At a recent "Adoption Options" seminar in Nashville, TN, social media consultant Christie Keith walked attendees through a number of different ways to promote a pet adoption post on Facebook. "What a lot of people don't realize is that you can, through use of Facebook's very robust targeting tools, get a lot of visibility for a pet for just a few dollars," she said.
Here are her tips:
1. Don't boost the post from the Facebook page. "That 'boost' button on the Facebook page is very tempting," she said, "but it doesn't get you the most views for the least money, and it doesn't let you target your ad effectively to reach the people most likely to adopt the pet. The place to boost your posts with the full array of Facebook's targeting features is the Ad Manager."
2. Don't use your page's fans as your audience. "One of the biggest mistakes groups make is targeting their own followers with a pet adoption ad," she said. "There's nothing wrong with targeting your followers, and there will be times you'll want to, but many of them will see the post organically anyway. When you're paying, target your audience based on interests and demographics, not whether they follow your page."
3. Try out several different audiences to get the best reach for your dollars. "The same $5.00 spent in a number of different ways can get reach from as low as 390 views to as many as 26,000," Keith said.
Here's a series of examples of the same promoted post for the same page, with the same $5.00 budget, but very different reach numbers when targeted in very different ways:
This post is targeted to the page's fans, using the "Boost" button on the page. Reach is 390-1,000 people:
This post is targeted to the page's fans and their friends, using the "Boost" button on the page. Reach is 2,300 to 6,000. "While this number is higher," Keith said, "it's not at all a given that your fans' friends will be the right target for your message. They may not be animal lovers, and they may live outside your area if that's important for that particular post."
This post is targeted to general animal welfare interest, using the "Boost" button on the page. Reach is 450-1,200 people:
This post is also made using the "Boost" button, but with a slightly different, more focused audience. Reach on this post rises 890-2,300 people. The more focused targeting might make this a better investment, depending on what your message is.
This post is targeted on the basis of more precise interests, using the Ad Manager. By using richer targeting options, you can increase reach to 9,800 to 26,000 for the exact same $5.00 budget.
"Yes, there's a bit of a learning curve for the Ad Manager as opposed to using the "boost" button," Keith said. "And there are times when hitting 'boost' is all you have time for. But it's well worth the investment in learning to use the Ad Manager -- which is extremely easy once you get the hang of it -- to get your adoption listings in front of the largest, most appropriate audience for the least amount of money."
You can take a tutorial in creating Facebook ads, including a short video, here.