How to use Facebook advertising to reach your target audience

Jeff Quipp
November 13, 2014
By Jeff Quipp

Nov. 13, 2014 – Social media plays a significant role in any business-to-business marketing strategy. Digital marketing expert Jeff Quipp explains how you can use it to advantage to market to other businesses.

According to a survey conducted by Business2Community, 91 per cent of business-to-business (B2B) marketing use LinkedIn; 85 per cent use Twitter; and 81 per cent use Facebook. That LinkedIn is used with the most frequency is not surprising. After all, it is comprised almost exclusively of the type of audience B2B marketers target. But, Facebook may become a bigger player in this sphere as they continue to improve and expand their B2B advertising features.

Currently, only 30 per cent of B2B marketers view Facebook as an effective marketing tool, and Facebook is tirelessly working to change that. Since its IPO last year, the social network has been continually evolving its advertising tools to create products that yield real results with the people and businesses a company wants to reach. The development and growth of these tools has led to 43 per cent of B2B companies acquiring customers from marketing on Facebook.

With this information in mind, here are a number of ways companies can strategize to find that secret sauce:

Use advanced segment targeting

Facebook has upped their B2B targeting options as a move to compete with LinkedIn for B2B advertising dollars. Segmentation options (the ways in which you can have your ads custom targeted) now include demographic targeting by current company, job title, and even life events; interest targeting by business or industry; behavioral targeting by travelers and commuters; locational targeting; or a combination thereof.

For B2B marketers looking to give Facebook advertising a try, leveraging these segmentation options can produce great results. A good place to begin is targeting based on job title or company, but you can add multiple segmentation layers – interests, industry, office type (corporation, home office, small office), etc. – to reach a highly specific, relevant audiences. The more layers you add, the smaller, and more targeted, the audience becomes.

Create custom audiences

Custom audiences give advertisers the ability to target ads to those they have established a relationship with, whether on or off Facebook. Essentially, it lets advertisers find and target their existing audiences (prospects from contact lists, website visitors, etc) who use Facebook.

By uploading an existing contact list in a CSV or TXT file (email addresses, customer data, etc.) into Facebook ads manager, you can create a custom audience and serve advertisements exclusively to this list of contacts on Facebook.

Before creating a custom audience, make sure you compile an updated prospect list to ensure that your ads don’t reach cold or unqualified leads. Once you have updated your list, save it as a .CSV. Go to your ads manager, click Create Audience and upload the data file (you can also upload this list via MailChimp). Facebook also offers the option to create custom audiences from your website or from your mobile app.

Create lookalike audiences

This feature can be very effective for both B2B and B2C audiences. It provides marketers the ability to target users who have many profile similarities as their current fan and follower base. Lookalike audiences are built based on the people who like your Facebook page; customer contact information, like email or phone numbers from existing custom audiences; and people who visit your website. The result is that Facebook is doing some of the targeting for you, allowing you to reach out to people who are likely to be interested in your business or services based on preferences, interests and other data common among users who have already expressed interest. This can help you achieve a number of goals, such as site registration, fan acquisition, brand awareness, and even purchases.

To create a Lookalike audience, go to Power Editor and select Audiences from the Ad Tools drop-down menu. Choose Create Audiences, click Lookalike Audiences, and then select which source (custom audience, conversion pixel, or Facebook page) from which you want the audience created. Choose the location you want to find similar users in, select desired audience size, and click Create. More information on creating Lookalike Audiences can be found via Facebook Help.

All signs indicate that Facebook will only become a more important B2B marketing platform in the near future. Learning the ropes early on and exploring the B2B advertising options that Facebook offers will help businesses leverage the platform to increase brand awareness, establish relationships with prospective buyers and generate qualified leads – especially as Facebook ventures further into the B2B marketing milieu.  

Jeff Quipp is an expert on digital marketing. He is the founder and CEO of Search Engine People Inc. (SEP) , Canada's largest digital marketing firm, which has been on the PROFIT 100 ranking of Canada's Fastest Growing Companies for the past five consecutive years and named one of PROFIT Magazine’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Greater Toronto Area. You can follow Jeff on Twitter and connect with him on Google+.

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