The one thing constant about the Facebook universe is change. Some changes – hello, Timeline – are met with a gnashing of teeth. Others show the promise of making the platform a more effective marketing tool.
Enter the new “promote” feature. This is an opportunity to have one of your page posts seen by a greater percentage of your followers. This can be very helpful when you are promoting a specific event, looking to direct a time-sensitive action…or just want to share something cool. This can be a powerful way to more completely reach your fan base. Recently, Facebook has been showing page administrators what percentage of their fans has seen a particular post. If you’ve been looking at your page you have likely noticed that these percentages are pretty low. Promote is a way to increase that reach.
Set a Budget
The Facebook promote feature is from the same family that brought you Facebook ads and Sponsored Stories. The functionality is simple and easy to understand. In order to access this feature, go to your page and check your latest post. On the bottom of the post, click on the “Promote” tab. The first thing you will see – naturally – is the payment option. At this time it does not appear that the Promote feature is subject to the same rules as ads or sponsored stories. In other words, you’re not “bidding” on placement. What you will see are various spending levels and how many fans you will reach with each level. The options vary depending on how large your page is. (For example, on a page I manage with less than 1000 followers we were presented with a $5 or $10 option. For another page with more than 10,000 fans the options ranged from $5 to $100). The nice part of this function is that you will see how many of your fans will (potentially) see the post.
The selected post will appear in your fans’ newsfeeds for up to three days after the original post. (Promoting the post does not affect how it will appear on your Timeline). If you have a national or international following, you can target by location and language by adjusting the settings under the “Public” tab. You’ll be able to target by “State/Province” or “City”.
If you haven’t previously set your page up for Facebook Ads, you will need to enter credit card information for billing.
Once you’re done all you have to do is hit “save” and your post will be promoted. It really is that simple.
There are a few things to be aware of if you are thinking of using this feature:
- This is ONLY available to pages with a minimum of 400 fans.
- The post will be labeled as “sponsored” in your fans’ newsfeeds.
- As with regular posts, if your fans interact with the content – their friends will see that, too.
- You can only promote posts that have appeared within three days of when you want to promote it. That is not much of an issue. If you have some evergreen content you want to share, just re-post it to your timeline.
- As with ads, the Facebook team will have to review your post before they allow it to be promoted. As long as you’re in compliance with the Facebook guidelines you should see your post promoted in very short order.
- The post will only be promoted for up to three days from its original posting. Know you are going to promote a post before you post it. You do not want to lose any face time with your fans. The three days is a maximum. You can pause the campaign at any time.
- The budget is a lifetime payment. The good news is that you can start small and increase the budget during the campaign.
- You are paying for “reach.” Let’s say you bid $10 for a reach of 800. Once you reach that figure, the campaign stops. If you do not reach that number in three days you will only be billed for the portion you did reach. Facebook is a little nebulous on how that works but since we’re dealing with relatively small budgets it should not be a big issue for you.
- You can track the performance of the posts in the Ad Manager – with all the analytics you are used to seeing if you run an ad campaign.
You now know the “how” – what about the “why”? While that is a complicated question based on your marketing strategy, “Promote” can be an effective way to mobilize your fans. Or, if you’re not looking for a call-to-action, it’s a great way to increase your top-of-mind awareness with them. A way to re-engage and re-energize the base, if you will. Whatever path you choose, do make sure your promoted posts have significant relevance to your fans. You don’t want to come across as a spammer.
Given the small cost of entry for this program, it makes sense to give it a try. Look at how deeply your current posts are reaching into your fan base. Check your insights to see what kind of content they are reacting to (and what they are ignoring). Then, when the time or the need is right – give the promote feature a whirl.
P.S. Read this other article for more tips on using Facebook to engage your supporters. You can get the complete explanation on this feature directly from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/promote