Facebook has announced that it is starting to make available a new type of data to marketers who use the site to promote businesses. The new feature, called topic data, is currently available to select accounts in the US and UK, but will soon be available to all business accounts in both countries.
The New Topic Data
According to Facebook, “Topic data shows marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities, all in a way that keeps personal information private.”
The information will be made available through a Facebook partnership with DataSift and will give businesses a better idea of what their audiences are interested in right now and what people are talking about.
Facebook explains that this kind of information can be useful in deciding how to target ads, although it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when creating ad campaigns. However, topic data will be extremely valuable as it can help you understand what your market’s interests, concerns, problems and even opinions about your brand are.
In the Meantime…
Facebook hasn’t announced when topic data will be available to all businesses. While there isn’t currently anything like what the new topic data will be like, there are still ways you can get some information about what your market is interested in and how people feel.
Listen with Purpose
The easiest way to find out what your market is talking about, what challenges people face and even how they see your brand is to listen to people. Do this passively by monitoring Facebook closely and paying attention to what people interact with and what goes viral. You can watch your own page and connect with people in your target market or groups that attract the same audience to make research easier.
You can also get valuable information by posting questions or asking for feedback. For example, ask which products your followers like best or if they have had a chance to visit your newest location.
Use Facebook Insights
Facebook already has some very good analytics tools that let you measure things like engagement, reach and “likes.” You can also find some basic demographic information through Facebook, which can help you understand who you are reaching.
This information can help you better understand your Facebook audience and find ways to be more successful, since you can find out what content gets more interaction and helps you reach more people. Even when topic data becomes available, it won’t replace these features, so incorporating them into your social media marketing plan now is a good idea.
Do your Own Formal Research
Doing your own market research, or just using formal measurement tools to learn about your Facebook followers, is a great way to get customised information. You can use surveys and polls to ask anything you want and get feedback that can help you improve how you use the site, the content you produce, the way you launch products and even how you serve your customers.
The more you know about your market and your Facebook audience, the more effective your marketing will be. Take advantage of tools available and don’t be afraid to set up your own systems for listening to your market and doing research that will give you a better understanding of your audience.