How to Promote a Post on Facebook – Smart or Scam?

 Don’t forget about our October 4th webinar, “How to Recruit, Source, and Hire on Facebook.  Register here.  

Facebook Tips to Build Your Employment Brand

As an administrator of a Facebook page and someone who is responsible for managing an executing a company’s social media employment brand, I post relevant content and engage the community on a daily basis. Fortunately, I also have a budget for trying out other aspects of Facebook, like running ads and promoting posts, which I then closely monitor and evaluate.

In the past, the ad results have been a mixed bag; some perform well while others do not. Generally speaking, performance seems to depend upon ad content and geography. From what I’ve seen, folks in some areas of the country are just more apt to click on Facebook ads than others.

Overall, I think that Facebook’s ad targeting and pay per click (PPC) model is good, and in the end, you essentially get what you pay for. This goes for recruiting on Facebook too.  Based on my PPC ad experience and wanting to try something new, I decided to “promote a post” on Facebook for the first time last week.

Facebook Recruiting and Using the Promote Button

I posted a video, clicked the ‘Promote’ button (only page administrators can see this), selected the $100.00 option,  and promoted the post to “people who like your page and their friends.”  The estimated reach was up to 17,000 people. Heck, for a hundred bucks, it seemed like a good deal and worth trying!

After a few days — when the promotion completed — the “paid reach” was greater than 32,000 people, there was a noticeable increase in page followers, and the post itself received more than 330 likes. On the surface, the numbers seemed very strong. However, when I dug a little deeper, some things did not add up.

Should You Promote a Post on Facebook?

Only four people actually watched the video (which was the intended purpose) and of the 330+ likes, a vast majority of them (>85%) were from overseas (Taiwan, Indonesian, Malaysia, Africa). Now, the page that I manage represents a domestic company, and I can see from Facebook Insights that more than 90% of the page followers are in the U.S. As you might imagine, this was a bit of a disconnect for me and my head began to fill with questions.

How does Facebook decide who to promote the post to? Why can’t the page administrator have more control over the geographic targeting of promoted posts? Why did people click on the post, but not watch the video? Why were so many likes from overseas? Are these people even real? Did “bots” click the post? Did I just waste $100? Is this some sort of scam?

Let me be clear, I am not accusing Facebook of anything … I would just like some answers.

Once you click the “promote” or “promotion complete” button, you can click the gear icon on the bottom left to send feedback, which I did. My message was short, concise and polite. I stated the facts and basically asked, “Why?” This statement directly from Facebook’s feedback form really stood out to me: Thanks for taking the time to give us feedback. We don’t typically respond to feedback emails, but we are reviewing them.

If you’ve ever tried to receive customer support from Facebook, you’ve probably experienced some frustration.  So, I’m not hopeful that I’ll receive any answers from Facebook, but I would like to know, what’s been your experience when advertising or promoting a post on Facebook?  Are you seeing results and is this benefiting your Facebook employment brand and recruiting efforts?

Be sure to check out our Facebook recruiting and hiring webinar to learn more insights from Shannon about Facebook recruiting on October 4th.  Register here.  

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Avatarjoelhulett says

    I recently used the Promote function on Facebook for the first time and received similar results to yours. When you click on “people who like your page and their friends” then the geographical results would swing wildly to a majority from outside the U.S. I tried different things but couldn’t affect any geographical control over the promote.

  2. AvatarJohn Paul says

    Shannon I had similar results on my last test of Promoted Posts. Most of the likes and comments were from over sees.

    I had thought that promoted posts was to have ALL your page followers to see that post, and not to be promoted to random people.

    But that’s isn’t the case.

    They def need to show who will see your post and how… for me promo posts are vague and not helpful in the long run.

  3. AvatarLaura Wayland says

    I too had the same experience with many of the likes being from overseas. We have a local business and I found that strange when almost 95% of the likes were overseas. I too think it is a scam and won’t be doing it any longer.

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