The NFP guide to ‘boosting’ posts on Facebook

by Ophelie Lechat
July 13, 2020

If you’ve noticed low engagement on your Facebook posts, you’re not alone. On average, organic, or unpaid, Facebook posts reach just 2% of your page audience.

This is because organic posts on Facebook compete with paid advertisements. The days of brands being able to reach a large audience on Facebook without spending any budget are long gone.

To get your message out to your donors and supporters, you must consider ‘boosting’ posts as part of your social media strategy.

  • ‘Boosting’ means spending money on certain social media posts in order to increase the number of people who see them.

For example, if you choose to boost a well-performing post (such as an article, video or photo), Facebook will ensure it appears in more people’s news feeds, more often.

What’s the difference between ‘boosting’ and advertising?

In both cases you are spending money to reach an audience. But in the case of boosting, you’re promoting a Facebook post that wasn’t originally set up as an ad.

Boosting is a simple way to increase your brand reach and awareness. It is perfect for building your online audiences and cultivating page followers.

For higher creative control and to reach specific advertising objectives, such as conversions or lead generation for your fundraising campaigns, Facebook Ads offers a more dynamic platform.

Boosting will help you engage with more donors and supporters

Your strategy for organic social media content should focus on engaging with your donors and supporters through impact stories, donor features and engaging video content. It helps them understand your organisation and bond with your mission.

But even the best content strategy will fail if people don’t actually see your posts. Boosting helps ensure more people see your content, and helps to build connections with more supporters.

When boosting a post, you can choose to promote it to people who follow your Facebook page, to friends of your followers, or to targeted audiences, like people who are on your email list.

Boost posts that your audience already engages with to maximise your reach

The rule of thumb for boosting is to only boost posts that your audience will care about. This is indicated by the level of early engagement on a post.

After posting something on social media, monitor the post closely for the first 24 hours. If it’s getting more likes, comments and shares than your usual posts, boost it. This indicates that the post contains something your audience cares about, and that the boost will perform well.

Consider boosting as part of a broader fundraising strategy

You can target your boost posts to people on your email lists, or based on people’s interests or demographics. That makes boosting especially useful for fundraising initiatives, by elevating organic content that supports your campaign messaging.

For example, if you send out an email about a particular impact story, you can then post this story on Facebook or Instagram and boost it to the email list for a ‘second bite’ of the content, to help reinforce the story’s impact. That creates a cohesive message for this specific audience across your different channels.

Don’t boost posts that are irrelevant to your audience

Boosting is an easy way to elevate your messaging and profile, but it only works when the content is interesting and relevant to your audience.

When boosting a post, start by considering what your audience will think when they see the post on their feed. Don’t fall into the trap of boosting posts just to hit a certain reach target.

If an organic post is performing poorly, it usually indicates that the content isn’t interesting to your audience. It happens! Avoid boosting it just to get more engagement. You’re better off allocating budget to better-performing posts.

Remember to moderate and optimise your boosted posts

Like any other paid media, boosted posts should be moderated and optimised for the best results.

Ensure you’re responding to positive comments and moderating negative ones. For a full guide on how to moderate comments, check out this article.

And, if your boosted post isn’t performing well, try adjusting the variables mentioned above: objective, audience or budget.

If all else fails, chalk this one up to learning, switch off the boost and allocate the budget to another post. One way or another, you’ve learned what your audience engages with most, which will help you create better content in the future.