When Should You Promote A Facebook Post? A Case Study

This is really a follow up post to “Restoring History” which focused on photo restoration.  Here is a little social media strategy discussion – as of this writing the strategy for the “Restoring History” post is in a test mode as we speak, and hopefully we can get some results we can learn from as we go along….

Promoting Posts on Facebook

The Option To Promote A Facebook Post

For those who may not know, Facebook rolled out a new tool a few months ago where you can pay to promote your status updates so that they will reach more users.  They also changed their algorithms so that posts don’t automatically reach as many folks as they used to without paying.  If you post something that people love, comment and share then you can still get good results but it’s not a gimme like it was before.  Many people became very upset about this when they saw their reach suddenly dwindle unannounced.  I’ve written in the past about staying the course and not freaking out about it – in a way it’s a good thing because now boring lame content doesn’t get the free ride it used to get and good content that is useful and interesting still gets rewarded.  Meanwhile if you want to give your content a boost you can pay to have it promoted.

Facebook Tool for Promoting Posts

Identifying A Guru For Some Guidance

Jay Baer is a social media strategist and author whom I follow and he posted a great article with the criteria he uses for determining How To Know When To Promote A Facebook Post back on 10/27/12.  If you manage a facebook business page it’s worth reading and bookmarking.  In short he discusses a 4 part “STIR” criteria that includes a waiting period to figure out first if your post is engagement worthy on its own, and the suggestion to promote a post that has a link to click on or some call to action.

Other Factors To Consider

Before yesterday we only promoted twice.  Each time we did the minimum level and we only promoted to people who already like our page.  There is also the option of promoting to people who like your page and their friends.  Depending on your product, your overall Facebook strategy, and the post you are promoting there are a few factors to consider in addition to “STIR” when promoting:

  1. Organic vs. paid approach.  We’ve been fiercely committed to earning Facebook likes one at a time without gimmicks to inflate our numbers.  We want our content to be entertaining and useful.  Being “salesy” is spammy and boring.  We want people to like our page because it’s likeable – not because we beg for it or flood their news feeds (they’ll shut us off if we do that anyway).  Too many promoted posts can threaten that aesthetic which is why we had only done it twice before.
  2. First impression if you go outside your likes.  If you promote a post to your likes and their friends keep in mind that this post may be for many their first exposure to your brand.  Is this post focused on a topic that is more tightly focused on current clients?  Make sure the post serves as a good first impression and consider whether it has broad appeal.
  3. Geography and goal of the post.  Make sure you are going to get the proper bang for your buck.  If you are a local business that can only serve local clients then you may want to be careful about promoting to your likes and their friends.  You may spend money reaching too many folks who are out of state and may never be your client.  Then again word of mouth can travel out of state and then back into your neighborhood from afar so it’s not that black and white, but just be sure to consider what are you trying to accomplish with the additional exposure you are paying for.

The Case Study

So we’ll let you in on the strategy we used yesterday when we promoted the post “Restoring History”.  We did the maximum amount with the option of promoting to our likes and their friends for a three day period.  First off the post met all 4 of Jay Baer’s STIR criteria before we promoted it.  We also considered the 3 additional factors outlined above:

  1. Even though it’s a promoted post which by definition isn’t exactly an organic approach, we feel it is interesting and useful content which keeps with the spirit of how we attract folks to our page.  I’m not promoting a BIG SALE! or running a cheesy contest to just gain empty likes.  If people follow us as a result they’ll likely do it because they appreciate the content – it will expose them to our blog and maybe they’ll see there is real value here.  Like we mentioned before, we do NOT promote often and that won’t change.
  2. Even though photo restoration is NOT our core business by any means, I don’t mind this post creating a first impression of our studio to people who don’t know us.  It’s a thoughtful post that will show we have something worthwhile to say and we think it has broad appeal.  Not a bad way to discover Frameable Faces.
  3. This is one service and maybe the ONLY service that we offer that we can offer to people out of state without them ever visiting our studio.  While I don’t anticipate a ton of out of state photo restoration business, in theory as long as someone can scan the damaged photo and send it to us we can do the rest – have it restored, print it, ship it.  Therefore if going outside of our likes takes us out of our local geography here and there in the process that’s okay.

We will post an update to share the results good and bad.  Let us know if you’ve had experiences with promoted posts and if you have anything to add!

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3 responses on “When Should You Promote A Facebook Post? A Case Study

  1. Gary

    Great post Doug.

    Curious about the results of your promotion?
    Did it yield the results you had hoped for?

    We are working on providing a similar problem here at PropelAd, by looking more indepth and when is the best time to promote. I’m not completely sold on the T in STIR – I don’t see the benefit of waiting 6 hours to promote a post that is almost certain to increase engagement. Cheers,

    1. Doug Post author

      Thanks Gary! Glad you asked – good prompt for me to provide an update. I would say the results were mixed and maybe even a little confusing – I’m going to write a follow up that I’m guessing I’ll post here on Saturday (?) so I can provide a couple screen shots and go into a little more detail. As for the T in STIR I like it from the standpoint that the 6 hours gives you a little time to see if your post is engagement worthy on it’s own. Sometimes what you think will be good content doesn’t go over as well as you think, so I think spending money on a post that received a collective “meh” with no likes or comments after being out there for 6 hours could be a waste of money. I don’t want to force a post people find boring into their newsfeeds, whereas I might want to give something people are clearly enjoying a boost to get it in front of more people. Do you agree? Thanks for reading and commenting!

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