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Strategic post boosting on Facebook can actually help your page

I know. I know. You hate the idea of giving money to Facebook. We had it so good for so long. We had our audiences attention for free…and now it costs!

Ah, but let us not protest too much!

Like a lot of page managers, I saw and felt the hit when Facebook changed its algorithms and filtered out most of my pages’ once plentiful organic reach. I relented. I boosted posts for three non-profit pages I manage. The first was an experiment, made under duress, but for a measly $5 investment, I learned that boosting a post works. I discovered it was a low-cost way to advertise. The other two pages, I invested $20 each. I reached the official “page like number” within minutes and quickly went beyond, quadrupling our reach to new audiences, and then some. Some examples:

Page One had 405 likes. My organic reach for the post was a dismal 79. The post advertised an event open to the public with all kinds of cool activities, giveaways – family fun. I selected specific surrounding ZIP Codes to target and set the parameter for one day with my small $5 budget. In 24 hours, the reach swelled to more than 1400 people and the page gained three likes.

Page Two had 900+ likes. We posted a part time job opening and the organic reach was 350+ with no shares, no comments and a handful of likes. In consultation with the co-administrator of the page, we decided to spend $20 over three days and boost the post to our page followers and their friends. After two days, the reach climbed to 3,200, 25 likes, 18 shares and 3 comments. We also earned 8 new page likes. This campaign has a half a day left.

Page Three had 475 page likes. We posted a link to a website promoting an upcoming event that is of interest to our state’s agricultural community. Again, we decided to pay only $20 and specified that we wanted our page followers (and their friends) as the target audience. After the first day, we received a reach of 1,100, post likes of 27, several shares by other pages (very important) and three new page likes. This spent approximately $4 of our $20 budget. On the third day, with a balance of $1.82 left to be spent, our post was served to 3, 485 people. The post was liked 60 times and shared a total of 11 times (by individuals and other pages) and overall our page picked up 13 new page likes.

What I discovered, is beyond getting the word out about the specific news or event I boosted, once there, the analytics tells me, that once there, old fans rediscover us and new visitors poke around a little, and some decide to like the page. In every instance of the three post boosts, page likes went up. While that is not the be all and end all of metrics, a page has to start with a base. I like post boosts rather than page ads because of their lower cost and their specificity of information.

Here are some tips to make your Facebook post boost work to your best advantage:
1. Select a post that provides useful or helpful information – they type of content with which your brand is most associated. This is your chance, your shot, to make an impact with new audiences. New people will be hearing about you – seeing you – for the first time. Make them say, “Oh Wow! I didn’t know that!!”
2. Include a photograph or short video.
3. Images should NOT be a jpeg of a flyer or an ad that is running in a paper. In other words, there shouldn’t be too many words in the image. Images that are text heavy will be rejected.
4. Select a lower dollar amount to spend.You will be prompted to spend $60. You don’t have to. I started out with $5 and got quite a lot of bang for those bucks! You can always up the ante later.
5. Select your boost parameters. Specify your audience. You can pay to reach your page followers only. If your budget is small, your page likes are large, but you have been seeing a decline in insights, paying to reach out to your original page followers is a strategic way to re-connect with your base audience.
6. If your page follower/likes number is low to modest, consider Facebook’s second option to reach your base audience and their friends. This is the strategy for our non-profit audience.
7. You may choose to drill down to specifics such as age, gender, delivery to ZIP Codes, or by user-identified interests. Facebook will take you through the process and as you refine your target audience, they will provide you with a step by step guide as you go through the process. You will always know who, when, where and how much!
8. Don’t boost every post. Don’t be spammy! Once a month might be enough, it might even be too much. Take yourself out of your arena and imagine you are a stranger to your organization. Imagine you are an unknown Facebook audience member – looking at his or her feed when your paid boost appears. Will it matter to you? Will it pique your interest? Will it be intriguing enough to click and share? If your answer is no, this is not the post content to boost. Wait until you have useful content to share.
9. Lastly, you’ll find new people are checking out the boosted content and your overall page. You have their attention. Don’t waste the opportunity! Look at the rest of your content and do everything you can to make it compelling, visually interesting and purposeful.

Given the cost of print advertising, Facebook post boosting is an attractive alternative. Experiment. Start with a small budget. See what $5 over one day will get you. If you are struggling to be noticed on Facebook, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that spending a few dollars make a lot of sense!

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