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Learn – and avoid – the most common Promoted Posts mistake

Published: November 15, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

By Shaun Hautly, boom.reactive
By now, everyone knows that Facebook can be a gateway to floods of new customers. We’ve seen small brands explode using Social Media to interactively broadcast great ideas around the world and find new fans. However, as popular as those stories can get, most brands hop on Facebook for a few months and conclude that it doesn’t work because they didn’t see instant, astronomical success. Most of them make one simple mistake that ensures their page will never grow or make them money.
We’ll get to that in a minute; first, a little context. To simplify things, we like to split posts into three categories: entertainment, humanization, and promotion.
Entertainment posts have little to do with your brand. They’re generally appealing to the masses. They can be local sports cheers, mundane comments about weather, viral videos, absurd news stories, memes, or links to interesting things around the internet. We are based in St. Louis, so we’ve had two amazing years of Cardinals baseball, which appeals to this entire town. Examples of this category of posts would be:
Here we go, Cardinals! Game 7!
Anyone else have to get out the winter coat today?
Cat Video of the year.
An example from Diet Coke:
diet coke facebook post
The next category, humanization posts, are my favorite. They are posts that show off the human side of your brand. The employees. The shenanigans. The office pranks. The awards. The charities and fundraisers. The weekends. For most companies, there are many competitors who offer most of the exact same services or products. What often makes a business relationship successful is the people. The great news about that is that it can translate very well to Social Media. Examples of this category of posts would be:
Congrats to our technician, Emily, who’s celebrating her 5th year with us today!
Thanks to everyone who helped us with Habitat for Humanity last weekend. We keep getting wonderful Thank You cards.
This is what happens to the boss’s office when he takes a day off.
Here’s one we just posted:
company culture post
The last category of posts – Promotional posts – is the worst. However, it’s the only category that has a real chance of conversion. Promotional posts are your sales pitches. New product announcements. Discounts and deals. Calls to action. Limited time only. All the horrible, “advertisey” jargon that you see and ignore. That’s category three. Posts like:
Our new brake pads have the shortest stopping distance of any in our category.
Our muffins are 20% off until this Friday.
Try our new website for faster service than ever!
So what’s the mistake that most businesses make when managing their pages? They only post from category three – posts about their products and specials, posts that don’t get as many likes and comments as the other two categories. Because of that, they’re less “sticky” and don’t strengthen the Facebook presence of your Page. Likes and Comments are what help your page gather momentum. Without them, you’ll show up less and less in your fans’ Newsfeeds.
So to properly manage a Facebook page, you need to post enough from categories one and two to gather a following so that you have a captive audience when it’s time to throw out a promotional post. Asics does a great job of posting about events, athletes, and other community-building stuff before throwing these in:
asics facebook ad
With the dawn of Facebook’s new “Promoted Posts,” a page can now pay to increase the audience of their posts in a very targeted way. The general misuse of this feature is when Pages promote posts from category three. Sure, this gets that post in front of a few more eyes – likely, eyes that are largely disinterested. If you promote a post from categories one or two, not only will the post reach a large number of people, but those people may like or comment on it, giving your page permission to contact them in the future. So if you’re going to spend the money, spend it so that you get recurring impressions, instead of a one-time promotion. There are ads for that.
We ran a promoted post for our company. We promoted our new teleprompter rig for our video services. For $8, it reached almost 100x our normal impressions. However, it didn’t get very many likes or comments. By contrast, we posted about Jon (our Social Media Strategist) on his 2-year anniversary with the company and got more than twice the interactions of the promoted post.
company culture facebook post
So the lesson here is that it doesn’t matter how big your audience is, it’s whether or not you can engage them repeatedly. Only when you have a sustainable crowd can you effectively pitch your products and services. So post relatable and entertaining posts as often as you can and sprinkle in the promotional stuff sparingly. Your fans will thank you for it (by interacting).
– shaun hautly boom.reactiveShaun Hautly started boom. reactive. in 2008. Together with Jon Becker, they enjoy running Social Media presences and consulting in St. Louis and around the country. Shaun enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, playing guitar, and hanging out with his dog, Mya.

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