If someone told you that you could target your Facebook page posts by interest, but didn’t tell you how, what might you do to find out how? You might run a search, but Google is just full of results on how to target ads by interest. While useful, it’s not quite the same thing. What we’re talking about now is about your normal posts, your page status updates, not your ads. You don’t even need to boost or promote a post to target it by interest.
Step 1: Write a Post
The first thing you need to do is write your post. This has a lot to keep in mind, so make sure you do it right; once you publish it, you can’t necessarily edit everything you might want to, which means you would have to delete and publish again. Doing so can look like spam, so try to avoid it.
First of all, if you’re going to post a link, it’s a good idea to paste the link in the text box and allow Facebook to generate a preview. Once that preview exists, you can remove the link, and the preview will still be there. You can even post up a second link different from the first, and it will not override the preview unless you remove the preview first.
To customize the preview you will need to edit it directly. You can click to change the headline, click to change the description, or click to upload a specific image to be used as the preview image of that post. One thing to note, however, is that when you change those, you only change them for your post. If you’re posting a link to your own website, and want to change the preview for every person who links to your site in the future, you will need to use Facebook’s Open Graph attributes on your site. You can find similar attributes for other social networks, as well.
Once you have the post link formatted properly, you will need to write your copy. This is the easy part, but you should still keep a few things in mind. Make sure you proofread your copy before you submit it. Make sure you don’t write so much that it needs to be expanded to be seen; doing so will drastically decrease your engagement on the post. Only write that much when you have that much that absolutely needs to be said.
You can save both the link and the copy for posting multiple instances of the same post, as well. This will be useful for interest-based split-testing, though you will need to make sure to avoid too much overlap, lest your users think you’re spamming them with the same message repeatedly.
Step 2: Add Targeting Factors
Once you have the post set up the way you like it, it’s time to add targeting factors. Click the crosshair icon in the lower left corner of the post box. This will bring up targeting options. A small box will appear that says “select targeting.” Click it.
The drop-down will present you with the range of targeting options available to you. You can target based on gender, relationship status, educational status, age, location, language or interest. You can also select a post end date, for when the post will be essentially hidden from view.
Most of these options are obvious. Gender, for example, allows you to pick from among the two genders Facebook recognizes. Age allows you to choose an age range. Relationship status allows you to pick one of Facebook’s specified relationship options. You could, using a combination of all of them, target a post specifically to males who are 60-65 and engaged.
Interest targeting is by far the most robust option. It offers literal millions of potential targets for interests. You could target users who like Space Jam, users who like Jelly Doughnuts, users who watch the NFL, users who have visited Disney World and much more. You can use as many or as few interests for targeting as you could possibly want; the list is as long as there are pages on Facebook.
You even get to see, when you type in the interest you want to target, whether there’s a verified page for that interest or not. This allows you to make sure that you’re targeting users who like the actual Google, not some knock-off Google imitation.
As you select targeting options, Facebook will present a “targeted to:” box in the corner above the post button. This will be a number estimating the range of potential viewers your post has. This will change dramatically depending on one other post factor; visibility.
By default, your posts are public, which allows them to be shown to everyone on Facebook who meets the other targeting criteria you select. You can, however, limit by location or language, to further narrow your audience. Typically, a narrower audience will have a higher conversion rate, assuming your post is compelling to the target audience. You don’t necessarily want that targeted to number to be in the millions.
Step 3: Post the Post
Finally, once you have everything set up the way you want it, you should post the post. You can click the post button to post it immediately, or you can click the drop-down arrow to offer several additional options.
The first option is to schedule the post. This allows you to set a specific date and time in the future – specifically the future, obviously – to have the post publish itself. You should, in general, make sure this is a time when you will be around to field any comments that come from the post, to maximize your engagement.
You can also choose to backdate the post. This will post the post immediately, but will publish it with a date in the past. You can select a date as far back as December 31, 1969. You can also choose to hide this from your news feed, though why you would want to do this is a mystery. Typically, the only item you might want to backdate and hide is a milestone, and milestones can be valuable sources of discussion and engagement themselves.
You can also, should you choose, save a draft of your post. This will allow you to review it later, to change targeting options or copy if you desire.
Once all of that is done, your post is either scheduled or live. From there, you can choose to go into the ads manager and promote the post – avoiding the Boost Post button trap – or leave it to rack up reach organically. The choice is yours.