Facebook has recently rolled out a set of new algorithm changes that have completely changed the way users, including businesses, now use Facebook. Friends first, brands second.
What does this mean for us? It means that we need to start setting aside a budget – no matter how big or small – to run a set of Facebook ads each month that coincide with our business goals. We talk a little more about this in this guide.
Boosting a post is just one type of ad you can run on Facebook. It’s also definitely our favourite because it looks like a normal piece of content on the news feed, however, it’s boosted meaning that it will reach people outside of your current audience. Because it’s well integrated into the news feed, it’s not as intrusive or obvious as the ‘text and image’ ads you may see down the side of the screen. This enables you to get creative and offer value through your boosted post.
Boosted posts are best for increasing engagement levels with your audience and get people interacting with your content. The general rule of thumb is to boost posts that are already doing well organically, as you will get more for your money when you boost it. Facebook often recommends posts to boost based on their organic success, or you can simply pick and choose one yourself. There is also the option to create a post that will only be seen as a sponsored post, and won’t appear on your business page as a normal post. The options are endless!
When should I boost a post?
As we mentioned before, the general rule is to boost only posts that are already succeeding organically. However, we have created a list of content types that generally attract quite high levels of organic engagement and therefore would be ideal for boosting:
- News that you want to share (milestones, achievement, new staff member, hiring, etc.)
- You are running an event (in this case, also create an event page for your event and advertise this)
- You are launching an exciting new product or service
- It’s part of a bigger ongoing campaign (find out more about campaigns here)
- A blog post/article (this is valuable content and will also drive people to your website)
After you read this guide, download our free printable – Boosting a Post On Facebook: A Checklist For Success. Without further ado, here is your step-by-step guide to boosting a Facebook post with the biggest chance of success…
Step 1: Choose Your Post
You can refer to the above for this one. Remember to pick a post that has already done quite well organically (reached more people than average/gained more interaction than average), and if you’re going to create a new post specifically for boosting, ensure it matches one of the above criteria (exciting announcement, new blog post, upcoming event, etc) to ensure it’s worth boosting. Once you have selected your post, click the ‘Boost’ button on the bottom right corner, as shown in the image opposite:
Step 2: Encourage The Right Action
Once you have clicked the ‘Boost’ button, a window should pop up that looks like this…
The first thing to do is select your objective. If you’re a startup business, or you’re just starting out on Facebook, we would recommend using the ‘Engagement’ option as an objective. This is because it works as a sales funnel: Gather audience and increase engagement, lead them to your website (Website Visits objective), and then encourage them to send you a message to book/purchase (Messages objective).
Secondly, choose the button you would like on your post. This depends on the action you want your audience to take. Be aware that if you choose the Messages objective, the button will automatically be ‘Send Message’.
The choices for buttons are:
- No Button
- Shop Now – This will lead to the link in your post. It’s perfect for e-commerce stores.
- Book Now – Ideal for restaurants that take bookings, or service businesses such as spas, as well as events and classes.
- Learn More – This button can be used to drive people to your website, including a landing page, blog post, or another piece of information that leads on from the post.
- Sign Up – This could be used to lead your audience to a page that requires them to sign up for an event or service, for example.
- Send Message – Encourage your audience to send a direct message to your business page using this button.
Keep your objective and Call-To-Action button in line with your business goals for this post. If you already have quite a large audience on Facebook, you may be working on the bottom of the sales funnel and driving people to book a table at your restaurant, or purchase clothing from your online store, in which case you would use the ‘Book Now’ or ‘Shop Now’ buttons.
Step 3: Target The Right Audience
Your audience is not everybody. If you allow your post to target the entire country. or even globally, you will get very little for your money as it is being spread out across a huge number of people. By narrowing down your audience and being precise, your budget will be put to much better use. You should have 3 options under the ‘Audience’ heading:
- People you choose through targeting
- People who like your page
- People who like your page and their friends
The latter 2 options are again more suitable for businesses that have already generated a good following on Facebook and are focusing on the bottom end of the sales funnel. If not, or even if you
already have a good following but are looking to create a bigger following, we suggest that you select the first option: People you choose through targeting.
At this point, you can either create an audience there or select one you have already created. We are going to talk you through how to create an audience from scratch, in the most effective way possible! To create an audience, click on ‘People you choose through targeting’, and then ‘Edit’.
You should see the screen as shown above.
Firstly, decide whether your target audience is male, female, or both. Secondly, define their age range. Be careful at this point – you don’t want to target everyone, but you don’t want to be too narrow either! We suggest you choose an age range in the size of 18-35, or 40-55. This enables you to have a good-sized audience. The meter at the bottom will also tell you if your audience is too specific or too broad.
For your location-based targeting, you can target your ad by postal code, city, region or country. You may be a store in a village, targeting local village residents, and so you may want to use your postal code to ensure the post reaches nearby residents. Just click on ‘Add locations’ to do this. Again, be careful not to be too broad to avoid your budget becoming spread out over a large area. Posts are often much more successful when boosted over a small, more defined area, than over an entire country, for example.
Detailed targeting allows you to do 3 things:
- Demographic targeting
- Interest targeting
- Behaviour targeting
Demographic targeting consists of information that people publically share on their profiles, such as their level of education, their political views, family or household composition, relationship status, life events, career, and more. For example, a jeweller may want to target newly engaged couples for wedding rings. They can choose to target ‘Newly engaged couples’ as a way to do this.
Interest targeting focuses on consumer and lifestyle categories such as fitness, fashion or hobbies. A vegetarian chef or restaurant may want to boost a post featuring their newly published cookbook, and they can choose to target people who are interested in ‘Cooking’, ‘Recipes’, and ‘Vegetarianism’. You can’t get much more precise than that!
Lastly, behaviour targeting uses Facebook and 3rd party data around travel, home and vehicle ownership, charitable donations, device usage, and other consumer behaviours. A luxury hotel may click on ‘Purchase Behaviour’, ‘Purchase Behaviour UK’, ‘Above average level of spend’, and then ‘Recreation and Leisure’ to target someone who is able to and willing to spend a lot of money on a hotel room. There’s an array of options in the behaviour section – have a look around and see for yourself!
Step 4: Select Your Budget and Duration
Keep in mind that one significantly affects the other when it comes to budget and ad schedule (duration). The general rule is: The shorter the schedule and higher the budget, the better the results. This is because your budget is allowed to make a bigger impact in a shorter space of time.
There is also the issue of ‘ad fatigue’ – when you run an ad for too long, your audience gets tired of seeing it and so don’t react, or even hide the post from their news feed. For example, one study showed that if you run two ads at the same budget, same audience, and same placement, but one ran for 7 days and the other for 14 days, the ad that ran for 7 days will have significantly better results.
Shorter schedules also enable you to do more testing and experimenting – a vital part of your journey on social media. Try running an ad for 3 days, and then change around the copy, tweak the audience, or switch the creative for something else and run it again. From this, you can see what works and what doesn’t.
We get a lot of questions about what your budget should be for Facebook ads – this is totally dependent on you, your company, and how much you are able to spend. If you’re starting out, we wouldn’t recommend using a huge budget as you should take your time to get to know the method behind Facebook ads, finding out what works and what doesn’t, before diving in and potentially wasting your money. Sometimes, £10 on a boosted post can go a long way! Try and test things, and increase/decrease your budget as you see fit.
Some quick-fire, extra tips for getting the most out of your boosted posts…
- Use very little, if any, text in your images. Images with a lot of overlay text will get less reach no matter your budget – Facebook often pops up with a warning when it thinks there is too much text. If you use the Facebook Business Manager, you can access a tool called ‘Image Text Check’ in the Creative Hub, which scores your image based on how much text there is.
- If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, you may want to access extra insights and data using the Facebook Pixel. The Pixel is a piece of code that you can integrate into your website and enables activity from those visiting via Facebook to be tracked and reported back to you. Once you have installed the Pixel, you will have the option to use it for tracking activity from your boosted post under ‘Tracking Conversions’ after the schedule and budget section.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our guide to boosting Facebook posts! Don’t forget to download the checklist here, and keep referring back to this post to guide you through the checklist. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Tweet us @cambieandco with your thoughts and ideas on this guide, and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!