How to Grow Your Facebook Following: A 6-Step Plan
Have you considered targeting prospects by interests that are related to your product?
In this article, you’ll discover how to grow a specialized audience on Facebook in six steps.
#1: Analyze Broad Target Market Characteristics
The first step is to identify a target market that will allow you to reach Facebook users who are likely to be interested in your products/services. This information will help guide the Facebook content you create and how you boost it to reach more of your ideal customers.
To identify your target market, use Facebook Audience Insights. This tool will help you isolate specific demographics of people who are likely to be interested in your product/service.
To get started, go to Facebook Audience Insights and find the Create Audience section on the left.
Now enter the country and region(s) where your target market is based. If you want to target multiple countries, you’ll need to repeat this process for each country individually; Facebook supports filtering only by cities and regions in the same country.
Let’s use an example of a cake shop in New York that targets people living in New York.
In the Interests section, search for and identify one or two core interests that are related to your business offering.
For the cake shop, choose “cake” as an interest. If you’re a florist, you might select “flowers.” Or if you’re a yoga instructor, you could choose “yoga.”
Depending on your industry, there may not be any specific interests that match up with the products/services you provide. In this case, you’ll need to get creative and use some of the other parameters in the Create Audience section.
To illustrate, suppose your business offers parenting classes to expectant parents. Instead of Interests, go to the Parents section and choose Expectant Parents.
After you choose the location, region, and one or two core interests (or other audience options that identify your core target market), analyze the audience data that Facebook provides.
Use this information to make adjustments in the Create Audience section to fine-tune your audience. This is important because if your audience is highly targeted, the money you invest in boosting your Facebook posts (in step 4) will go farther.
Using the cake shop in New York as an example, the Demographics tab reveals that 96% of the Facebook users in New York who are interested in “cake” are women.
Because the majority of people interested in the cake shop’s core interest (cake) are women, it’s reasonable to exclude men from your audience. To refine your audience to focus only on women, go to the Age and Gender section and choose Women.
Audience Insights also reveals that the bulk of women (86%) on Facebook are 18 to 54 years old.
So go back to Age and Gender and choose 18 to 54 for the age range.
Depending on how targeted you want to get, you can continue to review the data on the Demographics tab and refine your audience. A good general guideline to follow is to make the audience more specific only when there’s a clear skew in the data toward specific demographics (above 80%).
Once you’ve fine-tuned your core target market, you’ll want to save this audience because you’ll use it in step 4 when you boost your post. To do this, click Save at the top of the page, enter a relevant title for your audience, and click Save in the lower-right corner.
#2: Drill Down to Niche Interests
The next step is to identify niche interests for your target market. This information will further guide your Facebook content and how you boost it to reach your ideal customers.
We’ll look at two effective ways to identify niche interests:
- Use additional audience data provided by Facebook Audience Insights.
- If you truly understand your target market, create a mind map to generate niche ideas.
Find Niche Interests With Audience Insights
To find niche interests from the core audience you developed in step 1, head back to Facebook Audience Insights. Click Open at the top of the page, choose the audience you saved in step 1, and click Open.
Now look at the Page Likes and Purchase tabs to identify your core audience’s niche interests.
Using the cake shop example, click the Page Likes tab to see Facebook pages that the shop’s target market is likely interested in. From here, identify three to five niche interests such as Subway, Disney, and Kevin Hart.
Now look at the Purchase tab. Here you can see what the cake shop’s ideal target market spends their money on. Identify three to five specific interests such as clothing, food and drink, and subscription services.
You should now have 6 to 10 niche interests for your target market.
Find Niche Interests Through Mind Mapping
If you want to go a step further in identifying niche interests within your target market, try creating a mind map. Tony Buzan’s seven steps to creating an effective mind map can help structure your mind mapping session.
Suppose your company sells aerosol sprays for repairing/modifying car bodywork. Your business mainly targets owners and employees of car body repair shops. Through your research, you’ve determined that most car body shop owners are 45 to 55 years old.
So in your mind mapping session, you might start by focusing on “cool cars.” Based on your target market’s age range, the era of cool cars would be in the 1970s. What was the coolest car in the U.K. in the 1970s according to Google research? A Ford Cortina.
#3: Appeal to Niche Interests via a Facebook Post
Now you want to create a Facebook post based on one of the niche interest topics you identified in the previous step. This post needs to encourage engagement.
For instance, to focus on the Ford Cortina niche interest, you might create a post like the one below. This simple post performed incredibly well, generating 2,860 reactions, comments, and shares, and 68 page likes.
To help increase engagement and shares, keep these tips in mind when creating your post:
- Choose an image that represents the niche interest.
- Ensure the post has some relevance to your business/industry. Be as creative as you like.
- Use branding sparingly, because it will likely decrease the shareability of the post. Adding a small logo somewhere is fine if you want to add a touch of branding.
- Make sure the copy is evenly spaced, clear, and concise.
- Use emojis to add a creative element to the copy.
- Include a call to action or question in the copy to encourage engagement.
You might ask a question like “Who remembers [niche interest]?”, “Who likes [niche interest]?”, “Like this post if you love [niche interest]”, and so on. Or prompt users to select a Facebook reaction to vote on a topic.
So then, if you own an accounting firm and one of your audience’s niche interests is Richard Branson, ask users to vote for their favorite business leader, offering Richard Branson as one of the choices.
If you’re a florist and your target market has a niche interest in wedding hats, ask users to vote on their favorite wedding hat, which could also tie in nicely with wedding flowers. This could spark some interesting conversations in the comments.
For a cake shop, you might prompt users to vote for the “fast food cake” they’d most like to try. Because your core target market is interested in Subway, one of the fast food cakes could be a Subway cake.
Once you’ve created the image and copy, publish your post to Facebook.
#4: Boost Your Post to Target a Niche Interest
Investing a small budget in boosting your Facebook post will give it the traction it needs to start getting reactions, comments, and shares from your target market.
Find your Facebook post on your page and click Boost Post in the lower-right corner.
Now fill in the boost post information on the left. First, decide whether you want to have a button in your boosted post.
In the Audience section, narrow your core audience to ensure you’re targeting people who also have the niche interest you’ve focused on in the post.
For the Subway cake post, you want to narrow the audience to ensure the ad is served to people in the core audience who also like Subway. To do this, select your core audience and click Edit.
Then scroll down and click Narrow Audience.
Now enter the niche interest topic in the search bar and select the relevant niche interest from the drop-down list. Then click Save.
Choose a small total budget; I recommend £3 ($4) or less.
For the duration, choose 1 Day and then click Boost.
Now you’ll just need to wait for Facebook to authorize the boost. Facebook generally reviews boosted page posts in 60 minutes or less. In some instances, it may take longer.
#5: Comment, Reply, and Encourage Engagement
Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes posts that generate a lot of engagement early on. So your goal should be to encourage as much engagement with your posts as quickly as possible.
Start a Conversation With Users Who React to the Post
To do this, wait for someone to react to the post, and as soon as they do, comment on the post. Be sure to tag the person and ask a question to spark conversation.
For instance, in the Ford Cortina post, as soon as people reacted, the business commented and tagged those users, as shown below.
If you do this with 5+ people, it should start a flow of organic comments, reactions, and shares. If this tactic doesn’t work, tag five more people who react to the post and ask them an open-ended question. Keep repeating the process until reactions and engagement are flowing.
Reply to User Comments By Asking a Question
Another tactic you can try is to reply to every comment with a question. Asking additional questions should spark more comments, which in turn signals to Facebook that the post is performing even better.
For the post below, the business started asking commenters if they had any photos of their Ford Cortinas, prompting them to post their own photos in the comments.
Tip: Repurpose user photos from the comments section to create a collage to use in another post to further engage your target market.
#6: Invite Engaged Users to Like Your Page
Now you’re ready to turn all of your previous efforts into targeted Facebook page likes.
Facebook lets you invite people who have reacted to your posts to like your page. This is a great opportunity to gain additional likes from the small budget you invested to boost your post.
The sooner you invite these people to like your page, the better. To do so, click on the number next to the reactions on your post.
Scroll through the list of users and click the Invite button for people who haven’t already liked your page. Now wait for the new page likes to come in.
Following this six-step plan will help you grow an audience of your ideal customers on Facebook without breaking the bank. From here, you can build relationships with these prospects and convert them into paying customers.
What do you think? Have you used some of these tactics to grow a specialized audience on Facebook? What tips can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.