Written by: Luis Borba
There was a time when your Facebook posts were seen by a majority of your followers, but recent changes have reduced your post visibility to about 30% of your audience – if you’re lucky. It’s even worse according to Facebook, “[Brand] Pages reach about 16 percent of their fans on average.”
As Facebook grows, they’re continually looking for new ways to monetize the platform. Love it or hate it, Facebook Ads and Boosted posts are the tactics they’re using do that. If you’ve never ‘boosted’ a post, it’s an option you’ll find in the bottom right of your page posts.
You might be wondering if Boosted Posts are some new advertising gimmick. They’re not new, just recently renamed. The previous term was Promoted Posts. The two terms are interchangeable and used quite often to refer to the same thing. For the sake of minimizing confusion, we’ll use the term Boosted Posts, as this appears to be the new direction Facebook is headed.
Brands with advertising budgets may shy away from Facebook Ads and focus their spending elsewhere, such as their website content, Google AdWords, or more traditional advertising avenues like radio, TV and print. One of the challenges with any kind of advertising is that it’s often difficult to know what you’re going to get until you’ve spent the money. Even with Adwords, the quality of your clicks can vary – requiring significant optimization as you watch your spend. The great thing about Boosted Posts is that you’re not consistently spending, you pick and choose a specific post at a given time, and your budget will determine the audience reach. Boosted posts are effective for announcing a new product, a promotion, or event, and especially for giving the well performing (or poor performing) post that extra push.
But before you go boosting all of your posts, it’ll help to understand the reasons and benefits for boosting a post and how Facebook has tweaked their Edgerank algorithm in their favour, and at your expense.
You’ll remember we started by stating that not all of your Facebook followers see your posts. Who does see what, is dependent on previous interactions with your page and the quality of your content. One, or a combination of these interactions would have had to have happened in order for you to be on your followers radar:
Have a careful look at your current followers liking, sharing and commenting. Do you notice the same people who are consistently interacting with your page? That’s because at some point they interacted with the content you posted. Those who followed but never interacted with your posts are less likely to see your posts. Again, chalk that up to Facebook’s Edgerank.
One of our startup clients recently ran a Facebook contest to kickstart their new feed, for which we added a pinned post to their Facebook timeline. We reviewed its effectiveness after a week and saw organic reach of around 8%, a total of 189 people saw the post on their news feeds.
Sensing that the post was resonating with the initially small audience, we convinced the client to try boosting the post with a fifteen dollar budget to ‘test the waters’.
The results were surprising. If we had left the post as is, without paying to boost it, the total organic reach would have been 191 people, or 8%. With small budget of $15 we increased the number of people who saw it by 2,407. By paying to boost the ad, we increased the number of people who saw it on their news feed to 92 percent.
Now that you know what Boosting is, and how it can help to promote posts. It’s time to try it out on your own page. Here are some quick pointers.
At the bottom right of every post you’ll see the option to Boost a Post. Here are the particulars that will require attention:
Audience: You have two options for selecting your audience:
People who like your page and their friends: These are the people following your brand page, including their friends, who may or may not happen to be following your brand page as well. This option, while being a narrower audience reach is targeted at your followers and likely very effective since they already have a particular interest in your brand.
Everyone on Facebook: This includes all your followers and non-followers alike. While this option seems to make the most sense, why wouldn’t anyone want to reach a wider audience…everyone, keep in mind that by doing so you increase the likelihood of promoting a message to people with no interest in your brand. Wider reach equals a more diluted interest and larger target focus.
Maximum Budget: This is where you set your spending limit. For our test, we set it to $15.
Target By Location: We selected Ontario, since it was the only Province in Canada where the product was available.
That’s it. Click the Boost Post button, and let Facebook take care of the rest.
Posting on Facebook is a fine balance of frequency, repetition, and content. While posting more frequently increases your chances of having your followers see your posts, it also means that those followers with previous interactions will also see an influx of your brand’s posts in their news feeds. Boosting Facebook posts with a modest budget is a great way to increase the number of eyes that see your posts, without inundating your hardcore fans with repetitive messaging.