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The 6 Phases of Growth Hacking on Facebook

Setting Up Your Business for Massive Growth Through Facebook One of my favorite tactics when speaking at conferences is to ask all “social media strategists” to raise their hand. And of those with their hands up, ask if anyone can define what exactly that is. I’ve never gotten a clear answer… Because there’s no such […]

Setting Up Your Business for Massive Growth Through Facebook

One of my favorite tactics when speaking at conferences is to ask all “social media strategists” to raise their hand. And of those with their hands up, ask if anyone can define what exactly that is.

I’ve never gotten a clear answer…

Because there’s no such thing as a “social media strategist”.

There are business strategists and then there are channel-level tacticians.

  • If something changes a lot, then it’s a tactic– not a strategy.
  • If it’s at the channel level, it’s a tactic– not a strategy.

Social media changes A LOT.


If I wanted my house painted, I wouldn’t ask for a house painting strategist.


Snake oil has been peddled for centuries, so why wouldn’t social media marketing be the same?

Here’s a simple way to determine whether they’re telling you nonsense or giving you the goods:


Do they have a detailed process they openly share on what they do under which circumstances?


If you go to the emergency room (despair the thought), the highly trained medical staff has a process. And when it’s your turn, they take your vitals, analyze the data, and provide a treatment plan.

They don’t give you exactly the same diagnosis and treatment as everyone else in the room.


How many “social media strategists” operate according to well-defined procedures versus the Magic 8 Ball?

The folks pushing “big data” and SEO also have no shortage of rabbits and hats.

Were it only so easy to get rich quick and lose weight fast.

But actually, there is a process– just like there is a process to mend a broken bone, repair your car’s automatic transmission, or craft a 5 star meal.

And to use the cooking analogy, if you have right ingredients and follow the recipe exactly for the meal you’d like to prepare, there is no way that you cannot succeed.

Here it is:

Growth Hacking AmplificationNote: SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, remarketing, PR, and word of mouth are all different words that mean the same thing.


You still want your content shared by high authority sites, publications, and people. The “hack” is that you get crazy good efficiency when you get results with minimum dosage, which is where these 6 phases of growth hacking Facebook come into play.

If you would prefer, you can watch this video explaining how these 6 phases work, where I log in to various accounts to show you how to step through them quickly:


1. Digital Plumbing

The first phase is “digital plumbing”– meaning your tracking of audience and conversions, mainly via Google Tag Manager.  Yes, Google Tag Manager, even though this is supposed to be about social media.

2016-03-29 22_03_31-Google Tag Manager

Social media, properly understood, is actually remarketing— following people around based on what they just did.

So web remarketing, smart email marketing, and even direct mail is remarketing.

You need this phase in place to build your audiences and track results. With reliable analytics, you can determine where an additional ounce of effort or dollar in ad spend can work the hardest.


Then there’s the next 3 phases condensed into one acronym: GCT (goals, content, targeting).

This is what you must bring to the table as the client. GCT is your business strategy (remember what we said earlier about strategy not being a channel-level thing).

If you’re missing any one of these three items (goals, content, or targeting), no amount of Facebook witchcraft will overcome your deficiency. Here’s how they apply, broken down:


2. Goals

The Goals phase contains your story, mission, and goals will determine the key performance metrics that will measure your social investment.

Your story and mission is your WHY– your drive that attracts people to you and aligns them to your brands message.

When determining campaign goals, ask yourself: what are you trying to achieve? Are you:

  • Wanting more fans on your Facebook page?
  • Driving users to a checkout?
  • Collecting emails for a list?
  • Raising awareness for an event?

Every campaign has a different goal, so there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that you can apply to everything– each one has it’s own requirements and end conditions, so make sure you have your frameworks in place to support your goal.


3. Content

Content is any sort of media (videos, pictures, text, etc) that delivers and supports your message, and is aligned with your Goals. Depending on where your audience is at in the funnel, you’ll identify key pieces of content that will nudge them along the funnel, until they convert.

Content can exist on your blog, on standalone pages on your site, on your pricing page, or entirely within a Facebook post. It’s up to you to come up with the proper strategy on how you structure and distribute your content…

But one thing is for sure, Social Media marketing is content marketing. A Facebook post is simply a (usually) small piece of consumable content placed closer to where your audience likes to hang out: on Facebook.

Thus your goal of any content on Facebook (be it an ad, a traditional post, a video, or even a Facebook note) is really to grab the attention of your prospective customers, and customers, and gently drag them back to your site, where you can capture additional information from them, give them additional information about you, your products and/or services, and, of course, eventually sell them something.

Without a clear content marketing strategy, you really can not expect significant results. And making content that appeals to the prospective customer and converts them into buyers rarely happens by accident, it takes a plan.

Design content for various stages of your customer’s journey, and serve Facebook ads targeting users based on where they are at in their journey. Which brings us nicely to the next phase…



Within the Targeting phase, you’ll define the audience you’re wanting to reach. This will be the top few Target Groups that will help you reach your ideal target audience.

Always start narrow with your targeting and expand to encompass larger and larger groups as you scale your campaign. The more specific you start, the better chance your efforts pay off. But don’t get discouraged if many of your ad groups fail early on, it’s been said that 8 out of 10 Facebook ads fail. Your job is to recognize the 2 that succeed and double down on them.


To determine the quality of various target groups, measure their performance against your goals. In order to do that, you have your plumbing in place with pixels tracking conversions.

Without conversion tracking, you can never really properly scale a campaign, because there will be this glaring gap in your data where you “think” you are +ROI, but you can never really be certain. So make sure and connect the dots between your ads and your conversions.


And when targeting past website visitors, there are many different types of retargeting ads that you can consider running on a dollar a day in ad spend or less.

Start with something simple, like just getting them back to your website, or sending them to your best performing blog post, and test that out vs. sending them directly to your sales or pricing page and see which one yields the result you’re looking for.


5. Amplification

Amplification is paying to boost your content. You see these as sponsored posts or ads on social networks, and are powerful enough to target down to a single person, or even specific behaviors of your intended audiences.

Once we have established the triage of Goals, Content, and Targeting, you’ll create 3 kinds of ads and amplify the most important pieces of content that will attract the most relevant people and drive engagement.

You’ll want to intensify promotional efforts to the engaged crowd for conversions and place brand content in the news feeds of influencers to incept the media.

Compare the performance of all of your posts to determine which ones are getting the most likes, shares, and comments (LSC) from your audience and use that content, that messaging, or that strategy in your paid ads.


6. Optimization

Once you figure out what is working and what isn’t, it’s time to fine-tune your strategy.

My favorite method of optimization is another acronym within the 9 triangles called MAA (Metrics, Analysis, Action).

Get your performance data, analyze the data, and then form a strategy based on your goals– all within a rapid iteration cycle of small, measurable changes every time.

The key here is that you have to constantly and repeatedly iterate. Stay in the game.

Use analytics to determine where to put your additional effort or dollar in ad spend.

Expand on working audiences, tweak bidding and creatives where necessary, re-allocate budgets and always measure your performance in terms of your Content and Targeting against your Goals to define success.

It’s as simple as keeping what performs, and dumping what doesn’t.

Final Thoughts

You must systematically go through these 6 phases of setting up and running a Facebook campaign in order to prepare the channel for massive growth.

Go out of order and you’ll have problems– just like a cake missing an ingredient or baked for a random amount of time at a random temperature… Hey, I wouldn’t eat that person’s cooking, either.

Growth hacking” on Facebook is based on the same principles as old-fashioned PR, content marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, SEO, one-to-one marketing, or whatever you want to call it.


Because we’re trying to get high authority people to spread our message.

And the content plus our network has to be pretty good to convince these trusted peers to share it.

The result is that you get links in high authority places (SEO), get more media mentions (PR), and have a lot of legit retweets (social media marketing).

Different names for the output, yet the techniques are the same.

You’re still going through these 6 phases in the diagram above.

Now what’s super cool about Facebook tactically, provided you have the strategic elements (GCT) in place, is that you can get crazy good results for only a dollar a day.

Why a dollar?  Because if you can micro-target exactly who you want to reach (instead of shotgun blasting the planet), then hitting the 200-300 most relevant people with your high quality message is sufficient.

The “influence the influencer” approach is to truly provide value (not sales literature) to people who have large audiences, such that they’ll share it.

That’s it.  Not a big “secret”– just good old fashioned business strategy, but with a social, digital twist.

You don’t have to be a programmer or fantastic public speaker, nor do you have to have much money (a dollar a day– can you spare that?) Use the “dollar a day” technique to get your next job, impress your spouse, wreak havoc on competitors, or get your consumer complaint resolved nearly instantly.

What makes this a hack is that you need only start with one simple goal, one piece of content, and one dollar a day.

Then you can layer on as you start to see results.

You don’t need to buy fancy software, hire a social media guru, or sign up for the “secret” course. None of these can supply you with your goals, content, and targeting (GCT). Getting these items right is how you get crazy results on Facebook, which you can copy over to Google, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other channels.

Works like a charm– we’ve done it thousands of times over the last 8 years- like our results from clients such as Rosetta Stone, the Golden State Warriors, as well as our own campaigns.

I’d love to hear how these techniques work for you, plus answer your questions below.

About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the CTO of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column.

Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.

Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.

You can contact him at or on one of his social accounts below:


Fan Page:



3 Retargeting Ads That Will Boost Your Business

We already know people are very busy online. They dart around from one thing to another like goldfish lost in a fishbowl.   Heck, you are probably not even reading this right now! And for good reason, you want to get to the important stuff…   And that is why using Retargeting is so powerful. […]

We already know people are very busy online.

They dart around from one thing to another like goldfish lost in a fishbowl.


Heck, you are probably not even reading this right now! And for good reason, you want to get to the important stuff…


And that is why using Retargeting is so powerful. You get busy people to re-engage with your site and your business. So please listen to me when I say:


The number one thing you need to do today, is install your Facebook Website Custom Audience Pixel.


And here is a great article explaining why you need to do it in more detail.


Once you have done that, we can discuss a few simple strategies for sending out retargeting ads to your website visitors. Seriously, go do that now, before reading on.

Alright, good.


In case you are unclear what I am talking about:


RETARGETING is the act of “pixeling,” or tagging, your website visitors in an attempt to send ads to them at a later time.

It is easily the most important part of any online marketing strategy.

Why is retargeting so important?

  1.  These are people that have already expressed clear interest in your business by visiting once or more.
  2.  Most people are not ready to buy from you on the first visit (you don’t get married on the first date).
  3.  They haven’t said no yet.
  4.  They are now more familiar with your business and brand than ever before.


SEGMENTATION: It’s also very important to segment your website traffic appropriately and track if and when users move down your marketing funnel and convert.

For example, You want to AVOID sending them ads for products they have already purchased, or sending them to a blog post they have already read. Every time you don’t segment properly, it cost you ad dollars, and your customers get frustrated with you and leave.

I’m not going to get into the segmentation part in this article, but I just so happened to have written another article explaining how to segment your Facebook Website Custom Audience.


3 Retargeting Ad Types

So now that we agree that retargeting your website visitors is crucial to gaining leads and sales, let’s explore a few specific retargeting ads/campaigns that you should be running towards your warm traffic – people that are aware of your brand.


1. Social Proof

A user visited your website but didn’t buy. They could probably use some real life validation for why to buy your product or service. Create a social proof ad showcasing some of your best clients or testimonials.



Power Tip: A video testimonial ad with a satisfied user giving a genuine testimonial is a retargeting campaign goldmine. It’s completely worth a solid time and money investment to get it done.

Try to get the pain of your user across to the audience, and the relief that came with your solution. Have the user talk about the issues or disbeliefs they had prior to using the product, but the value they found after using it. Don’t oversell, the more “real” it is the better it will work.

If you can’t get a detailed testimonial, or you don’t have a celebrity sponsor, you can pull from Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and even emails you have had with your customers (post them anonymously or get permission). This isn’t the most ideal path, but it gets you started.

If you have absolutely no social proof, your job for the next 7 days is to get some – preferably with an image of your customer using your product.


Btw, NEVER falsify or exaggerate social proof.

By providing social proof, you build a significant amount of trust with your audience and validate your product has been tested in the market, and works.


2. Squash All Objections

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Commitment
  • Value
  • Too Complicated
  • Fear of Change
  • Trust
  • Complacency


All of these objections happen over and over again on your website, whether you are aware of it or not. If you know which one seems to be the biggest problem with your product, then you should blog/write/video/podcast/penpal about it.


But the best way to squash an objection is with a video retargeting ad addressing the problem head on. Personally, I prefer to get in front of the camera myself for this one and make it a one-on-one conversation. If you are part of a larger organization, it’s now your job to convince the CEO that he needs to step up and get it done.


“Hey it’s me with X, and I wanted to talk about why you need to start using our product Y today…” (Remember this is to a warm audience that is aware of your product but has not bought it yet, never send this to a cold audience)

This line could be the start of a compelling argument for your product or service. It introduces you as a real person (squashing worries of trust), addresses the urgency, helping to squash complacency, and brings a bit more value to the table.


Image via a great post on FB Ads: Digital


In this ad, Betty Rocker is able to give so much value by providing people with a great smoothie recipe that her viewers can’t help but trust her. She successfully squashed all objections to buying her product.


Remember, when doing video ads on Facebook, you start muted, so add in some words at the beginning and try and get them to turn the sound on.

Super Bonus Tip: You can now put a call to action right inside your Facebook video ad. This is straight gold.


3. Sales Ads (duh)

They have visited the site, but haven’t bought the product yet, a simple sales ad may get them back in the funnel to complete the purchase. You need to showcase the product benefits, provide even more value than before, and still match the copy on the sales page.

Make sure you are hitting a truly warm audience and not just someone who visited one page for 20 seconds (back to the importance of segmentation).

Remember, people aren’t on Facebook to buy, necessarily. And people don’t buy from people they don’t trust.


So establish TRUST first, then hit them with the sales ad and see how it converts.


You would especially want to run this ad to traffic that has already seen the other ads, and since you can pixel users who have watched 3 seconds of a video ad, you could easily target only users who have already seen your social proof ad and squash objections ad with this ad to give that final push.


Let me say that again:

  • Run a video retargeting ad explaining your product more and squashing complaints.
  • Then run a sales ad targeting viewers of the previous ad (that haven’t already bought from you).


Final Thoughts

A couple of quick notes about retargeting ads:

  • You don’t need a lot of money to run them, because they are only going to users who have visited your website already.
  • You need to keep an eye on your “frequency” and make sure you aren’t showing the same ad to the same person 10 times. You can test for what frequency is working for your business. Most of the time, we try to keep it around 3, but sometimes 8 works. Anything more than 10 is either a “NO,” or you have a bad ad with a weak CTA.
  • You can prepare for retargeting ads long before you start running them, so get that pixel up today. You don’t necessarily have to be running them from the second your initial traffic campaigns begin.


If you aren’t retargeting, you are doing it wrong.


That’s it from me. Tell me, do you use retargeting ads? What other retargeting methods have worked for you? Be sure to tell me in the comments section below.