Should you pay to promote your Facebook posts? Consider advice from small business owners who have done it.
Social networking giant Facebook rolled out a new feature in May 2012, aimed at helping you boost your social power by offering the option to promote your posts to the site. Essentially, a promoted post allows you to pay a small fee (typically around $10, but it varies based on the number of fans your business page has) for a post to be broadcast to a larger audience of users.
But should you pay to promote your Facebook posts? Is it worth your precious advertising and marketing dollars?
We canvassed social media experts and small business owners for answers. They say that, for the most part, it depends on what you’re posting and what results you hope to achieve. But no matter what, don’t go all in until you’ve tested the service with a small buy to see if it works for your business.
Justin Palmer, founder and CEO of MedSaverCard, a discount pharmacy card company in Orange, Calif., consults small businesses on their Internet marketing strategy. At first, he wasn’t sure it would be worth the cost. “I was a little skeptical, as a lot of people were,” he says.
But roughly three dozen promoted posts later, he sees the value of the service—as long as you’re posting the right content. “If I do a post that is nothing but a sales pitch, I probably won't be happy with the results,” he says.
Not sure about whether you have the right content to promote? Consider this: The biggest mistake Palmer sees small business owners making is promoting a post that receives low engagement before it’s even promoted. “While you will get more exposure for it, you’re better off promoting a post that is naturally engaging,” he says. “No amount of promotion will make it so.”
2. Start with a small buy.
Jayme Pretzloff is the online marketing director for Wixon Jewelers, a small business in Minneapolis. His advice for getting the most out of promoted posts? “Make sure to try out some (promoted posts) on Facebook, test them and figure out what is going to work for your organization,” he says. “Allocate $50 to testing this marketing vehicle and try spending between $5 and $10 a day.”
Palmer counsels small business owners to test a post for three to five hours before deciding to promote it. If it receives a fair amount of engagement in that time, only then consider promoting it, he says.
Facebook suggests promoting a few basic types of posts, according to its website: visual content, including photos and videos; offers and deals, events, news and questions.
3. Focus on your bottom line.
Palmer recommends promoting posts that contribute to your profit. For example: a promoted post that points customers to a special sale you’re having on your website. “I usually only promote posts that drive direct revenue, which justifies the fee I pay to promote it,” Palmer says.