relevant audience that will take positive action – an age old marketing challenge.
How to Select Boater Targets with Boosts
Each time you post as an admin or editor of a business page you will see the “boost” button which gives you the opportunity to send your status update to more people.
When you select the boost button you will have several options:
- People who like your page and their friends – provides visibility to people who previously liked your page and an “endorsed” post to their friends.
- People you choose through targeting – lets you reach targets based on where they live, how old they are, gender and things that they are interested in based on their Facebook activity
- Select how much you want to spend on the boost – More money gets you more impressions – you will see an estimated number of people reached with each different budget amount entered. Note that you do not have to select an amount listed in the drop-down – there is an option for a custom amount where you can enter a lower or higher amount.
If you choose to do targeting (rather than people who like your page and their friends), you can get very specific with your audience criteria with options like Location, Age, Gender and Interests.
The “Interests” gives you the ability to really refine your targets. For example, you can target people with an interest in boating, or get more specific and target people that have liked certain boat brands or products.
Creating a Boost Strategy
Once businesses come to terms with the fact that Facebook is no longer free they need to develop a clear strategy for investing time and money to make it work for them. And it’s important for businesses to keep an eye on metrics to make sure that it really is working for them… whether it is increase in website traffic, leads or sales.
Brands in any industry need to be careful about how much time and money they spend on Facebook. The time you invest in daily management of Facebook should also be relative to the return you get from the site. If you are spending hours a week for a couple of likes and comments, but no website traffic or leads, then you need to decide if Facebook is really worth it.
A good boost strategy will help you make sure that each time you pay to boost a post you are reaching the right audience and not over-boosting or over-spending.
For the SureShade Facebook page, our strategy has been to try a variety of boost targets and vary boosts depending on the topic. We’ll pick and choose when we boost, how much we spend and how we choose our targets.
For example, when we announced our new membership with National Safe Boating Council and a joint commitment to sun safety we felt that was big industry news so we boosted the post to people who like our page and their friends. This strategy gave us a huge reach for our news.
Another example, we recently did a blog post about a customer that had an aftermarket shade installation on their 2006 Tiara 2900 Open Express. We thought Tiara Yacht customers in particular would be interested to see and read about this shade installation, so we chose to boost the post to people interested in Tiara Yachts… pointing out that this aftermarket shade was the same as offered on the new Tiara 50 Coupe (which has been highly promoted by Tiara). We put a very relevant topic in front of an audience with a direct interest… showing them targeted content that resonated with them. This boost is still underway, and we expect a good response.
So far the strategy has produced very good results in terms of Facebook engagement (likes, comments, shares, new page likes) and even direct leads we get from posts (measured through our website traffic analytics, lead referral tracking and direct “conversations” on Facebook).
The days of “like-baiting” fans with obviously like-able posts – Like this if you love boating!! – are over. Boosting your posts will keep your brand visible and in front of the people that matter most to your business. So put together a strategy that works for your business, test it and measure it often.
Facebook has changed, but if you embrace it for what it is now it can continue to be a valuable marketing tool. And if there’s one motto that marine businesses should know well… sometimes you just need to go with the flow.
What are your boost strategies to reach more boaters on Facebook? Share your comments and insights below!
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