3 Ways to Use Facebook Insights to Your Advantage : Social Media Examiner

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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