There’s a backdoor into people’s minds, but you have to sneak in.
Yesterday I shared a story of how I created conflict and manipulated someone with an alternate perspective into a conversation to lower the cost of my paid advertising on Facebook.
I asked if you’d be interested in a cheap way to leverage Facebook ads to promote a personal brand and your enthusiasm was… astonishing. Courtney W. responded,
“Yes, yes, yes (cue heavy breathing here).”
I read on to discover Courtney W. teaches Orgasm Meditation… her response was both playfully jarring and entirely relevant to her brand. Well played Courtney W., well played. I’m glad the email list was one thing you didn’t get off.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised when the guy who chose to name his company ‘Ghost Influence’ tells you — sometimes it’s better to be unseen.
That subject line is a bit misleading, this isn’t about a ‘Facebook ads hack’ as much as it’s a ‘use Facebook ads to hack into people’s subconscious mind’ hack.
The first thing to note here are the foundational elements for this strategy, I asked:
- What would it take to “appear everywhere” while still being a cheap bastard?
- How can I turn a sponsored post (typically “selling”) into something “shared”?
- Who would be interested in “discovering” my content and why?
Let’s be honest, I’m inherently cheap frugal and wanted to find the most effective means of developing my personal brand. I’m well aware that the Ghost Influence offer, a Slack-based chat community with a $97 p/mo. membership, isn’t the most clearly communicated. While I advise broadly in emails, this community is where I dive deep and coach people on an individual basis — it’s like snack-sized consulting.
With that in mind, I knew a conversion based campaign wasn’t going to work (and had made an attempts to test my assumptions) so I asked, “what would?”
I call it ‘The Glitter Strategy‘ (because once you get it… you have it for life). Here’s how to impregnate people’s minds for about $10 per day in Facebook ads.
Step 1: Niche The Fuck Down
I’m not talking about “Facebook consulting” and I’m not talking about “Facebook advertising for small businesses”. Niche the fuck down to something like “Facebook advertising for e-commerce apparel brands generating $60-100K net annually.”
This doesn’t have to be your everything, but allow people to understand why they need to talk to you and then let them discover all the other things you know/do.
My chosen niche positions me as a “Reddit Marketing” expert.
Is Reddit Marketing the only thing I teach? Hell no, I teach this big nebulous thing called ‘digital empathy’. Am I the only person publicly declaring myself a “Reddit Marketer”? Almost, I’m one of two.
Step 2: Lend Helping Hands
This isn’t about “getting publicity” that’s a side effect — it’s about providing value. I will regularly respond to email newsletters from SaaS companies telling them (in detail and with an example) how I leveraged their product to do the thing their product was meant to do and then passively offer to talk about that.
“What’s that?” they ask, “you’re an extremely well communicated professional that can explain to our audiences in a voice other than our own why they need our product?! Yes!!” I’m not a huge fan of guest posts (because I’m inherently lazy), so I tend to offer a “recorded interview that can be turned into a blog” or a “webinar”.
Here’s an email I sent the creators of a brand monitoring tool:
This led to a conversation where I told them how their service alerted me to a (not-so-fond) conversation about me which then enabled me to control the dialogue and get in the room with a multi-billion dollar company as a potential client (and more).
They were notably enthused about my enthusiasm for their product did an hour long recorded call which their team is turning into a guide. This will soon be published on their blog (tell you why this is important later) and shared with their email list.
The goal here is to get “featured” (guest posts on someone else’s blog will have less impact).
Step 3: Diversify Your Helping Hands
Quantity is not important, diversity is. You want to get featured (by helping people) in as many different locations and by as many different voices as possible.
Don’t go deep. Go wide. Here are some of examples of where I’m “featured”:
- guest hosted a webinar with for search engine marketing company
- interviewed on a podcast about how to escape from your day job (#155)
- featured as an “expert pundit” by a prominent advertising publisher
These are all different brands and different mediums in different niches, but they have a single common element — me talking about my niche, Reddit Marketing.
I would recommend having about five of these before going to the next step.
Step 4: Create Your Ads
I’m going to operate on the assumption that you have basic knowledge of Facebook ads. If you don’t, I recommend checking out Jon Loomer Digital for beginner tutorials.
The aim of the strategy is not to generate signups or conversions, but to generate a large “presence” so you’ll be bidding for ‘Page Post Engagements’ as an objective.
Now take all of your features from earlier along with all of your (best) content and make about ten ads targeted at the same audience. Here are a few keys:
- keep your audience small — my campaign is targeting people interested in Facebook marketing (by targeting audiences of influencers) which comes in at 480,000 people (you want the same people to see a lot of different stuff 😉 )
- keep your language conversational — remember you’re not selling anything (including yourself) here. You created helpful content and are sharing it with the people to whom it is relevant. Remove “I” and “my” as much as possible.
- bonus: include a common visual element — think in terms of branding and impressions. The only thing my ads had in common was the Reddit logo.
Fun Fact: Driving traffic to a property that you do not own is called ‘astroturfing‘
Below is a list of the placements I used. Notice how they never speak from the first person perspective, have vastly different images, and all aim to provide value:
- type: audio interview | location: side hustle podcast
- type: webinar training | location: semrush website
- type: pundit feature | location: adweek website
- type: case study | location: my personal blog
- type: written article | location: my personal blog
- type: audio interview | location: ghost influence podcast
- type: audio interview | location: ghost influence podcast
There are 6 different types of content hosted on 5 different domains.
It’s all about that diversity. If you’re scared by the magnitude of this, don’t be. All of my features (side hustle, adweek, semrush) were from the month of January. It’s not easy, but it is simple — just start sending those emails we talked about
Step 5: Engage The Audience
Please, for the love of all that is holy — don’t ignore the comments. Fast responses to the comments early on will increase your engagement rates and relevancy scores with Facebook which will decrease the overall cost of your campaign.
Spend as much time as humanly possible having meaningful discussions with people in the comments — engagement is the new content, leverage it.
Let’s talk numbers…
The impact of this strategy is notably challenging to measure and it’s one reason I love it. People are often afraid to experiment with things they know they might never be able to quantify… and that means that it’s an open playing field for us mavericks.
Over 30 days I spent $477.49 across 4 audiences. The majority of the ad spend was aimed at the Facebook marketers audience described above with a tiny segment allocated to remarketing. The other two audiences were content specific. One was an interview with Ali Spagnola targeted at Ali Spagnola fans while the other was an interview with the moderation of the /r/SandersForPresident community that was targeted at Sanders supporters who were also Redditors, both had small budgets of about ~$50.
Throughout the campaign (which is still running), my engagement grew and my cost per result continually dropped. I got Facebook fans, but that’s not what’s important.
$477 spend can be justified with one result. An influencer posted in a private group of 3,300+ of his followers saying (and I wish I screen shotted this), “I’ve been seeing a lot about Reddit Marketing… I’m interested… do any of you have experience?”
He’d “been seeing a lot about Reddit Marketing“… he was in my target audience 🙂
It gets better. I wasn’t even in the group. Two of my (fucking amazeballs) fans (who were also seeing these ads) dropped comments on that post saying with magnificent enthusiasm, “you need to talk to Brian!!” and went so far as to introduce me.
I could speculate about how seeing these ads greased the tracks to get some of my upcoming features (I’m now targeting them too) or how the conversations in the comments of the ads have led to email subscribers which will convert to members of Ghost Influence at some point in the future, but there’s really no need for it…
In 30 days, for just $477… I became the Batman of Reddit Marketing.
People were putting up a signal saying “Reddit?! You said Reddit?! I don’t know Reddit, but you know who does… this crazy mother fucker named Brian Swichkow.”
You know what, this isn’t The Unicorn Strategy… it’s The Batman Strategy.
What do you want to be the Batman of?