It is getting increasingly harder to create an authentic community on Facebook. I spent 5 years at LIVESTRONG painstakingly nurturing a supportive and loving online space where cancer survivors and their loved ones could safely come and share their stories of triumph and loss. Since the organic reach has declined and the rise of the “pay to play” model has become the way of the world, I have to be honest – I’m not sure if Facebook is the way to go for online communities who don’t have a dime to spend or a beginning base in which to start. That, however, is another post for another day. Today’s post is working within Facebook’s new reality. This is for organizations still wanting to make an impact and to engage and attract new people to their pages. Here are some do’s and don’ts to making the most of your advertising dollars.

Picture me on a mountain somewhere in lederhosen with one of the horns from a Ricola commercial yelling…


This is an absolutely terrible plan for two reasons:

  1. So you have bought people based upon some sort of self-selected personal identifiers. 99.9% of the people I have seen come through a pay for likes campaign have either appeared to be bots or somehow involved in the porn industry. I’m not sure if there is a statistical method to explain this fact. Maybe people in the porn industry tend to like more pages on Facebook. Who knows? Just do not waste your money – unless, of course, your page is indeed about creating community for the porn industry….even then I’m thinking an affinity community is where you need to go.
  2. They’ve clicked like. You paid. Now they click unlike 10 seconds later. Damn. You are out 30 cents. Way to go.

DO promote amazing content that your current audience has proven they really like.


How do you know they like it? There are tons of likes, of course! Most importantly, comments, shares. Shares are social media currency. That is really what proves your message needs to be seen outside of those currently in your community. This is the perfect opportunity to share your post to others. We assume that most people have at least a few friends and family members in common with us on Facebook. That is why many marketers choose to target “Friends of Fans”.

It’s usually a fairly easy one click option to find a generally similar group of folks. However, if you want to really get the message out to more and more people and broaden your reach, targeting people similar to your fans across all of Facebook is probably an even better way to go. How does this increase your fans? Check out this promoted post above? What is in the top right corner?

Everyone knows how important having a great nurse is during a really frightening time. This video was a compilation of actual nurses from the hospital system in honor of National Nurses Day. We felt it deserved to be seen by more than just the fans of the page, but by the whole community in which the nurses serve. Fans of the page had already liked and shared and commented so much that it reached 4 times the amount of the page’s organic base, so we boosted it from the ad center to reach the whole city. It performed very well and we added 33 page likes as a product of sharing viral feel good information about the hospitals. Although the cost of purchasing 33 fans would have been significantly less than this method, the fans obtained during this content push are much more likely to be interested in what your group has to say and much more likely to share related content in the future.

ADDENDUM – So how do you know when an organic post is ripe for boosting? What is the saturation point? That is a fantastic question. I think there are several ways you can quantify this point:

  • It is blowing every other post you have ever created out of the water.
  • It was posted a few hours ago and has already hit the average lifetime organic reach of your other posts.
  • You see a whole bunch of shares on the post a few hours after posting.
  • The content was created by your organization (not a link out to another source) and it is integral to who you are and what you do.

Now you know what to do and what not to do on a one off basis. Need a bigger plan? Want a strategy? Need some help creating an end of year campaign? Email us. Our experts are here for you!