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5 Ways to Reach Your Facebook Fans Without Killing Your Budget

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How many of your Facebook fans see each and every one of your fan page posts?

Do the math yourself — take the number of your fans and divide it by the average “X number of your fans saw this post” that you see at the bottom of your last three posts.

Frighteningly low, isn’t it?

Facebook’s fan pages are fueled by an algorithm that prevents your posts from being seen by a majority of your fans. A typical post reaches only 16 percent of a page’s total fans.

For years marketers have been trying to crack the code of the “EdgeRank” algorithm and have met with minimal success. Truth is, if you want your fan page posts to reach more of your fans, you need to pay to play. That means paying for Facebook advertising. Here are my tips to give Facebook enough cash to see substantive growth in your reach — while not sucking your bottom line dry.

1. Stay Clear of the “Boost Post” Option

In recent months, Facebook has put a variety of “boost post” options in front of fan page admins. The idea here is that page admins who discover the measly 16% can easily increase their reach by a click of a boost post button.  Here’s my video warning to you about this.

I say in the video that boost post is “fronting” — an urban term for bluffing. While Facebook claims that you’ll reach more people through boost post, they don’t spend much time saying who you’ll reach boost post messages tend to reach more *friends of fans* than your existing fans.

These messages also attract a disturbing amount of fake accounts (bots). So while you may end up getting a boost in total number of fans, you’ve done very little to increase the reach of existing fans you wish to do business with. In fact, this larger fan base bloated with bots might now make it more difficult for you to reach the fans most likely to do business with you.

An easier way to reach your fans is through Facebook’s “Ads Manager” — you’ll also see that phrase around your Facebook screen. The “Create an Ad” phrase also brings you to the Ads Manager. Once on the Ads Manager page, you’ll have the option to “Promote Page Posts” — the healthy alternative to “boost post.”

Facebook has a few default settings on the Ads Manager that can do some damage to your credit card. The next two tips will help you spot these settings and adapt them for your budget.

2. Set an End Date to Your Ad Campaign

For some reason, Facebook thinks fan page admins want to promote the same post for 30 days. So it has set the length of each “promote page posts” campaign for a month. This not only digs through your wallet, but also bugs your fans. Imagine their reactions upon seeing your “Throwback Thursday” post on Monday? Or your Valentine’s Day post in March?

Determine how long you’d like your ad to run and plunk it into what you see in the above image in Ads Manager. (12 hours seems to be the sweet spot for many of my clients.)

3. Target Your Posts

Facebook has an enormous database filled with all sorts of “likes” (and dislikes) of its gazillion users. Advertisers like you can sort through them to target the type of fan you want to see your post. Say you want to make sure fans aged 18-22 in the zip code 01238 who like Mexican food see a particular post — you can do that here. This type of targeting is unavailable with the all-or-nothing approach of “boost post.”

4. Don’t Let Facebook Automatically Promote All Your Posts

Facebook gives you a drop-down option to automatically promote all your posts going forward. While that might seem like a nice “set it and forget it” option, it doesn’t give you the chance to target each of your posts to the right audience.

In addition, some of your posts might have images that contain more than 20% text on them. That goes against Facebook’s image guidelines. Why pay Facebook to run ads that ruffle its own feathers? It’s best to just stay in control of your own ads here.

5. Get Daring with the Power Editor

If you think the Ads Manager has great targeting capability, wait until you discover the Facebook Power Editor! It’s a dashboard set up by Facebook to get even more granular with who you want your post to reach. You want to reach those Harvard students mentioned above — but only when they’re engaged with Facebook on their mobile device? You can do that with Power Editor.

Power Editor only runs on the Google Chrome Internet browser, so if you’re not ready to change browsers or are overwhelmed by the options you see there, go back to the happy medium of Ads Manager.

Now while Facebook has all these paid methods to deliver your posts to your fans, the onus is on you to make the promoted posts worthwhile. Make sure your posts are engaging enough for fans to like, comment, share, or click through — or a happy combination of all these actions.

Do you have a great cost-saving promoted post tip? Share it in a comment!

Photo Credit: Flickr CC / jmrosenfeld

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa Kalner Williams

    Good question! Click on “Ads Manager” in the left hand navigation bar. You should then see “Power Editor” as an option it that pages’ left hand nav bar. Do you see it now?

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