If you have a Facebook page, your posts may be reaching far fewer people than you think. Why? Last year, Facebook unveiled “Promoted Posts,” a new feature whereby users can spend money to spread the word to larger audiences. To make the feature profitable, however, Facebook altered user feeds so that many page owners now reach only a fraction of their total fan base — and have to shell out hard currency to reach the rest. This move caused no small amount of controversy with page owners, who saw their page views plummet even as the number of their fans soared. But Promoted Posts don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Is promoting your own posts worth it? How do you go about promoting your posts, and how much will it cost you? Are there other routes you can take? Here’s what you need to know.
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Promoting Facebook Posts
Fortunately, the interface for promoting your Facebook posts is easy and straightforward. Beneath every post in your Timeline is a “Promote” link — even for posts that aren’t your own, meaning you can promote other people’s posts if you so choose.
Clicking on that link will give you a pop-up screen where you can set your desired budget for the promotion, anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred dollars, (the currency automatically adjusts to where you are based). Facebook will dynamically inform you how many people your promotion will reach at the given dollar amount. If you have a few hundred fans, then you may be able to reach them all for under twenty dollars. Reaching several thousand may take significantly more. There’s no real way to know until you actually try to promote your post and look at the numbers for yourself.
Once you’ve successfully promoted your post, Facebook has tools that let you monitor how well the post is doing, i.e. who’s seen it and when. As before, this information can be accessed directly from the post itself: where there was a “Promote” link, there will now be a link called “Sponsored,” which you can click on to see how many paid and unpaid views the post has gotten.
For Facebook Page posts (as opposed to those posts from your personal account), even more information is available in Facebook’s Ad Manager page, where you can see what percentage of people saw your post, how effective your promotion was, and other vital information like re-shares and viral reach.
Setting up Facebook ads is a considerably more involved process than promoting a post, and requires a bit more work up front. Facebook ads are handled through the Facebook Business Center. When putting together your ad, you’ll need to know your budget, your target audience, and how long you want the ad to run. You’ll also be in charge of the graphics and text for your advert. From there, Facebook will handle a lot of the heavy lifting.
Once your ad is in place, you can monitor its performance and even do some A/B testing, swapping one ad in exchange for another and seeing which of the two gets you better results.
The major difference between a promoted post and an ad is that a post will generally stop being effective after a day or so. Ads can run longer (depending on how long you’re willing to pay for it), but you do have to contend with the possibility of ad-blocker software and user “ad blindness.”
Facebook’s decision to restrict the visibility of posts has not been popular with users, many of whom have seen their engagement and reach drop when their visibility should be increasing. While the decision to monetize what used to be free might not make everyone happy, the marketing tools Facebook has provided are straightforward and simple enough to master.
About the author: Kirsten works for voucher site vouchercloud.com. She works within social media bringing top money savings to fans and followers such as New Look savings, Travelodge vouchers and Debenhams discounts.