Composing a social post that resonates with a client’s target audience and is amplified organically is one of the biggest thrills a social media marketer can experience. This August our team at Thin Pig Media experienced that thrill. We created a Facebook post for our client, Barn Pros, that received 5,404,650 organic impressions–roughly the population of Finland. It was shared publicly on Facebook almost 20,000 times (private sharing is not included in this number).
There is no magic formula that makes every Facebook post go viral. But when it does happen, marketers like myself, love to try to answer the question: “Why this particular post?”
Understanding Barn Pros’ Audience
As a Senior Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media, I am lucky to work with Barn Pros, a company based in Washington State. Barn Pros offers pre-engineered barn kits. Their product line includes barns with living quarters, barn homes, shops, garages, arenas and professional equestrian facilities.
It is an attractive product, and while the brand is technically in the engineering and manufacturing space, over the past three years our team has worked to position Barn Pros as a high-end online retailer. What sets Barn Pros apart is the fact that it does not build its structures. A customer orders a kit that is then delivered to their site to be constructed.
This provides us with a unique social media engagement opportunity. Customers are constantly sending in user-generated content (UGC) like photos, videos and stories of their barn construction progress. When we post this content, it encourages a dialogue between the current customer, Barn Pros and potential customers all within Facebook.
That’s why we use the UGC we receive for marketing purposes on Barn Pros’ Facebook Page. UGC tends to gain the most engagement from our audience. It also gives our posts a competitive advantage since more authentic visuals and copy perform better in the Facebook News Feed than stock or advertorial photography.
Solidifying a Facebook Strategy
A barn kit is not an impulse buy. Potential customers use all available sources of information to make a purchase decision of this magnitude and price. By understanding this path to purchase, we were able to strategize and present the client with a sensible Facebook marketing strategy that matched their audience’s needs. This approach included the creation and distribution of a mix of sales, educational and lifestyle content.
We decided to invest in Facebook as the primary platform for this client for two reasons. From a strategic perspective, the network’s ability to target organic posts and paid social advertisements to a desired audience segment was unbeatable. In terms of creative capabilities, we approach each social post as a conversation starter. The nature of our product required a platform where our story wasn’t limited by a character count. Given our products price points, customers tend to ask more thorough, detailed questions. We also needed the ability to post multiple photos or videos within one post and showcase a product’s progression from start to finish.
In approving a consumer first Facebook strategy, Barn Pros knew that not every social post would be a home run. They also understood the long tail benefits of building an informative Page with a consistent brand voice and content relevant to their target audience. Understanding that this would contribute to a positive reputation, position the brand as a leader in the space and fuel customer retention. Through consistent attention to Facebook, the brand’s social media community has grown to a following of over 166,000 fans who are very engaged with the product and lifestyle presented.
Finding That Sweet Spot
To educate Barn Pros’ audience, we create Facebook posts that highlight a range of barn structures and their uses. By measuring the performance of each social post, we found that more modestly priced products like the 24’ x 24’ barn or garage kit that starts at $24,591 and luxury barn models that start at well over $300,000, tend to get good reach. However, fans are most actively engaged when we show the Barn Apartment kit. It hits the sweet spot for price, style, quality and flexibility of use. It appeals to the broadest range of barn lovers.
We used this insight to highlight our Denali Apartment Barn, which includes a 36′ x 48′ floor plan that contains a full loft apartment. The barn appealed to our audience and hit that sweet spot of being both aspirational and functional.
We knew we hit social media gold in featuring the Denali Apartment Barn when we went into work the morning after the post was published and saw 1,800 comments waiting for us in Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox. An average post garners 5-50 comments, so this was huge. We spent the day engaging with every person who reached out to us on that post, we didn’t miss a single comment.
Later that week, we began to measure the success of our viral post and attribute it to our business goals. The results we’re exciting.
The Good News on Facebook:
- 3,226,289 unique reach
- 536,458 total clicks
- 236,717 photo views
- 93,854 likes (12,000 on post, 81,000 on shares)
- 19,855 link clicks
- 19,680 shares
- 19,608 comments (3,800 on post, 15,700 on shares)
- Post engagement increased 1,235%
- Page Likes increased 100%
More Good News:
- Google analytics showed increased referral traffic by 6,166%
- Catalog requests jumped 482%
- 1 Barn purchase can be directly attributed to this post as well as multiple leads
Due to the popularity of this post, several articles were written about the Barn Apartment phenomenon, including this newspaper article that was written and then syndicated nationwide. The post spread from the US to barn lovers in Canada, Australia, UK, South Africa, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand and France. Barn Pros does ship internationally, although it is not their core business.
Will we only feature the Barn Pros Denali kit and its variations in future posts? No. There are around 30 different kits to talk about with many customizable features, as well as an online barn and home supply store. But we do take pride in the insightful learnings, brand engagement and successes garnered with this particular piece of content.
A version of this post was originally published on LinkedIn.
Samantha Joyce: is a Senior Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media. When she isn't planning and executing social media strategies for a wide range of clients, she's running. In 2016, Samantha participated in eight half marathons in four states.