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Bonsai Tree

There’s a challenge associated with Facebook advertising that isn’t as important when it comes to Google Adwords or similar advertising platforms. With Adwords, as long as your ads match well with the page that you’re advertising, you can maintain a high quality score and keep your ads working well. On Facebook, there is a much tougher audience than the Google algorithm that you have to win over. With Facebook, your ads fall under the scrutiny of the audience and if they don’t like what you’re advertising, they can hurt your current and future exposure.

When you advertise on Facebook, your posts get much more visibility. If the content that you’re advertising gets a good amount of negative sentiment in the form of reports and hides, it isn’t just the post itself that gets hurt. Your future posts will feel the wrath of the algorithmic damage that you do. It isn’t just negative sentiment that hurts, either. If your post is viewed by many people in their news feed and gets ignored, that too is damaging. When people see your post and don’t engage with it, Facebook’s algorithm recognizes that and will be less likely to present future posts to them.

Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. Facebook ads can be used to help future standard posts find the light of day by accumulating a high percentage of positive engagement. In the balance between conversational and conversion posts, focusing some ad dollars on the former can help the latter appear more prominently in news feeds. One of the easiest ways to do this is to highlight what the company is already doing in the real world – helping in the community.

“It’s important to keep a mix of community posts, conversation posts, and business-relevant posts,” said Louie Baur, social media manager for KPA. “The only thing worse than fan fatigue is spam.”

At first glance, the image above would appear to belong to a horticulture page or perhaps an arboretum. It’s a bonsai plant, something that you don’t see every day on Facebook but interesting enough nonetheless. When people see it in their news feed, there’s a good chance they’ll look at the description to see what the post is all about. That’s when it hits them. This is a post by a car dealer. They are supporting an event in the local community by posting it on their Facebook page. They even sponsored the post.

This does a few things. First, it does the most obvious thing – helps to promote a worthwhile community event. This is the most important thing it does and as long as the intentions are sincere, the benefits will be real. Second, it gives a piece of content that will resonate with a different set of people than standard content posted to the page. They are a car dealership and they post a lot of information about cars, of course. Mixing in a picture of a bonsai and connecting that to the community and the dealership itself is a strong maneuver from a strategic perspective.

Finally, it is a strong aid for future posts. Fans will interact. The beneficiary, in this case a local arboretum, will likely interact. As people like, comment on, and share the content, more local people will see it. This is where the magic can happen. The combination of strong organic interaction, paid views, and viral views can combine for a very powerful little campaign.

In this case, the total cost  of the campaign will be $5. The value of the thousands of views of the message and branding (for both the beneficiary and the business itself) will be priceless.

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