Small business owners frequently turn to social media to market their products and services because they don’t have enough marketing capital to advertise in exorbitant media such as television. And true enough, social media does offer a free alternative to traditional advertising channels that provides an opportunity to amass a following and stimulate engagement. If you don’t already have a Facebook business page, I would advise that you make it a priority to create one before the end of the day.
Unfortunately, businesses new to Facebook don’t usually have a social following, and when starting from square one, it often feels like no one is reading your posts and that you aren’t having any significant impact. As such, it’s tempting to turn to boosting so that more people like, comment, and share your post.
Boosting a Facebook post isn’t the same as creating a Facebook advertisement, however.
Although Facebook technically considers boosted posts a form of advertising because it promotes your content in exchange for money, boosted Facebook posts and ads are fundamentally different. Given that they’re different forms of advertising, it begs the question: is boosting a Facebook post worth it? Before we can answer that, let’s first define what a boosted post is and how it differs from Facebook ads.
What is a Boosted Post?
Any Facebook account, be it a business account or personal account, can make posts that populate the news feeds among their network of friends. But each post’s circulation is inherently limited to those who have already “friended” or "liked" that account. Unfortunately, businesses new to Facebook usually don’t have a large following, and their posts don’t have a strong impact or reach a large audience.
Facebook knows this, and sought to remedy the problem by introducing boosted posts.
Basically, you can spend marketing dollars for your post to appear in news feeds within a target audience, regardless of whether or not they are your friends on Facebook. To be fair, this tactic does have some merit, but marketers and business owners don’t have as much control over the boosted post as they would have with other advertising methods.
A boosted post requires three key considerations:
- First, you must define your maximum budget for the boosted post. Setting budget limits is crucial to make sure you don’t overspend.
- Secondly, you can also set a time limit for how long your boosted post will run. The ability to set a time limit is beneficial for reacting to temporary events or reactions to influencers and the latest news, as well as other periodic events, such as time-sensitive promotions or seasonal events.
- And thirdly, you also have to define a target audience. Even if its as simple as 'Everyone in the United States", you still need to define some sort of audience. We recommend something much more specific, obviously, as you could burn through a budget quickly showing your ads to non-interested or non-qualified people.
As Facebook asserts, a boosted post is the simplest form of advertising on its platform. Because it’s simpler than other forms of advertising, it has an allure to business owners. However, it may not be the best allocation of your limited advertising resources.
How Facebook Ads Differ from Boosted Posts
Though they are both technically forms of advertising, Facebook ads are different from boosted posts for one main reason: Facebook ads offer a marketer far greater control than do boosted posts. Unlike Facebook ads, boosted posts are more rigid and don’t offer as many options and freedoms.
There are four main advantages with Facebook ads:
- Firstly, Facebook ads have more sophisticated and granular targeting capabilities. Plus, marketers can use tools such as lookalike audiences, overlapping audiences, and more.
- Secondly, ads are much more versatile and you can place them in a wide variety of locations, whereas posts only populate the news feed. You can place ads in locations like the Facebook news feed, side ads, Messenger ads, and the Audience Network. In addition, because Facebook owns Instagram, you can even place ads via Instagram stories.
- Thirdly, ads apply to a wider range of goals and objectives instead of only tracking basic metrics. Facebook ads have a more sophisticated Ads Manager that helps marketers track everything from conversions to lead generation metrics.
- And fourthly, business owners have more control over the form and creative style of the ad. For instance, you can create carousel ads and add call-to-action buttons. Boosted posts, on the other hand, are much more static.
So Should You Boost Facebook Posts?
So, if Facebook ads offer so many more features, benefits, and flexibility, are boosted posts completely defunct? Should you completely abandon them?
No, not necessarily.
However, if you’re new to advertising on social media platforms, or new to digital marketing in general, I would advise you to allocate your marketing budget elsewhere. I’m of this opinion because I think boosting a post lacks the potency of other forms of advertising, and that, after boosting a post with lackluster results, you’ll feel as though you wasted time and money.
However, if you meet two criteria, I think boosted posts are acceptable. The first criterion is that you have a small Facebook following, so that your boosted post could expand beyond a meager collection of followers. The second criterion is that you have some experience with digital marketing. Otherwise, I would recommend that you stick with standard Facebook ads.
The flexibility in ad placement alone is enough of a perk to prefer ads to posts. A boosted Facebook post simply doesn’t have the ability to interface with Instagram. It does, of course, depend on what goals you set and what your purpose and intent are.
Digital marketing isn’t easy, and if you lack skills and experience your marketing budget can evaporate overnight. Unfortunately, it takes time to build digital marketing skills and amass experience, and small business owners typically don’t have time to spare. If you don’t have time to run a fully-fledged digital marketing campaign, let us help. Schedule a free discovery call today.