If we’ve heard it once we’ve heard it 1,000 times - you have to pay to play when it comes to Facebook. Back in November 2014, Facebook warned us about posting overly promotional updates with the warning if we wanted to reach our audience on Facebook with a promotional pitch then to buy a Facebook ad. Since this algorithm change, you will have probably noticed a decline in your organic reach and as a result, may have scrambled to Facebook’s advertising platform to get yourself noticed. However, with half a billion more users than 3 years ago and 45 million business pages, it shortly became very crowded with companies competing for ad space making it very difficult (and sometimes expensive) for pages to do well.
Fear not - there is hope on the horizon and on the 21st of January 2016, Facebook launched it’s Audience Optimisation Tool - an organic targeting feature which will help you reach specific audiences and better understand your post engagement (we can hear you cheering from here).
How does it work?
Working in a similar way to Facebook advertising you can now target your desired audience organically using interest tags as well as restricting access to certain demographics. For example if you want to reach out to people within a certain radius, you can prevent those outwith the area from seeing the post by refining the location demographic. Similarly if you have products which can only be sold to over 18’s, think about refining your age categories to only display to those in this age range.
Enabling the Audience Optimisation Tool
Facebook has confirmed that page owners will have to enable the audience optimisation tool before having access to it unless they have a larger page (where Facebook will automatically enable the option). If you’re page has less than 5,000 likes and you want to enable this feature, here’s what you have to do:
- Go to your page and select the 'Settings' cog from the top right of the page.
- Select ‘General’ from the list of options and find ‘Audience Optimisation for Posts’ and click ‘Edit’.
- Check the box which allows you to begin using this feature and you're good to go.
Creating your fist post
To create your first, audience optimised post, add your post with links, images and anything else you want to add and select the small ‘Crosshairs’ icon to select interest tags which Facebook says will help ‘surface relevant posts to a wider organic audience’. What Facebook hasn’t yet disclosed is whether this will present your posts to users who have yet to like your page or whether this targeting only works on your current page likes (we assume it only targets those who have already likes your page but could be wrong).
After selecting your first interest category, Facebook will suggest other categories for you to potentially target however they may not be 100% relevant to you so think carefully about what your desired audience would actually be interested in before selecting these categories. Once you’ve hit publish, you’re good to go.
Note: you can only edit the targeting before you publish the post. Targeting cannot be edited or added in afterwards as you might often do with boosted posts.
When some time has passed after posting, this tool can also be used to review performance. from reach to click rate, likes to shares you can track this along with the interest categories where the content performed best. This will help you better target future posts and can also help to identify segments of your audience you may not expect to engage with certain types of content.
Ever wanted greater reach on Facebook (who are we kidding that includes everyone right!?) or want to try this as an alternative to Facebook advertising then give this new tool a try! Want more information? Check out Facebook’s help guide for more info.
Set up to help increase engagement with both your page and at individual post level, let us know if it's working well for you. Whether you choose to use this for every post or only every now and again, we'd like to hear your success stories.