I created my Facebook Page on November 2, 2011. Six months later, I am quickly approaching 3,000 Likes.
I’m often asked how I did it. There may not be a magic bullet, but I got here strategically and intentionally. I did it ethically and with a very tight A budget is an amount you're willing to spend on your Facebook campaigns or ad sets on a daily or lifetime basis. More. The fan base that I have created is highly engaged and relevant.
Here’s how I did it and how you can grow from nothing to 3,000 Likes in six months, too…
Make an Announcement
Don’t be bashful, people. Tell everyone you know to like your Page. I assume that your Facebook friends are your greatest advocates. You want these people to form the base of your Page’s fans. So announce your new Page to your friends. Write a public post, explaining what you’re doing and why they should like it. Also consider inviting people individually through the Page and even send emails to anyone you may have missed.
I probably annoyed the hell out of my friends in the beginning, but it’s okay to annoy the people who care about you when the source of that annoyance is something that is important to your well-being. Be courteous and grateful.
Of course, there are limits to this. If you aren’t close to some of your Facebook friends, consider targeting only those who would want to help you (and who would have interest in what you’re doing). Even in the beginning, you want to avoid padding numbers with “fans” who are going to completely ignore what you do. This will not help you, and it will even hurt your ability to reach more people.
If you already have an established customer base, invite these people, too. I didn’t since I was starting fresh, but you should if such a list is available.
Strategic Management of Facebook
An entire blog post (or an entire series of blog posts) can be written on this one, but I’ll try to keep it simple. Have a strategic vision of how you will manage your Facebook Page. You should be focused on value, consistency, diversity and originality.
Value: Your focus should be on your fans, not on you. Almost every post I write is an attempt to answer a question, solve the problems of my target audience or provide some sort of value. It’s not to tell them to buy something. There needs to be a reason these people read your content, and it comes primarily in value.
Consistency: I post something on my Facebook Page every weekday. My fans can count on that. They also know what type of content, tone and quality they can expect.
Diversity: But don’t be so consistent that you’re boring and predictable. I make sure to share links, video, photos and status updates. I also will occasionally share the content of others or use the Facebook Questions application. Being diverse not only keeps your content interesting, but it helps you understand what your fans like.
Originality: Don’t be boring. Have some personality. Create original content that your fans can’t get anywhere else. Provide exclusive content or deals. Have contests to keep them engaged. Show a human side of your brand. I’ll occasionally share stories about my kids that are related to business, and these are often some of my most commented on pieces of content.
During the past six months, I’ve “spent” about $350 on Facebook ads. I use quotation marks because about $250 of that was in the form of Facebook ad coupons. I’m cheap, and I hate spending money. So I’ve gotten an enormous bang for my buck with ads.
Unfortunately, Facebook Insights won’t go back more than 89 days to tell me just how many likes I generated with ads. But it’s likely in the neighborhood of 750.
While I’ll occasionally use Facebook ads to drive engagement with my current fans, I use them most for finding new fans. And you have to get creative here. I tried many variations of ads, images, copy and destinations to find the magic bullet that brought most of the new fans.
The main key is to provide exclusive value. The carrot I offered was free access to my Facebook Marketing eBook. It doesn’t have to be an eBook, but offer something of value for joining your community.
A very large chunk of my new fans come from my website. I’m sure you can be successful running your business only on Facebook, but you’re making it more difficult for yourself. Do not separate a website from your Facebook strategy. The two are integrated.
I write a ton of blog content that is relevant to my Facebook community. I then share that content with them, driving them to my site. This is good for my traffic.
But it works the other way, too. Most people find me first at my website. They find me there because I write a lot of valuable content and Google now tends to dig what I write. So I have a high number of Google referrals that come to my site. These people like what they read and then like my Facebook Page.
You can’t have a static website and expect that it will drive new fans to your Facebook Page. You need to constantly update new content that attracts new readers, thereby driving new people to your Page.
This seems obvious, but too many sites neglect it. You can write the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t have the necessary Facebook plugins, readers aren’t going to like your Facebook Page.
Yes, you need a Facebook Like button (and other social share buttons). I use the Digg Digg plugin that you see to the left.
But that drives traffic to your site more than it does new fans. You also need a Facebook Like Box like I have on the right that allows readers to seamlessly like your page without leaving your site.
I also have buttons scattered across the site to follow me on Facebook and other social networks. Finding out how to connect with me off of the website should not be buried, but it often is on websites.
During the past three months, I’ve generated 1,183 new Facebook fans. Only 38 of them came from ads (most of my advertising was in the early going). A whopping 556 of them came directly through a Facebook plugin.
My newsletter through AWeber is still relatively new, and my subscriber base is approaching 1,000. It’s important to remember that many of these people found me here first and not on my Facebook Page. So I’ll often refer and link to my Facebook Page or sometimes I’ll put a signature in the bottom to drive them there.
Overall, a weekly newsletter is a great way to remind readers to return to your website or Facebook Page or whatever content you have to offer. Use it!
Strategies will vary depending on your industry, company and target audience. But this is how I did it, and you can certainly apply many of these strategies. How do you uncover new fans?
If you’re still struggling, I encourage you to like my Page and subscribe to my newsletter below!