How to Build a Facebook Audience From Scratch

How to Build a Facebook Audience from Scratch

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The million dollar question asked by many marketers relates to how to increase Facebook Likes.

But the key problem should be attacking how you get relevant Facebook Fans. It’s about quality, not quantity!

The Featured Question

The featured question this week comes from Daniel Himel:

If you had to build an audience from scratch, starting tomorrow. Knowing what you know now….What would be the top 5 steps you would do with facebook?

I am taking Daniel’s question literally and assuming no viable email list, no established website audience and no other customer list or social media audience to leverage that could be used to quickly and easily boost Facebook Likes.

This is not done easily overnight. Normally you can leverage trust established elsewhere. But we need to build that trust along with the audience from scratch.

Here is how I would do it…

1. Establish a Content Publishing Routine

Make sure that the routine appeals to your target audience. This assumes, of course, that you first understand who your target audience is. You should be able to answer these questions:

  • How old are they?
  • Are they male or female?
  • Where do they live?
  • What type of content do they value?
  • What questions do they ask?

Put together some structure — a regular content publishing routine — to regularly get into the News Feeds of relevant people with content they value.

Structure is important here. Establish expectations on what you’re going to post and when. Consider daily themes. Schedule out content to make sure you stay on top of it (I use PostPlanner). Make sure you post the types of content that will elicit a response.

The ultimate goal here is that you not only reach your current fans who like your content, but you get them highly engaged so that those Fans can naturally share your content with friends who also fit your target audience.

2. Use Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search

Graph Search isn’t getting nearly enough attention from marketers. It’s an awesome tool for learning more about your brand’s audience.

In this case, of course, you don’t have an established audience. So you can use it to learn more about the users who like Pages based around products or services that are similar to your own.

First, come up with two Facebook Pages that are either for competitors or products and services similar to your own.

Then, run a search to find out the Pages that their Fans also like. Here’s an example:

“Pages liked by people who like Jon Loomer Digital and Mari Smith”

Here are the top Pages that come up for me when I run that search:

  • Social Media Examiner
  • Social Fresh
  • AllFacebook.com
  • Hubspot
  • Mashable
  • hubze
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Klout
  • TechCrunch
  • Marie Forleo
  • Lewis Howes

Keep that info in your back pocket!

Now run a search to determine the favorite interests of this same group of people. Here’s an example:

“Favorite interests of people who like Jon Loomer Digital and Mari Smith”

Here are the results of that search:

  • Social media
  • Marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging
  • Photography
  • Traveling
  • Running
  • Search engine optimization
  • Reading
  • Internet marketing
  • LinkedIn
  • Web 2.0

Some of these interests are clearly more relevant than others. Stick the relevant ones in your back pocket.

Now, depending on the nature of your basis, there are endless other searches that you could run to pad your knowledge of your ideal audience.

Here are some other examples:

  • Groups of people who like…
  • Pages liked by [career like “marketers”] who like…
  • Places in [city] visited by people who like…
  • [Business type like “restaurants”] in [city] visited by people who like…
  • Movies liked by people who like…
  • Games played by people who like…
  • Favorite music of people who like…

Get creative and experiment!

3. Run Highly Targeted Facebook Ads

Facebook Power Editor Precise Interests

So, you’re probably wondering what the heck you’re going to do with all of that information you learned in Step #2. Here you go!

When you’re running Facebook ads, you want them to be highly targeted. So make sure they are surfaced only to the people who fit your target demographic. You can control this with basic things like age, gender, location, career and a whole lot more.

But you can also do this by listing Precise Interests. Use the learnings from above here.

Something else you can do is run Sponsored Results ads (Facebook is phasing these out, but use them while you can!). Target people running searches for the Pages that overlap with your target audience.

Finally, you now know a whole lot about your target audience. Use this information to target by specific lifestyle and buying history traits through the use of Partner Categories.

4. Offer a Premium Piece of Content

Facebook Like Gate

Create something of value that appeals to your target audience. This could be a professionally done eBook or white paper. Offer that piece of content for free in exchange for liking your Page.

This is done with like-gating. Visitors to your tab are given different views depending on whether they are Fans or not. If they aren’t, they can be shown a preview of what they get for free if they like your Page. When they like, they are given the download link.

I use ShortStack (aff.) to do this. Use this piece of premium content as a carrot for your ads. Drive those ads to this landing page.

5. Use Hashtags

Facebook Hashtags Increase Audience

Facebook hashtags are still gaining traction. But they can be a great tool for reaching a broader audience.

Research what hashtags are currently being used in your niche. Start using those hashtags appropriately to categorize your content.

If done correctly, you will begin reaching more people who aren’t currently Fans but who are interested in your niche. This is great for discovery!

EXTRA. Network

Okay, I was only supposed to do five. But the thing is that there are far more than five ways to increase your relevant Facebook audience. And really, you should be looking beyond Facebook to increase that audience.

A huge one is networking. Look to guest post on the blogs of others with larger audiences who service your target audience. Comment on those popular blogs. Comment on their Facebook Pages. And offer to interview some of these top names in your industry.

While doing these things, make sure that you are always looking to provide value. Networking is possibly the most important key to gaining traction quickly and going from obscurity to authority.

Other Related Links

Here are some other links that I referenced in the video above:

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