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Facebook Advertising And Other Tales Of Wonder For Advertisers

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October 02, 2019

At our Miami ad agency, we have long held the view that social media marketing is just like any other form of marketing, albeit with its own set of best practices that apply to messaging and placement. Conversely, we would argue that organic social media content generation fits more neatly in the category of public relations or publicity. So when someone contacts our healthcare marketing firm and says things like "we really want to do more social media," we clarify that what they really want is to reach their target audiences through social media platforms. Moreover, we explain that paid posts on social media networks are actually advertising.

That's not a bad thing. To the contrary, it's a great thing! In fact, we would likely rank social media marketing among the most productive and most efficient types of advertising we utilize on our clients' behalf.

Now that we have that out of the way, and we can all agree that we're talking about advertising, we can dig into the methods by which we can most effectively use social media platforms to reach our clients' audiences.

Of course, when we're talking about social media marketing, Facebook dominates the landscape. And with 1.5 billion users, it's rightfully the king of the hill. Fortunately, for our healthcare advertising agency and our clients, Facebook offers a number of ways to target hard-to-reach audiences and deliver powerful messages.

Most people reading this blog post understand that Facebook makes its money from advertising, and that the data Facebook collects from users allows it to serve ads that are highly relevant to the Facebook user viewing a particular ad. What many readers may not know and we'll seek to explain today is the method by which you and your business can effectively leverage Facebook advertising to advance your organization's goals.

Creating Saved Audiences
At its most basic level, Facebook allows advertisers to target a defined group of users based on vital statistics, such as where they live, their gender, and their age. Of course, Facebook targeting can be far more detailed. Advertisers can narrow the audience they wish to reach by selecting dozens of characteristics of Facebook users. Regardless of which characteristics advertisers choose, this method of targeting relies on creating "saved audiences" using Facebook-supplied data.

In the context of business-to-business marketing, we find some of the most useful identifiers include a users' industry, job title, employer, and purchase habits. For example, let's say a client comes to our Miami public relations firm seeking to market private investigator services to lawyers in Philadelphia. Using Facebook's detailed targeting, we can identify people who live in Philadelphia, whose interests include "personal injury law" or people who identify as "attorney," "managing partner," etc.

Moreover, if the resulting audience is too large, we can further narrow our targeting to people who meet multiple criteria.

Creating Custom Audiences
Custom audiences are an ideal way of reaching people with whom you have already identified as being prospective customers. In plain language, this is your prospecting list. Maybe you've built a database over many years. Maybe you joined an association that shares its members' names and email addresses. Or maybe you held an event and obtained names of visitors at that event.

If you have a list that includes names, email addresses, or phone numbers, you can create a custom audience of Facebook users, and you can serve your ads precisely to those people on the list. How? Simply upload your data to Facebook, and Facebook will match its users to your list. Of course, if you have someone's work email address, and they signed up to Facebook using their personal email address, then Facebook will not identify the match.

For this reason, consumer-based custom audiences are often easier to build. That's because people tend to share their personal email addresses in consumer settings more frequently than their professional email address. So if you have a list with lots of Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and iCloud extensions, then you're in luck. Facebook will likely be able to match a large percentage of your list to its user database.

Create Lookalike Audiences From Custom Audiences
Now, let's assume you have a healthy database of several hundred or several thousand names. You've built a custom audience based on this list, and you're serving ads to these folks and seeing nice results. But what if you want to reach more prospects prospects whom you've never met and whose contact information you don't have? Well, that's when lookalike audiences can help.

With lookalike audiences, Facebook will identify its users who share characteristics with your custom audiences en masse. In other words, using its algorithms, Facebook can analyze your list and determine that most of the people on the list have law degrees, or went to nursing school, or like science fiction movies. Using these commonalities, Facebook will create a lookalike audience to whom it will serve your ads.

This is an ideal way to expand the reach of your messages beyond the scope of your finite prospect list.

Hard-To-Reach Audiences
Perhaps this all sounds too easy. What if you want to reach an audience, but you don't have a client or prospect list? What if the categories in Facebook's menu of characteristics doesn't include the category you're seeking.

Don't give up! Social media advertising is still a viable platform for reaching a defined group. You just have to use a bit more brain power to identify your audience. For example, if you want to reach neurosurgeons, but Facebook doesn't have a job title or work category for neurosurgeons, then think about other ways to identify neurosurgeons. For example, what magazines or websites do neurosurgeons like? What professional associations and societies might they belong to? What academic programs might they have graduated from? Using answers to these questions, you may very likely be able to build an audience of neurosurgeons.

Want to know more about Facebook targeting? Ready to begin your own social media advertising campaign? Give us a call, or submit an inquiry form through our Contact Us page, and we'll help you get started.