4 ways to target expat consumers on Facebook

Singapore’s expatriate community is a target audience for plenty of businesses, but how can you stand out from the crowd using Facebook as a marketing strategy?

In today’s digital age, social media has infiltrated our lives. How many times a day do you scroll through your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed on your phone, tablet or laptop? They’re not only a portal for family and friends to stay connected and in touch, but also tools for businesses to reach key audiences in a cost-effective manner.

While they all have their selling points, Facebook is usually the platform focused on by most new and established businesses to start building a following and a brand voice.

In Singapore, the expat market is full of regular Internet and social media users. As well using it for friends, this target audience also turns to social media to connect with like-minded individuals and familiar folk who are faced with similar challenges whilst living abroad.

When first arriving in a foreign country, people are often oblivious none the wiser about local brands – or international brands based locally – and therefore tend to have limited brand loyalties. Their purchase decisions are generally swayed through recommendations made by friends and colleagues, trial and error via online reviews or research on Facebook pages. This opens up a whole world of opportunities for marketers and business owners to tap into this market, which with regular and consistent efforts will have a snowball effect and the potential to gain many more customers.

This year alone it was estimated that there were 92 million expats using Facebook, which accounts for 7% of the Facebook user base. By using simple targeting techniques based on location, life events (such as a recent move), interests and more, companies can promote directly to the expat consumer in an effective yet non-intrusive manner.

This could include insurance providers offering packages for annual travel or medical insurance targeted at expats, or furniture retailers who want to target their advertising to a wide expat community knowing that many are in need of furniture after moving to a new country.

Here are a few tips to get you started and on the right track:

1. Set up a company Facebook page

This is really the first thing you need to do regardless of your target customer. A Facebook page is now a necessity where many potential clients will check this first before they go to the actual website. Set this up before executing any targeted advertising and populate it with informative posts and images, but also allow the consumer to see a lighter side of your business and staff. You can use this not only a landing page for your targeted marketing but also as a substitute website if you don’t have one in place yet.

It’s highly recommended that you manage this through Facebook for Business, which will allow you to create and manage page and post boosts as well as Facebook advertising, which will be necessary to expand your reach to a targeted audience.

2. Identify your goals – who exactly are you targeting?

You know you want to target the expat market, but who exactly within that definition is your target audience? What age are they? Are they male or female? What kind of industries do they work in? What are their hobbies? Are they into health and fitness for your gym business, need travel insurance as regular jet-setters or are they stay-at-home-mums looking for a variety of activities for themselves and their kids?

Whatever it may be, identify the special interests and needs of your customer base so you can then direct your advert to a highly targeted audience.

3. Work on your Facebook budget and strategy

Facebook allows you to have 100% control over your budget, and it’s advisable to not overspend for the first run. Be smart and test the market first. Start small with your spend – try out different times of the day and different relevant keywords to see which may have a better impact on your product.

For example, if you are targeting stay-at-home-mums, it’s fair to assume they will be more active on Facebook during the day when their partners are at work and kids are in school, so perhaps its best to send out more targeted adverts on a weekday, during work and school hours.

The point is to have a strategy in place for what you want to achieve vs the cost. Facebook makes this very simple for you and also provides a very transparent report.

4. Connect and network

There are so many Facebook groups and communities to help and support expatriates. Where possible, become a member to gain some good insights into what other members are talking about and what they need. While many of these groups don’t actually allow companies to directly advertise on the pages, the best way forward is to connect with the members on a personal level, forge sincere friendships and use your services to offer advice to these members when they need it – never push your products or services directly into these groups, as chances are you will be removed.

This targeted market is highly swayed by word of mouth, and Facebook provides an excellent platform to meet people who seek advice and are very open to trying new products and services.

If you would like to explore the possibilities of social media advertising to reach your target audience or have any questions regarding PR, content or digital advertising, get in touch at [email protected]

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