Lessons in Facebook Stalking

We all know that there are a ton of different things we can do on Facebook.

Share pictures with our friends, communicate with our family, keep updated on companies and groups that interest us, stalk people, search for jobs, etc.

Wait, stalk people?

Come on now, you know you’ve done it.

I’m not talking creepy stalking, mind you.

I’m talking about when your friend tells you they have someone they want to set you up with or you meet someone in line at Starbucks while waiting for your mocha latte and you go back to your computer and immediately start Facebook stalking them.

Let’s refer to it as “being resourceful.”  Stalking has a creepy and negative connotation to it.

Google-ing someone and then going to their Facebook page is a great way to learn more about a person (provided they don’t have their privacy settings on Fort Knox lockdown).

Right?

I think so.

In fact, I met my fiance by Facebook stalking her, err I mean by being resourceful.

Yep, if it wasn’t for Facebook I never would have met the girl I’m marrying next year.  

Maybe that means I should make sure Mark Zuckerberg gets an invite to the wedding.  I’m sure he’d attend, right?

Whenever my fiance and I are asked how we met, she inevitably turns to me with a laugh and says YOU tell the story.

She thinks I tell it better.

Only this will be the first time I Like-n our story to Facebook advertising.

A Great Image is the Most Important Part of Your Ad

My fiance is, among other things, a personal trainer.  She owns her own training business now but at the time, she was training at an Equinox gym in LA.

I was a member there and one day I started “noticing” (i.e. inappropriately staring at) her.  I noticed how beautiful she was and how big her smile was, how she was so interactive with her clients.  She seemed to light up whatever area of the gym she was in.

In a packed gym, she stood out from everyone else.

Which is just like a Facebook page…

Hear me out.

There’s a ton of clutter on a Facebook page. It all starts blending together after a while.

In order to catch people’s attention, you want to use an image that stands out. If you light up a person’s Facebook page, you’re more likely to get their click.

Got it? Ok, back to the story.

Do Your Research to Understand Your Audience

At Equinox they have a wall lined with plaques of all the trainers with their picture, name and fitness credentials.

I decided to check out the board to see if I could find this girl because I wanted to know more about her.

I found her straight away and later that day Googled her name to see what would come up.

Now I realize this all sounds a little creepy, but I was just curious about a girl.  🙂

Her Facebook page was one of the first search results so I decided to start there.

I was surprised to see that we had a mutual friend who came up in the “Recommended Friends” section in the upper right (“Recommended Friends” is now called “People You May Know”).

Ironically, this person was one of the two people I knew when I moved to LA from the east coast.  I hadn’t spoken with her in a really long time and had lost touch with her, but I was on a bit of a mission to find out more about this mystery personal trainer.

I sent my friend a message on Facebook to see what she knew about this girl (we’ll now call her Amy).

A couple days later I heard back from my friend and she said she didn’t really know Amy all that well, that they’d met briefly in a class.  She was fine with reaching out to her, though, to get the scoop on what she was up to (on the down-low, of course).

Another few days went by and I heard back again.  Turns out Amy was single.  Woohoo!

Long story short, I was doing my research on my target audience.

Having been a trainer, I knew she wouldn’t have been open if I had approached her in the gym; the “work wall” is up and she wouldn’t have been receptive to any of my slick lines.

If you blast your message to a broad range of people who aren’t open to what you’re marketing (ie the wrong audience), you won’t get any clicks… or worse: you’ll get closed out never to be shown again.  Yikes.

Before you consider running any kind of advertising on Facebook, you have to understand who your target audience is.  Learn as much as you can by doing your research.

Pique Interest with the Headline

I asked my friend if she’d see if Amy would be willing to be set up on a “blind date” (is there such thing as a blind date anymore with the internet?), and it would be posed that I was “a friend of a friend who simply saw Amy in the Recommended Friends section on Facebook.”

Obviously, I didn’t want Amy to know that I’d seen her at the gym, Googled her and then checked out her Facebook page.  THAT would sound creepy and she’d surely run for the hills.

Amy agreed, we messaged through Facebook a few times and set up a lunch date.  Success!

Now, the tricky part.

I didn’t want her to recognize me from the gym when we met in person for the first time.

If she did, she might put two and two together and think it was all a bit too much of a coincidence that she “came up as a Recommended Friend.”

I decided that when we met one of the first things I’d say to her was something to the effect of “hey, I knew you looked familiar, don’t you work at Equinox?”

Brilliant, right?  🙂

This was my version of a “headline” I would use to pique her interest.

The plan worked like a charm.  It immediately broke the ice and offered something of mutual interest to talk about. (P.S. Don’t try this at home; Amy will never let me live it down that the first words I said to her were a lie!)

If you want to have an effective ad, use the headline to catch people’s attention and pique their interest.  Make them want to read more of the ad copy.  Posing questions works great because it acts as if you’re speaking directly to and connecting with your audience.

Ensure There Is a Payoff When a User Clicks

Over lunch, I never brought up Facebook or Googling her.  I figured that if we continued to see each other, it would come up eventually.

And eventually, it did.  Four dates in to be exact.

We’d been out to dinner and were having some wine after when she told me this long story about how a guy asked for her number through her manager, then proceeded to tell her that he “just really wanted her in his life.” Needless to say, she was creeped out…

Noting the “caught” expression on my face, she looked at me and asked “so is there anything more to how we originally met that you’re not telling me?”

Amy could tell from the sudden blood rush to my face that there was more to the story than I had led on.

I thought to myself, well this was fun while it lasted, and prepared to get a chilled glass of white wine tossed in my face.

As I came clean, she took it better than I could have expected.  She was creeped out a bit by what I did but she was also pleasantly flattered that I went through all that trouble to meet her.

By the end of the night she’d even agreed to see me again for another date. Score!

Luckily, even after all my sneakiness, my heart was in the right place. I presented myself honestly and she was looking for what I offered.

I am my own landing page in this scenario. By accepting a date with me, she was, in essence, clicking on my ad. Had I been a total douche bag, I wouldn’t have “made the sale.”

It’s the same for your ad campaigns: the landing page you take them to MUST be relevant to what you presented in your ad.  Otherwise, they’ll quickly leave your page.  Relevance ensures greater chance for conversion.

Know What Your Competition is Doing & Do It Better

Once the cat was out of the bag about how I actually came to meet Amy, I Like-d her even more because of how cool she was with it.

She went on to tell me that I was right; if I’d come up to her at the gym while she was working she likely wouldn’t have said much more than hello to me.  That she takes her job seriously and is all business when she’s working.

She told me stories of how guys in the gym would “accidentally” run into her with weights in the hopes of striking up a conversation.  You read that right, literally run into her with weights.  Who does that!?

Thus, my “resourceful” way of meeting her stood out and she appreciated the unique effort I made.

It set me apart from my competitors and showed her I was serious.

Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and then make your efforts that much better.  Stand out from what everyone else is doing and people will notice.

Testing Leads You to Success

I’m happy to say that Amy and I have been together for a little over two years and we’re now engaged.

When I first checked out her Facebook page, I never remotely thought I’d be marrying this girl some day.

I’d tried something new in meeting someone and it paid off in spades.

I couldn’t be happier.

You never know how awesome something can turn out unless you take the chance. You have to test, test, test!

Advertising success is found with testing.  Try different variations of your ad and landing page until you find a winning combination — different images, headlines, ad copy, landing page copy and layout.  Test one thing at a time, though, in order to know what’s working.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.  You could end up with the campaign of your dreams.

Now, It’s Your Turn

Has something unexpected or life-changing ever come out of your using Facebook?

We’d love to hear it so share your story here in the comments.

Also, I’d like to get as many stories as possible, so if you can please share this on Twitter, it would be great.

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I’ve been hinting at it over the last few blog posts how excited I am to be releasing the updated 2nd version of my book, “Explode Your Business through Facebook Ads – Your Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising.”

With Facebook’s recent rollout of the new AdsCreator, I wanted to include this update and ensure that the book was as up-to-date as possible.

So, this has delayed the release slightly by a couple weeks.

I’ve created a complete module-based video training that accompanies the book as well as other awesome bonuses for you!

I can’t wait to share it with you!  Stay tuned…

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