You see it there, enticing you every single time you publish an update on your Facebook page: that navy blue Boost Post button.
As the name suggests, this boost post button helps your updates reach a larger audience compared to a regular status update.
Every so often, Facebook will take it a step further and send you a notification suggesting you boost your posts. Is Facebook trying to tell you something?
This blog post will give you an idea on when it is more appropriate to capitalize on these boosts, and how to get the most value for your dollar.
So let’s get started.
What Are Boosted Posts?
It is easy to get confused about Facebook boosted posts vs. regular Facebook ads. In the newsfeed, at least, they look very similar: like your typical Facebook update tagged with the word “Sponsored” under it.
The major difference between a boosted post and an in-feed Facebook ad is that boosted posts exist first on your page. You first publish a post to your Facebook page, and then after it is published, you can choose to boost it.
On the other hand, Facebook ads are created in the Ads Manager, and don’t need to be something organically available on your page.
Some Facebook guru’s state that you should never use boosted posts, because they can decrease your organic reach.
And this is true to a degree: if you instantly try to boost a post the minute you publish it, you can hurt your organic reach by not giving your status update or linked post a chance to work on its own.
But the all-out claim that you should never use them is positively false; sometimes, they can even reach more people for the same amount of money as a regular Facebook ad.
There are three methods to target a boosted post:
- You can boost a post to your fans;
- You can boost a post to your fans and their friends; and
- You can boost a post to an audience you choose through targeting.
The type of boost that you select depends on your goals and how universally engaging your posts are. I’ll clarify that more in a minute, I promise 🙂
The Essentials of Boosting on Facebook
To start with, this blog post makes the presumption that you have endeavored to do everything right and stay clear of the mistakes that cause your Facebook engagement to fall.
Essentially, you are building an audience that is in fact reasonably interested in your products or services.
Boosting your posts to your existing fans will be much, much less effective if you’ve been growing a disinterested audience, so this is in fact really important.
Additionally, you should be following good posting practices for the types of updates people like to share: the images in your updates should be colorful, especially warm colors (these stand out from the Facebook interface) and a decent amount of contrast.
While there might be a few exceptions, you are most likely going to want to boost updates that are links (vs. other types of updates, like shared images and videos), and you’ll in all probability only want to boost links to your own website.
Give your updates the best chance at success by crafting a short and sweet little message to accompany them that entices your fans to click the link.
If you do everything right, you should get some good engagement rates.
Facebook may even notify you, letting you know that your update is performing better than 80%, 90%, and even 95% of the posts on your page.
This is really the type of notification that you are looking for to reach an even broader audience.
Facebook isn’t barking up the wrong tree here just to get your money: often, when you get this type of notification, boosting is typically a good idea specifically if it’s an update that is directing people back to your website.
Last thing you want to do is try a boosted post that directs people to someone else’s website or blog post (Yes, I actually did that once). I’m sure the other person will appreciate the assist, but it absolutely does nothing for YOUR business.
Even if you aren’t getting a notification about your update, let it sit there for a day or so after posting it and see what your engagement is like.
Is it above average? Are you actually getting a bunch of shares? These are all pointers that it could be the right time to do a boosted post.
When you decide you want to boost a post, you’ll need to make a decision on how you want to target it: to reach your existing audience, or to increase your audience.
Boosting to Your Existing Audience
The audience that you have built may be small, yet it is made up of some of your largest fans – after all, if you didn’t pay for your likes, they are the ones who are truly interested enough in your products or services, they sought you out, and became fans.
Boosting to your existing audience is particularly useful for sales-oriented updates, webinar announcement, or possibly marketing updates.
Maybe you’ve got a truly amazing product update or launching a brand-new service or a really big webinar coming up?
Help a better percentage of your fan-base know about it by boosting your announcement to them!
Consider whether boosting to your fans and their friends is appropriate.
If you’re a small business that serves a specific area, boosting to friends of fans isn’t a bad idea; most of your fans’ friends are likely in a similar geographic area, and this kind of sponsored post will likely get added social proof in it.
Conversely, sometimes the friends of your fans will possibly not be interested in your products or services, so you can increase your engagement rate (and get more bang for your buck) by targeting your fans only.
This targeting technique seems easy and it can really pack a big punch. Scott Ayres shared an example where he used a boosted post to promote his bouncy castle business; he spent $20 on the boosted post and generated $2,400 in sales.
Talk about getting a nice bang for your buck 🙂
Expanding Your Audience with a Boosted Post
If your post is extremely engaging, particularly to an audience broader than your own audience (i.e., it’s getting a bunch of shares!), I recommend you select the custom targeting option to reach a broader audience than is currently following your Facebook business page.
Under the ideal conditions, you can actually get a lot of traffic and new page likes for very little money!
Targeting on boosted posts is basically a simplified version of a normal Facebook ad targeting. If you need more specific options than location, interests, age, and gender… I suggest you opt for a normal paid Facebook ad.
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There are a couple limitations to the types of things you can boost on Facebook, which deserve a mention.
Boosted posts go through the same maximum text size requirements as regular Facebook ads. That means, only 20% of the image can contain text.
Sometimes I get lucky with the amount of text, but I have occasionally had boosted posts get rejected for this reason. Simply something to keep in mind while choosing which images to share with your links!
The minimum budget for a boost is $1 per day. You can boost for one day, a week, or two weeks; normally, I’ll budget between $2 and $5 per day for a week and pause the boosts that aren’t getting the engagement I want after a day or two.
Every now and again if a particular boosted post is really getting some traction, I might even up the budget to $10 a day… but that is a rare exception and in my opinion makes more sense to pay for a normal Facebook ad.
I don’t like to boost my posts for over a week because they actually have a date attached and I feel like older content isn’t as engaging to my audience; your goals maybe different.
You also want to be cautious of over-boosting; you don’t want to risk appearing too often or too salesy in your fans and followers newsfeeds which can result in being ignored, or worse, getting unfollowed or reported as spam.
Various experts recommend you boost posts once a week or less. You can view the frequency, or number of times on average people have been served your boosted posts, by visiting the Ad Manager.
Boosted posts are a great means to reach a broader section of your audience and their friends.
They are also relatively low-cost and easy way to get your most effective updates out there to a broader audience. Keep the guidelines above in mind, and boost away!
Oh yea, please, please, please, DON’T waste your money boosting someone else’s content – spend your advertising dollars promoting link posts to your own website, even if Facebook prompts you to boost other updates.
You might, in fact, I highly suggest before you even start doing boosted posts, that you watch this FREE 1hr 45min video on How to Avoid Facebook Jail.
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Thanks for reading our blog post! I hope you got some useful information out of this post on When & Why Hit the Facebook Boosted Post Button.
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Shaun & Kimberly Keizur