By Angie Dunnigan
Did you know the average Facebook user sees up to 1,500 potential stories in their news feed each time they log on? As a small business, Facebook’s “news feed” – the place where people view content from friends and businesses – is where you have the best shot to reach your target audience.
However, you’re not guaranteed to show up there; each user sees only the content that is most relevant to them. According to Facebook, of the 1,500+ stories a user might see, their news feed displays about 300. Facebook essentially prioritizes these stories based on thousands of factors for each user, and on top of that, they automatically decrease the reach of brand pages in order to leave room for personal content.
That makes cracking the news feed code pretty much impossible – and it’s why paid Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts are the only proven way to gain exposure on the world’s largest social media platform.
You may be hesitant to spend money on social media marketing, but tapping into paid Facebook Ads can be both powerful and cost-effective. This is especially true if you’re just establishing your Facebook presence; these ads can help you earn likes and gain targeted followers.
To maximize the effectiveness of your ads, do a little research on your customers so you know exactly who you want to reach. Facebook allows you to narrow down your audience based on a whole slew of demographics such as age, gender, location, and even specific interests and behaviors. Facebook then uses these parameters to estimate the size of your target audience.
Based on a daily or lifetime budget that you set, Facebook serves your ads to that audience and charges you either by clicks or impressions (your choice). Cost Per Click (CPC) measures the number of clicks, while Cost Per Impression (CPM) measures each time your ad is shown, regardless of whether it is clicked.
However, just because users see your ad doesn’t guarantee they’ll click on it, or even remember it. If people perceive your ad as a distraction or spam, they’re likely to tune it out. That’s why it’s very important to spend time thinking through your ad campaigns. Also, make sure to take advantage of the “call to action” button available exclusively on Facebook Ads; with the right message, this tool can earn you those clicks.
Once your business page has plenty of likes, boosting your posts is a good option. Facebook’s Boosted Posts don’t look like ads. They are discreetly labeled as “Sponsored” and appear higher on users’ news feeds, greatly increasing the likelihood that people will see them. Unlike Facebook ads, you’re not creating new content here; rather, you choose to boost a post you’ve already published.
As with Facebook ads, the fee for boosted posts depends on the size of your audience. You have the option to either push the post to everyone who has liked your page (and their friends) or strictly to people you choose through targeting.
You specify a lifetime (rather than daily) budget for boosted posts, and the total payment depends on the number of impressions your post receives in the time duration you specify. The minimum budget is just $5 – but the more you spend, the more visibility your post will get.
Choosing the right posts to boost is important. When a user likes or comments on your boosted post, it could appear in their friends’ news feeds – and that gives you a whole new audience outside of the people who have already liked your page!
So, how do you choose which posts to boost? According to Hootsuite, choose the content with the highest value. This may include posts that promote a product, spread awareness of your brand, or lead people to your business website.
Choose the content with the highest VALUE!
Is the Cost Worth It?
You may be wondering if it’s really worth paying for Facebook advertising. After all, Facebook is already free, and it receives a self-proclaimed 900 million visitors every day. But don’t underestimate the importance of targeted social media marketing.
According to Facebook, “When an ad has social context – in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business – your ads drive, on average, 50 percent more recall and 35 percent higher online sales lift.”
Of course, paid social media marketing isn’t for everyone – but you don’t know if you don’t try. I recommend experimenting with both Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts to see how they perform for you. Start with a small budget, and if you like the results, increase it over time. You can track how your ads are doing using Facebook’s Ads Manager, which includes detailed analytic data.
To learn more about advertising on Facebook, see Facebook for Business.