With more than 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook is an ideal place to target potential and existing customers. But with every business competing for user attention, marketers are finding it more difficult to build a sizable fan base. Even worse, it's difficult to reach the fans you do have without actually paying to "boost" the reach of your posts.

Despite these challenges, there's plenty of opportunity for merchants to devise a strategy that grows their Facebook audience and generates customers.

Save an Audience in Power Editor

Add the common pages that your fans – and those of your competitors - have liked, and create a Saved Audience for targeted advertising. Keep your other demographic filters as broad as possible, again following patterns that you've seen in your own fan base. Check Page Insights, the analytics program that shows you metrics about people who interact with your page, and look for commonalities that will help guide your targeting.

Find new people to reach using Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are auto-generated groups who fit the profile of your current audience. This segmentation tools leverages Facebook's user data to find the type of users who are likely to engage and purchase from you.

Engage with other businesses and users

Amidst frequent posting and photo uploads, businesses often forget that social media is a two-way street. Other people, especially merchants, care about creating engagement as much as you do. When you take the time to read or watch something someone else is posting, and comment on it, you'll introduce your brand to new people while building a relationship with a fellow business owner who may return the favor. Showing that you interact with people can also grab a users' attention and make them more likely to pay attention to your posts.

Cross-promote other businesses that you collaborate with

Think about non-competing businesses that your customers frequent, and look for opportunities to cross promote each other. Make a note of their content that generates the most engagement and brainstorm ways you can add value to the interactions they have with fans. Talk to the business owner about sharing each other's posts now and again. After some collaboration and understanding how your audiences overlap, you may come up with shared events that you can co-promote together.

This is a great way to introduce your brand to new audiences. For instance, if a business runs a promotion where customers receive a reduced price on specific items with proof of purchase from your business and vice versa, it could drive new customers to both companies.


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