The last few years have been pretty tough for Facebook, with advertising accountability issues and huge data breaches. Thankfully, it seems that the ship has steadied and Facebook is on track to make a big recovery! This makes it the perfect time to take a look at how your small business can best take advantage of the variety of advertising options Facebook offers.
Although it was never originally designed as an advertising platform, Facebook has evolved over the years to become an incredibly valuable marketing tool. It enables brands and small businesses to reach out to a vast audience of people that are perfectly matched to their target demographic. Only a few years ago, Facebook’s main method of advertising was simply ads. These ads would be put on the right rail of the screen, similar to many websites. They then started to innovate, putting ads within the newsfeeds of their users. Just a few years ago, they introduced an entirely new way to increase engagement: boosted posts. But really, what is the difference between a Facebook Ad and a Boosted Post?
How Facebook Works
Has this ever happened to you? You craft the perfect Facebook post. It’s funny, it’s relevant, you attached a picture of a cat. You expect that you are going to get likes and comments like crazy. So, you hit the post button and… you get almost no engagement with the post. No likes, no comments. It’s almost like none of your friends are seeing it. Well, that actually might be the case.
Facebook’s default newsfeed is determined by algorithms that are designed to deliver tailored content directly to the user. It looks at the user’s history, their interests, their friends, demographic, etc, and then it creates a curated newsfeed with posts that Facebook thinks the user wants to see. Of course, this means that there is an awful lot of content from your friends that Facebook is leaving on the cutting room floor. Why do this? Because with a curated newsfeed, Facebook can deliver the content that it believes will maximize your engagement and keep you on their site. So in short, the reason why you aren’t getting any engagement on your awesome funny/relevant/cat post might be because many of your friends aren’t seeing it.
Now, apply that same situation to your business’ Facebook page. You’ve written the perfect post (or you’ve hired a virtual assistant to do it for you). You post it and, again, nothing happens. The stakes are quite a bit higher this time, as we talking about your business’ success rather than your personal life. How can we guarantee that your business’ posts will get out to your audience’s newsfeed? We can do it with Boosted Posts.
Boosted Posts are the simplest way of advertising on Facebook. Unlike Facebook Ads, which require quite a bit of set up, all you have to do with a Boosted Post is write a post in your small business’ Facebook account, and then hit “Boost”. Instead of your post being buried and only shown to a small percentage of your Facebook followers, it will appear in all of their newsfeeds. Think of it as a megaphone for Facebook posts.
The main disadvantage of Boosted Posts is that there are far fewer customization options than there are with Facebook Ads. Boosted Posts have the advantage over ads when it comes to more basic levels of audience engagement. If you’re on the hunt for likes, shares, and comments by creating your own content, like blog posts, then Boosted Posts may be where you want to spend your money. When paired with an online social media management system like Hootsuite, Boosted Posts can be quite effective. That said, it’s best to pace yourself when it comes to Boosted Posts. These can get expensive fast, and frankly, you might get more return on your investment with Facebook Ads.
If you wish to create more complex and customized ads on Facebook, then Facebook Ad Manager is where you want to go.
The customization options with Facebook Ads allow you to target your audience based on their behavior, location, demographics, and many other criteria. Facebook Ads also provide you with extremely detailed metrics of engagement, so you can see exactly which of your ads worked and which didn’t.
Another advantage of Facebook Ads is that you can add a Call-to-Action button that will instantly lead users to your sales landing page. This makes Facebook Ads perfect for when you are selling a service or product. Facebook Ads also allow for more advanced engagement options like app installations and special, limited-time offers.
As for which kind of Facebook Ad you want to choose, that depends. Boosted Posts can be a valuable marketing tool for a small business, but they can also become a very expensive trap. Not unlike the “Order Now” button that Amazon puts on every product page, it’s super easy to simply hit “Boost” on a post, whether or not you know if your post will be effective. Professional written Facebook Ads with careful monitoring of metrics may give you far more bang for your buck, as well as allow you to craft more attractive and customized advertisements for your audience. Of course, if you have a virtual assistant writing your posts for you, they will be able to tell you exactly which of your Facebook posts could benefit from a good boost! I also have a free Workbook: How to Write Your Own Facebook Ads to help you get started! If you have any questions about Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts, please feel free to contact me today. I can walk you through how your small business can benefit from Facebook marketing to increase your audience and sales!