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Before spending money marketing online, answer this one question first…

Approx. 3.5 mins reading time

When it comes to promoting your content on Facebook or Instagram, there are many ways to do it. Subsequently, there are also many pitfalls to manoeuvre around. However, if your social presence is important for your business, you need to be as effective as possible with your money.

If you are a comedian, business owner or maybe a public figure, you might have some content that you are looking to promote. The simplicity of the ‘boost post’ button might seem appealing. But before you start spending money – first and foremost – you need to figure out WHY you’re about to promote something.


Do you want to sell something? Merchandise? A book? An album? Or a ticket to a show? Are you just trying to reach as many people as possible to grow your audience in a short space of time with the intent to convert sales later? Maybe you are attempting to drive people to your website to sign up to your email list so you are able to send them incredible nuggets of free knowledge about online marketing that will make them more powerful people in the new digital era, while developing your business… (Hint, hint: subscribing right now will likely be the most beneficial thing for your business that you’ll do today.) 

The point here, is that different types of campaigns have different setups and approaches in order to attain different goals. Getting this combination wrong can be the difference between your business succeeding or failing. So let’s get back to what is actually happening when you click the ‘Boost Post’ button.

HOW does FACEBOOK boost posts?

The boost post button is the quick and easy ‘Lego’ of online marketing. It reaches people that Facebook deems relevant, in a manner that Facebook deems relevant. As of today, it works by auto-constructing an ‘Engagement’ campaign. This takes some basic input from you about who you want to target, and where you want to target them. This might be people who like your page, their friends and so on. It continues to change rapidly, and it can be effective for some people. However, you might want to dive a little deeper.

Engagement campaigns are optimised to ‘mine’ for those people who have the highest affinity to interact with your post, from within a particular pool of users (an audience). The game here is that when you gain likes, comments and interaction on your post, you get some dopamine in your brain. This makes you feel good and makes you want more. This isn’t a damaging thing either if you’re boosting good content and getting strong social interaction. Just bear in mind that this is an addictive process, and you can spend a lot of money doing nothing more than getting engagements on your post. You can, however, do A LOT better.

HOW CAN I DO BETTER?

Let’s take a random example: a comedienne. She is boosting a video clip of her delivering a joke from her recent stand-up show. Before she hits that ‘Boost Post’ button, she reads this very article. She decides that the reason she wants to promote it is because she has a show coming up in London. She wants to build her audience there, with the aim to sell tickets to this show: she has answered her ‘WHY’.

Now we start a process of thinking about the campaign – not about the dopamine! She learns the basics of Facebook Business Manager, and learns that choosing the right type of campaign is critical to its success. She creates a ‘Video View’ campaign, geo-located to a 40km radius around London. Next she refines an audience to people who love comedy and who also have a high purchase behaviour online. This campaign is much cheaper to run, and it’s optimised to ‘mine’ for not only the comedy lovers, but ALSO those who like watching videos AND who spend money online. 

As she is running this campaign, she realises that this acquires the same benefits as her previous strategy of user engagement and comments, as it is well targeted content for the right audience. However, more importantly, she is now able to populate a custom audience of people who have engaged highly with her video, i.e. people who have watched at least 75% of her video.

what next?

Once her campaign has generated an audience of people who she now knows have enjoyed her funny video, she is able to then create a retargeting campaign, optimised for ‘Reach’. This will make sure an advert for her upcoming show in London hits all the newly engaged fans of her comedy that are based in London, driving people to buy tickets for the show. Now she’s developing the revenue streams of her content. (Pro tip: making a conversion campaign with a pixel here also means the lifetime value of subscribers is being recorded.)

In summary, this second approach is more considered for the goal of a sustainable business and getting a financial return on her ad-spend; the ‘Boost Post’ button was the wrong kind of campaign, optimised for a poorly targeted group of people, and gave her a relatively useless dopamine hit of engagement for her money.

Pro-tip: Traffic campaigns can sometimes be out-performed by Reach campaigns when it comes to selling tickets so try to test them before allocating the budget. People who typically aren’t traffic-tagged users will buy tickets for a show if they have a high intent for that performer. Once you’re seeing at least 50 sales a week in this kind of setup, consider moving to a conversions campaign and integrate pixels with an e-commerce platform for dynamic product retargeting.

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