Beware the Facebook Boost Button: Digital PR Expert Warning

by Kenny Murray

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Considered boosting a post on Facebook? Read this before you throw your money away

IF you run a page on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen the call for boosting or promoting a post to reach more people.  Don’t click anything until you’ve read this post, you may end up throwing money down a hole.

“Page admins have boosted posts that are similar to this post and reached more people” is routinely send to page admins as a notification to let them know that they can pay for their post to reach more people. Great, right?! Well, to answer that you need to know just how your Facebook page works. After all, you wouldn’t pay for something without knowing exactly how it worked, would you?

How does Facebook work?

To understand how Facebook works for businesses, you need to understand how it works for individuals, the easiest way to explain it would be to say that Facebook looks to show people content that Facebook feels they’d want to see. They also keep some space for ads targeted at them.

Top of the list for what Facebook will allow you to see is posts from friends that you engage with – however you won’t see posts from all your friends. This is why you may bump into someone and they’ll still have news that surprises you – yes, even in the age of oversharing, you won’t see everything your friend shares, even if it feels like it.

After that – it’s a bit of a throw up. You’ll see some posts from some of the pages you follow, content from pages your friends have shared and of course, promoted posts. How Facebook decides what you see is a bit of an enigma, however the general rule of thumb seems to be that Facebook promote their newer initiatives over other types of posts i.e Facebook Live videos perform better than pre-recorded videos and links to content that are via Facebook’s Instant Articles service are more likely to make it through into your feed than bog standard links.


Instagram on phone hosted by Scottish PR AgencyIt’s not just Facebook who are messing with advertising. Instagram is being made to change the rules of promotion on their platform.


What about my Facebook page?

This is where the news gets worse. An estimated 10% of your Facebook page audience will see your content, as served by Facebook. So, despite the fact that say 100 people have signed up to your page and subscribed to your content, an estimated 10 of them will see it.

What happens with the rest? Facebook will let them see your post – but first – cough up some dough. Hardly seems fair does it?

Why should you have to pay money to reach people that subscribe to your feed? Well, Facebook wants to make money is the short answer. The longer, more Facebook friendly answer would be that Facebook wants to serve people content they want to see, so if you are producing lots of content that ticks boxes for your audience AND Facebook, they’ll likely see it i.e Live Video. However, if you’re sharing links to your website or latest fun photo, chances are they’ll not see it unless they’re in that magical ten percent – you can forget about people who don’t already like your page seeing the content too.

Why should I beware the boost button?

I’m a strong believer in using paid for promotion to further the reach of your content on social media. However, you need to have a plan of action and put it into play – paying simply for reach, which is the standard arrangement for boost will just mean your post is seen by more people – are they relevant, are they in your target audience and will they engage with it? Only if you plan for it!

If you don’t plan for it and pay the bog standard amount to Facebook boosted posts could cost you a pretty penny for not much return. Beware just throwing money at it without truly understanding it.

Tips for using boosted posts

You should be using boosted posts – but you should follow some of these tips:

  • Have a plan of action – know exactly what you want to do before you boost a post. Know who you want to reach, whether you just want to reach them or if you want them to engage with something.
  • Make sure the content you’re promoting is tailored to your audience of choice, if they wouldn’t engage with it in a free post – why would a paid for post be any better?
  • Set a budget – beware of spending beyond your means. Set an overall limit, don’t set a per day limit.
  • Analyse and change. If you check in on your post and your audience are interacting differently than you expected with a post, don’t hesitate to change it up a little now and then throughout the campaign period.

If that all sounds like hard work, we’ve got a proven track record of managing digital ad budgets and social media for clients. Get in touch with us today to learn how we could help you on the path to social media success.

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