Audience crafting for social media advertising, and particularly for Facebook is a combination of skill, art, magic and a touch of chaos. Conventional wisdom tells us that we should ask ourselves a set of basic questions. We definitely should, but (make that all caps in your head) we need to go beyond those and understand that when it comes to the outcome of this process, we are not completely in control. Some elements of it are beyond our control and squarely within that of the platform.
Let’s look at what I think are the most important questions for audience crafting:
- Who do we want to reach?
- Where do they live?
- What do they like?
- What relationship should they already have with our brand/client/self and/or its followers?
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- What language do they have their devices set to?
- What is their income level?
- ETC (you can be as detailed as you like, but as I’ll discuss later, that many not be a good thing)
- How broad should the audience be? (this one both determines and is determined by the previous question)
- What is my ultimate goal once I reach these people?
So that I don’t bore you to tears with this stuff, I will tackle the first question and its first sub-question, and we can discuss (as in “give me feedback, and we’ll talk”) the rest later.
Who do we want to reach?
This is perhaps the first and most important question before and during building an audience. Everything depends on the answer we give to this question. It, of course, determines who will see your ads, and take action on them, and unless you are Proctor & Gamble (see my previous post), the answer is never “everybody everywhere.” That’s why you should always disassemble it into a subset of other more specific questions as follows:
Where do they live?
Geography is important. Knowing where your audience lives is fundamental, and to know that you need to establish a few things beforehand. You need to know at least some of what you want to achieve with your ad: You need to know whether your brand/client wants to have local, regional, national, multinational or global reach:
- Does your brand/client want to reach people in your city, in a few other countries or many other countries?
- Also, and very important for your/your client’s reputation, does your brand/client have the ability to handle relationships (orders, collaborations, product shipments, etc.) in other languages and cultures? In other words, can you/your client talk to people in other countries, ship products to them, offer services and collaborate with them?
- Does your brand/client already have an established presence or awareness in those markets?
In order to answer the first question in this subset, you should first answer the other two. It doesn’t matter how global you want to be if you cannot reach your audience once they become customers. It is great that your ad was seen by 9,000 people in Morocco and that 300 of them want to buy your product/service, but you can’t speak Arabic or French and many of them cannot speak English, so they will not become customers; or worse, they will become disgruntled and give you terrible reviews online. Also, if you don’t have the capability to ship your product to them or provide your service where they are, you or your client can’t sell them anything. So, if your brand/client has limited geographical reach/capabilities, keep your audience within those boundaries, whether it is only targeting a few cities, regions or states, or a few countries at a time. If your brand/client is truly global, go wild.
The answer of the last question will also determine the answer to the first one because if your brand/client already has a presence it makes it much easier to craft a message that will resonate with people at those locations. Use what has worked before, but also look at what has not, and why. Don’t be condescending, nor offensive, avoid faux pas, etc. If you are introducing a new brand, then you have to be very intentional and very educated when crafting the message. Know the culture, the language, even the local subcultures. Language+culture is a huge multilayer topic that should be explored separately.
Let’s continue the journey through audience crafting next time. Until then, keep your wits!