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Are you a little bit confused about Facebook’s options for reaching your target audience? I don’t blame you, Facebook offers you the option of boosting posts (with one easy click) and the option to advertise (with a few more steps). Which one do you choose?

It depends on what you want to achieve with it. Ask yourself, what’s helpful to my audience and what helps me reach my goals?

You don’t need to pay for every post, but if you want to reach a few of your goals you might have to either advertise or boost. If you decide you want to do this, then pick the best of your posts to boost or advertise. I’d like to share a few basic tips to help you on your way:

Tip 1:
Only promote your own content, there’s absolutely no need to be tooting someone else’s horn and pay for it. Pick one of your great posts so that traffic gets sent to your website and not someone else’s. 

Tip 2:
Pick content that helps your audience, so you build a stronger connection. It’s ok to promote your product and services every now and then, but you need to build an audience first and create a relationship with them. Make them feel that they can trust you and help them without taking anything, before you promote your products and services.

Tip 3:
Promote content that makes people want to sign up to your mailing-list. If you’re offering something for free to people signing up to your mailing-list, definitely promote that content so you can transfer as many fans to your email list as possible. This includes giveaways, free webinars, free e-books and any other type of freebie. As you all know, I give away a social media kick-starter kit but then surprise people with the opportunity to apply for a complimentary session with me, as well as tips and tricks that I don’t charge for.

When should you boost a post?

Boosting is super easy to do and you could boost any one of your posts if you wanted to. The boost button sits right below your post in the right hand corner.

When you click ‘Boost Post’, you have the option to choose either boosting the post to “People who like your page and their friends” or “People you choose through targeting.” You’ll also be able to pick and set your budget.

One problem with choosing the first option, is that your fans’ friends may not be interested in your business and you may be wasting your money by boosting your post out to them.

If your goal is to engage your current fans, don’t choose the first option. You’re better off using a promoted post and setting it up so that the ad only goes to your current fans. If your goal is to drive some targeted traffic to your website, then definitely choose the second option.

The targeting option lets you select which people you want to reach, as well as their location, age, gender and up to 10 interests. This option is almost the same as promoting a post (advertising) with targeting options. Promoting a post just allows more targeting options in the Ads Manager area.

The boost post ad with targeting is a quick way, but if you really want to focus on driving traffic to your website, I recommend doing a proper website conversion ad.

Back to boosting your post… When you’ve set your audience and budget, you can click ‘More Options’ and choose whether you want to spread the budget out over a few days (with a maximum of 7 days) and/or change the account that gets charged.

When you boost a post, the results show up in your Facebook Ads Manager. From there you can monitor the boost, run more detailed reports and watch the performance. I would highly recommend doing this so that you can modify or stop the boost if it’s not performing.

When should you promote a post? (aka advertising)

The other way to push a post into the news feed of your target audience is to use the Facebook Ads Manager (or Power Editor) to promote a post. The benefit of promoting a post is that you have more targeting, pricing and bidding options.

To get started, go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/ and select Page Post Engagement. Use the drop-down menus to choose the page and the exact post you want to promote. You’ll also see ‘clicks to website’ on the top, which is a topic we’ll tackle in another newsletter.

When you click Continue, you’ll see that the Page Post Engagement option gives you more targeting options and you can even use a conversion pixel if your post is directing traffic to your website where you can install a conversion pixel to measure conversion.

In the ‘Connections area’, you can choose that your ad only shows up to the people who like your page, but be aware that the default settings for locations limit who sees your ad unless you add other countries.

You also have different bidding and budgeting options with a promoted post. You can choose cost per click or spend a certain amount per day or switch between the two if you want to. There is no proven method and each business is different, so trial a few to see what works for you.

As with boosted posts, your promoted post ad results will show in the Ads Manager so you can watch how you’re going.

There is one more type of ad you can create as a promoted post via the Ads Manager. It’s called a dark post or unpublished post. These types of posts are good for people who are comfortable and confident using Power Editor and want to do some additional testing on multiple ads.

The advantage of a dark post, is that it doesn’t appear on your page’s timeline. It uses the structure of a promoted post, but your community won’t see it organically (i.e., as a regular update in their news feed); instead they’ll see it only as an ad even though it looks like a post in their newsfeed. It’s very handy if you’re doing split testing for several types of posts and you don’t want to spam your audience with similar posts all in a row.

Split testing means that you’re running an ad with the same goal and links but you use different ad copy and images for each to see which one performs better. You must try out at least ten variations, fail like crazy and find out what works. When you realize something doesn’t work, stop spending money on it straight away. When you discover something that works, push it harder.

The main point is to be clear on what you want to achieve with your ad or boost. 

Many businesses are using the boost post option because it’s easy (too easy?) and accessible. It’s located right on your page’s timeline and can be done with a few clicks. But it’s important to know that it’s not always the best option to reach the perfect audience.

In my opinion, most people should be using the promoted post option instead of the boost post option because it allows more control over who sees your ad and how you pay for it. As with everything you do though, make sure that you test and measure it, and stop doing it if it’s not giving you any results. Try something different instead. The good thing about Facebook is that it doesn’t cost much compared to traditional advertising methods, which you can’t stop mid-way and are much harder to measure too.

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