Should you Pay $5 to Promote Your Facebook Post?

If you have a professional Page on Facebook like me, I bet that every time you post something, you are constantly asked if you would like to Boost or Promote your post. So, after having it thrown in my face everyday, I finally decided to investigate to see what Facebook claims what level of exposure they can do for me if I choose to hand them my money.

First, this service becomes available to all Facebook Professional Pages once they have over 400 Likes. $5 is the minimum you can spend to promote your post, so I wanted to do some analysis to see if the ROI is worth it or not. On my page, for a $5 budget, it says, “This budget will reach an estimated 1,200 – 2,300 out of your potential audience of 140,000 people.” The more Likes you have, the higher this estimated number will be. In addition, the higher your budget, the more your estimated reach is. For example, if I spend $30, it says it will reach an estimated “4,100 – 7,700 people”. However, keep in mind that the reach you see when you promote your Page post is an estimate and may be affected by how many other promoted Page posts are running at that time.

This video shows what they claim it can do – that your promoted post will appear in the regular News feed and your exposure/audience will increase as a result. Everytime one of your followers interacts with your Promoted Post (either via a Like, a Comment, or a Share) your promoted post will become viewable to that person’s friends (and so on).

This is different from a Facebook Ad. FB ads show up to the right of the News Feed, and if look at this analysis of user’s Visual Attention Level as to what user’s look at on Facebook, you’ll see that Facebook Ads are just about useless, but Promoted Posts are great!

Source: AllFacebook.com

But in order for it to be worthwhile, business logic tells you that you need to get a Return on your Investment (ROI) for any marketing endeavor. So, as an author with a book for sale on Amazon for $0.99 (and I earn $0.35 per sale of the book), I would have to sell 15 copies of my book in order to make a profit from spending $5 on promoting my Facebook post. 

  • 15 x $0.35 = $5.25 (So I would come out ahead with a shiny quarter!)

However, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking of money as my Return on Investment (ROI), but I should be thinking about new readers as my ROI. If this $5 gets me a single new reader that loves my book, his/her enthusiasm for my book will in-turn convince others to purchase my book. (AKA a Maven, as stated in one of my earlier posts). Such a reader would be called a fan, and building a fan-base is the lifeblood of every author. Fans will most likely purchase your other books and continue to write great reviews.

So, it appears that promoting a post on FB, especially if you are advertising a sale, is a good way to go. You may want to think about posting it during an optimal time of the day, when most people are on Facebook and can engage with your post. If anyone has promoted their Page posts before, please feel free to share your experiences below.

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Shifting Focus and Changing Plans

For most authors in search of traditional publishing, it is only after diving into the deep end head first that you realize that you can barely tred water among all the other authors in the pool. It is only then that you might decide to take a step back and survey the landscape so that you can find a more likely path. In my case, that’s exactly what happened, and now I’m changing course toward calmer waters. It’s not the shortest journey, but it’s become more apparent to me now more than ever that an author must have patience and, in my opinion, layout a series of stepping-stone goals.

It has been my goal to get my novel published. However, the path that I chose to get there was to submit to literary agents (the gatekeepers to the publishing industry). My reasoning was that I knew they could educate me on the process, negotiate for a fair deal (so I would know whether I am being taken advantage of), and sell my manuscript better than I could. However, submitting to literary agents as a new author is like trying to take a shortcut in the publishing world. Literary agents generally look to get their clients that highly desired hardcover deal which is not often achieved by first time authors.

So it is time that I “start small” and choose the other path. I’m going to submit directly to some of the smaller, more focused publishing houses that usually deal with paperback and ebook deals. This was somewhat difficult for me to wrap my mind around as any self published author can achieve those same things via Amazon’s Create Space or other similar venues. However, a publishing house does more than just publish. It’s the editing, the marketing, the recognition amongst the consumers of a quality product, the brick-and-mortor store distribution, and the commitment of a team that is involved in your success as much as you are.

I feel that now, with my short story published, my query letter will exhibit more confidence, and with my progress into book two, it’ll demonstrate my dedication. If successful, I’ll have to negotiate the terms of my own deal and manage my own career, but it’s all about the journey, and it will all be worth it in the end.