Facebook added new meaning to the term “target audience” last week with the unveiling of a powerful new tool that enables small business owners with Facebook Pages to fine-tune their marketing message in order to fit the interests of each of their followers.
It’s called Page Post Targeting and this new feature appears to be custom made for Facebook Page administrators who want to steer away from the shotgun approach to marketing their brand by targeting their status updates to the users who are most likely to benefit from them.
Before this week, Page administrators were limited to culling audiences by location and language, which is a far cry from interest-based targeting. Under the new options, Page managers will potentially be able to narrow the field of interested readers by their age, gender, “interested in” (men, women), relationship status, education level, place of employment, in addition to current language and geographical location. Another tweak now allows the location to be narrowed down to the users' city, state or country.
To access Page Post Targeting, click the “crosshair” icon at the bottom of the status update box. Don't worry if you don't see it right away, Page Post Targeting will be available to all Facebook Page administrators within the next few months. In the meantime, here's a break down of what to expect, and what it will mean to your business.
- More relevant posts. The ability to post content that is more relevant and interesting to segments of your company's fan base, is the biggest draw. For example, a company that specializes in motorcycle equipment can publish a status update related to the efficacy of leather jackets for women, targeting only women in their 20s to 30s among their many Facebook fans. Under the new scheme, the status update would never make it into a male's (who is less likely to be interested in the news) News Feed.
- Fewer “unsubscribes” and more “likes.” Content culling frees marketers to create and post several highly targeted messages per day, for free, without fear of saturating fans with content. This should lead to fewer “unsubscribes” and an increase in “People Talking About,” which could lead to more “Likes.”
- Timeline might get awkward. Since this new feature only applies to posts to the News Feed, all fans of your business or brand will be able to read all posts on your Page’s Timeline, which could prove awkward. For example, if you decide to rewrite and post several updates in order to draw readers of different ages to a product, the words you use to describe it under multiple posts could get confusing.
- One size fits all posts still available. Where targeted posting goes wrong is when fans that don’t fit the specified criteria (or friends of fans) notice several different posts next to each other on the company’s Timeline. Fortunately, Facebook admins can select a generic version of any altered post and hide the rest.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.