Looking for a fun read? Not here.
Into fluff? Move on.
The following is a no bullshit guide to building real Facebook followers on a budget (scratch that…no budget) that will directly translate into real dollars in the bank.
1. Invite Your Friends
This may seem pretty obvious (like “duh!” obvious) but your first step should always be inviting your own Facebook friends to like your company’s page. If you don’t know how to efficiently send out a mass amount of invites, check out my step-by-step directions to get more Facebook fans.
While you’re at it, tell your friends to give your page a 5-star review when they visit. Though you can’t send out a message to everyone, you can request reviews via a status update on your personal page or on the wall of your company page.
Take it to the next level by asking your friends to invite their friends.
The average American Facebook user has 245 friends – if even 10 of your friends invite all of their friends, you’d have 2500 new invites out there, probably more.
If there’s anyone else in your life who has to listen to you (your kids, your employees, your significant other), stand over their shoulder while you watch them invite all of their friends – threats work.
*Hint: Give them this link on inviting their Facebook friends, and they can follow our 3 easy steps.
2. The List
Internet marketing 101: The power is in the list.
Whether your business is brand new or well-established, you should have an e-mail list made up of former clients, current clients, new leads, and friends/family. As soon as you get your page up and have invited your own circle, send out an e-mail blast with the link to your company’s Facebook page. If you have a newsletter, include a prominent blurb about the company’s Facebook debut.
To sweeten the deal, offer an incentive for liking your page. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you. What you offer depends on the type of business you have, but make sure that it’s free for you to create and easy for them to get.
• Informational: tips, tricks, advice, news, etc.
• Downloadable: e-book, webinar signup, video, etc.
• Coupons: Mention our Facebook page and get 10% off
Whichever form your freebie takes, it will show how much you appreciate their loyalty.
3. Share Across All Networks
As a tech-savvy business owner, you’ve got accounts with several other social networks. Multiply your efforts on one site by harnessing the power of all the others.
Share the link to your Facebook page with EVERYONE – your Twitter followers, Google+ circles, LinkedIn connections, YouTube subscribers, etc. Best case scenario, you get the different groups of people you’re connected to on each site to engage with you across all of the platforms. Think of it like a rousing game of Twister; if you do it right, everyone should be all entwined by the end.
Use your page to host engaging and fun contests with prizes that are valuable to clients but cheap for you. Give one lucky winner free services with your business – giving a free cut & color or teeth cleaning is nothing for you, but represents real value to your customer.
There is no end to the type of contest you can run, but I’ll give you a couple of seasonally-appropriate Halloween ideas that have worked for us:
Scary Hair Days
One of our salon clients wanted to run a fun contest on their page this time last year. We asked followers to post pictures on the salon’s wall that showed their scariest hair day. In order to be entered into the contest, they also had to tag themselves in the picture – this ensures that the post will get featured on their friends’ newsfeeds and be forever linked to the salon.
The contest was insanely successful. First, it was just really fun and got a lot more of their already-existing fans interacting with the salon and one another. More than that though, it resulted in a 272% increase in followers. It also continues to attract new followers and clients since those contest participants will forever have photos that link to the salon’s page.
Great Ghost Hunt
Find clipart of a ghost (or pumpkin or whatever), copy it, and paste a small version of it into several pictures in your Facebook photo albums. Tell users that if they find the ghost-invaded picture, tag themselves to enter the contest. Boom! You’ve gotten people to look at all of your pictures and create a link to your business that will always be in their personal photo albums.
When you launch the contest, make sure to publicize it well. First, create a digital flyer and background banner that announce and explain the contest. Then, make sure that the flyer stays prominently at the top of your page’s newsfeed by highlighting it and pinning it to the top of your newsfeed (see the screenshot below if you’re not sure how to do that.)
Finally, write up a quick post about the new contest and publish it on your website’s blog. Include the digital flyer and a link to the Facebook page. Then, go shout about the blog and the contest on all of your other social networks. You see a pattern here? If there’s anything you want seen, be liberal about sharing it wherever and however you possibly can.
5. Increase Engagement
The best pages with the most followers are dynamic and bursting with interactions. Once people like your page, you need them to engage with your posts in ways that result in updates on their friends’ newsfeeds.
Just like on your conversion-generating website, use calls to action. Post an image, article or video and give actions that correspond with opinions. For example, “Like if you agree and comment/share if you disagree.” A like or comment is definitely good, but a share is better. In terms of Facebook actions, “shares” are the gold standard because they are prominently featured on a user’s friends’ timelines.
If your fans’ friends see you mentioned in their newsfeed and then click on your site, they’ll immediately see all of their friends who also like the page. The more people in their network who like it, the more likely they’ll be to like it. There’s a benefit to infiltrating social circles.
6. Find Related Pages
Move outside of your own social circles and that of your clients by utilizing the Facebook search tool. You can find many more potential followers by searching for pages, groups and other businesses that might have followers who would be interested in your services/products. If you’re a Chicago salon owner, for example, search for “Hair Styles.” To see all of the results separated into categories, click on “See more results” at the bottom of the list.
You’ll be taken to a page that shows all of the results related to your search query. At the top of that list are the various types of Facebook pages: people, pages, places, groups, apps and events.
From here, your options are limitless. You can join relevant groups or like pages that are similar to your own to get ideas or find new fans. You certainly can use these connections to get new followers, but you should also treat them as platforms for becoming a leader in the community/industry. Avoid pushing your own agenda and focus more on contributing value to others, which will naturally have a positive impact on your business.
7. Shout Outs
Show that you’ve got love for your new followers by giving each one a personal shout out when they like your page. Tag them in a status that says something like, “Hey Brian Burt, thanks for liking us! We like you too!”
This small, personal touch really shows how much you appreciate your supporters, and it leaves a lasting impression in the minds of potential customers.
I’ve known several business owners who treat their Facebook page like a one-time job. If you set up your page, picked up a handful of likes and walked away, you might as well not have the page at all. You should be actively and continually seeking new followers and initiating interactions that will increase your exposure and your street cred.
Once you earn someone’s “like” on Facebook, you’ve probably got it for life; less than 1% of users “unlike” a page after they become followers. And, consider that each new follower is not only valuable as an individual, but as a connection to hundreds or thousands of other potential customers.