Facebook adsThere is no doubt that the mighty Facebook, godfather of social media platforms, offers a gargantuan market for your social media marketing efforts. After all, we are talking about a channel that commands 1.65 billion monthly active users and 1.51 billion mobile active users worldwide – figures that are way too large to ignore. But if you’re one of the 27 million small businesses scattered across the country, you probably don’t have a substantial enough budget to throw it around in the name of experimentation. You might want to use Facebook advertising, but you want to use it right.

But before we investigate whether you ought to be boosting or promoting your posts, we ought to address the initial question: why should you pay for posts in the first place? Facebook’s unpredictable reach for organic content is no secret – in fact, figures released in May by Social Flow found that it was down by 42% since January – and the platform’s constant tinkering around with its algorithms means that companies struggle to keep up. Unless, of course, they pay to play.

Boosting versus promoting

Boosting is an easy step to take with plenty of well-signposted encouragement from Facebook – you may have seen the rather direct nudges just beneath your published posts. If you choose to partake, you will be offered the option to choose how much you want to spend, based on impressions. The thing is, boosting might make your post more visible, but it has relatively limited targeting capabilities.

Promoting a post, on the other hand, provides access to the ads manager, enabling you to use your post to create an advert. Promoting a post gives you greater opportunities for more specific targeting, pricing and bidding – more choice than you can get with a simple boosted post.

So, promoted posts win over boosted posts, right?

Not necessarily. Although promoted posts are likely to offer a greater return for your investment, the odd boosted post can do a great job if your page has secured a significant amount of relevant followers that you are struggling to reach. In this case, a little boost could do the trick and bring your post to the attention of your fans.

However, it’s a no-brainer that in order to reach a relevant, new audience, your money would be better spent on promoting your posts rather than boosting. And therein lies the crux of the matter and the issue that causes people to debate how useful Facebook advertising really is – if your well-thought out post or ad lands in front of the wrong audience then you’re simply throwing your money away.

When it comes to getting the most out of your promoted posts, the first thing you need to do is ensure you have a goal in mind. Not least because that’s what Facebook Ad Manager will ask you. Consider the objective for your campaign, whether it’s to promote your page, increase conversions on your website or land more views on a video. Pin-pointing a goal will help you determine a budget. It will also help inform your targeting and, as I mentioned before, it’s the targeting that the success of your campaign rests upon. And with promoted posts, if you want to get your message out to specifically 35-40 year old, married women who live in London, love The Notebook and vote Lib Dem, Ad Manager will allow you to do so.

Measuring your success

A recent Huffington Post article states that the most effective uses of Facebook Ads for small businesses are: increasing brand awareness and social exposure; and capturing and nurturing leads. As a result, measuring the success of your campaign is best achieved with Social ROI i.e. metrics such as page impressions, reach, likes, shares, comments, frequency, click through rates and page likes. What’s handy about Facebook Ads is that real-time analytics let you track all the aforementioned metrics, giving you data to adjust ads that aren’t working, as well as allowing you to split test several ads to assess which works best for you.

Facebook Advertising offers an affordable and effective method for SMEs to market their business. But if you want to pass it over to the professionals, contact us at M2 Bespoke today to find out how we can help.