We’ve known for a while now about the existence of the “promote this post” button under each status update, but we’ve been choosing not to bend to the evil will of Facebook: forcing its good (and not-so-good) marketers to pay for the privilege of reaching people who have already indicated that they would like to hear from the page.
Being in the social media consulting and advising business we realized that we may have been being a little childish by refusing to try this available service, and therefore being unable to recommend or honestly not recommend (unrecommend? disrecommend?) it to clients. So yesterday we took the jump and ponied up five of our hard-earned dollars to see what this button might do for us. We felt pleased and slightly vindicated to realize that the answer was much as we expected: pretty close to nothing.
Our Page is still fairly new and has a following of only 125 people to date. The organic updates that we’ve posted have been seen by anywhere between 14 and 121 people, with the average being right around 50. So, roughly 40% of our followers are seeing our stuff. Out of those who see our posts we can usually count on 5-10 likes, with a share and comment here or there (these details, by the way, tell us that we need to step up our presence and start better engaging you guys…). So by spending these five (hard-earned!) dollars, we increased the number of people who saw our post to over 100% of our fans (meaning it was being shown to some who never liked us, and therefore could have been interpreted as spam) but we saw no real change in interaction with the post. To me, that means $5 wasted. There goes my cappuccino from Starbucks this morning!
So what’s the problem with the promote this post button (other than wasting my coffee fund)? I’m going to say that it’s the lack of ability for targeting. When you click the promote the post button Facebook asks you how much you want to spend, but they don’t give you the option of who you’d like to reach. Therefore, your ad is being shown to every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there (as well as some Agathas and Mildreds, I should hope), with no concern as to whether or not they are people who would have any interest in what you have to say. In fairness, those Toms, Dicks, Harrys, Agathas, and Mildreds are actually your fans and friends of fans who are seeing the promoted posts, but random friends of fans are not necessarily as interested in your page as people you could target directly based on interests and geography.
How do you get around this problem? Very easily with one of Facebook’s other, much better-designed and thought out products: Facebook Ads.
As you can see, Ads gives you the option to build your audience through page likes or promote any of your recent page posts. The difference between promoting through ads vs. promoting through the easy button on your page is what we just talked about: targeting. While the easy button only gives you access to fans and friends of fans, ads will let you target by geography, gender, education level, hobbies, business interests, mobile use, and on and on and on. This way you know that your ad is reaching a qualified audience, rather than just floating around in the interweb ether.
So we here at Buzz on a Budget have formed a definitive and informed opinion on the matter and can now honestly and without guilt say, don’t promote your posts, folks. While it’s not necessarily a total waste of money, those dollars would be better spent on an intentionally designed and targeted Facebook Ad instead.