You don’t own your Facebook fans. You lease them. We’ve all heard the rumors that Facebook reach is on it’s way to zero. We are at the tail end of a period where social marketing is considered “free,” where you post because you can and when you are guaranteed eyeballs on whatever you produce.
Long story short, social media marketing is going the way of advertising. That means you are going to need to be picky about who sees your content because eyes on content = $ out of your pocket. This is the time to ensure you have built the right type of social community as well as the time to start testing content targeting.
Now I bet you’re thinking a few things:
THOUGHT 1:“Well, crap.”
This should help with the pain:
Facebook’s Audience Insights advertising tool will help us dig into the next two thoughts.
THOUGHT 2: “Does my social community reflect my target demographic (i.e. once I have to pay, will I be paying for the right people to see my content)?”
Within Audience Insights you can learn an alarming amount about your Facebook community, including who they are, where they are, what they do and what they spend their money on. Facebook even knows which type of car your users are in the market for. (Note: Facebook surfaces aggregated information people already express on Facebook, along with information from trusted third-party partners — like Acxiom — through their partner categories targeting.)
Looking through these tabs, you can learn about who you’re marketing to on a daily basis, how your population compares to the Facebook population at large and even garner information on your email subscribers by creating custom audiences to analyze (assuming they use the same email address for Facebook as they provided you).
This can help shed light on the reality that your Facebook community might not be the same as your target market. That can let you know what type of advertising you need to run: offset the discrepancy in your audiences, or figure out a modified content and engagement plan that fits the target social audience you currently have.
You also need to look deeper into how your audiences are consuming your social content. Audience Insights can tell you how frequently your community is logging into Facebook and which device(s) they are using when they do so.
This can tell you what types of ads you should be running (e.g., if most of your users are accessing your ads on mobile, make sure they are mobile-friendly and direct to a mobile-optimized site), and also provide insight on what types of apps and campaigns you should be crafting. Think mobile first when more than a third of your audience is mobile only. If you don’t, it’s like blowing up your print ad for a billboard when the majority of your audience is only viewing your billboards.
THOUGHT 3: “So how do I react?”
Instead of posting a lot of content for general consumption, focus on the specific users you really want to see your content. Not every post is going to be appealing to every member of your social community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t craft and/or tweak each piece of content to appeal to different members of your audience.
There’s no right way to tell a story; identify some of the reasons why your core audiences would resonate with that story and emphasize those points in your social content. Then A/B test multiple pieces of content to pinpoint the best way to share your messages.
Now that you know who your audience is, how they use social, and which pieces of content are best to share, you’ll need to evaluate the success of your content. It will be important to shift your evaluation strategy as you did your content and targeting strategy.
You will likely garner less engagement on each piece of content as you increase your segmentation strategy. That’s okay. Fewer likes doesn’t mean your content is less successful. When tailoring and targeting your content to audiences who are more likely to resonate with it, you will likely have a higher message penetration rate, fewer people hiding your content and better brand sentiment overall.