Facebook has been busy behind the scenes working on some new features that will change the way small businesses market to their audience. The latest unveiling is the Page Post Targeting feature, which will allow brands to target their posts to specific segments of their audiences, instead of the broad posting approach that's been the standard until now. Here's how it works, and how to use it to your advantage.
Facebook Page Post Targeting allows you to pick certain subgroups among your followers and direct a post solely to that group. Until now, all your posts would appear in all of your followers' news feeds. With post targeting, you can break out your audience by a number of variables, including:
- Education (high school, schools attended, education level)
- Relationship status
- Location (country, state, city)
So, for instance, if you run a content marketing agency and you want to post a tip that's geared to a certain industry, you can target that post to appear only in followers' news feeds with workplaces that fall within that industry. Likewise, a bar or restaurant owner might be targeting a post announcing a homecoming event to alumni and current students at a local university. All of this can be accomplished using Page Post Targeting.
The Shotgun Approach
There are both pros and cons to the targeted post approach and the standard shotgun approach. By targeting your posts, you're limiting the potential reach of your messages, because only those followers meeting your target criteria will be exposed to the message in their news feeds. However, using targeted posts allows you to post more specific posts that are relevant to a portion of your followers, but not all.
If you use the shotgun approach, you're restricted to posting broad content that appeals to your entire audience. You can always post targeted messages anyway, but some followers could be turned off if they see frequent posts that are irrelevant to their interests, and they may un-Like your page.
Managing Your Timeline
The one inconvenience that comes with Page Post Targeting is that your target criteria affects only which posts appear in followers' news feeds, but not the posts that appear on your brand page timeline. In other words, your targeted posts will still be visible to any visitors who land on your brand page.
If you're driving traffic to your brand page to try to boost your follower count, you'll want to keep your timeline clean, showing only the broad posts that appeal to every segment of your audience. You must manually hide each targeted post from your timeline, which is a minor inconvenience. but will be worth your time to maximize your content marketing efforts.
Benefits to Small Business
Facebook's targeting feature may result in more engagement, more shares and follower growth. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to control who is seeing what messages, reducing the risk of alienating a portion of your followers when you're running a special or have a tip that's only relevant to a small group.
You can also utilize Page Post Targeting with another of Facebook's recent offerings: Scheduled Posts. Scheduled Posts enables you to set a sequence of posts to appear at specific intervals over a course of time, so you don't have to sit in front of your laptop or notebook to post the right messages at the right time. If you're targeting high school students, for instance, you don't want to post messages during school hours. But you can still set all your posts up for the day or even weeks or months ahead, scheduling targeted posts to appear at the most opportune times for each segment of your audience.
Facebook's Page Post Targeting feature will be available to all brand pages with 100 likes or more over the next several months. In the meantime, start planning your content marketing campaigns with your followers' demographics in mind, because you'll soon be able to reach each member of your audience with more engaging content that's most relevant to them.
Angela Stringfellow is a PR and MarComm Consultant and Social Media Strategist offering full-circle marketing solutions to businesses. Angela blogs via Contently.com.