Anyone who engages in any sort of marketing, research, mass communications work, or related activity will have read and heard much about the efficacy of social media marketing. The fact is, if you want to be where the action is, then you need to be where the people are, and that means going online. One of the easiest way to collect and utilize market data for whatever purpose one might wish is to engage in social media. Twitter, Google+, and various other websites and platforms can all be useful tools in this regard, but in the same way that Google is the undisputed lord of Internet data acquisition,Facebook is the king of social networking. The corollary to that is a simple one: Smart marketers go to Facebook to target their prospects.
Read on to learn four ways anyone can use Facebook to drill down to the most relevant audience possible for their business, and in the process, maximize the effectiveness of their own marketing strategies while increasing their return on investment.
At its most basic, Facebook’s targeted advertisement can take either a broad or narrow stance. Broadly targeted campaigns focus on catching as many people in their net as possible. While this can often lead to a “quantity over quality” situation, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, hyper-narrow segmentation isn’t necessary to achieve the desired result of a campaign.
To keep your scope as general as possible, focus on sweeping, universal metrics or filters, like gender, age, and location. In keeping with the generality of this approach, it is important to set these parameters to cover as much of the population as possible. For example, if your campaign goals and budget will bear it, location shouldn’t be limited to small areas like towns or counties; a statewide, regional, or even national reach is best. The same is true for age ranges – make them as broad as you can unless your target market is teens specifically, only Baby Boomers, or some other limitation of that sort. In short, if the goal of a marketing effort is engagement and interaction with as many people – and thus, as many prospective customers and clients – as possible, then make sure that the marketing targets match up to that goal.
The opposite of the general, broad-based approach discussed above, the narrow, more targeted approach is another option when exploring the best targeting scheme for a marketing campaign. When taking this approach, it is vital that you preselect and predetermine your desired customer or client demographics. Are you trying to sell lawn care supplies? Try using Facebook’s “precise interests” filter! This is a great tool that lets you target specific people based upon what they like, who they follow on fan pages, and so forth. It just so happens that one of this tool’s many, many interest groups is “home improvement”, which then splits into sub-groups for DIY (“Do It Yourself”), people who like or subscribe to home and garden magazines or television networks, and more. There’s no other way to say it: Used properly, Facebook’s Precise Interests tool is a goldmine.
Advanced Facebook targeting
There’s a fun game on the Internet called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. To play, just Google anyone and The Big G will return a mini-summary of how closely aligned (or not) that someone is to celebrity actor Kevin Bacon. Facebook works the same way, and savvy marketers can use this to their advantage. You don’t want to annoy people who are already in your sphere of influence, for example, but with the Facebook Advertising connections filter, you can target the friends of these users, which lets you leverage social proof to promote your product, service, or event. After all, everyone wants to hang out with their friends! Why not make sure that your next art show or marketing seminar is where the party is?
Other advanced targeting parameters offered on the Facebook Advertising platform include selections for sexual orientation and relationship status – marketers of dating offers, take heed! – annual income, educational level and the details of previously attended educational institutions, work / job history, and so on. Facebook even offers a languages spoken filter for those intrepid souls who wish to dabble in the non-English market.
Double dipping: using Facebook’s re-targeting tools to boost market share
A wise man once said that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This axiom was true in the misty past from whence it sprang, and it’s just as true now. A large base of interested people to engage with and market to is great (vital, even!), but buyers are quite literally worth their weight in gold. It is immeasurably easier to turn a buyer into a repeat buyer, and repeat business, as any marketer knows, is the life and death of a business. Facebook has coded its advertising platform in such a way that uploading, importing, and segmenting your own lists of previous buyers is a matter of just a few clicks. This saves time, money, and stress while maximizing profit – in other words, it’s a marketer’s dream.
Incidentally, users can also do a few other handy things with this tool, such as excluding certain segments of these imported lists from a given campaign. This makes it really easy to offer a subscription service or product to a list without pestering those who are already subscribed, or to “blacklist” harmful IPs or serial refunders. The moral of the story, then, is this: Marketers who use Facebook yet refuse to re-target their customer base may as well be burning stacks of money, especially when Facebook makes it such a cinch.
A note on testing
The above strategies are a great roadmap to success with Facebook marketing, but nothing replaces real-world testing! Don’t forget to test how your campaigns and other marketing ventures perform under actual conditions, and to tweak them appropriately in response to the data received. Failure to test is failure to profit!
Facebook marketing can be a very exciting, very fun way to build up a quick base of customers, clients, and the like. Facebook also does their level best to make it as easy as possible to succeed, but don’t be fooled – you can just as easily lose your shirt if you don’t use your brain before you use your credit card! Luckily, the four strategies discussed above will go a long way in making sure your campaigns, marketing endeavors, research campaigns, or what have you are as precisely targeted and magnetic to your chosen market or niches as possible. With this guide and Facebook’s excellent marketing platform working hand in hand, the Pied Piper’s flute is truly in your hands. All that’s left for you to do is play a couple of notes. Have fun!