It’s Wednesday morning in London, sunny but chilly. As I write this, I know that Billy is still asleep in Durham, NC.

This isn’t a spoof ‘Dear Diary” blog post. I’m going to get to how I failed to get disapproved by Facebook – and why I tried to in the first place. It’s all about figuring out how to get engagement on Social Media. But first you need the background.

Sometimes Billy and I get asked what it’s like for us, as business partners, to work with a split-shift where we are separated by a time-zone difference of five hours. To answer that: it’s interesting.

While we have less overlapping work-time together, the time alone during daylight hours, when the other is either sleeping or signed-off, enables us to work differently. We can knock out work on the “get-it-done” list, or reflect on the business or a client campaign.

This morning, while Billy is asleep, I’m reminded of our discussion, just yesterday, about our business and what we do for our clients.

“Bill, we’re a marketing company that focuses on using the clients’ stories – the right way – to bring in new business. I think we need to be even more explicit about that and focus on that approach in the end product we provide to our clients.”

“Yup,” Billy replied. “We know that it’s the stories that generate the most engagement online. Facts tell but stories sell.”

Personal Stories Engage

What I’ve found in my years of content creation is that when an important lesson is shared with a personal story, it’s much more engaging. You get more clicks and comments. But you also get more business.

As Billy and I have written in recent weeks, to get more business from Social Media, it all starts with creating engagement.

So one of the things that Billy and I enjoy the most about working together is when we brainstorm our content and how to craft it for Social Media to generate the most engagement.

We thought that Billy had the perfect combination with his article three weeks ago about speaking the right language for Social Media by making use of Open Graph tags.

Instead of running with a boring approach like, “Why You Need To Use Open Graph Tags”, Billy came up with something racier that was based around his spring vacation in Europe, i.e. sharing knowledge through story-telling.

He used a picture of Melania Trump alongside the headline, “Your Law Firm Is Speaking Slovenian on Social Media.”

I thought it was great, attention-grabbing creative.

Facebook didn’t agree.

Banned By Facebook

As Billy mentioned last week in his article on the correct image dimensions for Facebook, our ads for the Melania post on Facebook were rejected because they made a mistake. They accused us of running an ad that was talking about political or social issues, which obviously wasn’t the case. We were just using a picture of Melania to grab attention.

So with his article last week, Billy and I thought it would be interesting to actually TRY and get our post banned as an advert by being TOO racy.

“Simon, our ad got banned last week, and we didn’t break any rules,” said Billy. “This week we’re talking about how important size is. What do you think?”

“Banana and a tape measure,” I said. “Let’s push it. If our ad gets banned for a second week, we’ve got a story.”

Then I took it one step further. I REALLY tried to get an ad banned.

Meat On The Bones

I knew that I’d be writing this week’s blog post and what it would be about, but I wanted to have some serious meat behind the important lesson that I’m going to share here in a moment.

So I decided to put an extra 50 bucks behind a little split-test ad experiment on Facebook, to back up my point.

And that point is: The text (or copy) you write in your posts on Social Media, what some call a “status update” – matters.

Explaining that one point to you today is the purpose of this article.

Whether it’s just a text update, or you’re sharing a picture, video or web-link, what you write in your post WILL make a big difference to whether people engage with your content.

I tested that with a $50 test of three different ads for last week’s post.

Split-Testing Methodology

I focused on a target audience of people interested in marketing who were also interested in Entrepreneur Magazine, and who were in the top 25-50% income bracket, based on zip-code in the United States only.

Linking to the same article in each ad and using the exact same headline and description as we did on the post on our Facebook page, I then created three different ads where ONLY the copy in the status update was changed.

The first ad used the exact same copy as the post on our Facebook page. It said:

When you’re sharing on Social Media, size DOES matter!

Facebook even explicitly says it does in their guidelines.

We don’t want you to have a size complex, but if you don’t understand why the measurement matters, you could be hurting your business.

That was “Ad A”. 

Advert “A”

Then I tried something different with each of the other two ads.

In the second ad, “Ad B”, I used this copy:

Are you hurting your business because you think size doesn’t matter?

If you don’t measure up, your performance could be seriously affected.

That was the copy I thought would get banned for being too racy and saying, “If you don’t measure up,” and “your performance,” which singles out the user and personalizes inadequacy. That’s exactly what Facebook says is a breach of their advertising rules. If it somehow managed to get approved, I thought that this copy would get more engagement. This was the ad I expected to get disapproved and banned.

Advert “B”

Frankly, I thought that the original post, with the original copy, to our Facebook page would be disapproved for advertising. The same post I duplicated in “Ad A”. I thought that both the original post and “Ad A” would also be disapproved. And if that happened, we’d have something to talk about.

In the third ad, “Ad C,” I used this much more vanilla copy:

Do you know the exact image dimensions Facebook wants you to use when you link to a website?

If you’re using the wrong dimensions, it’s costing you money and your advertising is failing.

Find out how and why.

Advert “C”

Those were the three different ads, and each had an even 1/3 share of the $50 total advertising budget for this little split-test advertising campaign.

So which ad won the test?

Drumroll Please!

Facebook reported at the end of the campaign which ad won the split-test. I disagree with the choice of winner, because the results between first and second place were so close. I’ll explain in a moment.

The most obvious result from the campaign was a clear LOSER.

One ad out of the three performed much worse than the other two. It got substantially less clicks and therefore cost much more for each click than the other two ads generated.

By spending $50 on this test, I had still proven my simple point:

It matters what copy you use in your Social Media posts. Saying something different – using different language – in your status update can make a big difference to how much engagement and traffic it generates.

And sometimes, what you think is going to be the most effective, isn’t always the case. What works might surprise you.

The results from my experiment surprised me.

The Results

So first you need to know that EVERY ad for that article was approved by Facebook. They agreed to take our money for the original post to our Facebook page and they approved all three ads in my split-test campaign.

I did not get banned.

The least successful ad, the one that performed the worst and cost the most-per-click was “Ad B” – the one I thought would be the most engaging.

Facebook chose “Ad C” as the winner because its cost-per-landing-page-view was marginally lower than “Ad A”, by just one tenth of a cent: 

Cost-per-landing-page-view of $1.388 for “Ad C” versus $1.389 for “Ad A”.

The cost-per-landing-page-view for “Ad B” was $3.33. So much for my engaging copy!

If you’re not familiar with Facebook advertising, the cost-per-landing-page-view uses the Facebook pixel to determine whether your webpage actually loaded, and therefore count in the ad manager as a “result”.

Landing page views do not equal clicks. There are many reasons why somebody might click but the pixel not be activated on the web-page – including them simply backing up, back into Facebook.

If we instead compare the cost-per-click (CPC) for each ad, a very simple measure of how much you’re paying for engagement, the winner is “Ad A” rather than “Ad C” – and once again definitely not the “racy Ad B”.


Ad A: $0.88

Ad B: $2.38

Ad C: $0.98

You might also be interested in how many people each ad reached:

Ad A: 1,336

Ad B: 1,072

Ad C: 1,147

Finally, across all three of those ads, there was just a single like – and it was on “Ad A’.

Lesson For Marketing Your Law Firm on Social Media

Okay, so my “racy” and attention-grabbing copy didn’t work. In this one instance.

It doesn’t mean you should go back to using really boring and dry copy in your Facebook posts and ads.

We’ve seen some really bad content, shared really badly, by law firms on Facebook.

If we’ve had a chance to work with those firms, we’ve explained to them why they need to be more engaging, and how to do that.

Using “boring” copy might work for a particular post or ad. In my split-test, I was probably just pushing things a bit too far.

Jazzing up the language you use in a post on Social Media could drastically transform its performance. But you won’t know if you don’t experiment.

And that’s something that even Billy and I at Get Super Cereal have been guilty of. When we share our latest article on Social Media, we don’t normally split-test different copy to see what creates the most engagement. But we should be testing. We’re a marketing company!

Whether you’re running a law firm – or any other kind of business – the truth is that you don’t know what the most effective copy for a post on Facebook will be, until you try to find out.

I assumed that Ad B would outperform the other two. I was flat-out wrong. Only the split-test told me that.

If you have an external marketing vendor who is running ads for your business on Social Media, they’re probably split-testing the copy they use, to maximize traffic and reduce your CPC. When it comes to specifically Facebook adverts, many vendors understand the importance of testing to find the most successful copy.

However, the same principle is often overlooked when it comes to the CONTENT that you share on Social Media. Sometimes that content also gets advertising dollars put behind it, to increase reach and, in theory, drive more traffic.

Even Experts Make Mistakes

I’ve just admitted that even for our own marketing company, we don’t put enough thought into the copy we use in our status updates and when we share our content. So it doesn’t surprise me that law firms – and other businesses – are making the same mistake.

If you want to drive engagement and traffic on Facebook, what you say on Facebook really matters.

So I’ll sign off by suggesting a really simple way to try and shake up the copy you use on Facebook:

Try to get your ad banned.

How To ‘Tune Up’ What You’re Already Doing On Social Media

Want to see what your current Social Media posts should look like in order to get engagement?

For the last few week’s, we’ve been doing Free – one on one – Social Media Tune Ups for law firms across the country. With each Tune Up, law firms get to see how to tweak and fix their current Social Media strategy so that they get better engagement on their posts and more traffic from Social to their website.

We want YOU to be our next Tune Up so we can show you how to get better results from your Social Media!

Just click the button below to learn more and sign up for a FREE Social Media Tune Up!