Have you tried using Facebook ads or boosted posts to market your business?
If you have, the chances are excellent that the complex process quickly confused and overwhelmed you.
If it did, you’re in good company. Although Facebook marketing is extremely effective — and cost-effective if you use the right strategies — it can be a fairly bewildering landscape to navigate.
This is especially true if you haven’t spent a lot of time learning about social media marketing in the last few months. Much like Google, FB makes changes on a fairly regular basis, introducing new algorithms and advertising options every few months.
Despite the potential for confusion, this social network is extremely popular, and a good way to market your business online.
As of November 2015, FB boasted over 1.5 billion users, which is almost more than all the other popular social networks and media sites combined. The numbers alone are sufficient reason to justify exploring this lucrative marketing tool a bit further.
But wait … there’s more!
For business customers, FB offers a number of options for promoting your brand and marketing your products.
For starters, you’ll need a dedicated Facebook page for your business. Check out ours for an example! Just as you would with a personal page, you post content to your business page (ideally) on a regular basis.
But what do you post? The answer to that question is as unique as your company’s product or service offerings.
You might share a link to your latest blog post, or highlight a special you’re currently running. You might post a video montage of a project in process, offer a coupon or free gift, or feature a customer (or employee) of the month. You could even do a series of posts that gives your audience insight to how you develop and bring a new product to market.
Or you could do all of the above!
Whatever it is that you post, Facebook offers a way for you to ensure that more people have a chance to see it. That tool is known as “boosting” a post.
Based on FB’s current algorithms, any given business post organically reaches the news feed of a fairly limited audience, usually 15 to 20 percent of those who have liked or followed your page.
To reach a larger audience, and to reach beyond your current followers, you can use FB’s post-boosting option.
For a small fee, you can tell FB who you want to see a specific post. You have the option to include — or not — your current fans, and to extend your outreach to friends of your fans, or a targeted demographic profile to attract new fans.
You can hone your targeted demographics to a pinpoint. For example, you could boost your post so that it reaches married women between the ages of 45 and 50 who live in South Jordan, Utah, who enjoy zumba and are fans of Dr. Oz’s page.
You are limited somewhat in your ability to target boosted posts, however, as you can only select up to 10 interests, in addition to location, age and gender. Boosting posts can be effective for a variety of purposes, such as directing people to your website (or a landing page), where you can hit them with a strong call to action.
Most businesses use post boosting to build brand awareness and expand their target audience on FB.
Promoted posts are similar to their boosted cousins, but on steroids.
When you promote a post, FB offers significantly more options for targeting your audience, as well as different ways to structure how you pay for your promotion. You can select from two cost-per-click or cost-per-impression options, and you can choose to spread your total budget out over a specific time period.
Both boosted and promoted posts are identified as “sponsored” posts to your targets. Promoted posts appear higher in the news feed than boosted posts, however, so there’s a greater chance they will be seen.
Up until now, we’ve been talking about posts. Now let’s take a look at Facebook ads.
Most of FB’s ads look like regular posts when they hit your targets’ newsfeed, except for one main difference: These posts will never appear on your business page, and for this reason, these are often referred to as “dark posts.”
Dark posts allow you to test different variants of ads, or to target different groups without overwhelming your page feed.
Facebook has begun offering a variety of specific types of ads as well, depending on your goals. You can promote an app, direct people to your website, increase the number of likes for your page, promote a specific event or increase engagement.
Depending on your preference, you can also place your ads to the right of the news feed (instead of in it), just under the “Trending Topics” list. The two main drawbacks to this format are that you’re limited on space for ad copy, and most FB users have come to tune out these obvious advertisements.
This old-school format has its fans as well as its detractors, but it does work for many companies and purposes, as long as you include a strong call to action.
You’ve probably heard this before, but multimedia is king today. Any ads or promoted posts need — at minimum — an eye-catching image and great copy. Whenever you can use video or graphics, do so, as this will make your content stand out.
Your content should be engaging, exciting and informative, but above all, useful in some way for your target audience.
For the most part, FB users don’t want to be advertised to, at least not in the classic sense of the term. Offer them something fun and entertaining if it makes sense for your brand, but remember that they’re much more likely to like, share and engage if you give them something they need.
Think of it this way: Boosting a post is easy to do, but you have fewer options and no real way to track your results through FB. Promoting a post takes a little more effort — and probably costs a bit more, depending on your targets — but you have much more flexibility to select an audience and track your results.
Facebook ads (non-posts) are useful for achieving specific goals, like promoting events or special sales.
We always recommend adopting a customized approach to marketing on FB, as well as other social channels, depending on your brand and business goals.
Contact Be Locally SEO today and let us navigate the confusing process of social media and online marketing for you. We can design and execute a custom marketing campaign based on your needs and budget, including the most effective applications of Facebook ads and boosted posts.
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