If you have a Facebook page set up for your brand, (and let's face it: by now, you should), then you'll be familiar with the little "Boost Post" button. I'd like to take this opportunity to say that if you don't have a Facebook page set up to promote your brand by now, then for goodness' sake, get one now!
Whether you've actually clicked that button or not, I'm going to go through it with you and let you know how to make the most of the best feature: highly targeted audience filtering.
How Does the "Boost Post" Process work?
Basically, you pay a fairly small sum, and Facebook will set your post in front of the demographic of your choice. It's like an ice cream parlor where you can pick your flavor and toppings, the quality is good, AND it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg. I often dream of such a place...
I asked Mark Ling to sum up his opinion of boosting posts on Facebook, to which he replied: "It's a good low-cost-per-click way to get a lot of visitors to a post on your blog." So... just what kind of reach can be had, and for how much, you ask? Well! Actions speak louder than words, but screenshots are best of all, so let me show you:
This is a screenshot from a friend of mine who is associated with a popular satire website that uses Facebook to share articles:
With just a $5 budget, they...
- Reached 14,912 people within the demographic of their choice.
- Had 738 link clicks.
- Added 39 page likes.
- Added 145 post likes.
I will have to mention that this is a satire website, so it pays to consider that the viral factor in the article titles will be high. With the right phrase and the right audience, however, you can achieve the same sort of virality.
And even posts with attention-snagging subjects can gain by a shift in demographic, which brings me to my next point...
How Tweaking Your Demographic Can Make a HUGE Difference
My friend adjusted the audience slightly by going from targeting people who liked the page and those people's friends, to targeting anyone in the country between 18 and 65. This is what happened:
This one tweak earned one of the posts some massive numbers. In fact, it:
- Reached 76,928 people
- Attracted 9,612 link clicks
- Earned 170 page likes
- Earned 664 post likes
And all within 36 hours of posting the initial post! Note that the budget is just slightly more than double the original $5 budget but the return was much, much more than double. In this case, because of the shocking satire-post titles, extending the site's audience was a good idea.
For many brands, the opposite tactic of refining the audience is a better idea to hone in on the most targeted people. You'll have to think about your strategy depending on your brand.
Either way, you need to do these two things:
- Open your audience to more than those who've already liked your page and their friends. Get fresh eyes!
- Try different demographics and keep an eye on the successes and losses; just keep whatever works best.
How Do I Tweak My Demographics?
The first thing you'll adjust is your general age/gender/location demographics. If you need inspiration for understanding your own brand's demographics, you'll find that under the next point.
When you've clicked "Boost Post" for any given post on your page, it'll likely be automatically set to "People who like your Page" under "Audience."
You want to select, "People you choose through targeting" instead, and then "Create New Audience," or "Edit Audience" if you want to change one you've already got.
You'll then be taken to a menu with variables that you can adjust to suit your audience, including location, age, gender and interests:
If that's all you want to edit, it should be sufficient, but if you want to really hone in on your audience, you can take it a step further. When it comes to boosting a post about a niche website, this can be very useful.
Advanced Demographics Tweaking
For this next step, you'll need to go to the top right of Facebook, locate the button that says "Build Audience" and then select "Use Ads Manager" from the drop-down options.
Then select Audiences from the left-hand side-bar menu.
Now go back to the top right, to "Create Audience," under which you want to select "Saved Target Group."
You can then start to adjust a broad number of variables to target very specific audiences, so that you don't waste time or money getting your posts seen by uninterested parties.
To give you an example of just how specific you can get, I've created a concept for an audience that would be a "nicheception" - a sub niche within a sub niche within a sub niche.
Let's say there was a dating tips website for conservative women in California. That's ridiculously specific. You could target all women, even all the women in California, but what about all of the liberal personalities and women who already have partners? You can filter down that far easily by selecting specific relationship status's and political preferences:
Every element of people's lives that could be a status, tag, or interest on Facebook has become a demographics super-filter.
- Posting about romantic gifts? Target "Anniversary within 30 days."
- Long-distance relationship advice? There's an option to find people in those, too.
- Liberal or conservative? Choose! If their political standing is anything to go by, you can filter 'em.
- Industry-specific? If you're posting about sunscreens, target people working in outdoor occupations!
- Are you in the travel and tourism niche? You can specify people who are planning to travel, are currently traveling, or returned from travel either one or two weeks ago.
There are many other specifics you could target. This is just a small list of examples, and the possibilities are huge. It's a little creepy really, but it does make audience targeting extremely effective. So from a marketing standpoint, you might as well get right into it!
You can save a variety of these audiences, and then select the best one for each post. You may find one usually covers your audience quite well, or you may find you need a variety to cover different post topics. Either way, it's that easy to set up.
Once you've finished and clicked "Create Audience," when you go back to boost a post the option will be there for you to select.
How Can I Get an Accurate Idea of My Audience?
If you have no idea where to start, I'd suggest taking a look at both your current Facebook demographics, and your website demographics, to get a good idea of your target audience. You can do both of these things in AffiloTools.
First head to Facebook under "Social" in the left-hand side-bar menu, then click on "Fans" on the right at the top of the page:
From these Facebook statistics it would seem that targeting males in the 18-34 age range could be quite successful for this brand, particularly in London and Cairo to get really specific.
In AffiloTools, you can also check your website traffic demographics, which may give you further insight into the type of people who have a natural interest in your brand. For this you simply need to go to "Traffic" in the left-hand side-bar menu, and then "Demographics" in the top right hand corner.
The ones of particular interest here will be country, language, and perhaps even screen resolution if you're linking to a non-responsive site in your post.
Compare the two sets of demographics and see if they match. If you notice something different with your site traffic compared to what your Facebook traffic shows, there could be an interested audience on Facebook that you haven't even tapped into yet!
Overall, the two should give you a good idea of the main demographics. And you can imagine what other audience specifics you'd need to consider depending on your niche, such as "single" for posts about dating tips.
Targeting your audience like this means that you can get the best bang for your buck without paying to show your post to those who won't be as interested. It'd be a lot less work to sell a plaid flannel shirt to a lumberjack than it would be to sell one to a high-society fashionista. That's why you'd only want to spend time and money showing your goods to those tree-felling behemoths.
Everyone is only guessing when they first set out, so these tools and a bit of trial-and-error will help you to make your guess at your audience an educated one.