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Wednesday, January 4th 2012

How to Target Employees of Specific Companies via Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads

How to target employees of specific companies via social advertising.

I was part of a strategy meeting recently and came across an interesting scenario. The group in question wanted to get in front of several specific companies with a targeted message. To clarify, they didn't want to target a category or a set of keywords, but instead wanted to get in front of employees of specific companies in a certain market. As several people started brainstorming ideas for how to accomplish this, I quietly opened two new tabs on my laptop.

As various ideas were being thrown around (several of which would probably fail), I turned my laptop around and then got everyone's attention. The two tabs contained the landing pages for Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads. Some people were confused by what I was showing them, since they never thought of how both Facebook and LinkedIn advertising could be a solution for this type of campaign. But as I explained the various targeting options available, they quickly understood the potential impact.

Demographic and interest-based targeting via social advertising.

Facebook and LinkedIn Company Targeting
I know many marketers have written off social advertising, but the user data that both Facebook and LinkedIn hold enables advertisers to precisely target various demographics and interests. This can be incredibly powerful (when campaigns are set up and managed properly).

As part of both Facebook and LinkedIn's targeting options, marketers can target audiences by workplace or company. In addition, you can use workplace targeting in conjunction with other targeting options like interests and geographic targeting. This can get your message in front of employees of specific companies that are interested in certain topics, and that live in certain areas. This can be done quickly and with granular precision. Again, this can be extremely powerful. When I explained the possibilities during the meeting I mentioned earlier, the group immediately became excited. We brainstormed several campaigns in a short period of time.

Why Would You Target a Specific Company?
Some of you might be wondering why you would want to target a specific company. Well, there are several situations where targeting a company could be viable. If your focus is B2B, you might have a short list of the top companies you want to target. If you're a sales rep, you might have certain organizations on your radar. If you're a job seeker, there might be a list of companies you would love to work for. So on and so forth.

Targeted Ad Creative For Targeted Companies
Let's say you run a company that has developed a product for high tech companies. You have sales reps in each region of the United States and want to get both your product and your salespeople in front of employees from various companies you have identified as strong leads. As part of your strategy, you decide to utilize Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads. By setting up campaigns targeting specific companies, along with regions, you can craft your ads and landing pages to be extremely relevant and targeted. For example, the images and ad copy you develop could specifically speak to people from a certain company. Remember, specific ad copy beats general, per a recent post of mine.

In addition, you can drive users to landing pages that are targeted for both the company and the region. You can include specific salesperson information and contact information right on that page (knowing the salesperson that would work with the company at hand). This is just a quick example, but I think it begins to show you the power of Social Data.

How To Target Companies via Facebook Ads
I won't go through the entire process of creating campaigns in Facebook, but I wanted to include how to select companies within the targeting tool. You would start by creating a campaign for a company and the location you want to target (you don't want to mix targeting within the campaign, so keep this campaign focused on a company/region combination.)

As part of the targeting options available, scroll down to "Workplace" and start typing the company you want to target. For example, if you start typing "Apple", you should see the company show up. Select it and check the estimated reach (on the right). I see 37,120 people in the United States.

Workplace targeting via Facebook Ads.

Remember, you can combine this with location or interests to target employees of a company that are in a specific location, and are interested in certain topics. In addition, you can target job titles by interest. Then you can get in front of specific roles within an organization. I won't cover those options here, but it's entirely possible. Also, remember to tailor your ad creative and landing page, based on this targeting (as mentioned earlier).

How To Target Companies in LinkedIn Ads
Let's see what the setup looks like in LinkedIn. Again, I won't go through every step of setting up a campaign. When selecting your targeting options, head down to "Company" and start typing the company name. Similar to what we accomplished above in Facebook, start typing "Apple" and select the company name when it shows up in the list. I see over 25,000 LinkedIn members that work for Apple.

Company Targeting via LinkedIn Ads.

Just like with Facebook, you can choose a combination of targeting methods to hone your audience. For example, you can select a location, gender, groups they belong to, their job titles, etc. The sky's the limit. And remember, make sure you tailor your ad creative and landing pages knowing that specific companies will be viewing your ads. And if you've selected additional criteria, you might know they are from certain areas and have certain interests.

Summary – The Power of Targeting via Social Data
I hope you see the enormous potential here and you are excited to brainstorm various campaigns. If you are interested in targeting employees of specific companies, then don't overlook social advertising. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer some incredible targeting that SEM can't offer (at least for now). And if you're looking for a job, be proactive. If you spend a little money targeting certain companies, you never know which employees you can get in front of. Maybe even your future manager. :)


Labels: social-advertising, facebook, linkedin

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