Two weeks ago, we introduced the world to Sysomos Paid Social Analytics, our latest offering that helps you to understand how your paid promotions on Facebook and Instagram are doing across all your markets so you can make smarter decisions about your ad spend. However, not everyone is familiar with all the ways that you can actually promote on Facebook. So, today, we’ll walk you through the three main ways you can promote your business on Facebook; boosting posts, making “dark posts,” and Facebook advertisements.

If you’re looking to drive more results for your business through Facebook, one of these promotion methods is sure to be right for you.

Boosting Your Posts

Out of all the ways that you can promote yourself on Facebook, boosting a post is probably the easiest, but also gives you the least options in how to target the audience you want to see your brand’s post. Boosting your post is a great way to create engagement around a post for not a lot of money. It’s also one of the easiest to start as you’ve likely seen the “Boost Post” button at the bottom of anything you’ve posted on your company page.

The Boost Post Button Found On Every Page Post

The boost button allows you take a post that you’ve already made, so you don’t have to come up with any new creative, and serve it up to a larger audience than you’re already reaching organically. Once you press the “Boost Post” button a pop-up appears over your page and gives you your options for promoting that post. The first options have to do with the audience that you want to put your post in front of. The first two are for “People who like your page,” which will increase the placement of your post in the newsfeed of people who like your page already, and “People who like your page and their friends,” which is self-explanatory.

Options For Boosting Your Post

The third option allows you to boost your post to a specific audience that you’ve already created previously or can create right now. The options that you have when creating this audience include selecting their gender, age range, location, and interests (which can be topics they post about or pages they have liked).

Selecting An Audience To Boost Your Post To

Once you’ve selected your audience you can choose the dollar amount you’d like to apply to spend boosting the post and for how long you’d like the boosting to go on for and you’re done. It’s that easy and will help to boost the engagement (reactions, comments or shares) to any of your posts.

Dark Posts

While actually called “Unpublished Posts,” these types of promoted posts are more commonly referred to as Dark Posts. Dark posts look like regular posts that would appear on your page and in your followers’ newsfeeds organically, except for that they never actually do show up on your business page (hence the term “dark post”) and they can be highly targeted in terms of whose newsfeeds they actually show up in.

To create a dark post you need access to Facebook’s Power Editor for your company page, which is where all ads of all kinds can be created. Once inside, head to the “Page Posts” section and then click the “Create Post” button. A pop-up will then come up allowing you to fill in all of the information needed for your dark post, which can be a link to a website, a video, an image, an offer, and even a carousel of images.

Creating An Unpublished Page Post in Facebook Power Editor

Just remember to select “This post will only be used as an ad” or else the post will show up on your page and will not be a dark post.

Do Not Publish This Post To Your Facebook Page

Creating these unpublished posts directly in Facebook’s Business Manager isn’t the only way to accomplish the task. You can also set up your post in a similar way using Sysomos Expion. Just like in Facebook, you can add your message, image or video, and link.

Create An Unpublished Post in Sysomos Expion

Once you have your post ready in Expion, just be sure to select “Send as Dark Post” from the Content Scheduler options to ensure this post doesn’t get posted to your page, just like we did with Facebook.

Send Post To Facebook From Sysomos Expion As a Dark Post

Once your post is ready, go from either Facebook’s Page Posts or Expion into Facebook Power editor and click “Quick Draft” to start your new campaign. Inside you will be given the option to create an ad or “Use Existing Post.”  By choosing to use an existing post you’ll find the post that you just created as an option to select.

Select Use Existing Post

Select The Unpublished Post You Just Created

Once this is done you can continue on to set up your targeting criteria for you post. This post will then only appear to your target audience in their timeline and never actually show up on your Facebook Page.

Facebook Ads

Your last option is to create a full out advertisement that will live on Facebook. These ads can show up both in a user’s newsfeed, but also in the right-hand column on most pages on Facebook. Facebook advertisements also give you many more options for actions you’d like your ad’s audience to take. These can include promoting your page, sending people to your website, app downloads, promoting a whole catalog of products, lead capturing, and more:

Facebook Ad Objective Options

To create an ad, head to the “Ads Manager” inside of Facebook Business Manager. Once there, Facebook will guide you through creating your ad step-by-step starting with selecting your objective through choosing your audience and budget, and setting up all the creative for your add. It will even show you how your will look across multiple devices. Here are a couple of examples of ads you can create directly from Facebook’s Ad Guide:

A link to your website (or specific page on your site) on a desktop:

Example of a Link To Website Ad

An ad to install an app that can only be delivered on mobile (as it will take the person to the App Store or Play Store):

Example of a App Install Ad

Ads to create sign-ups for lead generation:

Example of Lead Generation Ads

Ads for a promotional offer as they’d appear on mobile or in the right-hand column on a desktop:

Example of a Promotional Offer Ad

Notice how each ad has a very specific call to action button depending on what the objective of your advertisement is. These buttons and the options for where the ads will appear are what make ads different from the other kinds of paid promotions we discussed above.

When Should You Use Each Type Of Promotion

Now that you know the three different types of paid promotion that you can do on Facebook, it’s time to start thinking about when would be the best time to use each of them.

When To Use a Boosted Post

As mentioned above, boosted posts are really great for improving the engagement you’re seeing on a post or on your page. This is also a very cheap and easy way to get your posts in front of more people, so it’s great for those just starting with Facebook promotions or small businesses.

When To Use a Dark Post

Dark posts are great when you want to target different groups of consumers with the same content, but different messages. Because these posts don’t show up on your wall, it’s easy to create different messages for different audiences to see while still getting the same content in front of them.

Also, because you’re able to send out different messages, dark posts are also a great way to test messages and content with smaller targeted audiences to see which messages perform best before using them in front of larger audiences.

When To Use a Facebook Ad

Facebook ads are best used when you want a specific action taken. While boosting posts is a great method for creating engagement, ads are best for when you want something done beyond just interacting with a piece of content.

Now that you know all about your options for doing paid promotions on Facebook you’re going to need a way to track how those promotions are doing so you can get the most ROI for the money you’re spending. To do that, we suggest you take a look at Sysomos Paid Social Analytics.