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Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

How to choose the best approach for your small business.

We’ve all seen interesting, click-worthy Facebook ads and posts labeled as “sponsored” while scrolling through our news feeds. And, it’s no coincidence that these posts typically are related to our interests, geographic location or demographic profile.

If you’re wondering how to use Facebook ads and sponsored posts to reach new customers and boost sales, you’ve come to the right place.

For starters, here’s an at-a-glance overview of these two effective tactics:

Benefits of Boosting Posts

  • Simple to use with a click of a button
  • Quickly put content in front of existing fans
  • Target ad for geography, age and interest
  • Boosts “likes” and social media engagement

Benefits of Facebook Ads

  • Control how and where ads appears on Facebook
  • Get content in front of new audiences who are likely to be interested in your product
  • Refine demographic and behavioral targeting with dozens of options
  • Offers options to optimize for higher click-throughs

Want more info to boost your confidence and know-how? Andrew Foxwell, co-founder of the Madison, Wisconsin-based social media firm Foxwell Digital, demystifies Facebook ads and boosted posts, and gives you insights into choosing which one will best fit your needs.

Boosting posts. For starters, you’ll need to create a Facebook page for your business, and then post updates about your business and its products and services. You’ll also want to determine which posts to boost, and how much you’re willing to spend to promote them. Boosting Facebook posts is simple: just click the button that says “boost post” in the bottom right-hand corner. (You can only boost a post from your business’s Facebook page, not a personal profile.) “When you hit that button, what it does is create an ad from the post you’re putting out there with the budget you set,” Foxwell says. A boost can be a good way to quickly compile likes and increase engagement with your social media page, since it goes out to your existing followers and their friends.

Boosting a post also allows you to target geographically, as well as by age and interest. However, it’s somewhat limited when it comes to refining your targeting efforts to reach your desired demographic, which could lead to the post popping up in front of people less likely to be interested.

Implementing Facebook ads. Since you set your own budget, creating an ad doesn’t cost more than boosting a post, but it gives business owners much greater control over how to target their content. “It’s just a more advanced tool,” says Foxwell. “You can find the people you want to find.” To get started, open up the Facebook Ads Manager, which guides you through an objectives-based questionnaire where you can pick your goal, such as whether to raise awareness of your brand, get responses to an event, or engage with your company’s app.

Ads give you the ability to send people to your website, or to make a photo post or a carousel of multiple photos. The ad manager also allows you a choice of where to place the ad, from the main Facebook feed, to the mobile feed, to the ad bar on the right side of the Facebook app interface. You can even set the ad to pop up inside articles people read within Facebook or on other platforms entirely, such as Instagram.

Choosing between boosted posts and ads. Ultimately, the decision about which platform is best comes down to your marketing goals. For example, if the owner of a pizzeria wants to attract 50 new customers to the store, Facebook ads is a smart way to achieve the target. “You get the opportunity to put an ad out with the objective you want,” Foxwell says. You could push a coupon toward the right age, interest, geographic location or demographic of people most likely to visit the store.

On the other hand, if you wanted to create a promotion encouraging existing customers to return to the pizzeria, a simple boost could be effective because it targets people who already follow your page.

For most scenarios, Foxwell recommends Facebook ads as a better value proposition. “If you’re going to spend the money,” he says, “why not spend it on something that can make a more complete ad?”

Want to learn more savvy business strategies? Take a look at our business resource center. And, one of the smartest business decisions you can make is being proactive about protection. Connect with an agent today to learn about customized coverage for your business.

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Related Topics: Marketing , Digital , Business Growth