In This Article
Why honing in on your audience can improve your engagement.
How to choose an audience for your Page or campaign.
Tactics and tools you can use on Facebook to reach that audience.
Why Choose a Specific Audience?
Your audience is the group of people you aim to reach with your message: supporters, beneficiaries, new donors, or others. Identifying the characteristics and interests of this group can increase your effectiveness communicating on Facebook in the following ways:
Prioritization and focus
Tailoring your message to a specific audience and prioritizing them helps you focus the content of your posts. This helps you optimize your time and resources to reach people supporting your organization in the ways that you need.
The more focused your posts are, the more likely your audience will notice and engage with them.
Learn more about your base
If you’re focused about who you are trying to reach and you monitor your post and audience insights, you will be more in tune with the type of people who are receptive to your message. This can help inform your approach to nurturing and growing your support base.
Since News Feed takes into account how engaging your Page posts are when determining how widely your posts are seen (among many other signals), knowing your audience and creating relevant, engaging content for them is a significant factor in reaching more people who care about your cause.
How to Choose Your Audience
Align your audience with your mission
Your optimal audience depends on your goals for your Facebook Page. If you haven’t defined objectives for your Page, you can find help on nonprofits.fb.com. After you’ve decided how you want to use your Page to support your mission, then you can determine the type of person who will likely help you in that effort.
You can ask yourself the following questions to help determine your audience:
- Who currently supports your mission and why?
- Who can relate to the issue you’re addressing?
- Who do you need to influence to achieve your mission?
- Who is affected by the problem you’re solving for?
- Who would benefit from your programs or services?
Outline audience characteristics
List the characteristics of the people you have described in the questions above. Examples of characteristics are: age, gender, location, language, religion, education level, marital status, family size, interests and behaviors.
TIP: For some organizations, it will make sense to have a posting strategy that addresses multiple audiences. If you work in various regions or have a wide scope of programs, you can create different posts for each audience and test your messaging to discover what type of people respond.
Gut-check the audience you’ve identified
Once you’ve identified the characteristics of the people you think will be best to direct your messages to, consider the practicalities of engaging that audience.
- Is the description of your audience too broad? Are there too many people who fit your criteria?
- Is your description too narrow? Are there enough people who fit this description?
- Does this group have the time, skills or funds to support your objectives in the way that you need?
- Can you gain access to this group of people? How?
TIP: Use the Audience Insights tool to learn more about your audience, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more.
How to Reach Your Desired Audience
Get to know their behavior
Once you have identified your audience, research what they like and the actions they typically take:
- What devices do they use the most to access Facebook?
- What types of content do they consume?
- What topics and trends are they interested in?
- What brands and Influencers do they follow?
You can use tabs in the Audience Insights tool to find this data or search for existing sources that publish nonprofit market research and demographic trends.
If you’re unable to find existing research that’s useful, you may want to conduct your own. You can survey your staff, beneficiaries and volunteers or host a focus group. The goal of this research is to learn more about what type of people are interested in your cause and why, so you can shape your messaging to fit.
After performing research, you can create a more detailed supporter profile or “persona” of the type of person you want to attract to your cause or campaign. Many organizations assign a name and photo to their persona or personas.
Create content that speaks directly to your audience
Create posts that speak to the interests, habits and desires of your chosen audience. Your research and personas will be useful for this. For more on creating content that speaks to your audience, see our section Grab People’s Attention.
Monitor and evolve
Your desired audience can change as you learn who engages with your content. Periodically review your post insights to see how the audiences you’ve targeted are responding.
Use Audience Optimization features
Facebook has built-in tools that help you control who sees a post. You can access these features by clicking the target icon below the text field when you are creating a post. If your Page has fewer than 5,000 followers, you will need to activate this feature in your Page Settings.
Preferred Audience lets you choose the people you’d like to reach in News Feed for each post. You select relevant interests, and people who share them are more likely to see your post. This won’t restrict people from outside of the audience from seeing the posts.
Audience Restrictions let you limit who can see a post. Only people in the audiences you choose can see the post anywhere on Facebook. This tool lets you select an audience based on age, gender, location, or language.
NOTE: Both Preferred Audiences and Audience Restrictions are currently only available for English-language Pages. For non-English Pages, we offer News Feed Targeting, which controls who can see a story in News Feed but not on the Page timeline.
Preferred Audience insights tell you more about how your audience is responding to a post with Preferred Audience settings. Audience insights show you how each interest you selected is contributing to a post’s reach, likes, clicks and shares.
Use targeted ads
Facebook ads are paid placements of content on Facebook. Ads can appear directly in News Feed or in the right hand column. Ads give you more specific targeting options and allow you to reach audiences outside of your existing Page followers.
Ads are particularly useful if you want to reach new people on Facebook or show your message to specific audiences. Ads can be utilized to:
- Find new supporters by reaching outside your existing community.
- Reach out to new people who are similar to your existing supporters.
- Make sure more of your audience sees an important post.
- Send calls to action to people with particular demographics, interests or behaviors.
- Drive specific behaviors, like visiting your website or signing up for your email list.
For more ideas on how to activate supporters, visit nonprofits.fb.com.