The Basics of Social Media Boosted Posts

By Clint Demeritt

If Shakespeare’s Hamlet worked in social media marketing, his most vexing question would be ‘To boost or not to boost?’

Figuring out if you should put money into paid posts on Facebook and Twitter can feel like a modern Shakespearean drama, leaving you agonizing over your decisions. So here is some basic information and a little advice on boosted social media posts to consider before you decide to take the plunge.

Boosting posts can be an effective and efficient way to spend your ad dollars versus more traditional forms of advertising. A budget of less than $50 a month can get your message out to thousands more people and ensure a steady stream of new followers on social media platforms.

But what sorts of content should you be boosting? Focus mostly on original content that is unique to your nonprofit. Ideal ads include upcoming events, new services, sponsor or donor thank yous and recent triumphs.

Not only are you spreading the word about your exciting news, but these kinds of ads are the best content to attract new likes and followers. They show people who don’t know you what your organization is all about and what you do.

Always pair these advertisements with a strong visual, and good photos tend to do this better than videos. Don’t be afraid to buy a nice stock photo to help your ad catch more eyeballs. If you add text to your photos, watch out for Facebook’s “20 percent text” rule. There is a tool to check if your photos conform to that rule.

Is one social media network better to boost than the others? Facebook and Twitter are usually the best, but picking between them depends on your goals and preferences. Every marketer has a different opinion on which network they like better, and if you are new to both, you can post and experiment for free to feel out each before having to put money into any posts.

If you are dipping your toe in the social media advertising pool, Twitter is a friendlier network for experimentation. Many marketers have noticed after they start boosting Facebook posts, their organic reach diminishes, even if they only put money into one ad. So, Facebook advertising requires commitment.

However, if marketers put the time into creating an active Facebook page and gathering a following, a few ad dollars can go a long way to accelerating the rate of likes you get on the post and your page.

As to how much you should be putting into each post, there is no hard and fast information on the optimal amount of money to put into a post. Paid post reach depends on ever-changing algorithms, time of day, the number of followers you have, how much other content is on the platform and (seemingly) the phases of the moon.

The best advice is to start out small by paying $5 to $10 to boost posts and analyzing your results. Put more stock into statistics such as post likes and favorites, reposts, new followers acquired and clicks over impressions. There is a point of diminishing returns, and if you put too much money into an ad, it may start to cannibalize your organic reach, depending on your audience targeting.

Both Facebook and Twitter are just about a decade old now and have become a bit crowded. Nonprofits need to put a little money into their favorite networks to maximize their marketing impact and compete in these bustling environments.

This article is brought to you by the DMA Nonprofit Federation. Click here to register for the 2016 New York Nonprofit Conference.