Sometimes, a business wants to target audiences that aren’t in the United States. This can happen if the business is based outside of our inward-looking country, or it can happen when an American business wants to expand to another country. Many online-only businesses, for that matter, have no reason to avoid a more global audience. If there are fans in, say, the United Kingdom who are willing to read your content and buy your product, why not go ahead and encourage them?
Fortunately, targeting the UK with the intention of increasing your Facebook fans from that particular region isn’t difficult. All you really need to do is what you’re already doing, presumably, just with a different country of emphasis.
Consider a Regional Office
How deeply do you desire a presence in the UK? If you answered something along the lines of “it would be my greatest of dreams,” you might want to consider opening a regional office in the isles.
The UK, along with Australia and North America, are often lumped together online among a general English or Global version of a website. It’s rare that a site has a specific variation for individual countries, unless some aspect of your business differs greatly in each country.
On the other hand, local businesses have, for the last several years, spent a lot of time, effort and money on optimizing for local keywords. Coming in as a global brand looking to establish a foothold, you’re going to have a hard time. This is in part due to the existing businesses already having a foothold, and in part due to Google’s local searches showing preference for local businesses.
Opening a regional office in the UK – if your business is the sort of business that has offices, anyway – might be a good idea. Alternatively, if you’re an online-only business, you can instead open a regional version of your website.
The benefits to having a local website and/or office come in the form of SEO boosts. For example, some minor SEO factors include the physical location of the web servers and the IP address of your website. If you’re targeting UK users, a UK website will give you a minor boost to search.
Of course, running an entirely separate website for the UK has its own challenges. You need to do more than just copy and paste your content and change a few spellings. Doing so will put you squarely in the sights of a Google Panda penalty for duplicate content. Instead, you need to create entirely new content localized for the UK. It’s quite a lot of work, so unless you’re going all-in on the UK audience, it’s probably not worth the time, money or effort.
Target UK Users with Ads
A lower effort way to attract UK users to your site is through targeted advertising. For one thing, advertising is significantly less expensive than developing an entire new website, doubling your content output and buying a new host and domain.
Running advertising in the UK is going to primarily center around Facebook’s PPC advertising, obviously enough. You can make use of the Facebook Power Editor toolbar to create unpublished posts, which will help you create UK-specific landing posts for your advertising. This helps you keep your US and UK audiences attracted to the same page with different base content.
The core of your PPC campaign here is going to center around geotargeting. With Facebook PPC, you have a huge array of potential targeting factors. Ideally, you’ll have a base audience in the UK to work from. Visit your Facebook Insights and single out your UK visitors in your analytics. Create a user profile or two out of the most common factors that show up amongst these visitors.
Using this profile, you’re going to want to create highly targeted ads, just as you would for targeting a US audience. The only difference is, you’re going to want to exclude the US and center your advertising around the UK.
If you’re lucky and have a centralized following in a specific UK city, like London, you’ll be able to further refine your targeting. You can run a few campaigns centered around the cities, and a few more generalized for the region.
Start off slow. Only invest a few dollars in your ads and monitor them closely to see how they work. After about a week, you can cut off the least performing ads and split-test new variations on the most successful ads. Through repetition and iteration, you can create effective ads that specifically target the United Kingdom. Once you have ads that you feel have a profitable ROI, you can amp up the amount you spend in a day to bring in a much higher level of traffic. Ideally, this will greatly expand your UK fanbase.
Write Content Designed for the UK
All of the advertising in the world isn’t going to help you if you have nothing on your Facebook page or your website to attract UK users. You need – absolutely need – to provide value to this new audience if you want to keep them coming around.
The problem with creating this content, if you’re a US-based business, is the cultural difference between the two regions. What’s attractive and valuable to a US reader might not be relevant at all to a UK reader.
You have a few options here. You can keep your content as general as possible, which will hopefully be relevant to everyone regardless of location. You can create specific content for one region or the other, at the risk of alienating users from regions you don’t consider. You can also hire local agents to give you a hand.
Local agents, in this case, generally mean ghostwriters. Hiring a ghostwriter in the UK will give you access to content that automatically has the spelling and colloquialisms used properly, with an understanding of local culture you can’t imitate if you’ve never been to the UK yourself. These agents can also help you come up with content ideas, so you have an inside source for what attracts UK readers.
As a business, you also need to make sure you’re able to sell your product in the UK. It does you no good at all to attract a UK audience if they can’t convert. In that situation, you may as well buy your UK fans, for all the good it does you.
Speaking of buying UK fans; don’t. Any website that offers X amount of UK-based fans is very likely just operating a clickfarm. Only the highest quality traffic sellers operate through legitimately targeted advertising and not paid followers, and thus most paid fans are going to be relatively valueless. Targeting your fans naturally is the best option, whether you outsource your ads or do them yourself.