social media toolsAs a business owner or marketer, knowing the profile of your target audience is extremely important. That’s step one, and all good marketing campaigns rely on the fact that you’ve got this figured out.

If you’re using Facebook for business, there are some powerful tools at your disposal.  Because Facebook has over 400 million active users and is one of the most frequented websites in the world, it only makes sense to use it to your advantage. Why buy a Porsche when you’ve got a Ferrari in the garage, right?

This article will show you how to benefit from Facebook’s amazing insight and analytics.

It Starts With a Page

You do have a Facebook page for your business, right?

Not having a Facebook page today is like turning down a free full-page ad in the Yellow Pages back in the 1990s.  It just shouldn’t happen.  Click here to setup a Facebook page.

(Important Update: Facebook no longer supports FBML. Please refer to the articles on Facebook iFrame.) With the use of static FBML (Facebook Markup Language), which is very similar to HTML, you have the ability to create amazing websites on Facebook’s platform.

In other words, you can create a custom landing page using your own company branding.  It’s like a venus flytrap for the hundreds of millions of people stumbling through Facebook.

Tip #1: Take Advantage of Facebook Insights

If you have a page and aren’t checking your stats, then you’re missing out on a lot of useful information.

Facebook Insights are located in the sidebar on your Facebook Page and they can only be seen by the admins of your Facebook Pages. Click through “See All” to view the stats.

On most web properties, I’m interested in users’ time spent on the site and unique page views, but in this case I’m looking for something different.

People on Facebook move around quickly, and ordinary stats aren’t going to provide the whole picture. Initially, what we’re looking for are audience statistics, such as age, gender and country of residence.

Looking at the screenshot here you’ll see that females age 35-54 are the most prevalent users of this particular page and most visits come from the U.S.

Now, we’ll take it a step further by looking at total interactions and interactions per post.

Using these numbers, you can decide which content works best, the audience you’re reaching, and where you can improve.   What a great way to test content before it goes live elsewhere!

You can click on and off the different options you see above (like total interactions, comments, …).  There are also 7 graphs available in the drop down list seen above.

Tip #2: Target Your Messaging

As crazy as it sounds, most page owners I talk to don’t realize that you not only can message users (for free), but you can target your messaging too. It doesn’t help that Facebook hides this feature behind the ‘Edit Page’ settings, but it’s there nonetheless (find it under your avatar on your fan page wall).

Here’s the navigation process:  Facebook Home Page -> Ads and Pages -> Pages -> Edit Page -> Send Update to Fans.

If you look at the image below, you’ll see that message targeting can be very detailed.

Notice the targeted ability to send updates based on location, gender and age.

Let’s say that I own a small boutique in Tampa that sells gifts perfect for Mother’s Day. Heck, maybe I own a huge corporation that has a branch in Tampa.

I can use this feature to send a message to each target audience without bugging the people who wouldn’t benefit from my message. Men age 25-55 in and around the Tampa area would get this message. Beautiful.

This is useful in so many ways beyond just simple geographic targeting. I could send individual messages that target different age groups… the kind of messages that I know they like because I’ve paid attention to my Facebook Insights.

Are you starting to see how useful this is?

Tip #3: Use Facebook Ads

A lot of people miss the point with Facebook ads. Unlike most PPC campaigns where you’re trying to negotiate the lowest possible price per click through to your website, Facebook ads work just as well, if not better, as a branding tool.

For instance, as a blogger, I have a very small niche (when compared to other niches on Facebook). If, using my Facebook Insights, I find my most responsive audience is females, I can then target that group specifically.

By adding keywords such as social media and blogging, I can further refine that group. Add in a few more characteristics (using my Insights) such as live in the U.S., speak English and are college graduates, I wind up with a list of 11,600 Facebook users.

Now this is where it gets good. I can hit these people with 12,000 views per day (using CPM), for only $5 per day. Even if they don’t buy, like or act on the ad, by the end of this campaign, they’ll sure as heck know who I am.

There’s really nothing that can compete with this kind of potential, certainly not if it’s done well.

This Is Just the Beginning

As Facebook continues to grow, and the Like feature draws more attention, your reach and potential are only going to improve. Those who get in now will have the edge, because they’ll be pioneering the strategies that businesses will use in the next few years.

What I really like most of all about Facebook demographics is you don’t have to be a guru to use them well. It’s easy to monitor Facebook Insights, especially if you download them on a regular basis. Messaging is common sense, and ads are just a little step above that. However, nothing about this is rocket science, and that’s why I think we’re sitting on a goldmine.

Do you have a Facebook page for your business?  How are you using Facebook Insights to your advantage? Give us your comments below.

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  • Yes, I have two pages on Facebook, but not one for my most recent book. You’ve given me great insight into features I didn’t know about. Thanks for a great post.

  • Hi Nathan,

    This is a great article and exactly the sort of information I need. I’ve been active on Twitter for 2 years but am fairly new to Facebook. I know there’s plenty I can do with it and am still in that “figuring it out” stage. Your practical advice has helped me see the possibilities of exploiting Facebook to better meet my marketing needs. Thanks!

  • aaronmielke

    Interesting post in the midst of all the privacy issues going on right now 😉

    It is for these reasons alone that I am opting to keep my facebook account. As of right now, my facebook fan page for the HTLab isn’t a huge traffic generator, but I keep much of my family and friends updated without updating my personal account – which can often come off the wrong way.

  • I have to admit that I am definitely one of those folks who probably does not use Facebook to my advantage as I’ve always been somewhat doubtful of the benefits. But these are great tips and insights – I think I’ll put the time in to make my page a bit more user friendly… thanks!

  • Thanks for the post! I haven’t thought about Facebook Ads too much but the exposure angle you presented makes total sense. Plus, targeted exposure is never a bad thing 🙂

  • Woody Collins

    WOW! This article contains some of the most helpful and useful information about Fan pages’ Insight feature that I have read. THANKS!!!!

  • Nice writeup. I could never figure out how to get to the Insights and now I know! Thanks!!

  • Hi Nathan,
    Thanks for your information. I totally agree…using the Facebook Message to Fans feature is a great way to create stickiness with your message as wall updates are constantly moving down stream. I wrote about this subject recently with step by step instructions: . Facebook Insights can be overwhelming and difficult to understand — thanks for shedding some light here!

  • Good article! Very informative.

  • Nathan – great tips on how to use Facebook Insights! You’ve opened my mind to even more possibilities and potential. 🙂 I particularly like the idea of using them to target Facebook Ads – brilliant!

  • Great tips about the insight its definitely going to help. I did not have any idea about sending updates to the people. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sure thing, let me know how it works out for you!

  • There are so many ways to use this, and the potential will be even greater as more people learn how to use it better. What I like most about this is it’s an inexpensive way to test marketing strategies and reach an audience that previously was rather inaccessible.

  • Thanks for the link Diane, I’ll check it out. I’m really surprised that most people aren’t aware of these features. One of the only reasons I use FB honestly.

  • No problem 🙂

  • Sure thing Woody, thanks for the comment.

  • Not at all, especially at this price.

  • haha, yeah I wrote this before Facebook spit on my face, but this is the type of thing that keeps me hanging on 🙂

  • grantlemahieu

    I just created a fan page for my church. It is already providing interesting metrics and I look forward to using more Ad features…
    Great post!

  • LoisD

    I have the FBML loaded but after that I’m stuck. what do I do next?

  • Great article. I really like using Facebook ads for my clients. The high number of impressions really helps with branding.

  • Sam

    I also find that comparing total page views to unique page views is a great way to gauge repeat visitors to your site. It’s quite telling if no one is returning to your page or if the gap is quite small.

  • Sweet – Targeted updates for fans (Likers?) is a very cool feature, one that I didn’t realize was possible.


  • This is great, but the new insites Facebook just rolled out at the F8 conference are even better than the ones that are offered directly on the page.

    Here it breaks down feedback by post and gives you the impression to feedback ratio for your last 10 posts, as well as what posts inspired people to “unsubscribe”

    It tells you your key sources of where your new fans are coming from (from the page, paid ads, search, requests, suggestions, the stream etc,) as well as what tabs on your page are being viewed.

    This information used along with the info provided in the old insights can help you become a powerhouse brand if you use it right. 😉

  • Great point Sam…it’s important to know if you’re bleeding visitors.

  • Are you getting decent CTR’s or finding, like everyone else, that the rates are higher than normal?

  • If you don’t know FBML, you’re probably best off hiring a developer to code a page for a few hundred bucks or so.

  • Awesome, glad I could help.

  • This is good stuff Tommy, thanks for sharing. I’ve had my head down a little bit lately and haven’t had time to dig in over there. Will def make time to do so soon.

  • This post is genius! I was just searching for input about Facebook Ads — and here you set me straight! I wasn’t thinking branding, because I’m a small business, but you make a convincing point. I’ll let you know how it works!

  • I love and appreciate rock solid, step-by-step information – Thank You! I haven’t created a Facebook page yet for my new business but your blog post has given me the push I need.

    You have mapped out all the sensible and smart reasons for utilizing a business page on Facebook as a fabulous marketing tool!

  • Thank you for great information. I am just learning how to use tracking to further my business online, and this adds yet another tool to gauge my prospective audience. I’ve favorited this page and will revisit it often.

    Carla J Gardiner

  • it really is super valuable stuff. I like knowing where my fans are coming from, it gives a lot more context to the feedback from things you post. Also it’s great knowing what percentage of people are finding you from search, I think that’s an indication of how your branding efforts are working elsewhere.

  • Thanks for sharing this tip – this is another great way to get target demo data for audience targeting. I’m now a loyal fan of this blog. Keep it coming

  • For some reason it’s well hidden, and I have no idea why…it’s a huge perk of having a fan/like page.

  • The trick with the ads is to know what you want and to be willing to spend some money to achieve it. You can get a LOT of reach with a few hundred bucks as long as you manage it well.

  • Awesome, so glad you found some value in this one 🙂

  • So much potential now…let’s just hope that Facebook doesn’t ruin it by trying to do too much.

  • Thanks for all the great tips, I didn’t know you could message fans who “Like” you by demographic and location – how cool is that, cheers JJ

  • msjenniferwoodard

    Thanks for the great post. It inspired me to create my first ad. Looking forward to seeing how things work out.

  • Thanks for the interesting post. I’ve never thought of FB like that…

  • Don Alusic

    Thanks. This article is an eyeopener to see what I have been missing.

  • It is odd why Facebook seems to bury some of it’s most compelling tools. I had searched but thought you couldn’t message your supporters. Knowing about this targetted messaging is brilliant – thanks for sharing.

  • Doesn’t make sense that they’d hide it does it? Their interface leaves a LOT to be desired, that’s for sure.

  • Be careful, it’s addicting!

  • Great tips! I’m one of those people who hate how Facebook tramples on our privacy. Still this is very useful information for business. Now the trick is to interpret the data and use it wisely. I’ve always been amazed at how FB somehow knows I need those ads they give me whenever I navigate through FB. I have to admit it’s pretty cool. Adding more tips on how to use social media more effectively.

  • Nice and useful article. Even when most of us use facebook on a daily basis, several hours a day, for many reasonsand purposes, sometimes we miss this kind of tools that can help optimize our social media use.
    @Megan Zuniga, I tend to agree with your comments but I don’t think FB tramples on our privacy, it is more a matter of flaws that are being worked on.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Jessica

    Have you had any trouble using the update feature? I sent out a targeted message last week to a demographic in which my personal account should have been included, but I never received the message – in my message “updates” folder or inbox. I could see in my business account the update had been sent. I’m not sure if it was during a moment Facebook was being glitchy, or if it just didn’t work. Curious if anyone else has had problems.

  • Thanks for the post. I look at insights everyone once and a while for our page and was checking it out as I was reading this. I had no idea that our pictures were getting so many clicks. I guess I should upload some more. I really rely on video and this may change my focus a bit.

  • Great stuff! Like everybody else here, I’m grateful for the targeted messaging tip. 🙂 Wouldn’t have found it myself. Keep the helpful info coming!

  • Julie

    Is there a way to see how much a post is “shared” not just “liked” or commented on?

  • Kevin_C_K

    It seemed a bit shallow…this is really the extreme basics.

  • Rogerdorn

    Can you use facebook insights with less than 10,000 fans?

  • Yes, we have less than 10000 fans and use it

  • Pingback: Facebook Fan Page Starter Checklist | Social Media Marketing Tips()

  • Janey033

    very useful post!

  • Janey033

    very useful post!

  • caseyhibbard

    Hey Nathan,

    I used your post to learn about Facebook Insights for a SME case study I’m writing. Great info!

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  • very good information thank you

  • Very interesting. I hadn’t thought of some of these Interesting piece. It can be difficult to find good blogs nowadays. Found one here though by the looks of things.