Recently I was working with a client. They where having terrible results running ads on Facebook. I asked them how they were targeting their prospects. She explained and it all sounded good but, it was not working! I suggested she upload her current client list to Facebook and reverse engineer who where her best prospects. Voila, SUCCESS! Do you already have customers for your business? If so, you can use those customers to find similar people on the top social networks. In this post, I’m going to show you how to generate more revenue for your business by reverse engineering your customers and finding more just like them! Here is how.
Facebook Reverse Engineering
On Facebook, you have the option to upload a list of your current customers as a Custom Audience, use the Audience Insights tool to learn more about your customers on Facebook, and utilize that information when configuring target audiences for your Facebook ads. For Audience Insights to work, Facebook will need to match your customer’s emails and phone numbers to over 1,000 Facebook users. If you have emails and phone numbers, you may want to create one Custom Audience for the emails and one for the phone numbers. This should ensure that Facebook can match your customers to their Facebook accounts. If you have a huge database of customers, you may want to only upload your best customers for this analysis. This may include the customers that spend the most with your business, the customers that are the most loyal, the customers that are easiest to sell, etc. Then create a Custom Audience of just your best customers as opposed to all of them to analyze. If you sell different types of products or services and have a huge database of customers, you may want to segment them by the types of products and services you sell. Then create Custom Audiences for each of those segments to analyze. With those things in mind, here are the steps you need to take to complete this reverse engineering analysis.
Step 1: Create a Custom Audience of Your Customers
To get started, you will need to create a Custom Audience of your customers in Facebook Ads. Go to your Facebook Ads manager, click on the Tools menu, and select Audiences. Then, in the Audience manager, click on the Create Audience dropdown and select Custom Audience. Choose the Customer List option, then follow the prompts to upload your customer list by email or by phone number.
Step 2: Use Audience Insights
Once Facebook lets you know your Custom Audience is ready, click on the Tools menu and select Audience Insights. Here, you will add the Custom Audience of your customer list to analyze them.
Be sure to look at the Location in the left sidebar once you’ve added your Custom Audience. Sometimes, it will select a country by default, such as the United States. You can hover over it and click the X to get an analysis of your audience worldwide.
Audience Insights will then tell you everything you need to know to target similar people with your Facebook Ads. Use the tabs to find information corresponding to your customers’ age & gender, lifestyle, job titles, location, languages spoken, and much more.
Step 3: Create a Saved Audience
Using the details you find in your Audience Insights, go back to your Audience manager, click the Create Audience, and select Saved Audience. This will allow you to save an audience you can use to reach people similar to your customers with Facebook Ads. Now, when you go to create a new ad for customer acquisition in the Ads manager, you can skip configuring the ad and just select your Saved Audience.
If you want to use the Boost Post option for an update on your Facebook page, you can select your Saved Audience for those ads. This will allow you to create ads that help you build engagement for your Facebook page posts quickly to your target audience.
Also note that if you are using Power Editor to create your ads, you can use your Saved Audience there as well. This will allow you to create ads in bulk for Facebook, and even create ads for Instagram so you can reach your target audience on both networks.
In my first experiment with Instagram ads, I found that I received a lot more impressions and clicks for the same dollar amount as a Facebook news feed ad with the same message to the same target audience. Your results may vary depending on who you are targeting and other ad settings.
Next, we’re going to look at Twitter. You can take a similar approach at reverse engineering your customers list on Twitter that you do on Facebook: you can upload a list of your current customers as a Tailored Audience, use the Audience Insights tool to learn more about your customers on Twitter, and utilize that information when configuring target audiences for your Twitter ads. For Tailored Audiences to work, Twitter will need to match your customer’s emails and phone numbers to over 1,000 Twitter users. If you have emails and phone numbers, you may want to create one Tailored Audience for the emails and one for the phone numbers. This should ensure that Twitter can match your customers to their Twitter accounts. Also keep in mind your options if you have a huge database of customers of only analyzing your best customers or analyzing your customers by segment. With those things in mind, here are the steps you need to take to complete this reverse engineering analysis.
Step 1: Create a Tailored Audience of Your Customers
To get started, you will need to create a Tailored Audience of your customers in Twitter Ads. Go to your Twitter Ads manager, click on the Tools menu, and select Audience manager. Then, in the Audience manager, click on the Create new audience dropdown and select Upload your own list. Choose the type information you will upload (emails, phone numbers, or usernames) and upload your list in the format specified.
Step 2: Use Audience Insights
Once Twitter lets you know your Tailored Audience is ready, click on the Analytics menu and select Audience Insights. Here, you will add the Tailored Audience of your customer list to analyze them.
Audience Insights will then tell you most of what you need to know to target similar people with your Twitter Ads. Use the tabs to find information corresponding to your customers’ age & gender, lifestyle, job titles, location, languages spoken, and much more.
Alternative Analysis Option One of the key pieces of information you miss out on with Twitter Audience Insights is any information about the bios of your customers. Third party tools like SocialBro can do similar analysis for you. Their platform allows you to upload your customer list by email. They will then analyze the list and give you the following information.
Note that this analysis is not of the same audience as shown above, so the information will be different. But the important piece of missing information you get here that you don’t get in Twitter Audience Insights is the Members Bio TagCloud, which will help you identify keywords you can use for ad targeting. You can also learn more about your customers in general, such as whether you are following them and whether they are following you. While that won’t help with ads, it will help you if you are focusing on a more organic Twitter marketing strategy. If you have SocialBro, you can actually use the analysis you have of your customers to find new people on Twitter to target and export that list of people. Then upload their usernames as a new Tailored Audience and target your ads specifically to them. This approach will help you fine tune the audience you are advertising to as opposed to just hoping that Twitter will choose the best audience.
Step 3: Create Your Ads
Since Twitter does not have an option to create a Saved Audience like Facebook does, you will need to use the information you gather via Audience Insights each time you create a new ad to configure your target ad audience. Keep this information handy in a text file or other document so you can access the information each time from your desktop as opposed to having to look through your ad history.
LinkedIn, unlike Facebook and Twitter, does not offer Custom/Tailored Audiences or Audience Insights. But it’s a good one if you are targeting business professionals with your products or services. Because of the lack of advanced features, you will have to rely on different methods of reverse engineering your customers.
Step 1: Export Your LinkedIn Connections
If you are connected to your best customers on LinkedIn through your personal profile (which is a great way to build up your recommendations), then you can export your connections to get some details about your best customers. Simply use the Export Contacts tool to get all of your contacts in a CSV file. This will give you each contact’s name, email address, current employment company, and current job title.
Sort this list and scroll through it to see common job titles to use in your advertising. If you are connected to more than just your customers, you will need to sort the spreadsheet to just show your customers. Also note that you can get more information about the people in your LinkedIn connections by uploading this list as a Custom Audience on Facebook and a Tailored Audience on Twitter, then use Audience Insights on both platforms.
Step 2: Use Advanced People Search
If you are connected to your best customers on LinkedIn through your personal profile, you can also use the Advanced People Search to get some insights into your customers. Simply go to the search page and uncheck everything but 1st Connections in the left sidebar under Relationships. You can then use the sidebar filters to see the total number of people you have by location, current company, industry, past company, school, profile language, and much more. Even if you don’t have a premium account, you can expand the filters that are marked as premium to see the counts for your connections. If you are connected to more than just your customers, you will need to consider this accordingly.
Step 3: Examine Company Pages
What if you are not connected to your customers on LinkedIn? There is still a way you can do some research, but it’s going to be much more time consuming. It will require you use the Company Search to find the LinkedIn Company Pages of each of your best customers. When you browse a LinkedIn Company Page, you can expand the information to show details about the company. This will allow you to get the industry, type, and size of companies your best customers work for to use in your LinkedIn Ads. As mentioned, this can be time consuming, so you will either want to stick to your cream of the crop customers or outsource the task to a virtual assistant and have them enter the information into a spreadsheet or summarize it in a report.
Step 4: Create Your Ads
LinkedIn does not offer any option to save your audience targeting, so you will need to take the information you gathered in the above three steps and use it each time you create an ad to target the people who are most likely to become your customers. Keep this information handy in a text file or other document so you can access the information each time from your desktop as opposed to having to look through your ad history.
If your goal is to get new customers, the reverse engineering approach will help you target advertising for customer acquisition to the people who are most likely to become your best customers. Be sure to use the information you find across all three networks to further refine your targeting criteria for each. This will allow you to get the most information about your best customers possible, even if you only use all of the networks for analysis and only one for running ads. What do you like to do to maximize your success? I look forward to reading about it below.