On Friday, Facebook announced admins for Pages can now target their posts by gender, relationship status, education, workplace and what they’re interested in. Previous to this, they could only target based on language and location. So, yeah. This puts a lot more power into the hands of folks who do social-media marketing. This also means you can reduce your pay-per-click cost and allows your messages to only be received by those who you want to receive them: No more high-school guys getting ads for boy bands and no more middle-aged women getting ads for muscle cars.
That is, if you elect to exploit these new capabilities. It certainly has its appeal, and not just because it lets you gut out the folks who you’d think have no business reading your ad. It allows for more subtlety.
“Imagine how a lingerie brand can use Facebook’s new targeting features,” said Thomas Church, a marketing advisor to global brands and entrepreneurs. “They can show the sexier/skimpier outfits to the young, and the more modest to the old. They can show gift ideas to the boyfriends, and confidence-boosting products to the singles”
But just because you have all this new power doesn’t mean you necessarily should use it with all the features flipped on.
“The thing that business owners have to watch out for is trying to be too cute with their targeting,” said Eric Shannon, co-founder of Oh My Dog Supply. “You really need to ask yourself, ‘does this post really need to be targeted to a specific demographic or does it apply to the majority of my audience?”
And this may or may not be beneficial to entrepreneurs. If you’ve been at it for a couple months, you likely have a sense of the demographics your service or product appeal to. Piggybacking off that, RJ Días, CEO/design director of Industry Portage Co. had this to say: “This is a great thing for entrepreneurs in terms of marketing budget efficiencies and focus, but possibly limiting in terms of expanding offers to previously unknown markets.”
Plus you need to ask yourself: If you don’t yet have a massive following, do you really want to further segment and splinter your market by only targeting a handful of your fans?
“The ability to target different audiences with different posts gives us the ability to run multiple experiments at a time and to develop deeply targeted marketing campaigns.,” said Chris Maddern, CEO of AppLaunch. “This may seem difficult now, but within six months a startup will be created around running multi-demographic Facebook community management. It could be a great business… The ultimate short-term effect, though, is most likely a bad one for entrepreneurs who cannot invest time or a marketing team in this.”
So, if you got the time and are patient, give it a shot. Otherwise, it isn’t like Facebook isn’t the only game in town when it comes to social-media marketing. But it is a big game – and your competitors might be playing.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.