[caption id="attachment_3605" align="aligncenter" width="509"]Facebook Audience Optimization graphic Follow these tips to increase engagement in your social media channels.[/caption]

Like the ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz, the key to increasing your Facebook engagement may have been with you all along.

Or, in this case, recently added.

Facebook has added a new feature, Audience Optimization, that will allow you to specify the audiences most likely to engage with each Facebook page post, based on their interests. It will not necessarily increase your organic reach, but I may help you increase engagement with your audience—or parts of your audience.

Here’s how it works:

First, you have to enable it. Go to your Facebook page’s Settings tab, click on it and look for the link for Audience Optimization. It’s about halfway down the list of options. Click “edit,” then check the box that turns the option on. Save the changes, and you’re all set.

Now, when you create a post, you should have an Audience Optimization icon in addition to your other ones. If not, the feature may not be fully functional yet—Facebook is rolling it out to high-volume pages first, those with more followers.

When you create your post, you can now configure your Preferred Audience by telling Facebook what it should be; you can configure it based on age, interests, geography—much like you’d target an audience with Facebook Ads. As you type in the interests, Facebook will also let you know what your estimated reach will be and the type of audience you’re targeting.

Yes, it might be a bit creepy, but it’s worth checking out. Why? Well, it will not limit the number of people who see your posts, only target it more directly. Therefore, it will help the Facebook algorithm determine the best audience for all your posts. It will also help you learn more about how people with specific interests engage with your brand.

The new feature may indirectly increase your bottom line and your reach, too, by creating more engagement with your followers. For example, the Facebook algorithm allows that any of your posts will reach about five percent of your followers (unless, of course, you pay to boost it). That five percent is selected at random and may not be interested in the exact form of content you post.

With Audience Optimization, that five percent is more likely to be interested and engaged—and that will show up on their friends’ timelines, too. More engagement tends to lead to better results.

Give it a shot and let us know how it works in the comments!