Your Guide to Social Media Targeting

Your Guide to Social Media Targeting

These days everyone is a publisher. Brands, consumers, businesses and agencies are creating digital content at a rate that far exceeds our ability to consume that news.

Some publishers try to solve this problem in a strictly creative way. While creativity is a part of high performing content, it’s not the only factor to consider. Another way to get attention on noisy social feeds is to be highly relevant. To get noticed, it’s important that posts reach the right segments of a target audience. For this reason, addressing target groups has become a necessary part of successful social media publishing.

For paid content, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer reliable targeting functions that publishers can use to define their reach based on a variety of categories for demographics, user type and interests. However, social media targeting can be used strategically beyond paid social advertising.

Most social networks allow publishers to apply targeting or custom visibility to organic posts. Setting a custom visibility through the available targeting criteria from Sprout Social can increase engagement rates and provide your reader with a more relevant experience.

Learn how Sprout can help you reach a specific segment of your audience. Click any of the links below to jump to the platform you want to explore:

Access to targeting via Sprout Compose

Sprout’s publishing tools make it easy to schedule, queue, and publish messages to multiple networks at the same time, and take advantage of unique social media targeting options for each network – all from a single intuitive creation window.

That is extremely powerful. Not only does Compose centralize your social media publishing efforts, save you time and ensure a consistent voice across all networks, but it can also send the most relevant messages to specific segments of your community.

Click the targeting icon in the lower left corner of the Compose window to access the audience targeting options. The menu only contains the networks that match the profiles you want to publish to.

Sprout’s audience targeting features are available to our professional and advanced users who are serious about targeting. If posting targeted news is part of your social media publishing strategy, Sprout can help you achieve your goals no matter the size of your team or the audience you’re trying to reach.

Facebook targeting: Target your post

The Facebook news feed has become a crowded space. With Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, it can feel like a constant struggle to ensure healthy reach. Through organic post targeting of Facebook Pages, intelligent publishers have found new ways to optimize their organic reach. Unlike restricting the audience of your Facebook post (see below), Facebook organic targeting only affects what a user sees in their news feed. In other words, regardless of whether a user meets the targeting criteria, the post will still be displayed through Facebook search and when visiting your page directly.

From within Sprout, Facebook organic targeting can be applied to page posts based on the following criteria:

  • Interests
  • gender
  • relationship status
  • Educational status
  • Age
  • place
  • language

Bars composition window with targeting options

Below are some examples of possible Facebook organic targeting strategies:

  • An entertainment media company uses a combination of interests, age, and gender to target each of its articles to a segment of its readership that is most likely to engage with the content.
  • A grocery delivery service uses location and educational status to share promo codes with current college students in target areas.
  • A global hospitality chain targets honeymoon-themed posts aimed at newlyweds-to-be, using a combination of criteria of location, age, gender, and relationship status.
  • A national publication aimed at retirees uses age, location, and interests to target its content to the most relevant readers.

By using organic Facebook targeting, you are providing a portion of your target audience with content that resonates with them. Hence, these users are more likely to get involved. As soon as a user engages with your content, that user’s Facebook friends have the opportunity to see your post, even if they don’t like your page or don’t belong to a specific audience. In this way, organic post targeting from Facebook Pages can have a catalytic effect on a post’s organic reach.

Facebook targeting: Limit the audience for your post

Although it can be effective to put ad dollars behind Facebook posts and target audiences based on user type or interest-based criteria, there is still the possibility of subjectivity. Also, paying behind every social contribution is not a sustainable or effective strategy.

When you narrow down the audience of your post using Sprout’s Facebook audience targeting tools, you can use two of the most distinctive audience attributes – language and location – to ensure you don’t waste impressions on fans who would find your content irrelevant.

With Sprout, you can limit the audience of your Facebook post by country.

When you select the country, you can enter the name of the destination you want. Sprout’s intelligent look-ahead search refines the options in the drop-down menu so you can easily find what you need.

Auto-complete Sprout Country Targeting

Here are a few scenarios where you can apply language and location targeting:

  • Publication of regional content such as location-specific promotions or events
  • A / B tests the popularity of a product in specific locations
  • Publish translated posts to specific subsets of a global audience

Note that the audience restriction of a post based on language and location applies to the visibility of the post on Facebook. This means that a Facebook fan who falls into the target segment can view this post in their newsfeed, via Facebook search and when visiting your page directly.

LinkedIn audience targeting

LinkedIn is far from being a digital resume repository. Today, LinkedIn represents a thriving community of professionals looking to create deeper connections with their peers. It also serves as a robust publishing platform with huge amounts of content.

As the entire LinkedIn community has grown – now more than 364 million members in 200 countries – it becomes increasingly important to ensure that your content reaches the right people at the right time. Posting targeted updates is an effective way to communicate more relevant and personal with your LinkedIn followers.

From within Sprout, LinkedIn targeting can be applied to posts based on the following criteria:

  • Company size
  • Industry sectors
  • function
  • Seniority
  • Continents
  • countries
  • State / Province
  • Cities
  • Locales

Sprout options for LinkedIn targeting

By applying targeting based on the criteria above, you can segment your LinkedIn followers and provide content that is specifically tailored to subsets of your overall follower base. For example:

  • Use seniority or job role targeting to target a job posting to relevant candidates.
  • Share regionally specific company news or information on local industry events using geography and industry goals.

Bonus: reach a target audience through lawyers

There’s no doubt that using targeting is an effective way to refine your social media publishing strategy.

However, this is certainly not the only way to ensure that your messages are organically reaching the right audience. With a carefully crafted employee advocacy program, you can tap into a unique and powerful audience: your employees and their trusted networks. Similar to targeting, employee advocacy is another strategy for reaching a highly relevant audience and, if done effectively, can have a significant impact on the overall delivery of your brand’s content.

Are you ready to improve your content targeting?

Check out how social media targeting can increase the reach of your content with a free trial of Sprout Social.