How to Use Facebook for an Online Launch
Ready to launch, but don’t quite know what you’re going to do with Facebook yet? And no time, no budget or no energy to seek outside help for this launch? Or maybe you DO want to outsource this - but you want to know what you’ll need before you even start looking for someone?
Fear not, here are the essentials you can get in place that won’t take you too much time or effort - but will at least have your Facebook page support your launch!
In the following article, let's assume you have two stages to your launch: the part where you promote your “pre-launch content” (a challenge, webinar, video series, workshop, or something else) - and the part where you promote your actual product (an online course, event, membership, group coaching programme, etc).
If that's not the case, remove the extra steps from the checklist below.
A second assumption we're making, is that you're going to use your Facebook Business Page to launch. Using a Facebook group (full of people who already know and love you) is rather different; and although you can use many of these tips on your personal profile on Facebook (with just your friends and personal followers seeing the content), in most cases (not all!) we still recommend using your page for most of your promotional activities.
About 90% of what we describe here can also be used for your LinkedIn page, and many elements can be used on multiple other platforms.
Step 1: Optimise your Landing Page(s) for Facebook
What many people don't know, is that Facebook has strict rules in place for pages you want to promote.
Technically, these rules only apply to Facebook ads, but it doesn't hurt to keep them in mind when you’re creating your sales page (even if you’re not going to run FB ads right now).
The four most important things to check before you post a link to your landing page on FB are:
- Your landing page needs a link to (the rest of) your website - or some other place where people can find out more about you or your offer. This mostly applies when your landing page is hosted with a third party like LeadPages or your email service provider.
- Be really clear about what you offer so people can't get confused about what is and isn't included.
- Add a featured/thumbnail image to your page, so the preview shows when you (or someone else!) post the link to social media (Facebook and LinkedIn)
Step 2: Create Content to Use on Facebook when you Launch
Launching online is exhausting and stressful enough (especially if you haven't done it before); don't add to that stress by keeping content creation to the last minute.
What content will you need to post on Facebook? Go through the checklist below to see what you'd want to create.
You won’t need all of the assets listed below; these are just suggestions & making sure you know about the different options.
1. Write copy for social media - ahead of time
Sounds logical to write your copy ahead of time in one big batch? It’s not for everyone. Don’t leave writing the perfect copy for social posts to the last minute; instead, make sure it’s perfect ahead of time.
- Speak to the problem that people are having
- And how your thing is going to help them solve it
- Add in a little blurb about why you’re the right person to help them…
- And don’t forget to add in a call to action. With a link so they can sign up or buy!
If you’re promoting both your pre-launch content (PLC) and your product, you’ll need at least two different pieces of copy; ideally, you’d have a few different versions of each (e.g. one to post with your cover image, one to post with the direct link, one as a description for the video you’ll upload).
2. Create cover images to promote your launch on your page
Create a cover image so people who come to your Facebook page see what you’re doing right now - at first sight. You might want to do one cover image to promote your PLC - and a different cover image for your actual product.
Three things to keep in mind when you’re creating a cover image:
- When you first upload your cover image, it will be shared to (some of) your followers' feeds just like a regular post. So make sure it looks good from the get-go, and there's a caption to go with it!
- Although it’ll show up as short and wide on desktop, the actual image doesn’t need to be that format. On the contrary; we often use a square image. Make sure the most important parts (the text on the image?) are centred, so they don't get cut off. By using an image that’s a little taller, it’ll be more likely to catch people’s attention on mobile when it appears in their feed.
- Don’t put ALL the information in the image; the less copy you can have ON it, the more it’s likely to grab people’s attention. Also, links on the image aren't clickable. So put the actual information in the description; so when people click the image (or it shows up in their feed), they can find out more about what you offer + click the link to the landing page.
3. Create other images (optional)
Want to draw some extra attention to something specific - add motivational quotes, testimonial images, screenshots, additional tips, related memes? Create those images ahead of time as well.
4. Record video to attract a different audience
Not everyone enjoys reading. Not everyone will resonate instantly with the images you’re posting. But those people might LOVE a video.
Facebook loves it if you post a variety of content; so unless you HATE video and you don’t believe it will attract more people to your brand - create at least one audiovisual element to promote your launch!
That doesn't need to be a video of you just droning on about how awesome your course is; you could
- Interview former students about the results they got after taking the course
- Discuss the issues people are having, that can be solved taking your course
- Ask someone else to interview you (maybe even go live on their page?) about how your course can help their audience
- Do a walkthrough of your course, and talk about the benefits people will get from learning all of this
Step 3: Schedule Content to your Business Page
Scheduling content ahead of time saves you time - and a lot of stress and worry during your launch.
More than once, a video just wouldn’t upload hours after it should have been on. Once, a family emergency kept me from running a live webinar. And I recently had a client who lost the content he’d been creating… so he had to re-create it while his head was already somewhere else.
Moral of those stories: whenever you can, create & schedule your content ahead of time. You can always change things later.
However, avoid these two common mistakes:
- Don't post the same content over and over. No one wants to see you post the exact same link (even with different captions) five days in a row. While only your most engaged followers would probably get all five posts in their feed, even they might find it repetitive and unfollow you. Instead, post different types of content: let the link preview load, post an image with the link in the description, post a video with the link in the description, etc.
- Don't post "only X days to go" type announcements unless you have a big audience and they will see your content right away. For smaller pages, it can take a day or two for followers to see the content in their feeds... by which time they might have missed out already. If you insist on posting "only X days/X hours to go" type posts, remove the post completely once it's no longer correct.
Step 4: Things you Need to Do “in Real Time” (while you’re launching)
If you managed to schedule all your main content ahead of time, there are only 3 things left to do WHILE you launch:
1. Change your Business Page’s Cover Picture When you Launch
On the day your pre-launch content goes live or as soon as people should sign up for your webinar or challenge, change the cover picture to reflect that. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can schedule.
(don’t forget to add a description with a link to your cover picture, so people can sign up!)
2. Go Live! (Kind Of)
If any of your launch videos are supposed to be live, you can’t really upload them ahead of time… Unless…
If you don’t actually need it to be live (so people can ask questions that you reply to on the spot), you can premiere a video on Facebook. That means people will get notified ahead of time (“this video is going live on date X), and are able to click a button - and get notified when the video is available. It’s the next best thing to actually going live!
3. Show up
Launching an online programme usually means showing up; doing interviews, engaging with your audience, answering questions, etc. Don't think you're going to get away with just pre-scheduling a bunch of content and then doing something else, especially if you don't have a team to engage and follow up with your followers.
This part is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. And it’s the best part of launching!
Step 5: Running a Simple FB Ads Funnel
We elaborate on this in a separate article, but the easiest way to run ads to promote your launch is to follow these 3 steps:
- Boost your video for “video views”, so as many people as possible get to see what you have to say about it.
- Create a “custom audience” from people who have watched your video: you know they’re interested in the topic (otherwise they wouldn’t have watched it), and the video was a first introduction to you (so they’re kind of a lukewarm audience already).
- Run an ad to your landing page, targeting either the "custom audience" of people who have watched your video (they already know you, so they're more likely to click on your stuff), a look-alike audience (people with the same characteristics as the ones who watched your video), and/or a targeted audience of people who need what you sell. If conversion ads are slightly above your paygrade, running a simple ad for Traffic (Landing Page Views) will get people to see your landing page… and Facebook will try and show that ad mainly to people who are likely to click your link. Win-win!
And when it’s all over….
Don’t forget this last step once you closed your cart or your actual “launch” is over - revert things back to normal.
- Upload a new cover image so it doesn’t promote something you’re not offering
- Remove irrelevant and confusing posts from your page’s timeline (or edit the posts so they can become evergreen)
- Turn off the ads too! It’s pretty embarrassing to be spending money once people can no longer buy… but it happens more often than you’d think!
If you're looking for practical support to get through your launch, schedule a call with us. We'll create or optimise your launch plan and make sure all the bits and pieces are in the right place, so you can go into launch mode without worries!