Congratulations! You got blessing from your executives to start testing with spending on social media and you're cleared to spend your first $1000. Do you know what to do first? Here's a quick guide to get you going.
Step 1: Test a boosted post
First, go through your organic posts and find the one that has received the highest engagement, then recreate a post just like it and publish.
Then, go to your personal account and share, like and comment on that post to kick start organic engagement.
After you've started the sharing, go back to your corporate account and spend $100 to Boost the post to your key cities. Don't forget to specify which city you want to target and to select the Boost duration to somewhere between 3-5 days (depending on what day of the week you are posting).
Step 2: Test a geotargeted ad buy
Now you'll want to test some Facebook Ads to see how they compare to boosted to your Facebook fans and their friends.
First, decide what you're going to promote - hint: draw inspiration from your best posts and culturally relevant things (e.g. local events, sporting events, holidays - things that matter to your target audience). For example, if I was pushing an ad on Thursday, I'd advertise a special for Sunday football.
Second, spend $100 and geotarget the zip codes that are closest to your stores. When it comes to targeting, you only want to care about zip codes - Facebook only charges you when someone clicks and they do restrict reach when you add more targeting elements (like age and gender). Keep it wide on your first test to understand performance.
In creating your ad, make sure to insert the maximum number of images. The more images you have, the more variations of your ad Facebook will show and the better data you'll get for optimizing later.
Step 3: Compare results
When both your post and your ads are completed, write down your results. Compare cost, impressions, clicks, likes, shares and comments. Decide which metric is most important to you (or come up with a new one like in-store sales). Identify which campaign worked better.
Step 4: Tweak and double down
After you've identified which campaign was stronger, dig into the results. Were there specific variations of the campaign that worked better? Why do you think? Build a hypothesis on what you think would perform best and run a campaign or two to prove it. For example, you might believe that a picture of food will perform better than a picture of a person eating food. Great! Create two campaigns (either boosted post or Facebook Ad) and run them with the exact same targeting at the exact same time. Spend $100 one each. You'll know which one works better at the end.
At this point you will have spent $400, leaving you $600. Once you have found the best campaign you can either continue to test or dump all of your budget into the best performing campaign to see how it scales. When you're done, you'll be able to produce some great reports on your results.