A PR agency’s job is to get your story in front of the press and potential customers.
It might set you back $5,000 per month.
But what if you could get the same—if not better—results yourself, by using Facebook ads?
Facebook ads are one of your biggest business opportunities. The targeting capabilities, the tracking functionality and the low cost of getting started means they beat any other form of advertising hands down. If you’re not using Facebook ads as part of your overall marketing strategy, you’re missing a trick.
Facebook has a neat little feature called workplace targeting that many people don’t even know about—and from a PR perspective, it could save you thousands of dollars every month.
Let’s see how.
When you think about Facebook targeting, you might think it’s all about location, age and interest-based targeting. But when you dive into the demographical data we can use to target people, it goes much deeper than that.
Let’s take a second to think about the data Facebook has. There are 1.94 billion active monthly users on Facebook, and over 1 billion people use the platform every single day.
That’s a lot of data. I’ve personally been on Facebook for over 10 years. During the course of those 10 years, Facebook will have amassed a huge amount of data about me: the pages I’ve liked, posts I’ve reacted to, photos I’ve uploaded, places I’ve checked in, links I’ve clicked on and sites I’ve visited, to name a few. They’ll understand how my behavior has changed over time. When we combine that with the data they have about my Instagram and Whatsapp usage (not to mention data from third-party partners), we’re starting to talk real big data.
As they say, if you don’t pay for a product, you are the product. This might sound slightly daunting to a user, but as a marketer, it’s a huge opportunity—an opportunity you need to be taking advantage of.
When we use workplace targeting to target people based on where they work, we’re simply using the data Facebook gathers when you create your profile.
It’s a targeting feature that many people don’t know about, but it’s one that can be super powerful. Here’s how to do it:
Presuming you already have an advertising account, when you’re in the ads manager, click on create advert.
You’ll be taken here, where you need to choose your campaign objective. You can target the media through any objective, so what you choose here will be entirely dependent upon your goals.
For example, if you’re trying to get people to take a specific action, such as download an eBook, you’ll want to choose the conversions objective. If your goal is to drive traffic to a blog post, you might want to use the traffic objective.
The objective you choose will alter how Facebook optimizes your ads (if you choose conversions, Facebook will show your ad to the people it thinks are most likely to convert. If you choose traffic, Facebook will show your ad to the people it thinks are most likely to click through). Again, Facebook has data on what action you’re most likely to take, based on your user behavior.
Name your campaign and click continue.
You’ll then be taken to the ad set level where you get to choose your targeting options. Your ad set is basically a place where you tell Facebook how you want your advertisement to run. Your options here include:
Targeting is what we’re interested in here. Find the detailed targeting box, then hit browse > demographics > work > employers.
Here, you can enter the names of the companies you want to target. This will target the employees of the companies you choose. If we’re looking to get some PR, we want to choose media companies as the employers.
You can go ahead and fill that detailed targeting box with as many companies as you’d like to target.
I’d recommend creating a list of all the media companies you think might be interested in what you do and any stories you produce. You can then save that audience and come back to it whenever you want to target the media again. I’ll often target the media companies even when I don’t have anything to pitch them—just to keep myself top of their minds.
You’ll then have an audience you can target whenever you have something you feel is media-worthy! Here’s an audience I created of people who work for media companies:
As a marketer, getting into the media and onto podcasts, writing guest blog posts and connecting with influencers are all great ways to reach and provide value to new audiences. But the people with the power to get you onto these mediums (the owners, journalists, hosts etc.) are inundated every day by people requesting to be on their show or to write a guest post for them. Do you think they want to receive any more requests than they already do?
Why not do something to stand out from the crowd? Jump on to Facebook, find the person who owns the podcast/blog you want to appear on, see what they’ve put as their company name and then create an ad targeting employees of that company.
In your ad copy, you can specify that you love their podcast/blog and would like to appear on it. What’s gonna stand out more—a boring email pitch or a creative ad?
The ad will win all day long—it’s fun, it’s different and it’s relevant.
Workplace targeting doesn’t just offer media/PR benefits. It can literally be used for anything, whether that’s lead generation, getting meetings with specific people or using it to get your next job.
I’ve used this tactic to get meetings with people many times. For example, I wanted to meet the team at Social Chain. After emailing a few times to no avail, I decided to run an ad targeting employees of Social Chain.
After only $.39 spend, I had a message from the CEO inviting me down to the office the next week. Crazy, right? Every marketer has a list of companies they want to meet/work with. Rather than sending them cold emails, why not create Facebook ads targeting the employees or CEO of that company?
Relevancy is the key to why this works so well. If you pinpoint an ad to someone and call them out based on how you targeted them—for example, by targeting people that work for ‘x’ company and using copy such as ‘work for ‘x’?’—of course they’re going to click on that ad! Why wouldn’t they when it’s so relevant to them?
But at the same time, just because you’ve used their workplace or job title as the identifier, it doesn’t mean the ad or message you’re trying to get across is interesting to them. There are more than 5 million advertisers on Facebook, of which a small percentage will be targeting you, trying to get their message in your feed. Some of them may have identified you by your job title, while others may have identified you by your interests.
This is where having great ad creative is important. The targeting functionality allows us to get our message in front of the right people with ease. But that doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to be interested in what we have to say. Great targeting can’t fix poor messaging. Understand the mindset of Facebook users and serve them an ad that is truly valuable and relevant to them.
How can a PR agency compete with results like this—instant results for a tiny spend? Now, the point of this article isn’t to suggest that PR agencies are dead. They still have a place, but if you’re looking to get into the media or to target specific companies, Facebook ads might be your best bet.
The great thing is, you don’t need huge budgets to get results. You can get started from as little as $1 a day. Once you’ve tested and played around with this method, you can scale your budget to as high as you like.
About the Author: Gavin Bell is an award winning entrepreneur and Facebook advertising expert. At just 21 years of age, he launched his social media agency, Blue Cliff Media. Fast forward two years and they’re working with brands across the world, helping them to transform the way they communicate and market themselves online. Also a vlogger, Gavin has a weekly vlog titled “The Journey” which follows his life through the world of entrepreneurship.