(This article is a 6 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU'LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. An example of the numbers a $5 boosted post can achieve
2. An explanation of why the new options might help you
3. Proof that boosting a Facebook post works
Sorry for the click-bait headline, but Facebook has made a small but very interesting change to boosted posts that could be very helpful for marketing your practice. In the past, you could choose an audience you wanted to boost the post to, based on pages they’ve liked, demographics and location. Now you can choose what you want them to do with the ad.
If you’re not familiar with your options for getting attention on Facebook, here’s a quick explanation. If you put up a post, your friends and people who have liked your page may get to see it. If you’re posting as a business, fewer people will get to see it. If you want to get more attention, you can pay US$5 or more to “boost” the post to a particular group, which will make it appear on a greater number of people’s pages. The more you pay, the more pages you will appear on.
While that was great, some people are better than others at interacting with social media. They will like and share many things, but they may not to ever want to leave their Facebook page. Others don’t mind clicking back to your website if you supply a link. But it’s been impossible, before now, to know who did what regularly—who was most likely to share, and who was most likely to ‘like’. And who was most likely to leave Facebook and come to your site.
But Facebook knew.
I can’t recall having seen this option before, so maybe it’s been around for a while and I just didn’t register it. I did a quick search around the web for any news updates explaining the change, but couldn’t see any. So forgive me if you’re reading this and thinking it’s old news. But if boosting posts is new to you, or you’re as forgetful as me, there might be some good information you can use here.
Now, when you say you want to boost a post, the first page you get asks you for a goal. Do you want to get likes, comments and shares? Or do you want to get link clicks?
The default option is to get likes, comments and shares, as you can see from the picture. Facebook would obviously like that, as it would mean your audience stays on their platform, and you feel warm and fuzzy and popular for being there. But depending on what you’re doing, and what stage you’re at with your marketing, this might not be the best idea.
If you’re already talking to an audience on Facebook, it may be more important for you to get that audience engaged with you on your home turf. In other words, back on your website, where you can get their contact information and engage with them directly.
That particularly makes sense if you’re boosting a particular piece of content—like a particular article or blog post—rather than just generally promoting the fact that you exist. In our case, we had a great story on an initiative where dentists were helping victims of domestic violence by rebuilding their smiles.
We thought that may draw a few more readers to our site, so we threw five dollars at it to get it some more attention. With a few cents left to spend, this is the result we got:
So it shouldn’t be surprising that even throwing a little bit of money at Facebook buys you a lot more attention. In the past, when we’ve boosted posts, the paid reach, or number of people who see it, versus the unpaid ‘organic’ reach, was much higher. This time around, as you can see from the yellow bar chart, the number was about equal.
Also, in the past, the boosted post led to a significantly higher number of people liked or commented on the post than would normally do so. This time around we didn’t get any comments, and did get a few likes.
However, more people actually clicked on the link and visited our website than actually liked the post. Which is great for us, because we can see the increased traffic to our site.
By way of comparison, we posted exactly the same story a few days later but didn’t boost it. This is the stats that it got:
Now, there could be a number of reasons for that row of lemons, so I’m not losing sleep over it. Because on top of that, our share buttons we have down the bottom of the article on our website are telling me that people have shared it out from our page another 295 times. (The number may have increased by the time you read this. Go to the bottom of the page and see for yourself how many social shares we’ve got to date.)
So on top of the reach we got from our US$5 investment on Facebook itself, which has got us an audience of a little under 2000 people, we’ve also been recommended by another 300. Say they have ten friends each who may want to check us out, and we’ve got a significant boost to our website traffic, and subsequently our SEO.
Facebook can be a very powerful tool for promoting your business if you’re thoughtful and targeted about how you want to achieve your goals. This very small change in your options gives you a proportionally larger response which can help you reach your marketing goals more quickly.