Social media marketing has become a huge part of the greater marketing world for various reasons. The reach is obvious, with Facebook having billions of active monthly users, and it’s a fantastic expansion of existing PPC and content marketing practices, even working well alongside email marketing. If you have such an option on the table, why not use it?
Most notable, though, are the range of self-selected communities and the sheer weight of valuable data stored and contextualized through social media activity. Bring these things together and you have a recipe for exceptional segmentation. But what do I mean by segmentation? Why is it so important, and how can you use it? Let’s go through it.
What does segmentation involve?
In marketing, segmentation is about dividing your audience in useful ways. For instance, you could split your audience by sex, or age, or location, or income level. Instead of sending the same marketing message to everyone in your target audience, you could then send a distinct message for each segment, allowing you to cater more closely to specific needs.
While it can be done manually, it’s standard practice to automate segmentation. The data is already there, ready and available for marketers to use. Facebook’s PPC configuration tool allows a marketer to get extremely specific about the people they want to reach. You can create an ad, then specify that you only want it served to people who’ve liked a particular page, or who work in a certain industry.
Note that segmentation is about mass posting, not individual engagement. Social media posts are visible to everyone by default, and the best you can do to narrow your focus is directly message people or tag their accounts.
You might reach out to someone because they have influence over people in your target audience (if they have thousands of relevant followers, for instance), selling them on what you have to offer in the hope that they’ll speak of your positively. Alternatively, you might reach out to prospective high-value customers or clients. This is really more for B2B operations.
Regardless, the point is that social media segmentation is a PPC practice: running campaigns that only display when certain conditions are met. When we talk of social media marketing here, keep that firmly in mind.
Why segmentation is so valuable
Being successful in social media marketing today is all about using time efficiently and getting the maximum return on your investment. Segmentation is essential for this. It doesn’t take long to create some basic variants of an ad, and if each custom variant performs even 0.5% better, it will end up making you money.
Understandably, the e-commerce world is hugely into segmentation (and the use of at-scale data analytics in general). Anyone running a store gathers a lot of customer information, and that information can be used to generate segments for further social media marketing (users of Shopify’s store design software can easily try something like Customer Segment Builder). Personalized marketing can lead to personalized UX designs, raising conversion rates.
Segmentation also helps you figure out where your marketing is performing and where it’s failing to meet requirements. You might discover that part of your audience actually has little interest in what you’re marketing — if so, you can narrow your target audience for your general value propositions, helping you achieve improved results overall.
How to best segment your marketing
All that said, how should you use segmentation when marketing through social media? Let’s go through some of the best practices:
- Learn all the options available to you. You can only segment your social media ads as much as the social media platforms allow you to. There’s no sense in devising a segment that you can’t ultimately a target, so learn about the options available to you. Facebook is the most configurable, so get to grips with its full range of choices.
- Think about your ideal customer. Carefully consider what you’re trying to market. What type of customer does any given product best suit? Was it designed for high-class women? Poor families? Average men? Once you have a fully-formed persona in your mind, start noting down the relevant segmentation characteristics.
- Carry out audience research. Having a segment picked out for everything you want to market is one thing, but catering to distinct segments is another. You might need to change small elements of your copy, or you might need to radically overhaul your imagery. The best way to figure out what you should do is to research the segments: find suitable people on social media and see what they like, dislike, and respond to.
- Experiment and iterate. Even if you think you have a good grasp on what each segment is looking for, you might be totally wrong. You won’t know until you actually try for yourself, so don’t be reluctant to experiment. The beauty of social media PPC is that it’s so easy to make alterations without stopping your campaigns. If something isn’t working, change it, and try again. You’ll make progress eventually.
Segmentation on social media is ultimately about testing different audience profiles until you find the configurations that make your ads most cost-effective. Give it your best shot, don’t be afraid to read through internal ad guidelines (Facebook Ads has a comprehensive help area, for instance), and you should get results.