In any marketing campaign, one of the best ways to get higher conversion rates and generate more leads is to segment your messages by audience demographics. This had always been difficult to do on Facebook, but the social network recently announced the rollout of a new targeting feature that gives page administrators greater control over who sees which status updates in their news feeds.
This is a big win for savvy business owners and marketers. While updates previously could be segmented by country or language, this latest rollout allows them to target every status update by a variety of demographic factors, including age, gender, relationship status, college (school, major, graduation year), high school and workplace. In addition, location has become more granular, with city, state and country options.
Not all page admins have access to the new targeting features just yet, but they will be rolled out over the next few weeks. Here are three ways to benefit from Facebook's enhanced page post targeting:
1. Reduce unsubscribes and "unlikes."
Let's say, for example, you have a product designed just for female college students and you want to run a Facebook promotion especially for seniors in a certain geographic area. Now your non-student, non-female and non-local senior fans don't need to see it in their news feeds -- ever.
When it comes to brand building on social media, relevance is what matters most. People usually ignore or reject marketing messages that don't apply to them. With page post targeting, you can reduce the amount of irrelevant content cluttering up your customers' news feeds and effectively reduce the number of "unlikes" without altering your core strategy.
There is one small catch: The targeting feature applies only to news feeds. That means if you promote one product several ways or post multiple updates to different target audiences each day, anyone who visits your Timeline can see all of these posts. Although most data shows that few Facebook fans ever visit your Timeline except to see a specific post, it would be better to plan your status updates so that you don't make the same post multiple times all at once.
2. Get more traction with Promoted Posts.
Promoted Posts can be an effective way to ramp up fan engagement for business owners with an ad budget. With only about 16 percent of fans seeing any one page's posts, paying for more eyeballs is a useful way to draw attention to the news and links that count most.
Combining Promoted Posts with the new targeting options is even more powerful. First, spend time crafting a post with a strong call to action that's educational, informative or entertaining. Then, make sure you're using the information you've collected about your customers to target your post to the right people.
And always test your results. Facebook has made it easy to see how many people a post reaches at a glance. Use this data to refine your messages and keep your targeted campaigns on track.
3. Create higher quality engagement with existing fans.
While the number of total impressions on a particular post may go down because you're targeting only your most qualified leads, engagement should rise because fans are seeing messages they care about. And more shares, comments, "likes" and interactions directly lead to more fans and friends of fans seeing your post in their feed -- whether or not you ever pay for a Promoted Post.
There is a strategic downside here, though. Getting the most out of this feature means admins will have to gather quality information about their audience and then create targeted content. That could mean a serious investment of time and resources. But knowing your audience, especially if you market on social media, is priceless -- and not just on Facebook.
Based in Carlsbad, Calif., Amy Porterfield is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies (For Dummies, 2011) as well as a speaker and trainer, teaching small businesses and entrepreneurs how to drive more traffic, leads and sales with Facebook marketing.