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Drive Up Engagement With Geotargeted Posts on Facebook

Geotargeting Facebook posts is an effective hack for nonprofits looking to expand reach and engagement without dropping money on promoted posts.

While in a turkey coma last Thanksgiving, I came across this insightful post by the Nieman Journalism Lab: What kinds of local stories drive engagement? The results of an NPR Facebook experiment. The article highlights nine different types of content categories to focus on when localizing your content. I encourage everyone to hop on over to that link and learn from NPR’s experiment.

Buried among the great content suggestions was one very important piece of data: “geotargeted posts were six times more successful than posts that were shared to the global NPR Facebook following.” That little nugget was quantifiable proof that geotargeted posts work.

Over the past 10 months we performed our own experiments on some of the Facebook pages we manage for large national nonprofits. Our results mirrored those of the NPR study. In every instance we found that by targeting content on Facebook pages to a specific audience we were not only able to increase reach, but also engagement.

What does this mean? In practical terms, it means creating more content. Take these two posts for example:

Example #1: National Context and Global Targeting

State specific targeting will get you more reach and engagement.

Example #2: State Context and State Targeting

State specific targeting will get you more reach and engagement.

The first post was targeted to the nonprofit’s entire audience. It only reached 16 percent of them (exactly the average for the platform) and had an engagement rate of 3.7 percent (one percent is average). The second post reached a whopping 94 percent of its potential audience – fans living in Montana – and had a 9.35 percent engagement rate.

Bottom Line

Facebook provides tools to target fans. We should use them. Data shows that it is an effective strategy. But of course from an execution standpoint, this means more work. There is no shortcut to deliver the best content to the most relevant and targeted audience possible. Generating content that can be hyper-targeted might not be possible for your organization on a daily basis, but when a big campaign comes up, it makes sense to keep targeted posts in mind when creating content. While we have only experimented with segmenting fans by geographic location, there are several other ways to target a Facebook post:

1. Gender

2. Relationship Status

3. Educational Status

4. Interested In

5. Age

6. Language

Have you used targeted posts to promote your nonprofit? Let us know in the comments below.


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