There’s been a lot of talk, lately, about whether or not Facebook should be a part of your social media marketing strategy. While I tend to lean toward staying the course, there is some validity to the argument that companies should abandon the social network. One reason, however, that I tend to disagree with the naysayers is that Facebook seems to be making honest efforts to make the platform better for marketers. At this point, that seems to involve a lot of paid advertising, but that’s not necessarily all that bad.Facebook Custom Audiences Announcement

Facebook recently announced the addition of Custom Audiences to its toolbox for marketers. I, for one, am excited about the potential of this tool, and I believe that it can really allow companies to continue to be successful on Facebook. With Facebook Custom Audiences, marketers can target the right audience far more effectively than they previously could. Here are a few tips for using this tool to target the people that your company is trying to reach.

Create an Audience From Your Website

This option allows you to create an audience based on the content that visitors to your website consume when they stop by. Let’s say you want to segment your audiences to target job seekers as one audience and people that are interested in your products and services as a second audience. All you have to do is go into your Facebook account and click through to manage your ads. You’ll see a link to audiences on the left side of the page. Once you click on that, you’ll click on the green create audience button on the right.

Create-AudienceAs you click through, you’ll see that you are given four different options for how you’d like to select your audience. Click on the one that mentions your website. You’ll then be able to name the audience and select certain pages on which you want to focus. Once you’ve got this audience segment set up, Facebook will start collecting info for users that visit the pages you specified on your website as they were tracked from Facebook.

Specific Pages Facebook Custom Audience

Then, all you have to do when you run ads is select that audience and you can target them with a specific message related to whatever pages they visited. If you selected job board pages, you can target that job seekers audience with listings about new jobs. If you selected the products and services audience, you can target them with messages about deals, new product lines, or details about your service offerings.

Customizing your audience by the content they consume on your website allows you to follow up with those that have visited specific pages and call on them to take action. This practice can help you stay fresh on their minds, as they may have already begun the process of forgetting about you shortly after leaving your site. This tool doesn’t just stop at website visitors. It can work also wonders with other marketing touch-points, like your company newsletter, for example.

Create an Audience From Your Newsletter

A newsletter can be a really powerful marketing tool, allowing you to stay in touch with members of your target audience who have taken an active interest in what you have to say by taking that next step and subscribing. They’ve already shown interest, so why not find another way to turn take that interest to the next level and convert them into customers?

MailChimp Facebook

Start by uploading your newsletter contacts. Facebook makes this easy for you by simply logging into your MailChimp account. Don’t have MailChimp? That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use this tool to enhance the relationship you’ve built with your subscribers. It just means that you’ll have to do it the hard way? Whatever newsletter platform you use, you should be able to download data files of your subscribers and their contact info. Read on to find out more about what to do from there.

Create an Audience From a Data File

You’ve likely been busy developing a database full of promising contacts. Maybe it’s in a fancy CRM, or perhaps you just have some folders with Excel files stored away somewhere. This is also where you could use your newsletter subscriber list, in the case that you aren’t using MailChimp. Wherever you pull your data file from, just make sure it’s in the .csv or .txt format before you try to upload. If you don’t have your file formatted properly, you won’t be able to use this feature.

Using this feature will allow you to more easily follow up with lists of contacts that you just haven’t had the time to reach out to. Just load the lists into Facebook, and you will be able to add another touch-point to enable you to get your message in front of the right audience. While it can be difficult to craft an email and send it out to thousands of people on a list, it’s a lot easier to simply upload a file with their info and create an ad that puts your message in front of them visually, textually and succinctly in the form of a Facebook ad.

Whatever method of creating a custom audience you choose, I recommend giving it a shot. Maybe it’s for you, maybe it isn’t, but if you do it right, I would bet that you start to see some success pretty quickly. Whether you want to optimize for page likes, direct targeted users to marketing material you’d like them to digest, or convince someone to make a purchase, Facebook’s Custom Audience tool is a great way to enhance your current efforts.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with this tool. Have you tried it, and if so, have you had success? Let me know in the comments below.

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Anthony GaenzleDirector of Marketing

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