11 Ways to Grow your Facebook Page

You've finally decided to enter the social media fray and create a Facebook Fanpage for your brand. Fantastic! You don't need a social media guru to do it for you, since it's about as complicated as a monochrome Rubik's cube. The user interface will guide you through the process, which is very similar to setting up your personal profile.

In this article I'm not going to expound which brands should be creating fanpages (or groups) or why, but for now we'll assume that there is enough consumer interest in your brand to warrant its creation.

So there's your brand spanking new fanpage with one fan – yourself. Lonely, isn't it? Now you're going to need to grow your fans/members. Here are 11 ways to grow your fanpage as organically as possible:

1. Suggest to friends

Just below your fanpage picture you'll find a link that says “Suggest to Friends”. This allows you to invite all of your friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, in the “Suggest to Friends” window Facebook doesn't have a “Select All” feature, as it tries to limit spamming and hopes that you will only select people that would have an interest in joining. Inviting all your friends is a bit of a “click, click, click, scroll, click, click, click” mission, but it's worth it.

Take this research for example: According to a report (Marketing on Social Networks: Branding, Buying and Beyond) by eMarketer, “52% of social network users had become a fan or follower of a company or brand, while 46% had said something good about a brand or company on a social networking Website—double the percentage who had said something negative (23%).”

Another report on the impact of social media stated that “almost 50% of social media users have recommended or talked about a product or brand on Facebook and 44% have done so on Twitter. Just over a third of respondents said that social networking sites are great resources for company and product information. Similarly, 30% said they learned about a new service, product or brand from a social network site and, of those, 25% went directly to an online retailer or ecommerce site after learning about the new item. Twenty-seven percent said they were receptive to getting invitations to events, special offers or other premiums through a social networking site. (mediaweek.com, 11/6/09)

This means that your friends will be more susceptible to joining your brand's page and are thus your first port of call when recruiting for your fanpage.

It doesn't stop there – and this is the continuous tightrope you'll be treading between spamming bastard and pertinent affiliation – because you need to encourage your friends to invite all of their friends. Don't be too pushy, a friendly request will do, but it's still going to yield a rather damp squib response. The best thing you can do to grow your FB page is to log in to their accounts and invite their friends for them... with their permission of course. I know this sounds ludicrous, but it works. If you're serious about growing your page, then every time you're at a house party or casually chatting to a colleague at his desk ask them if you can invite their friends to your page. It's a bit underhanded, but it definitely yields results.

2. Linkseeding

As previously mentioned, there is a thin line between spam and legitimate post so be careful. You should now be searching Facebook for similar interest groups and fanpages. Then make a relevant comment on the wall and provide a link to your group for further information. This should be a systematic daily chore. Additionally, use your own status updates to promote the link to your page. You can also seed your link off of Facebook in forums and comment sections on other websites, including Twitter etc.

TIP: Get a vanity url for your page. Once your page has a certain number of fans and posts, Facebook allows you to secure a vanity url for your page. Simply go to http://www.facebook.com/username and then select your page and choose a simple vanity url. e.g. http://www.facebook.com/YOURBRAND. This makes it easier for people to remember your FB url and makes your brand seem more professional and legitimate.

3. Promoting your FB page

Social media is still an after thought in many marketing campaigns, but these days it is essential to implement a fully integrated campaign. This means that your social media efforts must be included in all your marketing collateral. For example, if you send out a newsletter, make sure you include a link to your FB group. You can even send out a dedicated mail telling people about your FB group. Make sure you also have a Facebook badge on your website. Include “Join us on Facebook” in your print, radio and TV ads. I'm still astounded by how few TV ads include FB, Twitter or even the website address.

4. Competitions and Promotions

A great way to increase membership is to run competitions and promotions on Facebook. There are many creative ways of doing this, but please take note of Facebook's promotion guidelines. Many companies are running “illegal” promotions on Facebook.

How often have you seen competitions on Facebook that break these rules for example?
You cannot: Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as making a post on a profile or Page, status comment or photo upload.

You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.

They don't say what the consequences will be if you are caught out, but you could risk having your group banned, for instance. This means that you'll lose everything you've worked to achieve in terms of membership.

5. Regular updates

Creating a Facebook group means that it must be administered correctly and provide value to people who join or “Like” it. It is NOT just a new channel to push out your crappy press releases. You must provide value in terms of content, information, personal interactivity and support. Make an effort to update ever day and try different media – status updates, notes, discussions, videos and pictures. If possible create shareable content that will further spread your group in the network.

In terms of value, please take note of this: “A study of 'digitally connected' consumers found that over 40% are following brands on Twitter just because of exclusive offers or deals distributed by the brand on Twitter. The numbers are about the same for Facebook or MySpace, with 37% saying they had “friended” a brand in order to get special deals. (adweek.com, 11/8/09)”.

People want value and it will also help grow your group when you offer social media specific deals. Give out a discount code on your FB group, for example. You will also be able to track the success of these campaigns as people will use the code to redeem the discount. If you want more ideas about using your Facebook group then read this article on Mashable about brands that are using Facebook successfully. Caveat: It is a year old article, but still applicable.

6. Cross-platform pollination

You can cross-pollinate from your other social media efforts. If you're posting videos on YouTube or Zoopy, make sure you include a clickable link in the video to join your Facebook group. You can also link your Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that any FB update gets published on Twitter too. This will drive your Twitter followers to your FB page.

7. Social bookmarking

Use the same SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) principles that you use to promote your website. Submit your Facebook Page to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Mixx, Stumbleupon and others.

8. Email signatures

You've got your contact details in your email signature, but most people don't include their Twitter or Facebook group in there. If you've got a couple of thousand employees, imagine how much exposure your group will get if the link to your brand's Facebook group is in every single email they send?

9. Events

Events are a great way to get exposure as it promotes the “Invite friends” functionality on Facebook. Consider sponsoring a local band or DJ, or throw a charity event, and then you can promote it on your Facebook page and encourage members to invite their friends.

10. Add your page to another page's “Favourites”

This is another linkbuilding task that can create more exposure for your page. This will show your page's profile picture and title on another page's “Favourite Pages” section in the left-hand column just under their membership box. On your page, under your profile picture, just under the “Promote with an advert” you will find “Add to my page's favourites”. This will open up a box with a dropdown menu listing all the pages you have created. Link your page to all of these.

More difficult is to ask your friends to add your page to their favourites by performing the same aforementioned process. Preferably, you'll be “favourited” by pages that have a similar niche or interest so that their members will be more inclined to go and check out your page too.

11. Advertising

I've left the most effective way of promoting your group until last. FB ads are incredibly effective as they offer granular targeting. You can specify keywords, geo-location, age groups, gender etc. Additionally, they offer great reporting tools to optimise your campaigns, manage your budget and report back on effectiveness.

 

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Comments 5 comments

Vanessa 6 years ago

Thank you for all the awesome information.


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Cattleprod Media 6 years ago from Johannesburg Author

Pleasure :)


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mr-burns 5 years ago

A very useful list of things that can be done. Thank you


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