There’s a very simple method of managing your post boosting on Facebook that significantly increases post engagement rates and the return on your post boosting budget. ‘Facebook Post Boost Optimisation’ is something I’ve been implementing for a long time to great effect.
However, virtually all of the Page administrators I talk to use post boosting in a ‘static’ way. They schedule or post their content, line up their boost and off it goes. At a later date, whether that be at the end of the month, or perhaps the week, they’ll take a look at how much they’ve spent and what it equated to in terms of reach and response.
Sound familiar? In the words of Tom Jones, it’s not unusual.
The downside of this is that you spend your post boosting budget based upon what you think will resonate with your community. Or worse, what you want to resonate with your community. And any content creator or community manager worth their salt will tell you that you never really know what will work and what won’t.
The more experienced you get and the better you know your community, the better you get at judging this. But anyone who tells you that they can guarantee that any given piece of content will or won’t work is bullshitting you.
So what if I said that by adopting the principles of Boost Optimisation you can immediately reduce your Facebook post boosting budget without it impacting engagement or, alternatively, achieve far better levels of interaction by spending the same amount?
The process is simple.
Facebook Post Boost Optimisation Step One
I’m going to start with an assumption that you measure the average engagement rate on your posts. There are different ways of doing this, but I want you to focus on actual engagement (shares, comments and likes) rather than all clicks or views on your content. You’re interested here in resonance as opposed to response. I also want you to focus on primary (or on-post) engagement rather than secondary engagement.
Look at these examples from Pages I’m currently managing for clients, taken from the last few days. The red boxes mark primary engagement and total post reach:
By dividing the total number of primary interactions by the reach of the post, you can see that these three posts have engagement rates of 5.7%, 3.6% and 5.3% respectively.
Average out the engagement rate for all of your posts over a month and you’ll have a pointer for what’s ‘normal’ for your Page.
I recently benchmarked the performance of 14 active Facebook Pages on which I’m currently an administrator. The average engagement rate across these was 2.3%, so if you’re hitting that you’re doing OK. But the three Pages I currently actively manage scored averages of 4.1%, 3.9% and 3.2%. And that is, in part at least, due to Boost Optimisation.
Armed with this information for your own Page, you’re ready to go.
Facebook Post Boost Optimisation Step Two
Next time you boost a post, rather than forgetting about it, I want you to watch what happens. Give it a few hours (I normally think four or five is enough) and calculate the live engagement rate for the post at that time.
If it’s similar to your average rate, let the boost run as normal. But if it’s less than your average rate, cancel the boost. What’s the point in putting money behind pushing a post that, for whatever reason, isn’t resonating with your audience?
Just doing this will save you money, and you’ll be surprised how much. In addition it will, over time, start to drive up your average engagement rate. Which is a good thing, right?
Facebook Post Boost Optimisation Step Three
Now, for bonus points (and this is the kicker if you value engagement on Facebook), if your current post engagement rate is significantly greater than your average rate, increase the amount you’re boosting by. If you’ve got content that your audience likes, get it in front of them.
Let’s take an active example. Let’s say your average engagement rate is 2.3% and you boost posts by an average of £15/$24. After checking the post after five hours boosting time here’s what I’d do:
- post engagement of 2.0% or less – cancel post
- post engagement of 2.1% to 2.5% – leave alone
- post engagement of 2.6% or more – add an additional £5/$8 to the boost
(Obviously those figures will depend on your own Page engagement average and the amount you boost your posts by.)
Facebook Post Boost Optimisation Advanced Moves
I’ve made a few assumptions so far in this post.
The first is that you measure your Facebook engagement rate. You do measure your engagement rate, don’t you?
The second is that you understand that engagement is an enabling objective only; to measure true return on investment you need to correlate engagement and reach with a proper business objective like leads or sales.
The third is that you’re producing good content. That should be a given now as, if you’re not, you’re not even in the game. Full stop.
The fourth assumption is that you understand the nature of Facebook engagement and the difference between a like, a comment and a share. For though with Boost Optimisation (thus far) we are treating it as such, all engagement is not equal.
As Mark Schaefer describes very eloquently and with great detail in his excellent book The Content Code, the challenge for content producers of all kinds is to create content that moves. And by ‘content that moves’, Mark is referring to content that is shared.
The benefits of social sharing are great; 70% of people state they are more likely to make a purchase based upon a friend’s social media updates. But getting people to share stuff is tough. When I benchmarked Facebook performance recently, the average ‘share rate’ per post (shares divided by reach) was just 0.15%.
Think about your own Facebook behaviour; how often do you share content from a company Page? Whereas likes and comments are relatively passive actions that create light bonds with the publisher, in Mark’s words “a share is a statement that says ‘I love/support this!”.
So here’s the advanced move for Boost Optimisation. Start paying attention to content shares and, as well as measuring the engagement rate, benchmark and measure the share rate of your content. And then start prioritising your post boosting around content that’s getting shared (in addition to liked and commented upon), create more of that and then boost that content more!
Going back to those three examples above, you can see that two of them had a decent number of shares on the original post, while the third gained four shares off the back of just one on the original post. That, my friends, is content ‘moving’. That’s what you need to be aiming for and optimising your Facebook post boosting budget around.
To summarise, Facebook Post Boost Optimisation isn’t rocket science. Far from it, in fact. For me, it’s just common sense. But it does necessitate taking a real interest in the stats and performance of your posts on a very active level. And if you do that, it can have a real impact. If you value your Facebook Page, it has to be worth a shot, right?
[If you’d like to know more about this or would like help analysing and optimising your own Page, please do contact me.]