If you're managing a Business Page on Facebook, life is about to get a little easier.

Facebook's new Pages app for iOS is available now in the App Store. The big update: now you can create Promoted Posts right from the mobile app. So, retail owners can take a picture on their i-device, make a post, and promote it in a single step, on the go.

Another new feature gives you the ability to increase your post's reach significantly.

"Now Promoted Posts can reach not only people who like your page, but their friends as well," according to David Baser, Product Manager for the Ads Team.

Promoted Posts (a feature that lets a Page manager pay a relatively small price to reach a much higher percentage of fans of her page, as well as friends of those fans) is now available for any business with over 400 likes. Previously, businesses with more than 100,000 likes could not use the feature.

Businesses can also schedule posts via their page or the new mobile app. When creating a new post, a drop down allows a business to pick the day and time at which a post will go live. This is a feature Baser said was highly requested by small businesses.

Case Study

Atwood's Bakery in Alexandria, LA, which has 5,550 likes on their company page, spent $20 on a Promoted Post in August and had a 20% bump in sales in the dessert cakes category that they highlighted, according to Tobias Wilhelm of Atwood's agency Captivate Minds.

"While most posts on Atwood's page reach between 25% and "¨40% of their audience, the Promoted Post reached a total of 8,779 people--3,212 organic; 5,653 viral; 5,322 paid," said Wilhelm.

He continued:

"The specific Promoted Post received 123 likes, 78 comments and six shares--making it our most popular post to date. Sales in the following 14 business days were also up 14%. Both the client and I feel it was a great deal. We have tried Facebook Ads, which in this area will run about $0.20 CPM--but results tend to be much less exciting, as click-through rates hovering in the usual zero-point-something range."

If you're confused by the reach numbers above, a Facebook spokesperson stated, "Someone could see the story organically but also in a paid way. A person could see the post in their feed organically, and see the same post on the right hand side as a sponsored post. So overall reach (what a page manager would see on the post) would be 1, but it would still count as one organic and one paid view. The total views number is the most important one."

Jayme Pretzloff, online marketing director for family-owned Wixon Jewelers in Minneapolis, MN told me "People have a better level of engagement with Promoted Posts.  We saw a big difference on the same piece of content in a Promoted Post vs. a Sponsored Story Post--a 12X difference as far as action, and the click rate was higher for the promoted one." 

Put Into Practice

So how could you get your business a boost? You could create a series of posts before a weekend sale or special, and schedule them to start running on Thursday or Friday. Promoted Posts could increase awareness of the sale by showing up on those users' timelines over the three days a it is active. For a 500 fan page, a $10 investment would likely hit every fan and a huge amount of their friends, according to Baser.

A smaller dollar investment is doled out to fans over time, but spending the maximum tends to hit fans quite quickly. Facebook's Baser has found a best practice for Promoted Posts include using very share-able items, such as photos, matching Wilhelm's experience.

Other recently added Page features include more advanced post targeting, so users on a page can receive different posts based not only on language and location, but on age, gender, interests, relationship status, education and workplace. For that same weekend sale, if we were selling baby and toddler goods, we might target the page for certain ages, relationship status and interests. The Page targeting is now similar to the feature set available for advertisers using the Facebook Ad system.

Are you using Promoted Posts or Scheduled Posts in your business? What has been your experience?