You Get a Message! and You Get a Message! and You Get a Message!

Close your eyes (not really) and recall some of the greatest speeches in history.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

“Never give up… Don’t ever give up.”

One speech for civil liberty, one for global camaraderie, one for resilience and strength. But without the proper audience, they might have been lost forever.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “falling on deaf ears?” That’s what happens when your message is being ignored or disregarded. And, in reference to your brand on Facebook, targeting the right audience is an integral piece of the puzzle so your messages don’t become a victim of this idiom.

First things first: you have to understand the power of Facebook audiences. As of October 2018, there are more than 2.27 BILLION active Facebook users representing every country on earth, every demographic and every conceivable interest. The good news is, this number represents a massive, uncut block of marble, and you are Michelangelo. From this abstract, theoretical Carrara marble, we begin chipping away to reveal our David.

So how do we do this? There are several strategies Facebook offers for developing your target market.

Custom Audiences
A Custom Audience in Facebook is a group of individuals who know about your brand, whether as a past purchaser or someone who has engaged with your brand in the past. Take your customer database, upload it to Facebook’s Business Manager and Facebook cross-checks to find matching profiles. These audiences can also consist of web visitors (including people who have visited specific pages), page engagers, customers who abandoned their shopping cart, people who have watched a video or responded to one of your Facebook events.

Lookalike Audiences
This type of audience is built off any of your existing audiences and pulls a top percentage of Facebook users with similar characteristics to your original audience. This could be demographic- or behavior-driven and you can customize the percentage of users Facebook pulls (1%, 2%, etc.). To make the real magic happen, align lookalike audiences with your brand awareness campaigns as these people are so similar to your current customers the lookalikes are often seen as your future customer.

Saved Audiences
The most basic of audience options in Facebook and the OG option for advertising, this option allows you to select everything for demographics and behaviors or interests. Audiences can be as simple as “people who like your page” or as complicated as women, age 32-38, who have the same demographics and interests of your past purchasers. This is the least sophisticated of the targeting tools because it leaves it up to the individual building the ad to make plenty of assumptions. We like to call this the “fish-in-a-barrel” method and use it sparingly.

Now, how do you use audiences effectively given that there are so many options? If we’re pushing ticket sales for a concert for example, we can use the data from past ticket purchasers at the venue to single out artists from the same or similar genre of music and create a contact list from those specific purchasers. From there, we can create a Custom Audience to directly retarget those individuals we already know are prone to moving through the social media sales funnel from awareness to conversion. Additionally, we can create a Lookalike Audience with that Custom Audience to target like-minded individuals within a feasible driving distance to ensure we’re optimizing our ad budget.

At the end of the day, you could have the most powerful message in the world but you have to put the effort into who it’s going to. By curating highly-optimized Facebook audiences, you can transform from a megaphone effect into specific notes of information to your intended audience, and depending on your goals, knowing all your options increases your chance for success.

After all, President Abraham Lincoln needed just 271 words to deliver one of the most powerful speeches in American history.