If you are an active administrator for a Facebook business page, it’s likely you have noticed a little “promote” button that keeps popping up when you post something to the page. It’s a new feature and Facebook ushered it in without a lot of fanfare, so many people are just starting to notice it and wonder what it is. I’m not a big fan of this new mixing of sponsored posts into my newsfeed; I think it erodes the authenticity Facebook has been so determined to preserve. But it gives businesses another creative option to the traditional ad space on the right side.

What does promoting a post do?
It pushes it out to the newsfeeds of more people who like your page, so more of them see it. If any of those people engage with your promoted post, their friends will also see that post in their feeds (their friends also see the activity when they engage with a non-promoted post; the trick is getting them to see it in the first place). Promoting a post does not place it in the right side of the screen where the advertisements appear; a promoted post appears in the newsfeed. You can target your promoted posts geographically and by language (which you can do with regular non-promoted posts too, by the way)

But aren’t the people who follow my page already seeing all my posts?
Well, maybe. If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of information streaming through Facebook. You may think you see everything every friend and business you’ve liked posts, but it’s not that simple. For the average Facebook user, that would be way too much information for the newsfeed. So Facebook uses an algorithm based on with whom you typically interact, the types of activities (videos, photos, etc.) that tickle your fancy and the age of those posts. What you see is based on that.

Are these promoted posts diluting the power of my old school non-promoted posts?
No. It’s important to note that nothing has changed about how your posts that are not promoted are seen. Those in your community will continue to see your non-promoted posts in their newsfeeds like they always did.

What posts are eligible?
Anything from the past three days can be promoted -- status updates, links, videos, photos. It will be promoted for three days. But you don’t have an option to promote a post until you have at least 400 likes for your page.

How much do you pay to promote a post?
You have an option to promote it for $5, $10, $20, etc. The more you pay, the more often your sponsored post will appear. You cannot change that amount once you have promoted a post (you can, however, pause it or delete it). Beware: there is an option to automatically promote all your posts, which is a quick way to punch an unintended hole in your budget. Don’t do it (see my next question).

Why wouldn’t businesses just promote every new thing they post?
First of all, it costs money. Second of all, remember that Facebook is about building authentic community interactions. When promoted posts appear in the newsfeed, they will have a little “sponsored” label at the bottom left. If you get crazy with the cheese whiz and promote things all the time, your community on Facebook may begin to see your posts as a bit disingenuous. If you choose to a promote a post, make it a good one.