I knew this headline would get your attention.
It reminds me of the old Steve Martin joke – “How to become a millionaire and not pay taxes…First get a million dollars…then…”
The golden quest in social media today is adding as many followers or likers as quickly as possible. As more and more non-profits and small businesses realize the need to add social media to their marketing mix, one of the first questions they ask is – how do we get people to find us?
The answer is simple – time and effort. Here are 5 common sense ways you can add likers to your Facebook fan page.
Before I list these, however, it is important to note that you should have your Facebook page up and running and propagated with content BEFORE you invite likers. Be prepared for their arrival. Troubleshoot all aspects of the page to make sure any links work and all the information is correct. Think of this another way – you wouldn’t invite your friends to a house warming party before the furniture arrives, would you?
Now, how to get people to find you:
USE YOUR OWN NETWORK – While each company has different policies, it is generally a good idea for each employee or volunteer to ‘like’ the page before you invite outsiders. Once they ‘like’ the page make sure they suggest it to all their friends, too. This will build an initial group of fans and make it seem to the new invitees that they are joining a party already in progress.
MINE YOUR EXISTING DATABASE – I will assume that you have built a robust e-mail database. This should be the first place to go for attracting likers. You don’t need to be fancy – simply send an e-mail asking them to join you on Facebook (make sure you include the link to your page in the message!)
This will cost you no more than the time it takes to carefully compose and send. If you want to be more targeted you can use a paid service like Flowtown or Rapleaf, which will tell you which social network each e-mail address is connected to.
USE YOUR NEWSLETTER – If you are sending a regular newsletter be sure to include mention of your Facebook page in every issue. You can highlight posts, discussions – even new people who have joined since the last issue. If this is an e-newsletter don’t forget to include the link. And, put it where people can see it – don’t bury it at the bottom of the page.
EXTERNAL MARKETING – This is something that has been slow to catch on. For some reason, companies and non-profits have no problem referring people to Facebook (or other social media platforms) within the digital world. It is taken for granted that a Facebook ‘like’ or ‘share’ button is included on the web page.
Why not do the same in your other media? Can you think of a reason NOT to put the Facebook logo in your print ads or include a Facebook invite in your radio scripts? If you’re a brick-n-mortar why not have signs in your store? (Kohl’s does an excellent job with this. Check out their screen savers the next time you shop there.) What about your vehicles? I’m sure you have your web site printed next to your phone number. Why not the Facebook logo? Business cards, letterhead, table tents, printed receipts – the list goes on and on.
The bottom line is – promote your social media in all your collateral and external marketing material. (I do suggest that you keep it simple and focus on one platform – your Facebook page. First, it makes you look cool and cutting edge. Second, you’ll confuse people if you include too many logos. And, third, you can always lead your fans to other platforms from Facebook.)
ASK THEM TO SHARE – Once you’ve gotten people to like you there is no reason you cannot periodically ask them to suggest your page to their friends. This is ‘social’ media, after all.
How quickly will you grow? Despite what you may read elsewhere, no one has a proven formula for social media growth. Your growth will depend on how much time you put into the process, how strong your existing customer/donor base is and how effective you are at developing content that interests them. Manage your expectations. Have a goal – say a percentage of your database – then develop a realistic timeline to reach that number.
Will doing the above get you a million likers? Probably not. For that you’ll need to be a huge brand like Starbucks or use one of the many services that allow you to ‘buy’ friends.
Your goal is to achieve quality over quantity. You want to make sure that the people who like you really, really like you. You are looking for people who care about your brand or mission and are willing to engage in a conversation with you.
Will you eventually be able to monetize them? Yes, but this takes time. It has to grow from the relationship. Give them something – offers, great content, a sense of belonging – and they will be more willing to contribute when the right time or offer comes along.
Go get ‘em!
Social Media Specialist