Because the PR & Marketing departments are typically where social media campaigns tend to be managed, I’ll use the familiar terms of paid, owned and earned to contextualize how you should go about running a successful fan acquisition campaign on Facebook. If your brand places social media in the hands of the Sales team, you might replace these with terms like “calls”, “qualified leads” or “pipe-line”.

Start thinking about your Facebook Fans as your owned audience. Sure, you might pay for them; but rather than rent them (as you do with traditional advertising), once they opt in, you can consider that audience owned. Your messages can reach them in perpetuity, as long as you’re creative, non-obtrusive and provide them with value.

facebook adsBegin with geography. Where are your target customers? If you’re DIRECTV, the list is long. If you’re “Joe’s Boston Bar & Grille”, it’s not. List out 10 places to start. Facebook Ads can target down to postal codes, or the radius around a major metropolitan area. They can also be as broad as states/provinces, or whole countries. Remember that many Facebook users list the big city they are closest to as their location (the field that Facebook polls when serving ads). Targeting to a granular level like postal code might not be the right move. Consider targeting the major metropolitan area closest to your target audience (e.g. Madison, Wisconsin) and then checking the option to serve Facebook ads users within a certain radius of that location.

Next, consider affinities. What are your target Facebook Fans already connected to on Facebook? In the first installment in this series, you were asked to list 10 of these things. If you’re DIRECTV, this list might include things like XFinity, Breaking Bad, or The Suite Life On Deck. If you’re “Joe’s Boston Bar & Grille”, it might be the Red Sox, Northeastern University, or Nantucket. It’s crucial that you explore what’s already on Facebook for your target audience to Like. List out topics/places/brands that are relevant to them; you want those people to make up your owned audience.

Once your fan acquisition  Facebook ads are up and running, there’s no better way to acquire more Fans than by running fan acquisition ads that target Friends of Fans. Set up a separate Facebook Ad that targets Friends of Fans by geography only. That is, if I see an ad for DIRECTV because I’m in Boston and Like Breaking Bad on Facebook, my friends that don’t Like Breaking Bad – but live in Boston – might still be interested in DIRECTV. These people are a mix of paid and earned audience members. Once they Like you on Facebook, they’ve moved into the owned category.

Keep in mind that these tactics address only fan acquisition. In the next installment of this series, I’ll focus on what you can do with Facebook Ads to engage your owned audience, once you’ve got them.

Written by Ed Gazarian
Ed is the Managing Partner of Pandemic Labs, where he occasionally does some work in-between deep discussions of both Shakespeare and Star Wars.