Facebook Marketing has revolutionised the industry – it allows the smallest of small businesses a piece of the pie, but it’s also not afraid to take money for, well, almost nothing.
Dangling a plethora of metrics in front of the well-intentioned business owner, the platform is a master of blinding users with digital science. For those who work in the field, we can smell humbug a mile off but, for the uninitiated, that lurking “Boost Post” invitation proves all too tantalising.
What is a boosted post?
The basic “Boost Post” premise is a simple, speedy way to reach more people – a paid method of countering dwindling organic reach. You simply select your audience, budget and campaign duration, and sign on the digital dotted line.
So what’s the problem? Your campaign will, automatically and with no option to choose otherwise, be optimised for greater post engagement. Not conversion, just engagement.
You’ve just paid for lots of people to give a lukewarm pat on the back to your post, and probably never venture near your website.
No ROI – no good
In terms of targeting you can aim for people who like your page (in which case you better hope your likers are actually the people paying your bills), people who like your page AND their friends (friends and family are a diverse bunch – you probably can’t even agree on whether you like or loathe The Handmaid’s Tale), or people you choose through interest-based targeting (which, on its own, is next to useless). Even when you opt for targeting, there are no options to exclude groups or target with any degree of detail.
In my experience, businesses are pouring thousands of dollars right into Facebook’s pockets without any real understanding of what it is – and is not – delivering. Case in point, a client who spent $11,000 – yes you read that right – on boosted posts without any evidence of ROI before they reached out for professional help.
The ugly truth about vanity metrics
Those thousands of people your boosted post just reached? They probably don’t know any more about you than they did before, have no intention of clicking through to your website, and ultimately are no more likely to buy your products or seek out your service than they ever were. It’s a harsh, and often expensive, lesson to learn.
But don’t despair and certainly don’t throw your Facebook baby out with the “Boosted” bathwater. There is a better way – a way that Facebook can still deliver an astounding ROI.
establish what your business needs – sales or more eyeballs on your content
always run your ads through the ads manager – you’ll have greater control over who sees what and where
create custom and lookalike audiences based on key indicators such as past purchases
select the objective that means the most to you, for example, conversions or video views.
Marketing 101 is provoking your target audience to act. Be that by buying your product, visiting your website or joining your mailing list. Trust me, a lovely big spike in engagement will not put food in your belly. Boost post isn’t by any means a Nigerian bank transfer, but it is a really poor use of your marketing budget.
Dahna Borg, Facebook Advertising Strategist, Bright Red Marketing