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Boosting a Post on Facebook

   May 27th, 2016

boostfacebookI mentioned this in passing at a meeting not too long ago, and it got enough interest that I thought it'd be worth posting here.

The meeting topic was library marketing, especially for programs. I mentioned that my library occasionally boosted Facebook posts to great success - and it seemed like no one else in the room had done this for their library.

Not that we're experts - above, "occasionally" means twice in the last three or so years. We've only done it for huge events (a major author coming to speak kind of events) where, with just about a week to go before the event, the number of tickets we'd given out was frightening low. We'd be scrambling trying to push awareness of the event however we could, and so we'd boost that post on Facebook too.

In general, our posts go out to an average of 400 people. That varies wildly, but that's probably a pretty good average. When we boosted the posts though, those would reach 5,000 people.

I think we allocated about $20 for the boosts, which we paid for on the library's credit card. Later, the Friends reimbursed us from the programming budget, since it was program advertising. We'd choose a new targeted audience by location, and just use Chelmsford's zip codes.

And our events were successful, so I'm inclined to say this was worth it. Tougher if your town only lets you pay for things by check, but still worth looking into because it isn't a whole lot of money and does seem to help us reach people on Facebook (although, I do hate having to play Facebook's game).

Does anyone else do this successfully, or regularly? Has it ever backfired on you? Please share your experiences in the comments. Thanks.

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6 Responses to “Boosting a Post on Facebook”

  1. Roberta Johnson Says:

    We do it regularly at the Des Plaines Public Library in Illinois. As you say, it is really cheap AND it pays off. I think our marketing person does it at least once a month, maybe more often during the summer. We promote events, classes, new services and databases.

  2. Alessandro R Says:

    Hello Brian,

    Firstly congrats on the promotion! Secondly, it is great to see that you continue to post and utilize your blog. Your posts have been very helpful in the past.

    If allowed depending on your library’s (and/or library systems) policies…

    -Community Newsletter and [Local] Newspaper

    -Open an official library account on
    –SnapChat, Twitter, etc. (if you have staff you can designate to manage every week to post)

    -Digital Signage (outdoor more than indoor)

    -If you have staff; designate an outreach librarian to go to local farmers markets, events, etc.

    -Tell your circ staff to promote as they are checking out, even slipping a piece of paper with i.e. dates and times for storytimes.

    -Friends of the Library; they maybe able to post and go where the library is not allowed

    -Buddy up with nearby libraries and see if you can cross promote programs.

    Those are a few thoughts…I will comment if I think of more.

    Thank you,

  3. Keri Says:

    We boost programs on FB pretty frequently but when we do our program evaluations, nearly all of the people have heard about them from our email newsletter, the local newspaper or a flyer in the library.

    We do think it has been valuable in terms of getting more likes on our page and spreading library information to more people but in terms of actual program attendance it hasn’t really panned out.

    I do think that people being aware of the wide variety of events/services the library provides is important in its own right, even if they personally don’t utilize them/attend.

  4. Carol Eyman Says:

    Our Friends group has a Paypal account that we use for promoting on Facebook. It helps, but I am frustrated because Facebook will estimate that far more people will see the promoted post than actually do. I’ve been told that it’s more effective to create a Facebook event and promote that than it is to promote a regular post

  5. Lisa Prolman Says:

    Your library has a credit card? That would be wonderful…

  6. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Roberta: that’s good to hear that other libraries have a similar experience – I’m glad it’s working for you too.

    @Alessandro: thank you, and thanks for the marketing ideas. We actually do most of these, although one we’ve talked about but never done is putting promotional bookmarks into books as they’re checked out. That seems like a great idea.

    @Keri: that’s interesting. It’s be nice if there were a more direct line, but I think you’re right that becoming part of your community’s zeitgeist is a good thing too. Even if people don’t come to the library, getting into the back of their minds that their library is active and doing things is valuable.

    @Carol: thanks for that tip – we always just to posts, so I’ll look at events in the future. But what makes you think that Facebook is overestimating the reach (besides not trusting further than you can throw it in general)?

    @Lisa: yes, it is very helpful, and we know we’re lucky. Ours is grandfathered in, and we’re the last Town department to have one.