Growing a fan base on Facebook ain't easy.
And it's especially hard if you're trying to grow a fan base for a new page.
5 years ago new pages could grow quickly and organically -- because there were so few pages competing for attention in the news feed.
But nowadays, if you want to grow a high-quality, engaged fan base, you need to plan well and execute well.
How do you do this? What are the steps for making it happen?
Let me show you 7 ways I've used myself.
7 Quick And Dirty Ways to Grow a Fan Base on Facebook
I recently stumbled across a Kissmetrics infographic from 2011 called "The Importance of a Fan Base".
Yes, the stats are old, but the general concept holds true today: Let's walk through these steps one by one.
1. Define Your Target Market
It's critical for every business to know their ideal customer BEFORE getting started on Facebook.
Remember -- not all 1.86 billion Facebook users represent your target customer.
For example, I run an inflatable "bounce house" business on the weekends -- renting out bounce houses in my area.
My ideal customers are women with kids living within 10 miles of my house. I target women instead of men because women are usually the ones planning the parties and making the buying decisions.
With these criteria in mind, I buy Facebook ads to promote my page and target women within 10 miles of my home who are between the ages of 25 and 45.
This screenshot from my page shows I've targeted the right demographic:
86% of my fans are women -- and 60% are women between the ages of 25 and 44.
According to this screenshot, about 7,400 Facebook users live within 10 miles.
And about 1,580 of those people are women between the ages of 25 and 45:
Try using this same technique on your page to find the target market for your company.
Remember -- finding the right kind of fans is essential if you want to use Facebook to drive sales. And targeting helps you find the right kinds of fans.
2. Get The Tone Right
Now that you've defined your target audience, you need to start talking to them -- using the posts on your page.
While communicating with fans you should:
- speak like them
- think like them
- act like them
Using my bounce house business as an example, if my target customer is a young mom in my area, I need to post things that appeal to young moms.
I shouldn't post about stuff not happening locally or things that appeal mostly to men or people without kids.
So to build trust with my fans, I design my posts to appeal to my target market.
3. Identify Which Posts Spur the Most Engagement
Every Facebook page is unique and posts that work on one page may not get engagement on another page. That's why it's important to test what works and what doesn't.
I do this on all my pages to see what content works best. When I see a post has been successful, I plan a similar post in the future.
If a post bombs -- that type of post is dead to me (at least for that particular page).
Facebook status ideas that repeatedly spark response from fans include:
- Questions -- people love to answer yes/no or similar 1-word answers (just keep it relevant)
- Photos -- pictures always win on Facebook because the website is so visual
- Fill-in-the-Blanks -- these allow for a quick answer on light-hearted topics
- Contests -- Facebook contests typically do well with targeted fans (don't use contests too often and make sure prizes are relevant to your page).
- Videos - Videos are hot on Facebook, and pretty much everywhere else.
If you want to know more ways to boost your engagement, I strongly suggest checking out this value-packed infographic.
4. Remember it's a Long-Term Investment
With a Facebook page, it's not "If You Build It They Will Come" -- that only works in a Kevin Costner movie!
Successful social media marketing takes time, hard work and patience.
In my case, I spent about $150 on Facebook ads growing the bounce house page to 400 targeted Likes.
So far, about 90% of my business has come from Facebook!
Since starting the business last October my total revenue is about $3k -- and most of those sales came from boosting posts and finding Likes on Facebook.
Over the next few months, I expect the initial $150 investment in my page to pay off big time -- even if I just rent 1 bounce house per week.
So continue building your page and maintaining strong relationships with fans.
And remember -- those not buying today will know about your brand when they need to make a purchase somewhere down the road.
5. Keep it Real, Relaxed and Relevant
I love the 3 R's.
While building your fan base you gotta keep things real, relaxed and relevant.
Don't get frustrated when sales don't immediately come. For heaven's sake, don't start blasting promotional posts every hour thinking that's the best way to drum up business.
You'll only chase away high-quality fans and blow your budget in the process.
Instead, try a post a day in the beginning. Don't overwhelm fans by flooding the news feed right out of the gate.
Give fans a chance to get to know, like and trust you -- then start posting more often.
Consistency is important, but quality should be your top priority if you hope to grow a high-quality fan base.
6. Stick to a Schedule
As a page manager, the worst thing you can do -- especially in the beginning -- is post sporadically.
Two posts Monday, 4 on Tuesday, none Wednesday, 7 posts on Thursday and nothing on the weekend...
Stop it! This won't help your page.
Set up a schedule with times during the day when you want to post.
I, for example, use Post Planner to create my custom posting schedule and determine what type of content I want to go out at what time.
I usually post a mix of images and blog posts.
Then, I just compose my message and set it to "Recycle" so it stays in rotation. Then I just drop it into the queue.
It automatically fills in the next available spot in line.
By setting the post to "Recycle" I've made sure that whenever the post publishes, an exact replica of it will be recreated and sent to the end of the Queue again -- to land in the next available open spot.
This feature works great for re-posting evergreen content like blog posts, infographics, podcasts and ebooks.
So, I strongly suggest you create a posting schedule for your Facebook page. Just decide what and when you're going to post -- then stick to it.
7. Monitor and Measure
By now we've committed to:
- define our target audience
- use the proper tone in our posts
- post the kinds of updates that get the most engagement
- follow the 3 R's -- Real, Relaxed and Relevant
- and stick to a schedule
Sit back and evaluate what works. Take some time once a month to explore your page's Insights. Identify what worked and what didn't.
I can't tell you what strategies are best for you -- because every page is different.
But if a post gets ZERO engagement, obviously that technique didn't work and it's time to make some adjustments.
Just make sure you are reviewing the results at least once every 30 days.
If nothing you do seems to work, you can always try these 12 secret Facebook features. They never fail to bring in engagement, fans, and ROI.
Now that you have these 7 tips for growing your fan base, it's time to apply them to your page.
And if you're really smart, you'll apply these same principles to your efforts on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest too.