Have you ever wondered why all the media outlets ask you to follow them on Facebook? Are you curious about how useful Facebook is as a marketing tool? Are you wondering why you only have 115 new fans after a full year’s worth of work? What happened? Are you providing the wrong content? Are you using the wrong posting schedule? Are you engaging your audience in a useful way? In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore how to maximize the return on your Facebook marketing efforts. So read on and get ready to make your Facebook Fan page grow your business.
What is the right question to ask?
There are not many businesses that ask, “Why isn’t my Facebook fan base growing?” Instead, they ask, “Why am I not making money from Facebook?” If we are talking about organic growth, traffic, and conversion, the most common problem is one of putting the cart before the horse. To make money, I mean real money, from any audience, you need a real fan base. How big is a real fan base? It probably starts at around 1,000 real fans. It seems like common sense for many businesses that the bigger the audience you have, the greater the reach, the more engagement and then conversion can take place from your ad. This is also true for any paid advertising as well. So if you’re posting advertisements, coupons, and specials on your Facebook timeline and expecting to make money, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
What is a Big Fan Base?
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You need a nice fan base to see if there is an impact from your well-designed ad. Assuming you have a big fan base of 1,000-plus devoted followers and your ad contains all the elements that convert quickly (easy to read, understand, call to action, a compelling offer, contact info), you then have to reach them in a timely manner. You can only expect about a 10 percent reach on any post you make. This is because Facebook filters your timeline post and only a small portion of your fans will be paying attention at any one point in time.
Secrets of the Facebook Timeline
To ensure more people see your ad in the timeline, you have to reach them by getting your fans to share your post on their timeline. We get this done by using Facebook approved apps that allow us to run contests, give away coupons and customer loyalty rewards. When a customer receives these items, they then have to post them on their timeline, saying, “I won an XYZ gift from Insert, your company name here.” Facebook does not filter these posts directly. However, fans following your fan can filter their timeline if they don’t like what they see. The programs we use can also be posted on other social networks, videos, your blog, newsletters and more. This method of organic marketing is very effective (at least four times as effective as just posting to your timeline) and can be measured easily.
To Pay or Not to Pay, Is that the Right Question?
You say you only have a small fan base. How will you effectively reach more potential fans and customers? The only other choice is paid advertising. You can engage in pay per click and pay per view advertising on Facebook. They offer boosted posts and banner ads that can be purchased based on what your goals are. Your goals can include; getting more likes, fan engagement (reads, shares, comments, watch videos), and click through for specific actions (go to a video channel, blogs, website, offers, sign up, push a button, etc.). Pricing is based on a bidding program, and I have found you can get very effective clicks for between a $1 and $3. This is about 1/3 the cost that AdWords produces for click through for similar industry. Pay per view (used mainly for branding) also produces similar low costs as well.
It’s important, however, to know that organically generated traffic, fan engagement, customer loyalty is much valuable than that any paid traffic, engagement or conversion you receive from paid online advertisements. So the real question remains: Are you really looking to grow your fan base and make money from them, or are you just dabbling in Facebook because someone said it was the way to go? Well, if you’re serious about growing your organic fan base, then read on and learn our 16 surefire tips that will help you grow it to the size you need.
16 Surefire Tips That Grow Your Facebook Fan Base:
1. Provide useful, curated content that your fans want, are interested in or are entertained by.
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Social networks are all about audience interest. They only care about what you’re interested in if it matches their interest. Do not post lots of ads, coupons or commercials in your timeline. This will only scare away real fans and leave you with bot accounts or other Facebook subscribers who want to sell you something. Provide and curate the best content you can find and people will follow you.
2. Publish original, authoritative content that adds value to your fans lives.
Providing content you have authored is important. By writing your own content via blogs, articles or creating videos and podcasts that are uniquely yours, you provide added value that makes you stand out as a credible expert in your field. By presenting original high quality content, you’re adding value to your fan’s lives. If you can add value by showing your expertise while teaching others via your own content, you also show the Facebook world that you have real value. This attracts more fans like a magnet. There is no substitute for providing high quality, useful, unique, and authoritative content.
3. Invite other Facebook subscribers to like your fan page every day.
Consistently invite people to follow you. On Facebook, you normally do this by inviting people and other businesses “to like your page.” Inviting goes beyond just getting people to like your page, it also includes engaging them with positive messages, answering their messages, and so on. If you invite 10 fans a day, every day, and only three follow back, your fan base will grow by 1,095 fans in one year.
Always avoid people who don’t have a complete profile, are totally self-promoting, or maybe don’t speak your language. If you’re a local business with a local product or service, stick to inviting potential fans in your area. You need to understand that any potential fan doesn’t have to follow you, they can just ignore your request. Also, if you bother them too much they can report you as abusive! If you want them to like your page and follow you, they need to be impressed when they check you out. Your fan page needs to be inviting and provide useful information, be compelling and provide a clear call to action and a no-risk offer! You will only see consistent growth by consistently inviting people to like your fan page and by providing something that is worth their while.
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4. Thank everyone who follows you.
Always be gracious with your fans. Always say thank you for following. You might also give away a free eBook as a goodwill gesture, or ask them to read your best article, watch your latest video or download your top podcast (for free). Do something to get them interested in you. You will be surprised at how effective a thank you message is. Just saying “Thanks for liking our page, I appreciateyou”, can be a big deal since a lot of companies don’t do that. You might also add something like, “Connect with me, on “social-net-name” too @ http://goo.gl/ez23Ry.”
5. Invite people to like your fan page on other social networks.
Invite your fans on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube to grow your fan base reach (your marketing message base). If you’re already active on other social networks, make sure you cross-pollinate them. Not everyone will follow because some people just like a specific social network, but there will be many who will. Make sure you let people know your Facebook fan page address when posting to your other social networks. And make sure you add your Facebook fan page profile address to your other social networks. Along these same lines, make sure all your web properties have your Facebook fan page address listed so that those who like Facebook will click on it to “Like your page” when they visit.
6. Do a mailing to your current customer base asking them to like you on Facebook.
If you have an e-mail database of customers, send them an e-mail inviting them to “Like” you on Facebook. This also holds true for snail mail as well. This tip is amplified if you follow up with a call or another e-mail. If you also provide an incentive to follow you on your mail piece, like a special discount coupon, you will also increase the number of new followers as well.
7. Ask customers to like you on Facebook when they visit your store.
Make signs for your store asking people to like you on Facebook. Put one on the checkout counter, put it on the signage of your carryout bags, business cards, letterhead and on your store windows. You can even create a QR code so that mobile users can jump right to your page and follow you right then and there.
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8. Upload your contacts list into the Facebook inviting system.
Normally, this will occur the first time you set up your Facebook fan page. But it’s also available after you set up your account. If you use Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL or Outlook, you can upload your contact list, and Facebook will invite those who are already subscribers to follow you. To find this function, click on “Friend Request” in the upper right-hand corner of Facebook and click on “Find friends” in the “Add Personal Contacts” section, then follow the prompts for the specific database you’re uploading.
9. Ask your best customers to invite their friends and family to like you on Facebook.
If you have customers who are real advocates, ask them for their help. If they have people following them on Twitter or other social networks, ask them to promote your Twitter account. This is tantamount to receiving a referral and testimonial all in one.
This is my short list of promotional directories. There are many others that you can find as well. Using promotional directories can help you connect with people and businesses that have the same interest as you. They also provide management tools and promotional opportunities to help showcase your Twitter account. You still have to use these online apps to grow your Facebook fan base, they aren’t magic, but they can make a real impact on your overall growth.
11. Use Pay Per Click promotions on Facebook Fan page.
This can be used to generate “Likes,” get video views, to promote your Web properties and even sell products. This will help you target followers and get people to engage by commenting on and sharing your post. Get your Facebook fan page added to their list of “liked pages” worth following. This will cost you money; just make sure your ROI is no more than your daily budget allows.
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12. Use pay per click on other social sites.
Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are good choices. Paying to grow your flock can be cost effective. Just make sure you’re targeting the right group of followers and that whichever platform you use, you stick to your budget. Understand this is different than buying followers. Facebook does not approve of buying fans. On top of that, most of the companies that sell followers are not providing targeted fans. Many are selling Bots, fake or serial accounts. Buying fans can also get you suspended.
13. Join various groups on Facebook and other social network communities.
Encourage people in the groups you have joined to like your fan page. Also do this in other social network groups like the ones in LinkedIn and Google+. If you don’t have a lot of followers, joining a group makes a lot of sense. When you join a group you have access to all the people in that group. A group can contain thousands of accounts and you can connect with them by just posting a message. What kind of message you ask? Provide some useful information to the group and also ask them to like your fan page. This is a great place to promote your authoritative content and providing great content always creates a following. Keep in mind that most groups are monitored and spamming is frowned upon. It can get you censored or kicked out the group.
14. Ask your best fans to post testimonials of your product or service.
Posted ads are often considered propaganda. On the other hand, fan posted testimonials are worth their weight in gold. Studies show that many shoppers place a high value on customer rating and testimonials. On top of that, posted fan testimonials can be recycled and also used on your other social networks. They can even be used on your website and any other web property you have. Being praised by fans is a great way to build credibility and to increase the chances that a prospective fan will like your page.
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15. If you’re running other advertisements, make sure you list your Facebook fan page.
Include a call to action to ask people to follow you. Why do you think all other the TV, Radio and print media ask you to follow them? In fact, make sure all of your literature, shopping bags, business cards etc., provide this link. Several years ago JC Penney added their Web address to their shopping bags and it increased their online sales by 400 percent in just one month.
16. Leverage your posts with social media aggregation software.
This will save time and increase your productivity. Use online applications such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Commun.it or other aggregation software to provide scheduled posts, RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and other e-zines. This is a great way to curate and schedule posts. These types of applications will help you manage your social media marketing process in a more efficient and smoother way. They will let you do more in much less time, and this helps you grow your fan base in a faster and better way.
Using these tips, you can grow your company’s Facebook fan base to very large numbers. If you have a budget, don’t forget that paid promotions can be a shortcut that allows you to grow quicker (even though you haven’t yet won the loyalties of these paid fans yet). If you use these tips in a consistent way, you too will grow your organic Facebook fan base to large numbers. This will not be an instant process, but using these techniques day in and day out will bring progress and create a Facebook fan base that is a valuable asset that increases the net worth of your company.
Hector Cisneros is the president and COO for W Squared Media Group LLC. A digital Marketing Agency in the N.E. Florida Area. He is also the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio Show Working The Web To Win. W Squared Media also does Business as Working The Web To Win online and in Florida.