Everything a Digital Marketer Needs to Know About Reaching The Right Audience Through Social Targeting

Everything a Digital Marketer Needs to Know About Reaching The Right Audience Through Social Targeting

“There are definitely two schools of thought when it comes to the targeting abilities of social networks,” says Tom Edwards, chief digital officer of agency business at Epsilon. “Those who are constantly refining their offerings and enhancing their targeting capabilities and those who rely on their readers to choose their own paths.”

I don’t know about you but I’d want to make sure that my clients are constantly reviewing and refining their strategy and analyzing engagement metrics. This ensures that your message is reaching the right audiences, at the right time, through the right platforms.

In doing so, many marketers are taking note of social targeting to make sure their messages are deployed in a strategic and appropriate way.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the targeting capabilities of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn platforms.


Facebook – the behemoth social platform that your Great Aunt Ruth, her dog (because why wouldn’t her poodle have its own Facebook page), and your dentist are all on. It’s a massive platform with a massive audience so if you’re not careful, it’s easy for your marketing message to get lost.

On the Facebook platform there are two ways to play (organic and paid) but unlike what some marketers may think, there is an opportunity to target without spending precious ad dollars.

If your business is one that caters to a local area or if your product or service focuses on a specific gender or age, you’ll want to take advantage of the free targeting options for your organic posts. These options allow you to serve up your post to a certain audience, based on gender, age, location, education and more.

To do this, the first thing you need to do is ensure your Facebook business page is set up to allow privacy and targeting. 

After your settings are configured to allow for targeting, go ahead and start to publish a post natively like you would usually. You’ll see a crosshair appear in the update box next to the options to check in, add images or add emotion:

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.21.33 AM

Once you click on the crosshair button, you’ll see a box pop up offering you two different targeting options – News Feed Targeting and Audience Restrictions.

For the purpose of this example, we’ll focus on News Feed Targeting. Take a look at who your target audience is for this post and begin to fill in the form accordingly.


Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.02.24 AM

The great thing is that on the bottom of the targeting box, you’ll see your estimated audience number. If your targeting is too specific, your audience number may dwindle down. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s worth noting.

Once you complete that form and hit “Save,” you’ll be taken back to your business page but you’ll see that your targeting has been applied.


You can then move forward to post natively as you usually would.

Choosing one of these options will allow you to better target your audience without talking budgets with your boss.

Now, if you do have some money to spend on Facebook, you can look into using one of the many paid services that Facebook offers. Once you go to your Facebook Ad Manager, you have the option to create a new campaign.

Your campaign objective options are:

– Boost your posts
– Promote your page
– Send people to your website
– Increase conversions on your website
– Get installs of your app
– Increase engagement in your app
– Reach people near your business
– Raise attendance at your event
– Get people to claim your offer
– Get video views

Whichever objective you choose will impact who sees your ads. According to Facebook, “Your ads will be automatically optimized to show to the people who are most likely to take actions that will help you achieve your objective. For example, if you are advertising an app and your objective is to get more downloads, your ads will be set up to show to the people within your target audience who are most likely to install your app.” 

Therefore, as a marketer, you can target the right audience on the platform using either organic or paid support, depending on your budget.

For further insight into finding the right advertising avenue for your and your business, you can read more from Facebook.


Twitter isn’t just for your little sister anymore, nor just tweeting at celebrities. As of October 2015, Twitter currently has 320 million users and 100 million of these users are active daily. Even though this platform has been around a while, it’s fairly new to the targeting/ad business and, unlike Facebook; there aren’t any targeting capabilities that marketers can use for free.

Even though Twitter doesn’t currently offer targeting capabilities for organic tweets, it makes up for this by offering marketers a wide variety of targeting capabilities for ads. We’ll explain…

Once you sign up for a Twitter advertising account, you can opt for one of the following types of Twitter ads:

– Followers
– Website Clicks or Conversions
– App Installs or App Engagements
– Leads
– Promoted Tweets
– Promoted Trends

(Please note that not all Twitter ad types can take advantage of the following targeting capabilities. We recommend visiting the Advertise with Twitter website to learn more.)

Identify which ad type will work best for your campaign, develop the appropriate creative to support your campaign and then define your targeting criteria:

Follower Targeting: Target followers to reach people who are likely to be interested in your account

Tailored Audiences Targeting: Use your CRM lists to reach specific groups of users

Language Targeting: Reach people who understand a particular language

Device Targeting: Reach users based on the specific mobile devices they use to access Twitter

Keyword Targeting: Deliver timely messages to users based on what they’ve recently tweeted or engaged with in tweets

Gender Targeting: Target your message to either males or females

Behavior Targeting: Reach high-intent audiences based on shopping and spending patterns

Geography Targeting: Reach either a global audience or narrow the reach of your campaign to a specific area or town

Interest Targeting: Serve up your campaign to users whose interests align with your business.

Take a look at this article from HubSpot for a more in-depth look at each of these targeting capabilities.

Twitter’s wide range of targeting capabilities is appealing to marketers who are looking for the best way to target the right audience through social media, but as with all paid social and targeting support, it’s important to test and analyze what’s working and what’s not.

You should never put your entire social budget into one targeting tactic for your campaign the first time you use it, even if you think you know what’s best. Research, look for case studies and find what will work best for your business.


Many marketers may overlook LinkedIn when it comes to advertising on the platform but with +259 million members worldwide and an estimated 100 million of these users in the US, they’re missing out on a great opportunity. LinkedIn has offered the Sponsored Update option for marketers for several years now however they’ve also added Direct Sponsored Content, Audience Expansion and Lead Accelerator.

Direct Sponsored Content is similar to “dark posting” on Facebook. This content won’t show up on your LinkedIn company page but it will show up in the feed of your targeted audience. This is perfect for A/B testing because this content won’t show up duplicated on follower feeds or company pages.

Audience Expansion allows marketers to increase the reach of the campaign by showing their Text Ads and Sponsored Updates to audiences with similar attributes to your target audience.

And lastly, Lead Accelerator will help you reach anonymous website visitors, re-engage prospects and provide you with advanced analytics to measure your performance. It’s worth noting that, for now, Lead Accelerator is available only through a LinkedIn sales representative, with either a minimum level for your budget or a recommended minimum of 45k monthly unique visitors to your website. Visit their page for more information on this feature.

Depending on which option you choose for your campaign, LinkedIn offers a variety of ad targeting options to ensure your message is reaching a relevant audience:

– Location
– Company Name
– Company Size
– Job Title
– Job Function
– Job Seniority
– Member Skills
– Member Schools
– Degrees
– Fields of Study
– Member groups (up to 100 active groups)
– Member Gender
– Member Age

Please note that a maximum of 100 selections are permitted per targeting option.

If you have any questions or concerns, LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with one of their representatives and, through my experience, they are timely in their responses.

Whew. Exhausting isn’t it?
There are a lot of social targeting options for marketers but the most important thing to take away from this is to make sure you keep your marketing goals in mind and that you’re constantly analyzing and tweaking your strategy to align with performance and best practices.

This post was written by K. Fodera, Digital Content Manager at PUSH 22.