Are You Just Talking to Yourself on Facebook and Instagram?

So you have thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram? Congratulations!

Unfortunately, only a handful of those followers are going to see your posts — unless you pay to advertise.

For many years, Facebook has been reducing what it calls Organic Reach (the number of people who see a Facebook or Instagram post for free, without you paying to promote the post).

Every year, it’s been getting tougher and tougher, as Digiday reports:

If any brands haven’t already shifted their Facebook & Instagram strategies to paid, then they may have to soon.

The social network is changing its news feed to prioritize what friends and family share, which will reduce the amount of content that users see from brands and publishers.

Agencies believe brands will have to spend more on paid ads on Facebook & Instagram in order to get the same number of views — further lining Facebook’s pockets. This is just the “final nail in the existing coffin” of organic reach, said Doug Baker, director of strategic services at digital agency AnalogFolk.

Our own data confirms the local decline and fall of Organic Reach. We took a look at our New Zealand database of more than 23,000 Facebook pages and found that:

  • 80% of NZ Facebook pages are now achieving less than 2% engagement 
  • Just 3% (750) of the NZ Facebook pages we measured achieved more than 10% engagement (people liking, sharing or commenting on their posts) in the previous week

It’s time to stop denying and start paying.

We should warn you, though — it’s really easy to spend money on Facebook & Instagram Advertising and not achieve much.


Here are some of the common mistakes that people make with Facebook & Instagram Advertising:

  1. Not doing enough homework on audience selection. Facebook allows you to slice and dice its millions of active NZ Facebook & Instagram users into finely-targeted segments — which, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, means that you can easily target precisely the wrong people. Or you might target too broad an audience and waste most of your money preaching to those who simply aren’t interested in your products or services.
  2. Having the wrong objectives. Facebook gives you a wide range of possible objectives as it guides you through the advertising process. Typically, objectives fall into three broad categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. If you select the wrong objectives, you won’t achieve what you really want with your advertising.
  3. Expecting results like Google Ads. Millions of people search Google for items they want to buy. If you choose the right keywords for your advertising (those that demonstrate “buyer intent”, such as “cheap flights to Queenstown”), your ads will be read and, if the offer is right, generate action. Not so on Facebook or Instagram — here, your ads are more interruptive, consumers are not directly in buying mode, so you need to choose different strategies to succeed.
  4. Your Images are Boring. The Facebook & Instagram Feeds are a constant flood of over-stimulation, and you only have a fraction of a second to catch the attention of your targets before they swipe on for their next fix. If your images don’t catch their attention, they’re gone.
  5. You’re Missing the Best Bits. Facebook has developed a wide range of tools to help you manage the whole relationship with your target audience, including remarketing pixels to track and segment your Facebook and Instagram audiences on your own website. If you don’t know how these tools work properly, or if you’ve put them into the “too hard” basket, it’s like leaving a whole pile of money on the table.
  6. You’re Not Testing Enough (if at all). More than a century of Direct Mail advertising has shown us that it’s possible to get dramatic improvements in advertising performance by testing different variants of ads against each other, selecting a winner and then testing that winner against other ads. But we live in an instant gratification, everyone’s-an-expert age where we think we know what we’re doing and why do we need to test? Facebook thanks you for your donation, shame you didn’t do enough testing.
  7. Your Ads Worked at First, Then They Didn’t. Ads burn out quickly on social media. What starts out as interesting and different quickly becomes wallpaper on Facebook or Instagram — far quicker than on TV or in other traditional media. You’ll need to restrict the frequency of even the most effective ads, and introduce new creative variants on a regular basis, or watch your campaigns crash and burn too soon.

So what can you do to improve your Facebook & Instagram Advertising activities and minimise your mistakes?

Learn what works, and what doesn’t, through our online training course:

Introducing our online training course, “Mastering Advertising on Facebook & Instagram”.

In this ten-part online training course, we will take you step-by-step through what you need to know to understand and master advertising on Facebook & Instagram.

Lesson One: Getting Started

In this lesson we introduce you to the principles and practices of Facebook & Instagram Advertising, and take you on a tour through Facebook Ads Manager (which is the tool that some six million advertisers use to advertise on both Facebook and Instagram). We also discuss:

  • why you shouldn’t just boost your posts and expect to get effective results
  • the key differences between Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram Ads and why they matter to you
  • the limitations faced by New Zealand advertisers compared with our foreign counterparts
  • how (if you’re not careful) you can end up competing with yourself and drive up your social advertising costs
  • an analysis of the New Zealand Facebook & Instagram marketplaces
  • why mobile is so important (and why that matters to you)

Lesson Two: Setting Campaign Objectives

When you first start an advertising campaign on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll be offered a range of possible objectives for your advertising. In this lesson, we deconstruct each of the offers on tap, consider how they might help or hinder your campaign and review:

  • the surprising importance of Awareness campaigns for your future success
  • why you shouldn’t just go straight after Conversion and Sales objectives
  • when, where and how you should trust Facebook & Instagram to meet your objectives (and when you shouldn’t)

Lesson Three: Targeting

Facebook & Instagram have such rich data about its users that you can use to laser-focus your advertising on the people that you most want to target. It’s both an asset and a liability, because if your targeting is based on assumptions, you might be advertising to exactly the wrong people. In this lesson, we explore:

  • the comprehensive sets of filters available to you to segment your audience
  • the enhanced capabilities that are NOT available to NZ businesses (and how you can compensate instead)
  • how you can reach out to your own customers and prospects through Custom Audiences
  • the surprising implications of Europe’s new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, introduced in May 2018) for New Zealand targeting on Facebook and Instagram

Lesson Four: The Offer

All offers are not alike. To understand what works on NZ’s most popular social networks, we need to review some of the key elements of social shopping.  In this lesson, we review:

  • The 10 most important factors that consumers look for when deciding whether or not to buy from you (and how you can improve each aspect)
  • The five most attractive offers that you can make, to close a sale
  • The six factors that consumers are most likely to consider when comparison shopping
  • The most popular items that Kiwis are buying online these days
  • The four most-important offerings you can provide that will have consumers recommending you to their friends
  • The five most likely reasons why consumers abandon their shopping cart in the middle of a purchase

Lesson Five: Advertising Creative

By now, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that all advertising is not alike in social media. In Lesson Five, we review the ads that work (and those that don’t) on Facebook and Instagram. Included in this lesson:

  • identifying the most effective types of visual elements for your Ads
  • when and how you should use video in your Ads
  • determining the copy elements that will work best to meet your objectives
  • establishing an effective Call to Action
  • considering the most important components of the Landing Pages (where you send people after they click on your ads)

Lesson Six: Remarketing and the Facebook Pixel

Remarketing — adding a pixel to a website, so that Facebook can track the journeys of those who click on your ads — is the key to truly understanding and segmenting your prospects. In this lesson, we give you a solid understanding of the benefits of remarketing and share how you can:

  • use remarketing to truly customise your Ads for your visitors
  • reach out again to prospects who visited your website but didn’t buy
  • follow up with prospects who made an enquiry or downloaded an ebook but have yet to buy
  • avoid wasting money, by not advertising again to those who did buy
  • remarket to visitors who have already liked your Facebook page or Instagram account

Lesson Seven: Measuring the Performance

Social Media Advertising creates a LOT of data, and the sheer scale of the information can be overwhelming. In Lesson Seven, we show you how to focus in on the key metrics that matter, and how to interpret that information to guide your future activities. In particular, we recommend that you track:

  • who saw your Ads
  • who clicked on those ads
  • the percentage who then took the desired action
  • the comparative Costs Per Click and Costs Per Conversion (and how to evaluate the effectiveness of your ads as a result)
  • the Lifetime Value of your social-media-generated customers

Lesson Eight: Testing

Testing should be an essential part of any Facebook or Instagram Advertising campaign. In this lesson we explain how to set up robust testing procedures for your campaigns and what represents appropriate sample sizes for each test. We also discuss:

  • which elements you might test (and why)
  • how and why you should only test a single element at any time
  • how to determine which variant is working and which is not (hint: it can be more complex than you think)
  • how much data you need to determine the outcome of a test

Lesson Nine: Showcasing Effective Facebook & Instagram Ads

What really works on Facebook and Instagram? In this lesson, we dissect many examples of effective social media advertising on both Facebook & Instagram.

We explore the many different advertising types used on both Facebook and Instagram and share examples and results.

Lesson Ten: Creating Effective Facebook & Instagram Posts

Finally, we review the types of posts that you should consider promoting with your Ads, accompanied by a wide range of examples, including:

  • Plenty of stories from local and international businesses who are using Facebook & Instagram effectively
  • The hotel chain that has twice as many people talking about it as the chain has followers
  • The radio station that has truly mastered the art of social media
  • Examples of posts that really tug at the heartstrings
  • The Facebook page that had 247,756 Facebook likes but managed to get 775,600 people talking and 160,000 people sharing
  • Practical posts that get people sharing

This course has been created and is tutored by Michael Carney, longtime marketer and author of six books (including the top-selling book “Trade Me Success Secrets”, now in its Second Edition). Michael is also the creator of a number of other online courses and consults on many digital business initiatives.

This is an online course, conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

Course lessons will be provided in ten parts, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables.


Feedback from previous Social Media Marketing online training course participants:

  • “this was the best professional development course I have done in many years” – Mark R, senior Agency Exec responsible for social media
  • “thought the information within was outstanding” – Ed P, General Manager
  • “What I loved was that I started with a fairly rudimentary understanding of social media but have learned a lot – including where to find more information as I need it.” – Fiona W, Marketing Manager
  • “I found it relevant, informative, topical, insightful and a bloody good read. It’s never evangelical, too techy, patronising, assumes that you know too much or too little about digital and has a warm sense of humour in the communication throughout which helped faciliate the learning process for me.” — Adrienne B, new media senior executive
  • “Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this course! It’s been extremely enlightening” — Shayne P, design agency director
  • “Rapt with what I have seen of the course” — Julia R, fashion editor
  • “I’m really enjoying the course – learning a lot – and I know the two friends I persuaded to join us are also loving it.” — Lavinia C, designer
  • “Am thoroughly enjoying the content!” – Kara B, magazine co-ordinator
  • “I completed the first lesson today and found it really interesting and love the interaction already! I am so looking forward to the second lesson already …” — Annette B, public relations director
  • “I was already engaging with social media and have been doing so for about 6 years or so. But, did I know how to use social media in a marketing and business sense? No, I simply did not. This course was a great way to show me how to do that.” — Sheryl K, online marketer

Any Business Owner or Manager, Marketing, Advertising, PR or Communications professional who, while they may have a fair knowledge of Facebook and/or Instagram, realise that they need to know more about Advertising on Facebook & Instagram.


This course begins on Thursday 01 August, 2024.


This ten-part eCourse is available for $797+GST. However we offer a $100 Early Bird Discount for bookings received and payment made by midnight on Thursday 25 July, 2024. Pay only $697+GST for this course!

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

To reserve your place in this course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here:

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to with details of your request.

(The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Courses in your transaction and on your credit card statement).


Your booking will be confirmed by email (if you have not received a confirmation within 24 hours, feel free to email

On the first day of the course you will be supplied by email with login details and Course Notes for Lesson One.

Michael Carney Written by: