What is a social media audience?

A social media audience is a group of online users that are selectively advertised to based on selected demographical information including their geographic location, age, gender, and other personal details like their employer, interests, or behaviours. No matter what you’re selling, if you’re advertising to your clients through social media, you’ve had to select an audience that is eligible to receive your ads.

The question is, when it comes to B2B social media advertising, why is a carefully selected audience so important?


Table of Contents

Why is a carefully-selected audience so important?

The basics of B2B audience targeting

1. Use buyer personas

2. Choose the right platform

Platform-specific B2B audience targeting

LinkedIn B2B Targeting

Facebook B2B Targeting


Why is a carefully-selected audience so important?

Having the right social media audience ensures that the right consumers are receiving your ads and content. A blanket social media audience will destroy your CTR and conversion rate!

Picture this: you’re the mastermind behind an elaborate one-time theatrical production. You’ve written the script, painted the sets, and spent painstaking hours practicing lines and blocking to get things juuuuust right. You’ve also been advertising on social media to ensure a full house.

Finally, it’s showtime. You’re ready to dazzle the thespian community with your performance, but when the curtain is drawn, your jaw drops. The majority of the audience is composed of… NASCAR fans?

NASCAR —  A beautiful performance in its own right.

Yup, NASCAR fans. It appears that your broadly selected social audience contained a TON of them. Sure, some of them are still pretty into your performance, but one of them keeps yelling at you to turn left, and most of the others are just waiting for you to literally crash and burn. This is a disaster. Clearly, your social media audiences weren’t comprised of prospects that fit your ideal theater-going persona.

Now, imagine this happening in real life, only with your paid social advertising efforts. The humanity! Not even a beautifully designed image and an expertly worded CTA will result in a positive ROI if it’s not being shown to the correct audience. In fact, every time your ad appears in front of an unqualified prospect, you’re losing valuable advertising dollars. Yikes.

So, how do you create killer B2B audiences on social media?

Skip the targeting headache for  clients! Let us handle the targeting, campaign optimization and more.


The basics of B2B audience targeting

There are two main things to consider when it comes to B2B audiences: who are you targeting, and where are they receiving your message? (Social Media Today)

1. Use buyer personas

The most effective way to identify the types of B2B audiences you should be targeting is by taking a long hard look at a key component of your agency’s marketing strategy: buyer personas.

Buyer personas are presented as fictional characters, which are created using quantitative data obtained through client interactions. When it comes to B2B marketing, your personas will likely be tied to the different types of businesses your company deals with, but don’t forget to identify the type of employee that will serve as the decision-maker when it comes to your product or service. Identifying these decision-makers within your buyer personas can give you a firmly rooted starting point when it comes to social audience development.

Fleshed out buyer personas should provide you with all the necessary demographics, psychographics, behaviors, motivators, and goals of your ideal customer(s). And, as luck would have it, knowing all of these things about prospective buyers will also help you create a hyper-targeted social media audience, resulting in higher conversion rates and top-notch prospects!

Are your buyer personas missing any of the essential pieces of information we mentioned above? This worksheet will help!

2. Choose the right platform

So you’ve identified your ideal customer(s), now the question is where do you focus your advertising efforts? The average internet user has eight social media accounts. Eight! That’s a lot of different arenas to step in, and a user’s projected persona is likely tied to the tone of each platform. This, of course, should influence the tone of your advertising efforts. Not sure what version of your buyer personas to expect from different social platforms? Check out the handy infographic below:

Two content marketing must-haves: cat memes and infographics

As these adorable cats have made clear, the tone for each platform matters and each offers a unique opportunity for B2B audience targeting.

We’ve got tons of social media stats that can be taken into consideration when selecting a platform, but based on your buyer personas, where are your ideal customers most likely to be? On the B2B front, Vendasta has had a ton of success with LinkedIn and Facebook, so check out some of our proven, platform-specific B2B targeting tricks below.


Platform-specific B2B audience targeting

These platform-specific targeting tips are where the social advertising pros can really make their mark. Keeping these B2B audience targeting techniques in mind can do wonders for your conversion rates, and ensure that your lead pool is full of highly qualified prospects.

LinkedIn B2B Targeting

Ah, LinkedIn! The B2B marketer’s Disneyland. Targeting decision-makers at companies that fit your MO has never been easier than it is with LinkedIn because the purpose of the platform is to make sure people know what you do and where you do it. In fact, nearly two-thirds of marketers favor LinkedIn for its level of customer engagement.

[clickToTweet tweet="LinkedIn is all about showing off what work you do and where you do it, so #B2B targeting has never been easier! " quote="LinkedIn is all about showing off what work you do and where you do it, so #B2B targeting has never been easier! "]

Creating an audience through LinkedIn involves four basic elements:

  1. Select a geographic location
  2. Select a target industry
  3. Select specific job titles
  4. Select “Groups” that your ideal audience could be a part of

When it comes to steps two and three in building your B2B audience on LinkedIn, stay true to your buyer personas! Our Demand Gen specialist Jamie Taylor recommends ignoring the cookie-cutter job titles LinkedIn provides and taking the time to enter the hyper-relevant job titles that fit your persona’s decision-makers. This strategy can give you a leg up on competing ads and ensures your audience is hyper-relevant.

Step four is also an important one, as Jamie found that the inclusion of relevant LinkedIn groups resulted in a far greater CTR for his Vendasta ads.

Basically, if you’re creating an audience on LinkedIn, follow Jamie’s suggestions! He’s a bit of a LinkedIn legend around here.

|Related Reading: How I Got LinkedIn To Take Me to a Hockey Game (Without Spending a Fortune)

Facebook B2B Targeting

Even though Facebook focuses more on the “social” side of social media (Hi, Grandma!), its Ads Manager platform can also be used to create a gold mine of B2B social leads. Creating an audience on Facebook is pretty similar to LinkedIn:

  1. Select a geographic location
  2. Select the age, gender, and other information that fit your buyer personas
  3. Select Detailed Targeting parameters

Before the phrase Detailed Targeting throws you off, don’t worry. Jamie’s been there, done that. With B2B Facebook audience targeting, you’re targeting employees, so make sure you include the job titles you’re looking for, and also add the name of employers that fit your buyer personas, too.

Here’s a great example:

The car theme is purely coincidental here, I swear.

Be specific, be simple (BS, BS?). Complex audiences that include/exclude more parameters than you can count will convolute your lead generation tactics, making it hard to identify what’s working and what isn’t.

❗ SUPER IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE ❗ : As of right now, Facebook has suspended the inclusion of the self-reported employer field in the Detailed Targeting portion of its Ads Manager (Facebook Newsroom). While it might throw a wrench in your B2B audience targeting strategy, the suspension is only temporary and was done for all the right reasons. Sit tight, B2B marketers!

Facebook also has a super cool option to create Lookalike audiences, which use data you provide to create highly relevant target audiences. This allows you to capitalize on the successful leads you’ve already captured, and bring in more that are just as qualified! All you have to do is provide Ads Manager with a source audience (a list of your website traffic, qualified leads from previous Facebook ads, etc.), and the audience Facebook creates will be comprised of users that mirror the leads you provided. (Facebook)

|Related Reading: How We Generated 2,000 SQLs in Two Months with Facebook Paid Advertising

|Related Content: Mastering Google and Facebook Advertising for Local Businesses


Target audience acquired

Starting with a solid set of buyer personas is the best way to tackle B2B audience creation, and from there you need to identify the best channel to reach them.

Ultimately, creating the perfect B2B audience is an iterative process. Sometimes switching a few things helps you hit the jackpot, and other times you end up with the contact information for a bunch of NASCAR fans. (All jokes aside, we’ve got nothing against NASCAR. Although we might be giving Danica Patrick’s sponsor a run for their money…)