“Gerard, can you help me gain more Facebook likes for my business page?” I hear this a lot.
Several times each week, someone calls our office and tells me that their business needs more Facebook likes. They’ve heard that success (or failure) on Facebook is based on the number of likes on a business page. There is some truth to that – if a Facebook business page has no likes, there’s no audience to consume your content and your message is ignored. But, a word of caution: your Facebook business page likes must be highly-targeted and consist of those who are very interested in your page’s content, or they’re largely useless.
Building highly-targeted Facebook page likes sounds easier said than done. However, it turns out Facebook has a solution for doing just that.
It starts with a little-known secret, right on Facebook.
A long time ago, I found the secret to building highly-targeted Facebook page likes and it was staring me right in the face: my email list.
Thanks to a little-known feature within Facebook advertising called Custom Audiences, I was able to leverage my existing email list that I had built over eight years. Since my email list consisted mainly of existing clients, interested prospects, and industry contacts, these contacts were exactly the highly-targeted and interested audience I’d want on my Facebook business page.
Custom Audiences allow you to upload contacts from a data source (e.g. a CSV file or copy-and-paste) into the Facebook Ads Manager and target the contacts who use Facebook with an ad prompting them to like your Facebook business page. They will likely have heard of your business, and will press the “like” button. You’ll gain a new page like.
Setting up a Facebook Ad Custom Audience is straightforward. Here’s how:
The process should be quick and painless. To start, make sure you’ve exported your email list contacts from your favorite email software. Clean them up in Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers, by removing every field except name and email. Save the file as a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file – our favorite file format when creating a Facebook Custom Audience.
When you’re setting up a Facebook ad campaign to build page likes, you’ll be prompted to enter information about the audience you’d like to target for the new ad campaign. Select “New Audience” and you’ll see the text “Target Ads to People Who Know Your Business” with a link to create a custom audience. Click that link. Now, choose “Customer List” and “Upload a File.” Then, make sure “Emails” is selected from the “Data Type” dropdown.
Drag the CSV file you created into the Facebook window, or select “Upload File.” Then, click “Create Audience.” The upload will begin. When it’s complete, you can enter a name and optional description for your Custom Audience. Facebook says it may take up to 30 minutes for the audience to be ready – from my experience, it’s usually ready a lot quicker.
Now, your newly-created Custom Audience will be the targeted audience for the campaign, and you can proceed with setting up the rest of the campaign. You’re done!
Remember not to give up after the first campaign.
As with many marketing initiatives, I strongly advise you not to give up if your campaign does not perform well the first time. The fact is that many individuals within your newly-created Custom Audience may need to see your ads several times, through several different Facebook visits, before they decide to click the magical “like” button.
If you run your Facebook page like campaign over a weekend, for example, don’t stop there if your Custom Audience consists of 2,000+ contacts and you only see 6 new page likes. Consistency is key for the success of these campaigns.
Once you run your Facebook page like campaign several times and have built a sizable number of new, highly-targeted page likes, something magical will happen: you’ll get more engagement and interest on your page’s Facebook posts, and may even get a phone call or email. You can thank your Custom Audience.