Use Geo-Targeting Early and Often

Posted on July 29, 2011

Managing Editor of Independent Lens Brooke Shelby Biggs offers advice on how to geo-target relevant information to your Facebook community.


If your film is screening in Chicago, how much sense does it make to just post that fact on your film’s Facebook fan page, where most of your fans are probably not from Chicago? Not much, for a couple of reasons. First, as we know from a previous Being Social column, only about 25 percent of your fans will see any given post. That means only 25 percent of your fans in Chicago are likely to see your announcement. That’s not effective, and it looks pretty ham-fisted to your fans who live nowhere near Chicago.

Targeting links and status updates What you may not know is that you can geo-target your posts to specific geographical regions, which is handy for events such as screenings. 

Here’s how to do it:
1) Put your link to the event listing in the link field, and add a message about the event as you normally would. 

2) Before you click on “Share,” notice the drop-down menu beside it that says “Everyone.” Bet you never noticed that before, right?


3) Select “Customize” from the menu. 

4) You will be prompted to specify a country, and then specify a region or a city. (When you click the “city” radio button you may see instructions to “Enter a workplace or school.” Ignore this. It’s a bug on Facebook’s end, probably a future feature or abandoned feature)


5) If you are likely to draw audience from outside the specific city, include suburbs and neighboring cities. 

6) It’s not required, but you could specify and language as well. 

7) Select “Okay.” Now you’re ready to share!   

Targeting Updates You can also send geo-targeted messages, or “updates” to your fans. This is different than a post in a couple of ways. It won’t appear on your Facebook page, but rather will arrive in your fans’ Facebook in-box. And that’s EVERY fan in the geographical area you select (who has indicated their location on their profile). You can also drill down even more finely, by targeting an age range or a gender. While updates are an efficient way of contacting all of your fans in a given area at once, use them sparingly. A lot of updates can be irritating and spammy to some users. 

OK here’s how you do it.
1) In the upper right of your page, click the “Edit Page” button 

2)On the list of options in the left margin, select “Resources”


3) Under “Connect with people,” select “Send an update” 

4) Now, click the box next to “Target this update” 

5) Simply begin typing to choose the cities or region you want to target, as we did in the previous example. (Limiting the age range can be helpful for events where alcohol will be served, for example.)


6) Write a title likely to entice people to click to open it, and include a brief explanation of the content you are bringing to their attention and why. Don’t include links or HTML in these areas. 

7) Below the body text field, you’ll see two links — “Record Video” and “Include link.” If applicable, include a link for more information, and consider doing a short webcam intro yourself. Personal video like this is extremely effective. 


Now you’re ready to send your message. Next time, we’ll look at some free and inexpensive tools to help you measure how effective your social media efforts are. 

Read Brooke’s previous entry on how to setup and leverage your twitter account. 

Follow Independent Lens on Twitter.

See Brooke’s tips in action and LIKE the Independent Lens Facebook page.


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