Speak The Language: Understanding Social Media Ads – The Basics of Facebook Boosting and Instagram Promoting

Setting a CTA for Facebook Promotions

As organic reach continues to decline across Facebook and Instagram due to ever changing factors in their respective algorithms, social media advertising has become more and more important to ensuring that the content being developed is actually seen, heard and engaged with.

Whether you are investing tens of thousands of dollars in creating custom content such as video or photo shoots, or investing your own time shooting your own imagery, promoting your message with paid support via Facebook and Instagram ads ensure that your investment is gaining traction and return.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between boosting and promoting Facebook and Instagram posts, their pros and cons, along with a dive into highly targeted custom ads.

Boosting a Facebook Post: The Basics

Boosting a Facebook post is a quick and easy way to get more reach, impressions and engagement. Depending on the type of post, there are different options for how to get the best return and maximize your spend efficiency.

Boosting an image may seem straightforward depending on your level of expertise, but there are some important nuances that could trip you up if you’re not careful!

How to Boost a Facebook Image

The first and most important step is Audience Targeting. Here are some basic pre-set audiences you can target:

Boosting a Facebook Post: People Who Like Your Page

Selecting this audience will deliver your post to only those who currently follow your page. If you have a specific message or are in a niche market, using this audience is a quick and easy way to ensure your followers are actually seeing your content.

However, keep in mind the size of your following. If you’re following is small, you may want to consider another option which could be the “People Who Like Your Page and Their Friends” option. When selecting either of these options, you will be able to further target your selected audience by location and age.

One example of why you may want to edit the location and age is if you’re promoting a local promotion or event.

If you have an audience that lives throughout the United States, chances are people living in Seattle or Los Angeles wouldn’t be coming for a promotion or small event in Miami or Philadelphia. Selecting the Edit button will allow you to alter the location of where your boosted ad will be served.

For our purposes, we’ll select Miami, Florida. You will then have the option of expanding the radius or narrowing the audience down so the ad is served only within that city.

Selecting an Audience Radius for Facebook Ads

The last two steps are to determine the placement of your ad. Leaving this option on the default Automatic Placement will serve the ads on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger (depending on the type of post).

If you’d like to run the boosted post on only Facebook or Instagram, for example, simply click the ON button and check or uncheck whichever platform you’d like the ad to run.

Editing Placements and Budget for Facebook Boost

The final step is to determine your budget. The great thing about this feature is that you can determine an estimated number of people reached. So depending on how many people you’d like the ad to potentially reach, you can lower or raise your budget.

Boosted posts typically default at a 10-day run time, so your ad will run over the course of ten days. Again, depending on the goals and objectives of your ad, this can be changed.

If you have a sale that only lasts for three days, you would want to change this setting. Lastly, you can input a call-to-action (CTA) in your post such as your website.

Simply scroll to the top to “POST BUTTON” and select an option from the drop-down.

Once this is done, you can also view how the ad will look based on different platforms including Facebook Desktop, Facebook Mobile, Instagram and Instagram Stories.

Setting A CTA for Facebook Boosts

Now you’re ready to boost! Simply click the Boost button and you’re ready to rock.

Boosting a Facebook Post: People You Choose Through Targeting

This option gives you the ability to pinpoint your target based on gender, age, location, demographics, interests, and behaviors.

For example, you could target mothers aged 25 to 45 who live in the Pacific Northwest that are interested in strollers. Pretty narrow right? The great thing is if you have trouble finding interest categories or demographics, there’s help.

Selecting the Browse button will provide you a drop-down menu of different categories to choose from.

If the ad is for strollers, but you also sell car seats and other child safety products, you can select Suggestions, and Facebook will provide a list of relevant targeting categories you can add to the target audience.

Detailed Audience Targeting for Facebook Boosts

Be sure to look at how your audience size is defined. If it’s too narrow, consider adding more interests or expanding the location of where your ad will be served.

If you’d like to expand upon the location of where the ad is being served, you can either type in the city or demographic area, or you can select the Drop Pin button at the lower left of the map.

This allows you to select your own location, and select up to a 50 mile radius if you choose.

Advanced Audience Size Radius for Facebook Boosts

When you’ve defined your target audience, simply click Save and you’re ready to go.

The same steps can be repeated in other audience setting categories. If you want to target People Who Like Your Page and Their Friends, it will do just that.

If you’d like to create an entirely custom audience, simply select Create New Audience, input your targeting parameters and click Save.

Promoting an Instagram Post: The Basics

What Facebook calls Boosting, Instagram calls Promoting but it’s essentially one in the same.

Promoting an Instagram post is a little more straightforward and simpler to enable. The first thing you’ll want to do is identify which post you want to promote and tap the Promote button on your smartphone.

Promoting A Post On Instagram

The next step will be to determine where you want to direct people to who are seeing your promoted Instagram post.

These calls-to-action (CTAs) include directing people to visit your Instagram profile, a specific website, or to message your Instagram account directly.

CTA for Instagram Promoting

If you’re trying to build followers, or would like to focus specifically on your Instagram account, you would want to select the first option.

If you’d like for users to visit your website or any other particular site such as a landing page for ticket sales, select the “Your Website” option and input your URL. You will also be able to choose which CTA you’d like.

Promoting an Instagram Post: Audience Targeting

The next step is determining whom you want to target.

The default setting will target your current Instagram followers and other accounts that resemble your followers based on accounts they follow and interact with.

You also have the option to create your own custom audience.

Creating a Custom Audience for Instagram Promoting

Enter the name of your new custom audience so that you can use it for additional promotions if needed.

For locations, you have two main options: Regional and Local.

For Regional targeting, simply add various cities, regions, or countries you want to target.

When it comes to Local Targeting, you have a few more options to work with. Local Targeting for Instagram will automatically default to using your current location.

You also have the option to expand the geographic radius from one mile up to 30 miles. If you’d like to use a more specific location, tap the button next to Your Current Location.

Custom Audience Radius for Instagram Promoting

You will now be prompted to enter a specific address in order to target a custom location.

For example, if we wanted to target Manhattan, we could simply input a high traffic area such as Madison Avenue, slide the radius scale to determine the most appropriate geographic area we want to target in New York City and select Done.

Targeting New York Madison Avenue for Instagram Promoting

Once you’re done with selecting your geographic location, you can begin inputting which interest categories you want to target.

Instagram will provide a short list of suggested interests, but feel free to type your own. For example, if we’re targeting shoppers in Manhattan, we may want to type in “shopping” as an interest category.

This will in turn generate an automatic list of relevant interest categories that you can select to further bolster your overall audience.

Interest Targeting for Instagram Promoting

Once you’ve created your Audience Name, your target geographic location and now interests, it’s time to select age and gender. Simply tap whether you want to target Male, Female or both and use the sliding scale to determine the age range.

Now it’s budget time! Be careful when selecting your budget because the number reflected is what you will spend daily, not for the total campaign.

Determine the total budget you want and how long you want to run the ad for. Let’s say you want to spend $500 for the campaign. You could select a $100 daily budget over a five day duration.

Really, it’s up to you! You will also be able to see the estimated reach based on your budget.

Selecting a Budget for Instagram Promoting

Once you’ve determined your overall budget, click Next and you’re ready to launch the promotion. If you haven’t already, you will need to input your payment method.

Click “Create Promotion” and you’re almost there! Instagram will review the ad to make sure it abides by their guidelines. You will be notified once the ad is approved and it will begin being served immediately.


This all may seem really overwhelming, but working with a professional can take the stress off you! If you’d like to get in touch with The Social Group™ team, please email [email protected] or call 954.315.3832.