Social media tricks for ecommerce retailers: #1 Facebook’s Page Post Targeting

Ever wondered how Facebook posts made by Oreo or Coca Cola mysteriously fit unique, local contexts in your area?

For example, the only people who can relate to both Facebook posts below are most likely Singaporeans. (The post by Oreo is a reference to a freak hailstorm in the tropical island, while Coca Cola’s post features its local street food.)

Examples of Facebook Page Post Targeting

Two examples of how brands use Page Post Targeting on Facebook

“Wait,” you might think. “These are Facebook pages of international brands. How can the content be targeted only to a specific community?”.  Those of you from other parts of the world will probably see different content altogether, targeted to your region.

Clearly, it wouldn’t make sense for Oreo and Coca Cola to be focusing their entire Facebook marketing efforts on any specific location. There must be something going on behind the scenes…

The magic lies in a little-discussed Facebook feature: Page Post Targeting.

Facebook introduced Page Post Targeting in 2012, to assist page owners in targeting specific demographics with their posts. There are currently two different ways to exercise this feature:

Limit page post audience

The first is Limit post by Location / Language” (see above). If you are attentive, you may notice that the privacy settings of these posts are listed as “Custom”. They’re actually set to a specific location behind-the-scenes.

These posts will NOT be seen by followers who do not fit the location/language. It’s a great way to talk about location-specific content without alienating the rest of your followers.

Target post Part 1

Target post Part 2

The second is “Target post by Demographic” (Age, Gender, Interested In, Education and Relationship Status, on top of Location and Language). Targeted posts will appear on your Page for anybody who visits it, but it’ll only appear in the newsfeeds of followers that fit the selected demographic.

Page Post Targeting has enabled marketers to personalise their Facebook page posts to suit their audience, which helps their businesses achieve deeper customer engagement on their Page.

“As a small ecommerce retailer, how can I use Page Post Targeting to my advantage?”

It’s unlikely that a small business will see much value in targeting specific regions of the globe the way Oreo and Coca Cola do. It’s hard to get right, and it’s a lot of work, too. Those are big brands with marketing teams localized around the world. They can manage the extra workload.

It would make far more sense for small businesses to experiment with broader demographics such as gender, or age. This way, it takes less segmentation to cover your entire follower list.

For starters, try crafting personalised messages tailored for a different segment of your followers’ demographics.

Here’s a possible example:

You are selling jewellery in your online store and planning to promote one of your new pearl necklaces. You can consider posting two separate posts, each targeted to a specific gender.

Men:
Looking for a gift for your loved one for her birthday? Look no further and buy her this exquisitely designed pearl necklace!
Women:
Dressing up for a party tonight? This new pearl necklace in our XYZ series might just be what you need.

You might then compare the combined responses to this to earlier posts you may have made. It’s highly likely that the total response rate (in this case, of Men + Women) will be higher than the response rate to a one-size-fits-all post. Test it out for yourself.

Once this becomes second nature to you, you could experiment further with messages that are even more focused, by splitting up your male and female audience based on Age or Relationship Status. You may find that younger, single men perceive jewelry differently from older, married women. This should apply to lots of products categories.

“Why should I care about this feature?”

Effective use of Page Post Targeting will go a long way in increasing your Facebook Engagement Factor. This signifies that your posts have achieved higher virality and deeper audience engagement, which is a good sign of effective social media usage in business. It ultimately translates to more sales.

Sales aside, targeted posts also allow you to systematically develop a better understanding of what different segments of your audience like about your product. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity, previously only accessible through tedious focus groups and lengthy interactions with consumers. You should still interact with your customers as much as possible, of course, but here’s a way to get a lot more useful data with a smaller time/energy investment. This helps you improve your product and your business.

If the current demographic filters don’t particularly impress you (and we suggest you give it a shot before you knock it), consider how the potential of Page Post Targeting will grow over time. Given the immense potential of Open Graph and how Facebook Ads already has a more robust range of targeting options, it is foreseeable that more filters be implemented on Page Post Targeting in the future.

“So… should I use it?”

Here are some questions to help you make that decision:

  1. Would you prefer to receive personalized content that suits you, over stuff that’s more generalized and “cookie-cutter”?
  2. What do you think your customers would prefer?
  3. If you don’t adopt new, better technologies as they become available, and your competitors do, how will that affect your business?

We think the answer is pretty obvious- it’s definitely worth at least experimenting with.

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