‘What has been your experience with boosting the posts? Are you familiar with it and optimizing things as time goes on? How does it compare with running Facebook ads itself?’

I have run ads on both the Ads manager and boosting posts. Boosting posts is much easier to do. From my experience, if you are running a very simple ad with simple targeting like targeting one specific location, the results are the same whether you set it up in the ads manager or boost it from your page. There are some more advanced options that you just can’t access without the ads manager, but if you just want to run some local ads or simple ads like parents in your local area, you’ll be ok boosting. To sum up, you can still do some pretty cool targeting when you boost posts, and it takes a lot less time to implement. I’m all for boosting! 
Regarding your question about optimizing as time goes on, I think it’s important to test with a small budget first. If you’re just getting impressions and no likes, either the content is wrong, the targeting is wrong, or it’s a combination of both. Sometimes it’s just not where your target audience wants to engage. For example, we tested Facebook ads for a graduate job vacancy at a Tech recruitment firm in London that we’ve been working with for years. We tried different ad versions with different targeting, including a brain teaser competition with a prize to capture contact details. We had low engagement for everything we tried. Sometimes you just hit a dead end with Facebook ads. Facebook will take your money all day long, whether it adds value to your business or not, so it’s important to test small and be ready to throw in the towel if it’s not working for you.
What I will say about advertising on Facebook, business to business can be harder to get right. Let me give you an example, we do social for a company that has several swim schools in Canada. Locally targeted ads result in people sending us private messages on Facebook asking us for prices or specific questions about swimming lessons. These are parents who have seen the boosted ad on their Facebook timeline and fire off a quick message to get more info.
Now, imagine you’re a business owner on Facebook checking out what your friends are up to. If you get an ad targeted to you, it has to be pretty interesting to get you to move away from your personal mindset to thinking about your business. That conversion is harder to make happen.
If you do boost posts, when someone likes or comments on your post, Facebook allows you to invite them to like your page. If they accept the invitation, they are more likely to see your future posts, and you can also target ads to people who have liked your page.

Screenshot showing Facebook like button available to people who have liked a post

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