Boost posts on Facebook

Does it Pay to Boost Your Posts on Facebook to Get More Views?

I’m the first to admit that while I have a personal and business page on Facebook, it’s not my primary social network. I do follow the activities of family members on my personal page and distribute my blog posts to my business page. I also leave Likes and comments, but I’m certainly not glued to Facebook all day.

Boosting My Traffic

I was on my business page a couple of days ago and noticed a feature I hadn’t seen before under one of my updates — “Boost Post.” I clicked on the drop down arrow and saw my Admin Panel with stats for previous posts and a column called “Promotion? Boost Post.”

My readership on Facebook is pretty measly so I decided to check it out. For a fee, Facebook will promote your post to other members. The more you pay the more potential readers you can reach.

I decided — I’m in. Here is the post I decided to “boost.”

Facebook boost post

First, I toyed with promoting the post to people who Like my page and their friends. Then I had to choose a budget. You’ll see $5 doesn’t get you much distribution.

Facebook boost post

So I decided to spring for $30 and to limit my geographical area to New York, where I live and work. I also chose to have Facebook do the targeting.  Even though limiting myself to New York cut down on my potential audience, I felt (wrongly, it turned out) that some of these members might know me and be more interested in my posts. I was taken to PayPal for payment. The boost would last 24 hours.

Facebook boost post

I anxiously checked my stats at the end of my trial and — nada. Didn’t add one new reader.

Lesson Learned

I should know better, of course. In my corporate days, I managed multi-million-dollar advertising budgets. An ad campaign requires repetition — running the same ad many times in front of the same eye balls until some percentage of them at any one time are in the market for what you’re selling.

A pitiful 24 hours with a tiny budget won’t do the trick. But social media is my beat and I feel I need to learn about these things. It was a reminder that to build your audience you need to:

  • Write content that people want to read. That’s rule #1.
  • Promote your content as updates on social media networks.
  • Leave thoughtful comments (not just, “Hey, I liked this) on other people’s posts.
  • Engage in conversations on social media to get known and make new friends and connections. Be genuine and give first.
  • Write guests posts that will draw people to your own site

There is no silver bullet. You’ve got to put in the work. A one-time boost isn’t going to work. Luckily, my lesson cost me only $30.

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Comments

  1. A friend did an experiment with promoted posts. He posted two: one he promoted, one he did not. He did a rock bottom price. His basic conclusion was it the promotion wasn’t worthwhile.

    By the way, someone on Twitter thought it was silly of YouSendIt to change their name. If I had had more time, I would have sent you her post (I was reading on my phone while waiting for something or another).

    Thanks for doing the experiment so we don’t have to.

    • Leora — Glad I could help. I don’t think a rock bottom price will really do much, as it didn’t for me or your friend. I think boosting posts probably has more value for the very large consumer products companies that put a lot of money into it. Not for us small fry.

  2. Someone I know in Sweden promoted his consumer product fan page on Facebook and got about 2,000 more likes. Can’t remember how much he paid for it but it was a few thousand dollars.

    What you can do is like fan pages that reach your audience and are relevant for what you do and post your posts there every week. Decided to do so with Swedish Facebook groups and fan pages to grow my network in Sweden. And it’s working. Submit my blog articles + one sentence in Swedish. They like my page and comment in the Swedish groups. And share my posts. It will be much easier for you to do what I am doing in the New York area.

    • Catarina — I can understand your friend getting more Likes by paying in the thousands. That’s what it takes to make any impression at all. Excellent idea to search fan pages that also target my audience and post there. Thanks for the tip.

  3. So glad you did this and shared in this post. I have often wondered about doing this very thing. Not going to do it now. I understand that it was limited, but it may very well be that it was also very telling.

    • Cheryl — I guess I’m one of the only people who hadn’t even thought about boosting my posts. But I’m glad I gave it a try, although I’m not going to do it again.

  4. I had always wondered about the FB link and post promotion. You just saved me a bit of money. I agree, there is no magic bullet or easy way to reach success. It’s all about time, sharing, engaging and good content.

    • Susan — well, I’m glad I saved you some money! Truly, though, I paid for a one-time boost because I wanted to see what it was all about. Probably with more more to invest you might see better returns.

  5. Thank you, I had been looking at this for our Facebook page and wondering if I should give it a try. I decided to postpone until I had developed a strategy I could live with first (it’s pretty organic at the moment). Glad I decided to wait. I am curious about Catarina’s suggestion but I also know it will take time and content for it to grow the way I want. One of the key elements will be creating a new CEO/organizational blog so that the content is there.

    • Debra — As you say, content comes first and a long-term strategy. It takes time and money to boost your posts. I personally would prefer to spend my time on social networks that are more focused on the B2B audience like LinkedIn.

  6. You are right about repetition, Jeannette, and I know of a few businesses that gave it a try with no results. That is why with media buys it was about effective reach and frequency. This offer from FB is not logical even if you ran a promotional post. They would know this and I guess another way to increase their sales.

  7. I’ve never used a boost for content but I have for 2 polls. That was worth it because I went from zero replies to about 12 replies in the one poll I can remember. And to your point about repetition, it was the second poll the boost helped.

    Content is never something I have considered to boost with the paid option.

    My plan is to leave Facebook soon.

    Thanks Jeannette.

    • Pat — interesting. Hadn’t thought about boosting a poll. Why do you plan to leave Facebook? Not working for you?

      • Pretty much that’s the reason Jeannette. Little response, can’t track people coming in to my website from there, just can’t find any ROI. For now, I plugged the decision by feeding my Twitter stream there, looking active.

        • Pat – so interesting that I’m hearing a lot of business people are giving up on Facebook. My B2B targets — especially professional services firms — are not very active on Facebook. Two of the Big Four have active pages but the other two have none (except what FB generates as a placeholder). I’m still on the fence.

  8. I’ve boosted two posts, even though I should have known better when I did the second one. Unless a person can spend A LOT of money, the resulting views aren’t worth the pocket change that gets wasted on the process. I recently read that Facebook is going to start placing 15 second ads on the site. That may very well be the nail in the coffin that makes me stop using FB once and for all.

    • Jeri — Boosts are a waste of time, based on my experience and those commenting on the post. Facebook has a billion pairs of eyeballs and has yet to find a way to monetize the site — I mean raking in the big money. Companies have found they can build traffic on their Facebook pages without advertising. It will be interesting to see how the TV spots work out.

  9. Jeannette,
    I noticed the same on my Facebook page. I am very leery of those types of promotions. Years ago I spend over $145,000.00 for adwords on Google. Many SEO companies push it. My ROI was poor and made the decision I would never do that type of thing again to gain traffic. I left a comment to the group at the beginning of the week. I don’t know about you all, but I have a hard time getting people to comment on my FB page, Twitter etc. What if we pick a date, example August 2nd, that is visit FB, & Twitter date. Any thoughts? I thought this would be a great way of supporting each other but only got three comments. All three liked the idea. If we could get our groups to do this, we all would benefit.

    • Arleen — ouch! $145,000 is a lot of money to invest and then get a poor ROI. Getting comments and RTs is difficult for everyone. I’m open to a conversation about it. A few months ago I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker which I cut out and saved. A patient is lying on a couch with a grim face and his therapist asks “Let’s try focusing on your posts that do receive comments.” I laughed but it also hit home.

      • Jeannette- That was per year and I stopped that nonsense after 5 years.

        Maybe after we leave a comment on a site, go to that person’s Facebook page and like it. I agree it is important to work on one social media and get at it, but Google also is looking at the traffic on your facebook page.

  10. Elizabeth — I agree. I think you’d have to put a lot of money behind it, though. If Arleen’s experience with Google Adwords is any guide, even then it might not work.

  11. I would argue that with the advent of ‘click farms’ that are faking the amount of likes a company or individual receives that it is definitely not worth boosting any posts. In my experience a good post travels far, although strangely not on Facebook.

    Google+ for me is by far and away more valuable and the people on it seem more open (may I say friendly?) to sharing naturally interesting content. Rather wonderfully it also benefits your site if you have the author tag embedded in the code, and…. it’s free. At least for the time being 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jim. I agree that simply pushing for “likes” doesn’t indicate true fan loyalty. I’m glad to hear of your good experience with Google+. Google is in for the long haul and that social network is going to become increasingly important, especially because it will help your search results.

  12. I have wondered about this too. Your results was exactly what I expected for people with low budgets. It is a shame as Facebook seems to be making it harder and harder to get seen at all. I find it a really difficult to engage on Facebook. Twitter seems to me to be much easier.

    • Becc — All the networks seem to be changing their rules in the rush to compete with one another. Also, the networks have grown so large that it is difficult to get noticed. I think it is unwise to put all your eggs in the social media basket. Social media is important but it won’t ever replace face-to-face contact.

  13. Thank you for this honest assessment of the FB boosting product. I am trying to promote my debut novel via social media and considered using this marketing tool, but I might hold off. Sounds like I could spend my money elsewhere and get better results.

    • Piper — From what I’ve heard from other people who tried the FB boost it hasn’t worked for them. Just like any advertising campaign you’d need to invest a lot of money and continue to boost you post over time.Y ou can’t expect results from or two boosts. As you said, you might be better off speeding your money elsewhere.

  14. Many thanks for that Jeannette; unfortunately toward the end of the year my Website was badly hacked. All safe and sound now thanks to a new webmaster. I lost all Google rankings because the site had to be rebuilt. I am trying to rebuild my rankings through YouTube, Facebook and Google. Many of our wedding Highlights however contain third party content which I have a licence for anyway. But YouTube have changed their Syndication rules and anything with third party content will not access mobiles or Tablets and the like — another whammy! So I also use Vimeo to promote and I continue to update all the time. I try and promote as much as can using strong keywords and only hope this works. Thank you for saving me more money, which at the moment is tight because of what has happened. Thank you, Pete

    • Peter — what an awful thing to have happen. All your hard work and you’ve got to start all over building your ranking. I wish you the best luck and glad my post was helpful.

  15. Thanks for sharing this with us Jeannette. I did not experiment with this but I’m glad to hear that you did.

    Years ago, my husband and I were in business together and one of the products that we sold was a virtual tour photography “kit”. We tried multiple venues including advertising in photography magazines, AdWords and Facebook advertising. The FB ads drove quite a bit of traffic to our site but did not result in one conversion. Actually, the majority of the visitors never went deeper than the 1st or 2nd page. So, while promoting posts may work for some bloggers, I think for most of us, the ROI just isn’t going to be there.

    • Sherryl — I agree. There are always the isolated success stories but for most bloggers it’s really hard to make money online and I don’t think FB ads will do the trick.

  16. I think it’s important to share my experience so far and let you know that Facebook advertising is a waste of your money and a scam. We’re hosting a giveaway and had 521 Organic views on the giveaway post for the last two weeks. In an effort to get more volume to our page and more people entering the contest, I decided to boost the post by paying $15. As of right now $1.12 of that $15 is gone and I still have the 521 post views, but now it’s saying 293 of those are organic and the remaining 228 are from the paid boost. So ultimately they just changed my Insights so that it looked as if almost half of the people that viewed that post were from the boost. If I hadn’t waited 2 weeks to boost the post I probably wouldn’t have known. I’m going to be posting this comment onto multiple blogs to get the word out – do not waste your hard earned money (no matter how little $15 may seem) on these scam artists and thieves. I’m certainly going to keep the Facebook Page up, but they will never get another dime from me.

    • Elise — sorry to learn about your experience. The algorithms that social networks use are a total mystery. Maybe that’s the way they want it.

  17. Thanks Jeannette for sharing. I just opened a FB page for my blog and was thinking about the boost feature, now I know that it is best to look at other options. Thanks!

    • Jessica — you’re welcome. Boost may work for some users but you need to spend a lot of money to see results. Congratulations on your marriage (saw it on your blog)!

  18. Jeannette,
    Thank you for this post. I was considering the boost option for a book trailer on my Facebook page, “Sweet Scent of Justice.” I have a new book coming out, and I thought I would boost the video trailer. I still might try it because video seems to do better than a regular post. I may have to “live and learn.”
    Thanks again,
    Debbie

    • Debbie – good luck with boosting your book trailer. Just remember that with all advertising it’s not just a “one shot” ad. You’ve got to continue the boosting for a period of time to being to build awareness. Hope you sell lots of books!

  19. Jeannette,
    Thank you for this message! It was helpful not only to get firsthand feedback about “boosting” but the added posting tips as well. Do you have advice on LinkedIn posts?
    Best,
    Traci

    • Traci — I’ve never tried advertising on LinkedIn so I don’t have any advice, sorry to say. Glad my post was helpful.

  20. Hi Jeannette, I am in South Africa and boosting posts works like a charm. I pay as little as R10 (less than $1) to boost a post and the response I get is very high, including comments, post likes and page likes. I boosted a post by a client of mine (a musician that put out a free download) and instead of the normal 200-300 downloads he would get, he got over 3000 downloads for a budget of R70 (a little under $7) and that is a great ROI if you ask me.

    • Obed — I’m glad that boosting your Facebook posts works for your client. That is a great ROI. I’m not against Facebook posts, per se. You’ve got to experiment. If they worked for you then for for it!

  21. I think it totally depends on what you are selling and what kind of content you boost. I’m a small business owner and author of parenting books. I’ve been boosting some posts on my Baby Sign Language Basics FB page this past year, trying to build more of a following for the page and have had some good results with getting new subscribers each time I’ve boosted. I limit the boosts to posts I know will be completely irresistible to new parents and that I know will tend to go pretty viral once they get going.
    This usually means posting a short video of a tiny baby using sign language. My un-boosted posts get something like 30 views, whereas my boosted ones ($15) will get over 2000 views and I’ll usually get some new likes on my page each time as well, and at least get likes on the post.

    • Monta — I agree with you. You are in a niche area that is of extreme importance to parents with babies that can’t hear. I can understand why boosting your Facebook posts worked for you.

  22. Thanks for sharing your experience. Based on my personal experience, i feel the boost post feature yields a positive result when used to promote an event or an article you feel people might like. It is not a good strategy to promote or sell a product.

  23. Hi there
    Well I have a Facebook page for my business. I’ve seen this boost on Facebook and decided to try it out last night.
    I paid $6.00 and posted on the latest cookies I had baked.
    Immediately I started reaching out to many people. I chose the Provinces and States.
    It has been about 17 hours of the 24 hours and I have reached 72 people. I have had one LIKE to my site and I have had about 8 new people who have liked my post. So that is better than had I not done that.
    It has reached out to people in other provinces and also to friends of friends.
    I found this to be very interesting and may give it another try. I like this type of action.
    Maybe its ok to give it a try.
    Judi

  24. This was a very helpful article…especially your advice about building your audience. It always comes down to doing your homework. I have noticed lately that when I post on my business page with a call to action that my reach and interaction plummets. Many of my friends that are active on FB tell me they never saw the particular post that I mention. So while I consider myself forewarned, I’m thinking about throwing $20 at it to “just see.” I’ll report back with my results.