If your school is like most schools, you're using social media to better communicate with students in a way that feels familiar to them. Social media is a great tool to get your students information, events, updates, deadlines, tips and much, much more, while also giving them an easy way to get in touch with you. Allowing them to share their concerns, pain points, what they love, and opportunities and challenges provides you with insights that empower you to improve your programs. But as you may have noticed, engagement and reach have declined, especially on Facebook. This is where boosting, or promoting, your posts can help.
If you're not familiar with the concept, boosting your posts means paying to get your content seen by more people. Having money for social media can be such big deal in higher education that we want to make sure we set it up correctly from the beginning—but where do you start? Let's take a closer look.
Getting Started with Insights
Before you start boosting content, it's important to check out your insights. In Facebook, you can click Insights from the menu that displays on the top of your page. Here, you'll see an overview of your efforts, see aggregate follower demographics, see how your content is performing, reach, likes, and more. You can use this information to start building your boost strategy (i.e., the goals that matter to your program and what you hope to accomplish).
You should consider:
- Who you want to reach.
- The types content they are most likely to respond to.
- What they found most engaging.
- Any unexpected findings related to that audience
Once you've identified your goals and analyzed your insights, it's time to start developing content based on what you've learned. For example, do your images have a huge reach? Explore improving them—consider static image trends, animations, GIFs, and other image formats to make your content as engaging as possible.
When you've got content ready, put together a content calendar that works for your schedule and timing, and start discovering the space.
All business pages start with the default method of advertising—the Promotions tab. Here, you can get an overview of your account, all ads that have been placed recently, and audiences created or that can be created. (An audience is a list of targeted demographics you can create and save so that when boosting a post, the content is served to that specific group.) Now, you're ready to start boosting.
- If you're on your Page view and have content created, locate the post and click the blue Boost Post button.
Make sure to choose a post that meets Facebook Community Standards. Otherwise, it may be declined in the review process.
- Before you begin the boosting workflow, take a look at how your post will look on different platforms. Make sure all the work you are about to do is optimized for each feed.
- Choose your objective.
- Website Visits: Prioritize showing your boosted post to people likely to visit your website.
- Engagement: Prioritize showing your boosted post to people likely to engage with it.
- Messages: Prioritize showing your boosted post to people likely to send a message.
- Choose whether you'd like to add a button to your post (e.g., Learn More, Sign Up, Send Message, etc.)
- Select Edit to start building your audience based on your insights and predetermined targets.
Note: Be sure to do this so you don't use up your budget too quickly.
- Select the appropriate gender, age, and location.
- Work on your detailed targeting. Type in a keyword and see what suggestions display. If you click Browse, you'll see suggestions based on your keyword organized by demographic, interests, and behaviors. You can also choose to exclude certain demographics to narrow your list. Feel free to take your time exploring the many options to get the results you want.
- While building your audience, keep an eye on the gage that displays at the bottom of the page. It will tell you the potential reach of your audience. You should aim to stay in the green.
- After your audience is saved, you can move to the next step. But keep in mind that default audiences are in place and you have access to previously created audience available as well.
- You have the option to select automatic placements, or choose where you want your post to display. Automatic placements are a good bet because you reach more of your audience in different ways, which is a win. Of course, there are instances where you'll want to choose the audience, and by all means choose what works best for your campaign.
- Next, choose your budget and duration. Keep in mind the more you pay, the more folks you'll reach.
- If you have access to a pixel for your page, activate it now for conversions. Note: Pixels are generated via the Business Manager view.
- Select your payment method, and then click Boost. Your post will go into review, and once it's approved, you'll receive a notification. Then, your post will begin being served to your audience.
You're all set! Note that this is just one way to achieve a boosted post, and you should find a style that works for you. Once you find your fit, it's a great idea to consider different types of ads, A–B testing, and using logos vs. images or slide shows. Try all the combinations you can to see what works best for your audience. In doing so, you'll increase data you can use to support your future ads and have a clear path to achieving your goals using promoted content on Facebook. Happy boosting!