How to Use Facebook Targeted Posts to Improve Your Facebook Engagement

social media how toAre you looking for creative ways to improve your Facebook engagement?

By narrowing the people who see your posts, you can actually get more engagement.

It sounds counterintuitive, but it works when done right.

What Are Facebook Targeted Posts?

As you may know, Facebook recently introduced a limited rollout of Enhanced Page Post Targeting.

At the time of this writing, pages with over 5,000 likes are more likely to have the option, but that isn’t always the case.

Previously you had some control over who sees your posts by clicking on the Public button beneath your post. You could target the location or language of who sees your posts both in their newsfeed and on your wall (now timeline).

This feature is now expanded with Enhanced Page Post Targeting.

previous targeting

The previous targeting allowed you to select a language or a location.

location and language

Not too many options in the previous targeting.

Now you can target your posts by a wider range of options including:

  • Gender: male or female
  • Relationship status: single, in a relationship, engaged or married
  • Educational status: in high school, in college, college grad
  • Interested in: men or women
  • Age: select a range between 13 and 65
  • Location: country, region or state, city
  • Language: Type in the language

So far, Facebook has not added precise interests or other types of targeting that are available in Facebook Ads.

Also, realize that not everyone enters this information in his or her profile, so you may miss some of your target market by narrowing the post reach.

But if you use these targeting options wisely, you can have a big impact on the interaction in your post.

If you have targeting available on your post, you’ll see the cross-hairs icon in your status area. To start narrowing your target, just click on it and then click Add Targeting as shown.

enhanced targeting

If you have enhanced targeting, you will see a cross-hairs icon.

adding target audience

You can then start adding your target audience.

One thing that is different about the Enhanced Targeted Posts versus the previous targeting is that the post will still show on your timeline to all users.

Previously the posts would be invisible to users who did not fit the targeting. That can be problematic for pages that use the targeting often.

Facebook’s solution is to hide the posts you don’t want to show on your timeline. Users will still see the post in their newsfeed, but if people visit your page, they will not see irrelevant content.

Now that you know how to use the targeting, the question that needs to be answered is why use the targeting?

With all the focus on getting as much engagement as you can on Facebook, does it make sense to narrow your potential audience? Yes it does—but not always, of course.

Here are some tips on how to make the most out of targeting.

#1: Speak to a Segment of Your Audience

If you want to advertise something such as a local event or if you use different languages for your global page, then targeting obviously makes sense. But now you can also ask specific questions to just one segment of your audience.

You can see as you narrow your target how many people are in that segment. You can narrow this number to as low as 20! Then you can mouse over the world icon after you post to see how the post was targeted when it was posted.

targeted audience

Watch the number of people who can see your post in their newsfeed.

checking the targeting

You can refer back to the targeting by mousing over the world icon.

#2: Make Your Targeting Known

One thing that people love is to know that you are talking directly to them. The targeting of a post is not visible to others, so you’ll need to point out the fact that you are seeking their input specifically.

You may want to mention that you’re using the targeting option so that they know their opinion is wanted. The post will still be visible on your timeline, so if you really want to focus the post, click the pencil in the upper-right corner of the post to hide it.

target by gender

Make sure your audience knows the post target to get more engagement.

Realize that just because the visibility has gone down, it doesn’t mean that the interaction will go down if you do it right. People enjoy the fact that it is a focused conversation and that will help you build community on your page.

results of targeting

You can still get a lot of engagement on a post with fewer views.

#3: Measure Your Results

Have fun and try different targeting tactics.

have some fun

Have some fun.

build a community

Build a community.

Then measure what works for your audience. If you have a smaller page, you may find that you’re narrowing the target audience too much.

Watch your insights and sort by the Talking About This column to see your most engaging posts.

measure

Measure your results in Insights.

Tip: If you want to see how many people in your audience fit a certain demographic profile, you can quickly see the number when you apply different targeting parameters.

married women in california

You can easily see your demographics.

But massive engagement doesn’t always have to be the goal. By connecting with segments of your audience, you can show them that you’re listening and they, in turn, will love you for it.

Targeting can be a powerful tool, but you must remember to make it fun, too. Notice how the posts in these examples were asking fun questions. If you treat this as another push-marketing advertising channel, people will leave. Do it right, and your audience will become not only fans, but also friends.

What do you think? Have you tried the new enhanced page post targeting? What have your results been? Do you think this will be a good tool for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About the Author, Andrea Vahl

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer. Connect with her at www.andreavahl.com. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Great stuff, Andrea! Unfortunately, I do not have the targeting icon on my Facebook, but what’s so cool about this post is that I was able to learn that I can schedule my status updates on Facebook when I checked out the icons after reading your post, Awesome! 

    SME rocks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kennyfbrmuscleboy Kenny Fabre

    Andrea

    facebook targeted posts has a lot of power behind it, Ive been using to draw people in my local seminars in miami. 

    what I do is I have two facebook accounts my main one,, and my second one where I friend people in miami who are looking for jobs and fellow marketers like myself.

    So I get some people attending from using this since we live in miami.

    http://www.kfm24.com

  • fjsanz

    It’s incredible, but for Facebook pages here in Argentina, we don’t have this feature! I only use this feature for Facebook pages from USA!

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  • herblawrence

    Thanks for the update on targeting.  Do you have any idea if Facebook will ever make this available to small business pages that have way fewer than 5,000 fans?  In rural Arkansas we have a number of small businesses active on Facebook and this could be a great tool for some of them but few have 5,000. 

  • http://gaborousseau.tumblr.com/ Gabrielle Rousseau

    Same problem here, none of the pages I manage have more than 5000 fans at the moment so this options isn’t available yet :/

  • Andrea Bailey

    Great Info!

  • JulzNW

    So… i used to have the ability to do targeted posts on my page… but now all of the sudden… that option is gone.  What happened?

  • Shawn Hobbs

    Thanks for this Post i think it will help on my pages if the option becomes available.

  • Geri

    Nice article — but it doesn’t appear any of us have this option.  Is this something they are rolling out to all pages?

  • Paul Reidy67

    Me too. All this talk of targeting is great but nobody seems to know what the situation is for small businesses with less than 5000 fans. Can someone shine some light please !
    thanks

  • Emeric

    Thanks Andrea, this is a great article about the new targeting options! I love blog articles with real life examples in them, and you do that very well :-)

  • http://twitter.com/ServetheFuture1 Serve the Future

    I do not have the target icon on my FB page or personal profile page. where do I get one?

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks John!  Glad to help!  I also wrote a post recently about the scheduling feature here:  
    http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-scheduled-posts/

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    It is supposed to roll out to everyone and Pages must have at least 100 fans – which makes sense.  No need to segment your audience down too far!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    That’s one frustrating thing is that they haven’t made it available to everyone but they did take away the older style of targeting.  Hopefully they will get it rolled out soon!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Bummer!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Yes, they are supposed to be rolling it out to all pages that have more than 100 fans.  I don’t have any information on when that will be but hopefully soon!

  • http://twitter.com/hwestoutfitters Head West Outfitters

    Our page has almost 8,000 fans but this option isn’t available. I wish it was, it would be very helpful to us as we have both a physical store and retail website. It would be really nice to be able to only advertise local events to local fans.

  • http://twitter.com/ServetheFuture1 Serve the Future

    I do not see the target button either… where do you find it? 

  • Rose Smith

    Hi Andrea,

    Informative article. I didn’t know about the enhanced page post targeting on Facebook, but from the way you’ve explained it, it sounds quite useful. 

    I’m with you when you say, “One thing that people love to know is that you are talking directly to them.” Without targeting, social marketing can be like a foghorn blaring to people who just aren’t listening.

    Thanks for this quality info.

    Take care,
    Rose Smith, Author & Quality Enthusiast
    Paidwritehq.com

  • http://www.karenkefauver.com/ KarenKefauver

    Hope you will write about it again when more of us have it. For now, it feels like a tease: here’s a cool feature, but you can’t have it if you don’t have 5,000 likes. 

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2I5GVVYOVUBRBXL2I5XPXWGGUU brendan

    Nice article, thanks for sharing

  • http://www.outsourcing-partners.com/ Steve Markson

    Great post Thanks.. I have less than 200 fans right now so this targeting strategy also helpful to my Facebook page. Andrea please guide me about this.  

  • http://www.linkstoweb.in/ Vishnu Aniyan

    Great info, Andrea! Unfortunately, I do not have the Enhanced Page Post Targeting option on my Facebook Page :-(
     Anyway thanks for sharing this great stuff with us.

  • http://www.justkickingitblog.com/ Just Kicking It

    This is extremely great. I had not noticed it on the page. Thanks a lot 

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Peter Kelly

    This is a great article, Andrea. Thanks for writing it. Targeted posts really are a great feature and very powerful as well. If done correctly – if you segment you fans in the right way and post a content designated only for this group of fans – as you correctly stated, you can still get a lot of engagement on a post with fewer views. Sometimes, you can even achieve higher engagement than with non-segmented posts.

  • calamoresca

    I’ve got the same problem. Since a while even the Location/Language target features have disappeared :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/cmbattisti Cindy Battisti

    I had the Public/Geographical targeting ..used it once and a week later the feature disappeared… what happened to it?

  • Megan Biondi

    Same thing happened to me. I posted yesterday to my test page with 2 fans and the feature worked like a charm now the button isn’t even visible. 

  • Tlkennerson

    Love this article!!!

  • Mesha Kennerson

    Do you know when this is rolling out?  Can’t find any info on the anticipated launch date.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Rose! 

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I’ve heard the same thing – frustrating that the targeting is going away for some.   Odd!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.puglia Nancy Puglia

    We used targeting all the time on our pages (all under 5,000 likes)  - and now that feature is gone on all of them. We are not happy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.puglia Nancy Puglia

    Thanks for the article – now at least I can confirm we aren’t the only ones having the targeting issue!

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  • http://www.milkbarcommunicatie.nl/ Maarten Bresser

    Nice addition to Facebook! With all the hype about social media, doesn’t it seem that more and more people (running the SNS’s) are realizing that traditional communication principles apply to and might even be amplified by social media… A healthy development I’d say.

  • http://www.pickaweb.co.uk/ Pilar Torres Wahlberg

    Wow. That is just soooo cool.
    Cannot wait to try it out.
    All the best.

  • Jean-Sebastien

    Andrea, is it only available for text posts? I don’t see the target button when I post photos.

  • Danielle Moran

    I have some pages with more than 5k fans that have received it, but it is frustrating on the other pages that have lost the location targeting they used to have.

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  • http://meloniegallegos.com/ Melonie Gallegos

    This is great! Segmentation is something brands are struggling with, particularly those that sell more than one type of product such as retailers. It is the next frontier for social and I hope will be up to par with they way we can segment topics and messages in email marketing. Likes and interests next? Crossing my fingers. 

  • http://meloniegallegos.com/ Melonie Gallegos

    I forgot to add… Email marketing could use more social data to segment emails to people who follow you in different channels and content based on topics they are interested in. If you know of an email service provider leading the charge please name them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/womensjewellery Alisha Roy

    Thanks for sharing excellent post here. I read and started following the steps.

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  • Acjcraig

    I’ve been targeting my posted for my business page since I read this months ago. Today its not working or active. Not that FB shares much about changes, but have you heard about them killing this feature?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596306053 Harry Hawk

    THANKS for that great step by step introduction.. We are using this feature. Your post made it very easy to explain how it works to our staff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TEATeaTEA Tea Maherl

    Hi – thanks for great article. You said that this feature might not be good for small pages. What’s small for this purpose? Thanks
    Tea

  • http://www.facebook.com/visiedo Javier Garcia Visiedo

    Hi Andrea, congratulations for a great article ;-)

    My initial purpose when reading about targeted news feeds was to target audiences as much as possible in their mother tongue.

    A relevant limitation I found with facebook is lacking the possibility to target a post excluding segments rather than including, e.g. “Everybody but Spanish, Swedish, German”

    Why I want to do so: I would like to target the Spanish community in Spanish, and the rest of the world in English (since I am not fluent in many other languages ;-) ), but I do not see an easy way to do that in FB, any ideas?

    Cheers
    /Javier

  • Iain

    A very interesting article and explains the probably reasons why I have neither the cross-hairs nor the ‘Sharing/Target by’ options. We have 1,110 fans, but clearly whether this appears or not is kind of hit and miss.

    What I have also found too is that up until Christmas our page posts would be:

    This sponsored story targets 283,254,000 users:
    who live in one of
    the countries: United States, Ireland, Italy,
    Netherlands, Gibraltar, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,
    Turkey, United Kingdom, Belgium, Greece, Australia, Austria, Russia, Brazil,
    Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, France or Germany

    But then ‘magically’ just as we did a ‘Happy New Year’ piece the targeting altered to:

    This sponsored story targets 25,043,040 users:
    who live in one of
    the countries: United Kingdom or Greece

    That cuts out a huge swathe of our audience, and recently on wanting to promote something specifically related to two events in The Netherlands and Belgium it made no sense at all to continue the promotion to people in the UK and Greece.

    So I wonder if our ‘problems’ actually lie in some ‘bright spark’ thinking that for a small page of only 1,110 fans they know better that we do about relevant targeting. Seems rather like Redmond-based thinking…they always think they know better than you how you want things done! :-(

  • http://www.solo-e.com/blog Terri Z

    Has anyone tried this recently? I find that as soon as I click “language”, before I even put in the language I want to target, my audience drops from 5.6K to 3.1K. Presumably because over 2000 of my fans don’t have a language specified? Seems strange that FB posts in different languages automatically pop up with a link to “translate this”, meaning they can discern that I don’t read Spanish, but they can’t tell the main language someone is using without it being in their profile? Even stranger, when I “remove” language targeting, my audience stays at 3.1K. The only way to get back to my entire audience (if indeed the reporting is correct) is to start over with a new post.

    Wondering if others have experienced this, and if it is “normal” or a FB glitch.

  • YuLin Olliver

    Hi Andrea, I can you please clarify? Say I target to “Colorado” and don’t want the rest of my Fanpage to see it, I can as you suggest “Hide from page” but it will show up still in timelines you say. Can you please clarify if it will show up in ALL timelines or only Colorado timelines?

  • RGBSocial

    Hey YuLin – Given your comment is over 2 months old, I’m sure you’ve found your answer, but in the off chance you haven’t, I thought I’d clarify. If you target your post to ‘Colorado’, your post will only be visible to those who have set the location within their respective profiles to ‘Colorado’ – not to any other audience members. For instance, if an audience member has the location in their profile set to ‘New York’, they will not see that post.

    I hope this helps.

    Matthew.

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  • GP

    you will automatically get the option once you cross 5000 fans on your FB page.

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