Ever since we as mere mortals have had access to Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool (thanks to Power Editor), marketers and brands have been looking for ways to make the most of this incredible power.

If you still aren’t sure what Custom Audiences are, basically this is a way for you to target your customers/patrons in Facebook ads, even if they don’t follow your Page. This is a great paid marketing strategy for restaurants.

To create a Customer Audience in Power Editor, click on “Audiences”, then “Create Audiences” and select “Custom Audience.”

create custom facebook audience

Facebook will then ask you how you want to create this Custom Audience. You have a few options to choose from, but seeing as many restaurants and foodservice brands find success when building out their email lists, we thought it useful for you to learn how to use your contact lists to boost your Facebook ads.

So, for our purposes today, you’ll want to choose Customer File, which will lead you to this dialog box:

add customers to audience

Choose the option that best matches your needs. If you choose to upload a file, then you’ll use either the CSV or TXT format. For your email list, it’s best to use just one column in your file, with that column including just the email address of your customers/patrons.

Facebook will then go on to do what it does, which is to generate a list of Facebook users who are also on your email list, and this will become your new Custom Audience. Our Tampa digital marketing department recommends naming this new Custom Audience something easy to recognize (Email Subscribers, perhaps) as you’ll reference this name in the future.

Creating this Custom Audience group is pretty simple to do, but what are you going to do with it once you create this audience? Glad you asked.

1. Increase your Page Likes

One of the first things you should do once you have your new Custom Audience list created is to increase your Page Likes.

You already know that the people on your email list likely have some interest in your restaurant and branding. Now you just need to get as many of them as possible to like your Page (if they don’t already) so that you can stay top-of-mind with them.

Here’s how to make that happen when choosing your Audience for your ad:

Within Power Editor:

  1. Exclude your current Fans from targeting for this ad
  2. Add your email list to the targeting

To exclude your current fans, so that they don’t have to endure your ads in your News Feed, you’ll see a CONNECTIONS area in Power Editor’s Audience screen. You want to enter your Page name within the text box for “Target users who are not already connected to …”

add connections to audience

You’ll then want to click the “Advanced” link within the Audience setup and enter the name of your newly created Custom Audience that represents your email list.

Now your ad will target everyone on your email list who isn’t already a fan of your Page.

So, now that the backend is done, what type of ad should you create? Our recommendation is to create a standard Page Like ad that drives users to a landing tab on your Page where you offer something of value in exchange for a Like.

For example, you could say that your restaurant offers exclusive discounts and promotions to Facebook followers only.

2. Extend the reach of your posts

Facebook is a great social media tool for restaurants of all sizes and specialties. The platform allows you to introduce new dishes, promote seasonal specialties, feature promotions and more. But on average, your Facebook posts reach around 10-15% of your Fans, if you rely merely on organic strategies.

Chances are you’ll want to target a larger contingency of your audience, which you can do by promoting your post (hold off on clicking that Boost Post button for the moment!).

You can also target non-fans who have similar interests to your niche, as well as non-fans who are on your email list.

First things first: promote a post. The Objective screen in Facebook’s Power Editor makes it really simple to choose what purpose you have for your ad:

choose your objective

You’ll then be taken to your Ad Set screen, which includes the option to target certain audiences.

target audience with ad set

Follow the same exact process you did for example #1 above to target non-fans who are on your list. The result is you’ll reach more people who are already interested in seeing your content (they signed up for your email list). As your ads and posts show up on their News Feeds, you can expect them to start liking your Page.

3. Target users who are similar to your email subscribers

Restaurants’ digital marketing strategies often benefit from pretty hefty-sized email lists. Unlike any other industry out there, your potential customers are more willing to exchange their contact information for the chance of knowing upcoming restaurant promotions or deals than they are for other brands.

If you have a pretty good-sized email list but want to target an even larger group of people (or are just looking to get exposed to new people) then you can do this by creating Lookalike Audiences.

While you aren’t specifically targeting your email list in this type of ad, you are using that list to target other Facebook users who are like your current contacts.

To create a Lookalike Audience, you’ll want to click on “Create New” underneath Custom Audiences in your Power Editor:

custom audiences

From there, you’ll choose Lookalike Audiences, which will take you here:

create lookalike audience

For Location, choose the United States, or whichever country you want to optimize the ad targeting for.

But for the SOURCE, here’s where you’ll type in the name of the Custom Audience you created that contains your contacts.

It really is as simple as that. Now you can create an ad to get Page Likes, extend the reach of your posts, or promote a deal, discount or more.

Using these tips above will allow your ads to do so much more for you than simply boosting a post to your existing followers and fans.