One of the best ways to leverage existing social content and maximize social media ROI is by boosting posts. Facebook has all but eliminated organic reach for business pages, and boosted posts are your best bet for combating that decline in impressions and engagement.

Before we talk about strategies for boosting posts, let’s clarify what they are, where they appear, and the difference between boosted posts and paid ads.

What is a Boosted Post? 

Boosting a post can mean one of two things: you can pay to boost an existing post to a wider audience, or you can create a new post and immediately boost it to a wider audience beyond just the people who like your Page.

Where Do Boosted Posts Appear?

Boosted posts will appear on your audience’s Facebook News Feeds and Instagram Feeds so long as your two accounts are connected. Not all boosted posts work on Instagram, however; images must be less than 20% text, and the message copy can’t have any tags in it. Note that content that is more visually appealing will be more likely to perform well on Instagram.

What’s the Difference Between Boosted Posts and Ads?

The most noticeable difference between boosted posts and ads is ease of use. You can get a boost campaign up and running with just a few clicks. Setting up an ad campaign, on the other hand, can be tedious and involve dozens of variables. For instance, paid ads can be formatted as carousel ads, video ads, canvas ads, and more. Boosted posts, on the other hand, are limited to the types of content you can include in organic posts.

Another difference is in audience targeting capabilities. Compared to boosting posts, targeted ads provide more sophisticated features to reach a local audience on social.

Finally, there is a difference in terms of appearance. While ads have CTA buttons and headlines, boosted posts look almost identical to organic posts. Both types of paid content appear on users’ Feeds with a “Sponsored” tag, though ads can now appear in Facebook and Instagram Stories as well.

You spend a lot of time creating content to share with your local communities on Facebook, so let’s talk about how to use boosted posts to get that content in front of your target audience.

Do: Experiment Often to Maximize Your Budget

The more you experiment with different variables in your boosted posts, the better you’ll understand which audience targeting parameters, image styles and copy will get you the most clicks for your dollars.

Here’s one example of testing different audiences to maximize budget:

Let’s say you own a chain of pizza shops in Chicago, and you want to spend $10/day to boost posts to an audience of, “friends of people who like my pages.” You might get 3,000 impressions from this post, but only 25 clicks on your CTA button.  

Alternatively, you could spend $5/day to boost your post to an audience of, “20 to 25-year-old men in Chicago who like pizza.” Your impressions might drop to 1,500 because of the lower budget and narrowed audience parameters, but that audience could earn you 50 clicks; twice the engagement for half the cost.

More experimentation means more historical data for you to learn from and leverage. Check out our recent blog for more advice on optimizing your boosted posts!

Do: Boost Localized Content Across Multiple Pages

Localized content — for those who aren’t familiar — is content that’s specifically crafted to engage your local community of customers.

Anyone managing social pages for multiple business locations should pay close attention to the shift in how audiences are drawn to localized content. According to a research report that we conducted with the Local Search Association (LSA), we found that 75 percent of brand activity is happening on local pages. A social management tool like SOCi will allow you to mass boost custom localized content to each of those pages using dynamic text.

Don’t: Boost Without Clear and Measurable Goals

Boosting posts can cost as little as $1 per day, but even one dollar is a wasted dollar if you don’t identify clear goals for your boost campaigns. When determining which posts to boost, consider the types of posts that align with quantifiable business goals such as website visits or product sales.

Once you’ve defined your goal, choose existing — or create — posts with CTAs and messages that drive your audience toward that goal. Examples include posts about special offers, new product announcements or flash sales.

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Don’t: Boost Without Seeing Which Posts Already Perform Well

Boost is game-changing because it allows for preliminary audience research — you can promote posts that have already shown positive engagement numbers. By then boosting these top performing posts, you can increase their reach — paying to show your most engaging posts to a wider audience.

With a social media marketing tool like SOCi, you’ll even get recommendations on which posts to boost — thus taking some of the guesswork out of boosting.

As discussed in our recent webinar, organic reach has dropped 20x since Facebook’s algorithm change. The best way to get your content in front of your audience is by boosting posts, but clicking on every post to boost it can be time-consuming. You can make the process more efficient by using a platform like SOCi that analyzes post performance, compares engagement levels and recommends posts for you to boost.

Watch our recent webinar to see how SOCi Boost Plus can help you streamline boosting

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