Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Unless you are actively managing a social media account for a company, boosting content and promoting through paid ads either seem the same, or you may instantly assume you should be doing one over the other. However, they are actually very different, with their own separate benefits, yet complement each other greatly.
Everyone normally has assumptions about both when this topic is brought up. Let’s see if yours are right or if we can adjust your perspective and ultimately help you reap the benefits of both.
First off, we don’t want to deter you from either option. Boosting your content and running paid ads are both extremely helpful and important. However, there is a difference in when you should use them and for what purpose.
Let’s start with timing. There is a point that is TOO early to use paid ads. One example of when that would be: before you’ve established your audience and/or your target audience.
Why would you run an ad and spend money to reach people if you don’t know the right people to reach? Don’t say, “but I want to reach everyone!” No, you never will and you never want to.
Unfortunately, sometimes our job is to burst your bubble, just a little bit. You’re NOT going to reach everyone. That also should never be your goal. Especially when not everyone is going to need or want your service or products. Why would you spend money to market to someone who will never purchase your product or service, or wouldn’t become a customer for years? No, that would be silly, and that would be basically throwing away your money.
Let’s look at a quick example. Would you market LifeAlert to a healthy 20 year old or would you be marketing to either their grandparent or even their parents who might have a parent (their grandparent) they’re worrying about and would like that extra protection? Or course, you would choose the parent or the grandparent. Don’t market to people based on “maybe’s,” “What ifs,” or “FOMO’s.” (FOMO - Fear of missing out “on potential customers”)
Market based on your product, service, and the true audience you want to reach and who your brand could benefit from. The main point of focus here is to know the audience you want, and know the audience you have, before throwing money at ads.
Now alternatively, there’s boosting your content. These are very different from paid ads and have a lower cost associated with them. Which makes this the perfect way to spend your money to DISCOVER your audience and reach them. You can start boosting content as soon as you’ve started building your content.
Now that we’ve covered timing, let’s cover the differences.
Paid ads are focused on sales, marketing, and converting people into customers or clients. These are when you are ready to push your product or service to an audience that is ready to buy. When you are thinking about your ROI, this is where the dollar ROI comes from. This is not what boosted content is for or focused on.
Boosted content can be done in one of two ways, on the face-front of your platform (not what we recommend), where you can go into your page, see a post, and click the button that is labeled “boost post” directly on the post. The other way is through the backend on your platform manager (similar to creating an ad), but when creating the “ad” you are selecting from “posted content” and selecting the purpose as either awareness or engagement. The latter is what we recommend when boosting! Why you might ask? Well…
Simply put, when you boost on the backend, you have more options for building out your boost and you end up with better results.
Boosted content, unlike paid ads, is focused on driving awareness for your brand and engagement to your posts. It is not meant to make the sale or close the deal, but to get more eyes on your page and create interest around your service or product. It also costs much less in comparison to paid ads. Essentially, it is also meant to make the paid ads MORE efficient and effective because the audience is already familiar with your brand and already getting educated on what your company does or sells.
Before you’re paying to run ads, focus on your main platform content, get to know your messaging, who your brand is, who your audience is, what creatives connect and don’t connect well. Boost content to see what your audience reacts the best to. Get the most out of your paid ads by boosting FIRST, but don’t stop even when you start running ads.
Pull in your larger audience, engage your potential customers, help people learn about you, and spread the word!
One last note as well, a HUGE mistake companies can make is starting to run ads for a company that has no other social media presence. If people who would have become your customers are seeing an ad but aren’t seeing a social media page associated with it, also normally no real customer support, and no way to contact the company other than maybe an email on the website screams SCAM. You will lose customers, not gain.
Our overall advice: boost as soon as you can, establish your audience, be patient with your ads, and see the greater return in the end.