What do Facebook Promoted Posts mean for your college?

Date posted: June 21, 2012

There has recently been a lot of hype (not to mention anger) about content visibility on Facebook fans’ newsfeeds. A few weeks ago, just as Facebook allowed users to see how many fans were reached everyday by their content, the platform launched a new “Promote” button designed to promote posts … at a cost. Needless to say, this triggered a frenzy of criticism, users going from wondering if the “Facebook sky is falling” to deciding whether or not Facebook is still for them and, if it isn’t, if the time has come to deactivate and move on.

The fact of the matter is that the Facebook sky is not falling. The appearance (or lack thereof) of your posts fans’ newsfeeds depends on your college’s overall level of engagement. Facebook developed EdgeRank—a complex algorithm devised to determine engagement, affinity, time decay and other elements to decide how often and how high posts should appear on your fans’ walls—and has been using it for quite some time. What is new is that Facebook made this more widely known with the new paid “Promoted Posts” service.

Should your college hop onto the Promoted Posts bandwagon? Ultimately, before deciding where you stand on promoting posts, you first need to determine whether or not Facebook still works for your college. In other words, you have to find out if your Facebook page drives a significant amount of traffic to your college site. Your Facebook traffic may be coming from the newsfeeds of people who have seen your content shared. This would not appear in the Facebook numbers everyone is obsessing about.

How much should I spend on Promoted Posts?

If you are interested in Facebook’s Promoted Posts, make sure they are worth your money. Facebook offers Promoted Posts at a flat rate of 10 USD, with posts lasting 3-days and reaching about 1,400 people. Keep in mind that Promoted Posts do not guarantee you that all your content will actually be read. “Reach” means that your promoted post has at some point appeared on your fans’ newsfeeds. So, even someone’s quick scroll through their newsfeed will counted as a reach. Needless to say, a reach does not guarantee that a person actually saw or read your content.

When should your college use a Promoted Post (if ever)?

– When posting information on specific events or special announcements..

–  When making an exclusive offer on your site. Note: In order to reach new prospects, it is recommended to use the traditional Facebook Ads (MarketPlace Ads. With or without Promoted Posts, here are 3 recommendations to maintain your presence on your fans’ newsfeed:

  • Keep creating and sharing interesting, relevant content. Manual posts do better on EdgeRank so make sure you post on Facebook via Facebook (not Hootsuite or other). This is now even easier to do since Facebook allows scheduling posts.
  • Examine the type of posts you are posting and the best timing to post them. Which posts had the most impact? Which triggered most engagement? Understanding the performance of your posts will help you strategize accordingly.
  • Work on relationships and engagement with your students. Active engagement is the key to an optimal Facebook experience, and will also help you maintain a good EdgeRank score.

For more info: Critical Things to Know about Facebook Promoted Posts Are Facebook Promoted Posts Worth the Cost and Effort?  Why Promoted Posts Must Be Recent