Boost content to reach your page followers
Your company page’s follower count is pointless if your content doesn’t reach them. Organic content doesn't, so you need to pay to boost it. In an experiment, product usage increased 8%.
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You might have collected thousands of likes on your Facebook page.
Or one of your goals this year is to grow your LinkedIn page followers.
Maybe you’re not doing either yet, but you feel some envy when you see how many likes or followers your competitor has collected.
But this all leads to a key question.
Is there a point in followers for your company page?
Does it boost your results or is it just a vanity metric?
Scientific research answered this question.
And it depends on what you do with the page.
Let’s take a look.
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Previous insight: Coffee increases spending by 50% (150+ more insights here)
Boost content to your page followers to increase their engagement with your product
Channels: Social media | Ads | Engagement
For: B2C. Can be tested for B2B
Research date: April 2017
Ask your customers to follow or like your social media page (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Ideally, do this when or soon after they start using your product.
Then, pay to boost your content and target it to your page followers (e.g. informational content, special offers, events).
You will remind customers that follow your page about you, which will make them use your product more.
Pro tip: This study tested different ways to invite people to follow a company page. The framing “avoid missing out on rewards and benefits” was the most effective.
When customers like and follow a company’s social media page, they use the company’s products more if they regularly come across the page’s content.
Companies need to pay to ‘boost’ their content to make it reach their followers. Organic content alone has no impact on people’s product use.
In an experiment, researchers invited 3,236 customers to like the Facebook page of Discover Vitality - a wellness program that gives people points for doing healthy things. They then monitored how many Vitality points these people earned over 6 months, compared to customers that were not asked to like the page:
For 4 months, Vitality simply posted content organically. There was no difference in points earned
For 2 months, Vitality paid to boost posts to reach people that liked the page. Customers that liked the page earned 8% more points on average during that time
The effect is strongest for customers that are not already highly involved with the company, because it keeps them up to date when they wouldn’t be otherwise.
🧠 Why it works
Social media news feeds usually give very little organic reach to company pages. Posts reach only 1% to 6% of followers according to various estimates (take this with a pinch of salt, algorithms are constantly changing).
But when we follow a company page, we are usually more likely than the average person to like, buy, and use that company’s products. That makes us an ideal target for content from the company, if only it would reach us.
Paid posts break through this barrier and regularly reach and remind this high-value audience.
When we are regularly informed and reminded about the company, we are more likely to engage with or use its products.
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The researchers ran one field experiment with one company page (Discover Vitality). This increases the risk that the effect might not work in other situations.
The study focused on one platform (Facebook). However, other social media platforms have the same issue of very limited reach of organic posts from company pages. So the effect should apply to other platforms too.
Some companies might be able to regularly achieve high organic reach with their posts due to their unique content, context, or product. If so, the same result might be achieved without the need for paid posts.
🏢 Companies using this
Most companies only use organic content on their social media pages.
Some companies occasionally pay to boost posts. However, they do so as part of broader customer acquisition campaigns, not for existing customers.
Very few companies systematically target their page followers with boosted content with the purpose of keeping them engaged with their products.
⚡ Steps to implement
Ask customers to follow your company page. You can do so in any format you like (e.g. email, in person, flyer inside product packaging).
Pay to boost your page’s content so it reaches people that follow it. Keep the content you boost quite broad (e.g. tips on how to best use your product). Assume it’s the only content about you that the viewers see.
If you want, you can easily measure the effect and value of boosting your page content:
Invite only a subset of customers to like or follow your page
Make sure you reach these customers when you boost your page content
Observe the difference in behavior (e.g. engagement, usage, spending) between those that you invited to like your page, and those you didn’t
🔍 Study type
Field experiment (on 4,054 customers of Discovery Vitality for 6 months starting February 2014)
What are likes worth? A Facebook page field experiment. Journal of Marketing Research (April 2017).
Daniel Mochon. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University
Karen Johnson. University of Witwatersrand
Janet Schwartz. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University
Dan Ariely. Duke University
Remember: This is a scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
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Organic marketing is so powerful because you don't need to pay to keep it relevant. In my eCommerce company we still make sales from posts uploaded in 2019.