In light of the fact that organic reach on Facebook has declined significantly for brands – and may continue to do so – we’ve been doing some research on ways to up our Facebook game for ourselves and our clients. One principle we’ve seen repeatedly is that Facebook is making it necessary for brands to “pay to play.” Great content is still the foundation of a good Facebook marketing strategy, but without doing at least a little bit of paid advertising, the fact remains that a very low percentage of your followers will actually see your posts.
In order to ensure we’re getting the best possible results and offering smart advice to our clients on this subject, last week I sat in on a 3-part webinar on Facebook marketing offered by Kim Garst of Boom Social. It was a fantastic course and I would highly recommend it to small businesses, startups, and social media pros who want to market smarter on Facebook.
The course covered topics such as where to find great content, what types of content drive the most engagement, how to move customers through your sales funnel, and the area I want to talk about today: how to effectively utilize Facebook advertising.
Promoting Posts on Facebook: Getting Started
The very first thing to know about promoting a post on Facebook is that there are multiple ways to do it – and not all of these ways are created equal. In the webinar, Kim emphasized repeatedly that promoting posts on Facebook by going to your page and clicking “Boost Post” is NOT the ideal method to use. The reason for this is that while it’s easy and quick to promote a post this way, you also have far fewer options than if you set up your promoted post via the Ads Manager.
Your first step, then, is to click the “Ads Manager” button at the top right corner of your Facebook page. Tip: Sometimes, page admins will not see an Ads Manager button until after they have run their first ad. If you don’t see the Ads Manager button at the top of your page, you can access it by going to this link: http://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/
After you enter the Ads Manager, you’ll come to your campaign dashboard, where you will be able to set up your ad campaigns and monitor the results. To get started with promoting a post, click the “Create Ad” button.
Choose Your Ad Type
Next, you’ll be faced with an array of options for which type of ad you wish to run. Since we’re focusing on promoting posts in this article, we’ll select the first option, “Page Post Engagement.” But you can also run campaigns based on other objectives, such as increasing page likes, driving traffic to your website, or promoting events or special offers. From the drop-down menu, select the business page for which you wish to promote a post, then choose the post you will promote. On the next screen, you’ll see a preview of how your post will appear in users’ desktop newsfeed, mobile newsfeed, or as a right column ad. You also have the option to de-select up to two of these platforms (if, for instance, you want to only target mobile users).
Define Your Target Audience
The next step is where you can get highly targeted with who will see your promoted post, and this is the reason it’s important to use the Ads Manager rather than just boosting the post from your page. Here, Facebook offers dozens of filters for targeting your audience. It starts with the basics such as age, gender, and geographic location – but you can also target by income and education level, job title, industry, home ownership, relationship status, and multiple other categories.
The meter on the right will show whether your audience is too narrow or too broad. Once you’ve defined your targeting parameters, scroll down to set the budget and timeline for your ad. You can set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget – if you choose the lifetime budget, Facebook will spread the spending out over the date range that you set.
Finally, you must decide whether to bid on page post engagement, clicks, or impressions. If you choose page post engagement, Facebook will deliver your ad to the users within your target audience who are most likely to perform your desired action. For more details on this topic, here’s a helpful article on Facebook advertising bid types.
Click Review Order and, if everything looks the way you want it to, click Place Order. Facebook will begin delivering your promoted post to your target audience immediately (or at the start date and time that you specified).
And with that, you’ve set up your first promoted post on Facebook! There are so many possibilities within Facebook advertising so we encourage you to check them out for yourself. Make sure you check back regularly to see how your post is performing, and try promoting different posts to see which ones get the best results. Even a small investment in Facebook advertising can go a long way toward increasing the reach and engagement of your page and your posts.
Have you promoted posts on Facebook, and has it been effective for your brand? We’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or visit our Facebook page. If this article was helpful, check out our post on How to Create a LinkedIn Sponsored Update.