If you’ve ever spent any amount of time managing a Facebook page, you’ve likely received an automated notification from Facebook that looks something like this:
Your post is getting more engagement than 80% of your other posts on Page [name of page]. Boost it to reach more people.
As a marketer, I hate these for a number of reasons, but largely because they clog up my notifications feed.
It’s also a source of many questions from clients who are curious after seeing the notification on their end. After all, boosting does seem like a logical idea, right?
It certainly does.
But almost invariably, my response is this:
No. In fact, you can ignore those notifications from Facebook entirely.
Why I Don’t Listen to Facebook’s Boost Recommendations
There are a few reasons I never put stock into these boost suggestions from Facebook. Here are a few of the most important:
1. Facebook is lying to you. In general, the numbers Facebook gives you in these notifications are false.
A perfect example: I actually received a notice from Facebook this morning about a client’s page. According to Facebook, the post I created yesterday was getting more engagement than 80% of the posts for that page.
But that wasn’t true.
In looking at the latest data from that post based on the data Facebook provides, the post was only getting better engagement than 54% of the page’s posts.
Although it’s unrelated, it’s also important to point out that the post had more impressions than only 28% of the page’s posts.
In Facebook’s defense, it never said what timeframe it was examining, so I checked again, this time filtering by posts in this month alone.
Yesterday’s posts only outperformed 60% of posts in May so far.
Again, that’s a far cry from the 80% that Facebook claimed.
And as a general rule, if a vendor has to lie to you to get you to buy anything, you probably don’t need it.
2. Facebook just wants your money. As I remind clients at the beginning of all of my social media coaching sessions, Facebook (and every other major social media platform) is a business. Their ultimate goal is to make more money today than they did yesterday.
Goading page managers into spending $10 here and there is an easy way to generate extra revenue every day.
Let’s zoom out for a second.
Back in 2019, VentureBeat reported that there were 60 million business pages on Facebook. Let’s say Facebook decides to notify all of them at the same time and recommend a boost.
If only 1% of them (600,000) decide to boost a post with $10 behind it, Facebook earns an easy $6 million.
Not bad at all (for Facebook).
3. Boosting a Facebook post doesn’t mean you’ll reach more people than through your organic posts. On this same Facebook page, we’ve boosted two posts recently as an experiment.
Although the money helped them become two of the page’s top 10 posts when it comes to the number of impressions they’ve received, neither cracked the top five.
In fact, one of those “boosted” posts has only received a mere 14% of the attention our top organic post has received.
In short, throwing money at something on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get results.
4. Boosting simply might not align with your current goals. At its core, boosting a post is like a lite version of advertising: it gets you exposed to some of Facebook’s advertising capabilities without unlocking the full value and potential of Facebook Ads Manager.
You might not need advertising on Facebook.
In fact, as mentioned above, your business might be moving just fine without advertising.
There are plenty of businesses out there that have grown and even thrived without investing in ads.
If you don’t need a sudden rush of web traffic or an influx of “likes” or follows, then boosting may be entirely outside of your current goals.
Opportunities for Growth Outside of Boosting On Facebook
Although the Facebook algorithm is generally stacked against business pages, you can still get great exposure on the platform without paying for it.
The tactic: Focus on creating content your followers and target audience actually cares about. When they care about something, they’ll actively like, comment, and share—all of which help you get additional impressions.
It sounds easier than it actually is, but once you figure out what your audience wants, you can begin serving it on a regular basis.
For the client mentioned above (they’re a small escape room north of Pittsburgh), their audience reacts well to pictures of the owner and photoshopped images of their cartoon mascot.
So we regularly (about once a week) post about the owner or the mascot to drive up engagement and spur site traffic.
The trick, of course, is to continue monitoring so that we don’t burn out the concept and bore our audience.
Bottom line: You don’t always need to boost or advertise to reach your audience. You just need to create content they love.