6 ways Facebook sponsored stories can drive more than just page likes

by Arik Hanson on Aug 20, 2012

Originally published at Communications Conversations

Facebook Ads

In my consulting work, there are always a number of “ah-ha” moments for clients.

That point at which they really start to “get” blogging, for example.

As consultants, these moments are special little pieces of joy for us. Yes, these companies are paying me for advice and counsel.

But, to watch a client begin to understand a process like blogging–well, that’s as good as it gets for me.

The Facebook Ads Ah-Ha

But one of those “ah-ha” moments that continues to surprise me: That good Facebook ads are one of the key ways brands drive “likes.” I think most folks still believe by “engaging” your fans you can drive likes for your page.

Not so.

OK, maybe if you’re a brand like Oreo or Major League Baseball. But, for the midsized (and even many larger companies), Facebook likes are for sale. And believe me, many people are buying.

In fact, I continue to be FLOORED at how well Facebook advertising works–and not just as a way to garner page “likes” for brands. I can’t get into the specifics with my clients, but let’s just say Facebook Sponsored Stories is one of the key (if not THE key) driver of engagement and impressions for the few pages I oversee.

What am I talking about?

Remember, according to Facebook, only 16% of your fans see your wall posts at any given time. That means, you need to find ways to boost those posts at times–especially for key posts likes deals, giveaways and sweepstakes.

So, I wanted to take a little time to talk about how brands can use Sponsored Stories to drive a whole lot more than just page “likes.” Here’s six ways you can use this tool to drive engagement, awareness and even leads.

1. Drive leads through the deal

Pretty straightforward. Use Sponsored Stories as a way to promote deals for your fans. Here’s an example from Target with the Starbucks locations in their retail outlets. Great way to give these little BOGO and offers like them a little shot in the arm.

2. Drive page ‘likes’ by simply asking

I know I said I wasn’t going to cover this, but it’s a staple. Want the page ‘like’? You gotta ask for the ‘like’. Just like on the wall, this works well in the Sponsored Story model as well–after all, it’s just the wall post repurposed.

3. Drive leads by making a free offer

Tease your fans with a free offer. In this case, the smarties at Hubspot are offering a free e-book about Facebook marketing for B2B folks. Note the like, comment and share counts at the bottom–key part of the equation with Sponsored Stories. Always wait until your wall post has a little traction on the wall before posting it as a Sponsored Story. Those “social signals” go a long ways toward convincing others to click. After all, if 838 people “liked” this post, maybe I should, too…

4. Drive leads by promoting a sweepstakes

Combining the power of the sweepstakes together with the Facebook Sponsored Story model is a recipe for a huge lead generation tool. Just look what Ford is doing here. Using a great sweepstakes, together with a Facebook Sponsored Story (and video) to generate leads (I’m guessing). Potent combination, especially considering the targeting power you have with Facebook ads.

5. Drive engagement by highlighting a poll

Look what EA Sports did here. Simply repurposing a poll from its wall as a Sponsored Story–nice way to generate more votes for the poll. In this case, it was a relatively inocuous question. But, could you use sponsored stories as a way to get real-time feedback from the EXACT key customers you want? Absolutely. Think about how you could use the poll function here and really put some hardcore numbers to any research you want from your target audience.

6. Drive engagement by encouraging the post ‘like’

Most folks think about Sponsored Stories as a way to get the “like” for the page. But what about using Sponsored Stories to get the like for the post itself? Great way to give your wall posts a super-charge in the engagement column (and get them seen in more news feeds).

If one of your KPIs is awareness or engagement, wouldn’t this be a nice tool to use every so often to bump up the like/comment count? Personally, I’ve used this with a couple of smaller pages I manage and it has worked wonderfully so far (see On the Green Line example above–client).

Remember the 90-character limit

One thing you’ll notice with a number of these ads–they’re cut off mid-stream. That’s because they repurposed a wall post that was longer then 90 characters (the amount Facebook gives you for these Sponsored Stories). If you’re planning to run a wall post as a Sponsored Story, limit it to 90 characters so you can read the entire post. Seems a little short, but keep in mind you’re getting a two-for-one with these posts–first they show up in your feed, then you use them as ads.

Just a few examples and ideas I’ve found have worked. What about you? How have you used Sponsored Stories in different ways to spur engagement, awareness or leads?

Post Author

Principal-ACH Communications Minnesota digital PR consultant, blogger, co-founder-HAPPO, co-founder #mnblogconf, husband, father, beer snob...

  • http://twitter.com/qistrategy Gad Levy

    Hi Erik, Great tips, we’ll check them out. Gadi

  • http://stanleyrao.org/ Stanley Rao

    the tips provided are really great will try out and let you know the response i get thank you for sharing

  • Andreea

    I’ve been thinking of using Sponsored Stories for a while, but have never tried it. This give me quite a few ideas that I can start with right away.