Facebook: 7 Powerful Promoted Posts Targeting Tips That Work

Facebook Advertising

As a former advertising agency person, I get absolutely giddy over the audience targeting power Facebook offers advertisers.  The ability to micro-target  who will see your messages and in what context they see it is breathtaking to me.

Comparing Facebook’s audience targeting to that of traditional media is a bit like comparing a horse and buggy to SpaceX’s Falcon rocket.  There is no comparison.Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO Cover

Everyone knows I’m obsessive about knowing your audience.  In fact, I just finished a book about defining your audience.  Yeah!!!

And, when it comes to advertising, having a well-defined picture of your audience is mandatory.

The power of Facebook’s targeting doesn’t erase the fact that you, the advertiser, have to have an enticing message.  But these 7 advertising targeting tips that will go a long way to ensure a lot of people see that message, which is what advertising is all about.

Before discussing the tips I should credit and thank Amy Porterfield for sharing these tips in her most recent webinar series.  One knows if it comes from Amy, it is tested, tired and true.

I should also clarify that this post is only about Promoted Posts in Facebook.  This is where you use an update you’ve already posted to Facebook as your ad.  It’s quick, easy and perfect for advertising newbies.

Unlike the Boost Post option discussed in a previous post and that appears under your update, you can take control of the audience for Promoted Posts through Facebook’s Ad Manager Dashboard and Facebook’s Power Editor.

So what are the 7 Facebook Advertising tips? 

When you visit Facebook Advertising, you have the ability to select geography (down to the zip code), age, and gender.  This alone puts Facebook well above all other media options, but where the real power lies is in Precise Interest and Facebook Graph.

Facebook Audience

We’ll start with Facebook’s Graph, the search box at the top of Facebook.

Tip 1 – Use Facebook’s Graph to search for your current fans by inputting the following into the search box: 

Pages liked by people who like (the name of your Facebook Page)”

The result is a list of other Facebook Pages that your Fans have liked.


Facebook Graph Search

What can you do with this information?  OMG!  A lot.  This gold mine of information is telling you exactly where your fans are hanging out on Facebook.  You get insights into how your fans view your business.  It identifies other pages these people have also liked (e.g. Gary Vanderchuk and Seth Godin, etc.) so you can further expand your network.  And it ids other sites where you can reach your fans through guest posting…like the ones I found in my graph search.


Facebook - Social Media Examiner

Facebook - Social Media

Tip 2:  Use Facebook Graph for another search:

Favorite interests of people who like (name of your Facebook Page)”

The output provides clues of other topics that are of interest to your fans.  I was surprised to see my fans interested in science fiction movies, yoga, gardening and traveling.

Facebook Interest

In addition to helping you target your Facebook ads, you can use this information to generate topics for your blog, for your Facebook page or for promotional themes or contests.

Tip 3 – Use the results from Facebook Graph to further refine the audience for your ads. 

Super-charge your advertising by inputting some of the Facebook Pages from your Graph Search into “Precise Interest”.  In my case this would include the Facebook Pages for Mari, Kim and a few others so my advertising would reach their fans.

Pretty powerful?  Yep. Let’s keep going.

Now, input the topics of interest you discovered in the Graph Search into “Precise Interests” with a hash tag.  Facebook retrieves a list of specific types of gardening topics for you to select.  You can stick with the big interest (Garden) or refine it further.  Here’s what it looks like for ‘Garden’.

Facebook Gardening

Tip 4 – Customize your ad location

You can tailor where your ad will appear.  You definitely want it to appear in the news feed and NOT in the right hand column.

Why?  Ads that appear in the news feed are far more likely to receive a click through rate (CTR) of 2.0 – 5.0% than the right column location (0.04% average).   That’s why.

How?  In Facebook’s Ad Manager, on the left-hand column, you’ll see “Show Advanced Options”.   Click on it and then uncheck “Right Hand Column”.

Facebook Advanced Options


You can verify your option by checking the “Right Column”.  There you’ll see a message confirming your action.

Facebook - Right hand option

Tip 5 – Use Connections and Advanced Targeting Options

This one wasn’t covered by Amy but I think you should be aware of it as it allows you more control over your audience.  These options are located under Precise Interests. The initial default looks like this.

Facebook Advanced Targeting Options

When you click the radio button for ‘Advanced Connection’ targeting and click ‘Advanced Targeting Options’, you’ll see the following.  Now you can target people who are connected to your Page, those not connected and friends of connections.  Plus you will be presented with more demographic options such as education, languages, workplaces and more.

Facebook Advanced Targeting Options

There may be promotions you only want to promote to those connected to your Facebook Page and not to friends of fans.  Plus some feel  promoting to friends of fans creates a lot of negative backlash, so you will want to exercise some caution.  This is one way to do that.  You can find out more about ‘connections’ on Facebook.

Another way to control who sees what in Facebook’s Power Editor, which we’ll cover next.

Tip 6 – Customize Your Audience with Facebook’s Power Editor

The Power Editor is a plug-in tool created for power advertisers who have a lot of ads running on Facebook.

You use the Power Editor instead of the Ad Manager Dashboard to create your campaign.  While it does provide you with more options, you may find it challenging.  But one tip Amy provided may make the Power Editor worth the effort.

Within the Power Editor you can download your email subscribers, a list of customers or a list of prospects.  Facebook matches the email addresses or phone numbers and identifies these as your target audience for your campaign.  It doesn’t do anything else with the lists except use it to match against its database to find your customized audience.

Facebook Power EditorYou have to download the Power Editor in Chrome for it to work.  Here are several resources that will help walk you through the ins and outs of the Power Editor.  Don’t play with it unless you understand what you’re doing.

How to Use Facebook Power Editor, a Detailed Guide, Social Media Examiner

Power Editor: An Alternative to Facebook Promoted Posts [Tutorial], Jon Loomer Digital

Power Editor Install Instructions

Power Editor Guide

Tip 7 – Optimize your Facebook Page Cover Space

Amy suggested this as a great lead generating technique and it is.  But it could be extended as part of an ad campaign.  As you may be aware, Facebook finally lifted restrictions as to what could be included in the Cover.  So you can include giant calls to action, your website URL, phone number or whatever works best to meet your marketing objectives.

The really cool thing is the space your cover photo eats up in the news feeds.  As you can see, it really towers above all else in the feed.

Facebook Cover in news feed

Imagine your cover with specific calls to action in the feeds of your fans.  Think you’ll get their attention?  Think it could work as a Promoted Post?   I’ll try it and let you know what happens.

Okay, there are 7 powerful targeting and advertising tips for Facebook. Now, it’s your turn.

Have you tried any of these techniques?  If so, what were your results?

Which of these tips will you try in the future?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.   I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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