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July 31, 2017

How to Use Facebook Advertising for Public Consultation


One of the difficulties faced by public consultation is reaching target audiences and getting them to take part. Well, Facebook advertising is a great way to get your consultation content in front of people and get them involved.

Imagine you are running a consultation about changes to local hospital services.  What kinds of things might you want people to do? Who do you want to encourage to take part? Maybe you want people to download a document, watch a video, sign-up for a focus group, attend an event or complete a consultation survey.  And maybe you want more young people, or working people, or people with an interest in healthcare, or new mums or people from a particular town. Facebook advertising can help you reach these people and ask them to take part in different aspects of your consultation.


Targeting people within certain locations enables us to include people from across your area, rather than relying on the most well-informed people to come forward. Not only can we target people by any general area, we can also target by postcode to ensure you’re only reaching people who are exactly where you want to reach. This can also be defined by whether people are actually living in the area, or just visiting.

Event Attendance

We can use Facebook advertising to encourage people to attend events in your area. For example, you may want young people in your area to attend a focus group that you’re holding on a specific date. We can create this as an event using your Facebook page, and use Facebook advertising to target the exact demographic and encourage them to attend.

Economic Status

We can use Facebook to target people who wouldn’t normally take part in public consultations. For example people who work in specific occupations may not even be aware because they’re too busy, but we can reach them during their downtime when they’re scrolling on their phone.

For example you may want these people to read your consultation summary, so we can show them an ad with a clickable link to download the document.

Micro Targeting

Facebook advertising gives us the power to really drill down into your audiences and target very specific groups of people. For example, you may wish to target new mums to encourage them to watch a video about what the proposed changes to health services could mean for them.

Survey Completions

Facebook advertising is a cost effective way to get people to complete your online consultation survey. Not only can you target by area, but you can narrow in on specific demographics who may not normally be aware of your consultation. This makes your campaign much more cost effective because you can choose to reach as many people in a certain area as possible, or focus in on specific groups that are more likely to be engaged with your consultation.

Instant Feedback

Using Facebook lead forms is a powerful way to encourage people to leave feedback about your consultation. Rather than having to click a link and leave Facebook, they can fill out your survey within Facebook in just a few clicks. This is also very effective for prompting people who have visited the consultation page of your website, but not filled in the survey yet.

Another effective way of using Facebook ads for instant feedback is including certain trends that have been noticed from current feedback. For example, if a lot of people are making comments about something specific, you could create a Facebook Lead Form and speak directly to your audience by saying something like “Lots of people in your area have mentioned *this* about our proposed changes to health services. Do you agree?” – they would then click a button and select yes or no then click submit.

Interested in using Facebook for your Campaign?

Facebook can be a great way to get people involved in your consultation.  Find out more by contacting Stephen Robinson or Jonathan Bradley by filling out the form below

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July 25, 2017

Facebook Ad Account Insurance

We probably shouldn’t be writing this

The Facebook Advertising platform can be fickle, especially if you’re new to it and make a few innocent mistakes along the way. Like Google, Facebook feel like they can do what they want without really explaining themselves. Unfortunately this can really hurt the people/businesses that are trying to do everything by the book. A few mistakes can lead to Facebook thinking you’re trying to break the rules, and they can shut your accounts down without warning or explanation.

This has happened to us!

This has actually happened to us on one of our ad accounts and it was a scary couple of weeks! We read all the time in the Facebook Ad Community groups about people having their ad accounts deactivated with no warning or explanation never to get them back. So we were worried that all the hard work and progress we made for our client in this ad account was lost. Fortunately, we wrote to Facebook and after a few weeks the ad account was reactivated. Their was still no explanation from Facebook but we weren’t going to pester!

Here’s how to insure yourself incase it happens to you:

Every personal Facebook account can actually set up 2 business managers. If you haven’t already got 1 business manager, go to business.facebook.com/create and set one up for your main business. Once you’ve done that, create as many new ad accounts as it lets you. Then write to support asking for more. Once your business manager is all set up and running, create your second one. Don’t create it in the same business name, make it in your own name or another business that you own.

This simply means that if any of your ad accounts get flagged and deactivated, and Facebook decide to pause your whole business manager, you have a back up so your Facebook ads aren’t completely stopped during this period. In no way are we encouraging you to use this as a way to risk running ads that are against Facebook Policies, but we understand how brutal Facebook can be as it happened to us for no reason. We strive to play by Facebook’s rules but sometimes they make mistakes of their own.


July 21, 2017

What Time Should You Start a Facebook Ad Set?

Does it really matter?

Unfortunately, it does. But only if you’re talking big budgets. Typically the best time to start your ad set is right after midnight on whatever time zone your ad account is in so that it paces evenly throughout the day.

But wait, there’s another great time too…classic Facebook!

However, like most things with Facebook the answer is not black and white. There are occasional advantages to launching it at 4am, it kinda gets a “running start” so to speak as it will initially give you a burst of traffic which can yield higher CTRs if done properly.

The early bird catches the worm

Lets say your audience isn’t really online around 1am or a subset of your audience that does best isn’t online around midnight, you may want to try starting your ad sets at 4am, 5am or even 6-7am as this can yield a higher initial CTR than launching at midnight. Not only because of the audience who is online but also because it will push your spend quicker initially. Once it hits 8am we wouldn’t really turn it on that late as 1/3 of the day is gone so your traffic could cost you approximately 33% more per click. If you start your ad set at noon, your cost will be approximately double as Facebook tries to rush spend in to catch up with your budget.

Starting your ad set, whether its new or one you paused in the past, too much after midnight is more of an advanced tactic so if you are brand new to Facebook Ads please be careful with this, especially with large budgets. It’s better to just schedule them to start at 00.01am.

July 19, 2017

Facebook Crack Down on Fake News

“Just don’t let them edit anything…”

In a bid to crack down on ‘fake’ news Facebook are limiting the ability to edit images and headlines when posting a link to your profile, group or page.

Does this affect ads?


“For unpublished link Page post, we are gradually removing the following fields: Link Headline, Display Link, Description, and Picture. By July 26, 2017, you will still be able to create unpublished Page posts, but the link information will default to what we pull in when we scrape the website URL.” – Facebook

Does this affect videos with links?


“Video Link Posts. We are also removing the ability from all Pages to create organic video link posts due to integrity risks and abuse of the format. In early 2017 we ran a test to link posts with a video attachment, along with an optional call-to-action. Because posts from this test did not meet News Feed integrity Standards, video link posts will gradually be removed from all Pages by July 26, 2017. Video Link Page Posts can still be created through Ads Creation Interfaces (Ads Manager and Power Editor) and Ads API for sponsored posts.” – Facebook

How long do I have to authorise my Pages to edit my links?

“For publishers we are extending the link preview modification deprecation timeline to allow time to indicate link ownership. On September 12, 2017 we will complete the feature removal such that publishers’ Page(s) will only be allowed to edit links from website domains they have authorized with the link ownership tool.” – Facebook


July 5, 2017

Dreams Vs Reality

Are you Picking which Yacht to Buy Today or Tomorrow?

The majority of readers here on the SMR Social blog are business owners looking to take their social media marketing to the next level. So we sometimes find comfort in knowing we can share the highs and the lows of business with you. Because anyone who’s serious about their business will know just how high, and just how low things can go. The sleepless nights, the long hours and the distinct lack of money no matter how well or not so well things are going are all part of our day to day lives…and we probably wouldn’t have it any other way!

Those Dreams…

Dreams are a funny things when it comes to business aren’t they. No matter what your dreams are, they’re usually:

  1. The reason you started
  2. The reason you keep going
  3. Quite different to reality

*Side Note: If you’re looking for social media tips in this blog post, stop reading now. We’re talking business & lifestyle today!*

When I first came across the idea of working for myself and potentially having my own business, I was sold on a dream that one day I could get filthy rich and live the high life. I was young and had no reason to doubt that it could all turn into reality. I wouldn’t change that, because perhaps if I didn’t buy into the high life dream I wouldn’t have started out as young as I did and I wouldn’t have made all of the mistakes I made so early on when the consequences weren’t as big. The dream I was sold on was apps. It was a time when apps were on the rise, and there were a lot of people out there creating apps and making un-thinkable amounts of money from them. I believed I was going to come up with several chart topping apps, get filthy rich and spend the rest of my life watching money fall into the bank while sitting on a beach somewhere sunny. But deep down, the things that really motivated me were what having endless money could bring, not just having endless money. Perhaps I could treat my parents and siblings to all the things they’ve ever wanted to show how thankful I am for my up-bringing? Perhaps it would mean Abby would never have to work again, or at least choose a job she loved rather than working one just to pay the bills. Perhaps I could help my friends pursue their dreams and help them become filthy rich as well?

So what happened with apps?

The reality of my app venture was that I’d work 4-8 hours on apps either side of my shift work, spend all my wages from my shift job on development and marketing, and never see a penny in return. I had gone from working in a factory while considering a career in Psychology, to thinking I was going to get rich very quickly by starting an app business. Looking back I have to chuckle, but that’s what makes it so great. The mistakes I made with my ‘business partner‘ when we were trying to build this app business were quite something. We had freelancers running off with our money never to be seen or heard from again, apps that simply didn’t do what they were supposed to do…but we still thought we were only days away from having our apps at number 1 spot in the app store, overtaking Facebook and Twitter at the time. I actually went on to try my hand at apps for a second time a few years later, which was a bit more successful in that I had some genuine apps in the app stores but when it came to ROI there was 0!

My first taste of reality

So there it was. My first taste of business reality. All that work, all that money spent, all those sleepless nights and I was no better off than when I started. In fact, in terms of money, I would’ve been better off not doing any of it. What next? Quit my shift job to do this full time, of course! I was hooked. There was something about the sense of accomplishment I felt from what I had tried to do with apps that made me want to look for another similar project.

The next big…author?

So now I’d had my first failed business venture under my belt I was ready to start again with a little bit more experience this time. I was at an age where most of my friends were starting to get their foot on the career ladder, or doing higher education to improve their future. I needed to feel like I wasn’t just wasting my time. The next up-coming thing in the online money making space was self-publishing books to Amazon Kindle. Just like with apps, people just like me were making a serious amount of money by publishing eBooks to Amazon Kindle. There was a system that seemed viable and you could actually get freelancers to write the books for you and just publish them under a pen name. I shouldn’t have quit that shift job, I needed some money! Growing up I was obsessed with guitar playing, and I’d built up quite a big collection of equipment. I couldn’t bring myself to sell my guitars, but I had amplifiers and other equipment that went straight on eBay. It’s the only way I could get any money to fund the project.

I’m not sure how it came about but I decided I wanted to go into the diet niche, and I started to pay freelancers to write books of 20 recipes that followed the rules of certain diets. In terms of my ‘Kindle Career’ this was the biggest turning point. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the diet niche was the perfect niche for kindle books, and there weren’t any other self-publishers in it. I started paying designers to design front covers for the books and I’d write up the descriptions and keywords etc for Amazon and hit publish. While doing these books I was also trying my hand at writing some of my own, but they never really took off because it was the diet niche that saw me get some success. I started seeing sales come in. The more popular the diet at the time, the more sales I’d get for any recipe books I made that were in line with that diet. After a few close calls with copyright I managed to make a system that really worked.

My first big moment

I was dragging my feet on the floor lazily behind Abby as she browsed through the clothes on the rails in a shop in the Trafford Centre. She loves to shop, even when she’s got no intention of buying anything. I’ll never understand it…😂 I got a message to my phone through Skype from a guy in the USA who I’d met through my kindle venture. Unfortunately I don’t speak to him often anymore because after this day he decided to copy all of my book ideas, but that’s another blog post! He simply sent me a link to one of my books and said “Woah dude, is that one of your books?”

I looked at the book on Amazon and checked the Best Seller Ranking, a habit I had gotten into when looking at anything on Amazon. My book was number 1 in one category, and number 2 in another. I thought I was seeing things. I logged into my publishing account to check the sales and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in shock. I just wanted to get home to my computer so I could see all of this properly. I could’ve cried right there in the middle of the Trafford Centre. Something had finally worked!

The reality, once again…

The reality of my first big moment was that I wasn’t making enough money. I still wasn’t making a wage from these books. But I was making a profit, something I had never done before unless you count the jobs I’d had, which I don’t. But this was a massive turning point for me. Could I actually go through life without getting a job, and still make enough money to live a ‘normal’ life?

Do dreams change reality or does reality change dreams?

My personal experience of dreams Vs reality has been a roller coaster, but the truth is a lot of it has been affected by my age rather than success and failure. There’s a big difference between most people’s dreams in their early 20’s compared to their dreams in their late 20’s, whether they’re business related or not. My values have changed a lot, and I think that would have happened whether I went into business or not.

Quite frankly I wouldn’t know what I’d do now if I made millions, it could ruin the life I’ve got now. Here at SMR Social we’re a small, soon to be family business that get to work from home and provide a service that helps other small businesses grow. We don’t charge high agency prices because we’re not looking to make huge profits and there’s only 2 of us (3 if you include our cat!). We just want to maintain a life where we can work the hours we want to work and work them from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s not about money anymore, it’s about life.