Facebook Ads Vs. Boosted Posts

From time to time, you may want to reach out to a larger group of people than just those you’re connected to on your e-mail list and social media. Advertising on social media is a great way to do just that, but there are a few things to consider when you’re choosing between a Facebook paid ad and a Facebook boosted post.

Paid ads can be very sophisticated, and they give you a lot of options. They can be used to achieve different goals, including getting more likes for your artist page, clicks to your website, app installs and engagement, website conversions (sales), event responses, offer claims, video views, and local awareness. Each ad carries some kind of “call to action” button at the bottom of the ad, and Facebook gives you plenty of choices on the actions you’d like people to take, such as Get Directions, Book Now, and more. However, to set up a paid ad, you’ll first need to set up a Facebook business/artist page and an ad manager account if you don’t already have them.

A boosted post, on the other hand, is just that: a basic post made on your business/artist page that you pay to have shown to a) more of your followers and b) other people you aren’t even personally connected to but who fit the description of the people you tell Facebook you’re trying to reach. Boosted posts are ideal for simple promotions where you’re just trying to inform people about an event or opportunity.

Now, here’s something I recently learned by doing. In fact, this happened to me twice, once when I was trying to set up an ad for one of my workshops and the second time when I was trying to set up an ad on behalf of one of my art marketing clients. In both cases, when I went to set up the paid ad, Facebook told me that my ads “wouldn’t run,” and after a bit of investigation it turned out that Facebook was declining the ads because not enough Facebook users fit the profiles of the people I was trying to reach in the geographic areas that I had requested (one being Washington's Olympic Peninsula and the other the San Fernando Valley). Facebook didn’t indicate the exact number of people needed to qualify for a paid ad, but apparently, I was below the threshold in both cases. The good news is that there’s a much lower threshold for a boosted post, so I was able to promote both events that way.

This is essential for you to know because I’m guessing that most of you will be using Facebook advertising to promote the same types of local art events I was. I would imagine you’d want to use it to invite people who are interested in art and who live within, say, a fifty-mile radius of your location to come to your art exhibition, workshop, or art class. If you try to set up an ad and get declined, here’s how to set up a boosted post that will allow you to reach your target audience, even though they may be relatively few in number:

1. On your artist or business page, create a post about the event or whatever it is you’re promoting, including a relevant, compelling image and some brief text that entices people to seek more info.

2. Notice how there’s a small “Boost Post” button at the bottom of your post? Click that instead of clicking on the “Publish” button.


3. Now you get to tell Facebook who to show your boosted post to. As you know, whenever you simply post something, Facebook only shows it to a small portion (about 15 to 20%) of the people who like your page. So, if you want to reach all of the people who like your page, choose that option. If you believe that most of those people’s friends will have a similar interest in your art and/or event, choose that option. If you want Facebook to identify other users who have similar interests to the people who’ve liked your page, choose that option. But in this case—and I’m assuming this will be true for most of you when you’re promoting an event—you’ll want to select people by their demographic characteristics, especially their location, so choose “People you choose through targeting.”

4 and 5. Now it’s time to start telling Facebook who you want to reach. If for some reason, you were trying to reach only men or only women, you could specify that. Also, you might have reason to believe that only people of a certain age bracket might be interested in your event, so you could also narrow down your search.

6. Next, you can specify certain geographic locations simply by typing in all of the names of the towns in the region. Notice how each town says “+25 miles” (which you can change), so you’ll end up covering everyone in the vicinity even if you don’t list every town.

7. When you get to the Detailed Targeting section, try to brainstorm as many different interests that you can think of that are related to your event.


8. At the bottom of this pop-up window, Facebook will tell you if your audience is too small to boost the post. If so, probably the best way to overcome that issue is to increase the geographic range, but adding interests or adjusting the age range may also help.


9 and 10. If you continue scrolling down within this window, you’ll come to the Budget & Duration section. Under Total Budget, you can use the drop-down menu to choose one of the default settings or to specify your own amount. Facebook advertising is really inexpensive so you can probably start with $10 or $20, and you can always increase the budget or renew the post if you want to reach more people. Choosing the Duration is similar. You can choose one of the default settings or use the calendar to set an end date.


11. Finally, in the Payment section, you’ll input your credit card info. When done, click the Set Budget button. If you’re happy with your post and all of your settings, go ahead and click Publish.

Have you had any experience with boosting posts? Let’s connect!

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