Discussions

Facebook advertising for advocacy campaign

Posted by Stephanie McCormick @smccormick, Jul 21, 2016

Hi everyone,

My organisation is looking to do some paid advertising on Facebook to promote one of our campaigns, aimed at reducing road trauma, in the lead up to a state election. Specifically, we want to raise public awareness of the dangers of open (i.e. unrestricted) speed limits and how they can result in road accidents, traumatic injuries and death. One political party has thrown their support behind ending the open speed limits, and although we are not taking a highly politicised approach, we would be wanting to influence voters come election time.

We have a small budget ($100) and will be launching the campaign with a video. I will be on vacation at the time it is launched, so to make things easier for the rest of the team who is covering for me (none of whom are social media experts) I am going to suggest boosting a few posts.

Unfortunately we’ve never had a budget for Facebook advertising before, so I’m shooting in the dark a bit with no previous results to work off.

The advice I’d like from all of you is what you think we should do with our small budget to get the most impact. I’m torn between going for broke with a boosted post on launch day, and splitting the funds between a launch post and one closer to the election date. Or, even stretching the amount out over the entire period before the election (approx three weeks). Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Hi Stephanie –

I’m going to add my two cents, mostly because I’m in my first year with paid FB advertising and I know what that kind of pressure feels like to deliver the most bang for your buck.

First of all, would you consider the post “engaging” on it’s own? Would it gain a bit of traction if you shared it organically (without $$) for 24 hours, THEN boosted the post? I’ve noticed that’s the most successful route for me. FB users receiving a “sponsored” post are more likely to give a “like” to a post that has already received several.

Secondly, be very intentional with your audience (USE ADS MANAGER, NOT THE “BOOST” BUTTON). Consider who your advocates are, who your voters are, and find a nice intersection between the two. Your advocates will share the content, your voters will care about the content, and the intersection between those two things will [ideally] take the action you’re hoping they will.

In terms of how close you should boost to election date, I think it’s pretty relative. The ideal time would be on the tails of another campaign, newspaper article, or other media coverage of some kind. If that’s not possible, I always assume FB users’ attention spans to be fleeting, so closer to election date. Three weeks would probably be okay, however, I wouldn’t boost during that entire period. You can also check out “Ad Sets” – adding more than one piece of content to a campaign and seeing which is more successful – then putting more of your budget on the successful one. John Loomer is an awesome FB advertising resource if you’re interested in getting a little technical. I’ve learned a ton from him.

This is all my personal opinion so take it with a grain of salt! Let us know how it all turns out!

Abby

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@astonebreaker

Hi Stephanie –

I’m going to add my two cents, mostly because I’m in my first year with paid FB advertising and I know what that kind of pressure feels like to deliver the most bang for your buck.

First of all, would you consider the post “engaging” on it’s own? Would it gain a bit of traction if you shared it organically (without $$) for 24 hours, THEN boosted the post? I’ve noticed that’s the most successful route for me. FB users receiving a “sponsored” post are more likely to give a “like” to a post that has already received several.

Secondly, be very intentional with your audience (USE ADS MANAGER, NOT THE “BOOST” BUTTON). Consider who your advocates are, who your voters are, and find a nice intersection between the two. Your advocates will share the content, your voters will care about the content, and the intersection between those two things will [ideally] take the action you’re hoping they will.

In terms of how close you should boost to election date, I think it’s pretty relative. The ideal time would be on the tails of another campaign, newspaper article, or other media coverage of some kind. If that’s not possible, I always assume FB users’ attention spans to be fleeting, so closer to election date. Three weeks would probably be okay, however, I wouldn’t boost during that entire period. You can also check out “Ad Sets” – adding more than one piece of content to a campaign and seeing which is more successful – then putting more of your budget on the successful one. John Loomer is an awesome FB advertising resource if you’re interested in getting a little technical. I’ve learned a ton from him.

This is all my personal opinion so take it with a grain of salt! Let us know how it all turns out!

Abby

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Thanks for that @astonebreaker it’s great to hear you thoughts. The post includes a video with interviews from a few medical practitioners, so I’m hopeful that it will be at least somewhat engaging. In fact, we expect it could be a bit polarising – this particular issue is backed very strongly on both sides of the argument, so there may well be engagement on both sides of the coin.

Interesting that you’ve found it best to boost after it’s been out for a while, good to know.

I was thinking we would have to use the Boost button just on account of my not being there when the campaign is going live (and we don’t have the finished video yet either so I can’t preschedule it), but I definitely agree with you, Ads Manager would be better to use (I think it would be too difficult and too much pressure to put on my teammates without thorough training, and we just don’t have the time).

That’s a good point too about getting our advocates on board – I was initially thinking of aiming the advertising at the people in the state the election is in, but I might have to reconsider that as it’s not where a lot of our advocates are based – they’re mainly in the larger capital cities.

Really appreciate you taking the time to give your opinion, a lot of food for thought!

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Since you anticipate that the post could be polarising, what is your strategy for responding to the negative comments, @smccormick – especially since you’ll be out-of-office while it’s running?

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I second what @astonebreaker said above. Go for free publicity first, i.e., post your video and see how it does. If voters can only cast a vote on election day, I would definitely advertise/boost a post 48 hours prior to the vote. All the best!

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@DanHinmon

Since you anticipate that the post could be polarising, what is your strategy for responding to the negative comments, @smccormick – especially since you’ll be out-of-office while it’s running?

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Good question @DanHinmon – I have briefed the team member who will be covering monitoring fairly comprehensively about what the likely outcomes might be, and how to respond to them, providing suggested responses and advice on when not commenting is appropriate.

He also has back up from our Manager and Director in terms of formulating responses, who I’ve worked with on many crisis management campaigns (we do tend to be on the more controversial side sadly!) so I have faith in their abilities to provide additional support.

Having said that, I’m still a bit nervous, putting our accounts into someone else’s hands for the first time since I started over a year ago – separation anxiety is mounting haha!

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@ksaustin

I second what @astonebreaker said above. Go for free publicity first, i.e., post your video and see how it does. If voters can only cast a vote on election day, I would definitely advertise/boost a post 48 hours prior to the vote. All the best!

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Great points @ksaustin, I think I will move up the final boost to a bit earlier, get more bang for our buck. Thanks so much for your feedback!

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