If you have been using Facebook over the last couple of years you will have noticed a decline in the organic reach of your posts. The organic reach is the people that your post is put in front of without you paying to promote your post to them. Many experts believe that this is part of Facebook’s plan to encourage greater use of paid, targeted advertising resulting in people seeing more relevant content and less “noise”.

A new feature has been recently introduced to Facebook which further supports the move towards more targeted and relevant content for every user – the trouble is unless you know it is there, it is very easy to miss!

Facebook has been at the forefront of targeted advertising for a long time. When you pay for an advert on the platform you can target a particular demographic very accurately by specifying things like geographic location, age, sex, interests, marital status etc. The highly targeted nature of this advertising makes it potentially very successful but businesses have to pay for this targeting ability.

It has been possible to “steer” your Facebook Business Page posts towards particular locations without paying for the privilege for some time. Now it is also possible to further target particular groups of people. You can reach specific audiences by specifying interests, activities and demographics and Facebook show your post based on the interests that people have said they like, the Pages people have liked and closely related topics.

If your Facebook page has over 5000 likes you will see this option automatically otherwise it is something that you have to turn on.

Follow these steps:

1. Visit your Facebook Page
2. Click ‘Settings’ (top right-hand corner)
3. Click ‘General’ on the left side of the page
4. Find ‘Audience Optimisation for Posts’ and click ‘Edit.’
5. Click the check box to enable the feature

Once the feature is enabled it is quite straightforward to use. Look for the target icon on the right-hand side of the row of tools at the bottom of the new post box.

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Clicking on this will encourage you to select from a list of interests:

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You can drill-down into the categories and hovering over the interest will show an indication of the potential audience that has shown an interest in that category/item. You can select up to 16 different interests. You can then further target your audience for the post by clicking on the “Audience Restrictions” tab:

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You might at this point wonder why you would want to restrict your potential audience when you are not having to pay for this post. The simple answer is Facebook has indicated that those posts that are most highly targeted will be considered most relevant to the recipients and therefore have a better chance of being shown to them.

If you target your posts using the interests in this way, Facebook also makes available some interesting metrics in Insights which show how each interest that you added contributed to a post’s reach, clicks, shares, and likes.

Have you been using this new feature? Have you found your reach has improved? Let us know how you have got on in the comments.