In a world where businesses are measured by their number of likes, followers, and the size of their email databases, I see many businesses with a tendency to overlook the real value that their audience is offering.
Especially early on, don’t focus so much on how many platforms you can leverage, rather, focus on one platform where you can effectively learn more about your audience. From there you can broaden your marketing efforts based on what you now know, creating a highly targeted message.
Where you can begin:
Facebook is one of the largest platforms for users to absorb content and share personal information. The data and users are there, all for your taking. For that reason, I'll focus on Facebook as the platform to execute against. Below are three action items that you can realistically move on to start gaining a better understanding of your audience. I've grouped them into categories based on the amount of energy you'll need to spend to get something started.
Page Insights - Low Effort
Assuming you have a Facebook presence, Facebook's Page Insights is a free way to get a better understanding of those users who have "Liked" your page and engage with your brand on Facebook. Although the details are somewhat limited, there are some valuable things you can learn that are often overlooked. Through Page Insights, you can glean information around ‘When Your Fans are Online’, ‘Gender Breakdowns’, and ‘Location Breakdowns’. Just by getting a better understanding of your users in these areas, you can better tailor your efforts to your audience. For example, don’t sell snow shovels to 70 year olds who live in Florida.
This tool is free, already in place, easy to navigate, and you can gain a better understanding of your audience within minutes.
Polls, Surveys, and Questionnaires - Medium Effort
Polls, Surveys, and Questionnaires. Just reading that may have made you cringe a little, and that is completely understandable. However, it is an effective way to get the specific information you need, with minimal effort and low costs.
There are several survey tools available for Facebook such as the free version of POLL that allows you to easily poll your audience, keeping the questions within Facebook (as opposed to sending them to a page on your site) and increasing the participation.
When going this route, there are a few key things to consider. Make sure you limit the number of questions at one time and be sure every question is giving you valuable insight into your users. Don’t be afraid to incentivize the user. Give away a $5 gift card to users that participate or even offer an exclusive discount on your product if they take the survey. Be creative and you can effectively leverage the information for future marketing efforts.
Facebook Login and Apps - High Effort
Create a Facebook App and leverage Facebook Login. This gives you the opportunity to access an even larger pool of ultra-valuable user information.
If you don’t have a developer with the skills to create Facebook Apps, find someone that you can contract with or partner with a creative company like Brand Thunder to help you get something in place.
We’ve all seen the screen that comes up saying something similar to “THIS BRAND will receive the following info: your public profile, friend list, birthday, and email address.” The challenge is coming up with creative campaigns that increase the likelihood of users accepting those Facebook Login Permissions.
However, overcoming that small hurdle is well worth the effort. You can then start to obtain user details such as Gender, Location, Likes, Interests, Education History, Email Address, Hometown, Age Range, and on and on. If they give it to Facebook, you have a chance to learn from it. This can be used with just your Facebook audience or even extended to visitors that come to your website or your existing email database.
About the Author - Ryan Miller
As the VP of Business Development for Brand Thunder, Ryan has more than a decade of experience building relationships and creating successful business strategies for leading brands.