21 Ideas for Growing Your Fans on Facebook

facebook-iconSometimes it’s the most seemingly-insignificant little tweak that can result in the most traffic for particular types of posts:  Or, if not quite that, in steady growth.

Here are twenty-one ideas to help increase the chances of getting your posts checked out and shared – the fastest way to grow your fans!

  • 1.      Drive Traffic to Your Facebook Page from Offline Sources

So many local businesses nowadays do this, it has become a new norm.  Ice cream shops paint it on their front display windows.  Bowling alleys feature Facebook promotions on display monitors.  Churches and schools put calls to come to church and Like them on Facebook on their exterior signage and billboards.

Even if you don’t have a physical building or storefront, you can put your Facebook Page URL and call to action on:

  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Letterhead
  • Postcards
  • Workshop handouts
  • Samples
  • Your vehicle

And just about anything else you can think of!

  • 2.      Use QR codes in your offline and website promotions

QR codes are no longer just for the technologically elite – you’ll see them everywhere:  On store windows and signage; brochures and menus; buses and subway station signage… they’re here to stay.  You can appeal to the Smartphone-toting crowd by using a QR code driving people to your Facebook Page by placing on your website, as well as any offline places you can dream up – for example, your vehicle, business cards, and so forth.

You can instantly generate your free code at sites like Kaywa.  Simply type in the URL to your Facebook page URL.

Adding a QR code makes it that much easier for people to find and “Like” your Page:  It’s much easier to point your mobile at a QR code graphic and click than to remember or write down a Facebook Page name!

  • 3.      Interact with your Fans daily

Visit your Facebook Page every day and acknowledge, comment and respond to your fans.  If you do this, you’ll not only be one of only a very small minority of online business owners actually engaging, you’ll make your Fans feel heard, acknowledged, special, important and appreciated.

That, in turn, promotes sharing, as well as making them more amenable to your requests.

  • 4.      Turn on Follow

This strategy is not for everyone.  If you are mixing personal and Facebook Fan feeds, you need to adjust your Privacy settings carefully and make sure your close personal contacts are excluded from being displayed in public posts.

If you wish to keep your personal Feed and Timeline strictly personal, do not enable “Follow”.

If  you decide to mix business with personal most of the time, set your default to “Public” and post personal feeds using a custom “Friends” setting per individual, personal post.  (Be sure to set your post setting back to “Public” on the next post, since posts stay locked on the last custom setting made!)

If you with to mix personal with business Fans:

  • Keep your default setting to “Friends” (if that’s what it’s currently at)
  • Make sure you set individual Fan-oriented posts as “Public”
  • Make sure you switch your next post setting after a “Public” post back to your default “Friends” setting – remember, it will not revert automatically, no matter what you have set in your settings!

5.      Run contests

Contests are a great way to get shares, but you have to make sure of three things:

  • You do it via a Facebook-approved, third-party App
  • You read up on Facebook’s
  • You familiarize yourself with rules for your country and state or province regarding various types of contests
  • You are promoting your own product – not someone else’s

Other things to know:

  • You aren’t allowed to notify winners via Facebook
  • You can ask participants to Like your Page, connect to your app or check in to a place when you announce your contest – but you cannot make this:
    • A condition of entry
    • An automatic “enter” into the competition

One of the best articles, clearest and most definitive articles on Facebook contests can be found at Grow Smart Biz.  It’s short – but it’s well worth reading for contest ideas and more facts you need to know.

  • 6.      Vary your post types and media

Do your Facebook Fans prefer one type of post media over another?  Do you get more response from videos than from photos?  From photos than from videos?  How about links to blog posts?  Contests?  Polls?

Mixing your media and your post types makes for much more interactive and interesting Page – but never do this just for the sake of variety:  Make sure it also feels “right” for whatever information you want to share.

  • 7.      Keep it interactive

You can’t build a community – which is what you’re trying to do – if you just post announcements on a noticeboard while everyone is sleeping, leaving them to remember to wander over to the noticeboard and read an impersonal note from someone they don’t know and never see.

You need to not only respond to your Fans in real-time, but also provide ways for them to interact.  This can include polls, contests, surveys, videos, links to visit – and asking them questions.

(Remember to thank them for the answers!)

  • 8.      Track your Fan interaction

This means using your eyes and ears, as well as tracking metrics like Facebook Insights for your Page, as well as stats sites like Alexa and social analysis sites like Crowdbooster.

Find out when they are most active on Facebook, and move your online posting time to that period.

Make a note of which types of posts from you they like the most.

  • 9.      Check Who You’re Sharing With!

If you have enabled “Follow” and are mixing Fan posting with personal, get into the habit of checking the settings for each individual post.  You never want a personal post to be seen by Fans; or Fans to miss an important promotion or date because you forgot that the last post you made was only to “Friends”.

  • 10.   Use Facebook Advertising

If your Facebook Page is relatively new and/or you are struggling to get twenty-five “Likes” (so you can choose your custom URL and have Insights enabled), consider taking out a Facebook ad.

Facebook has several types of ad, and one of their Marketplace ad types allows you specifically just to ask for “Likes”.

Set a daily limit and run the ad for a very short term.  You’ll attract new fans and get those “Likes” in no time.

  • 11.  Consider using Promoted Posts

This is another of those Facebook strategies that doesn’t work for everyone:  Mostly, it doesn’t work for people who have nothing new, exciting, original or valuable to say.

Don’t think you only have to use Promoted Posts to send people to blog links – if anything, that’s the least creative use.

Use your Promoted Post to let your Fan base know only about things that are truly exciting or important – things you know they would kick themselves for missing.  (Using it for webinars or events can be highly effective, if the webinar or event is well-targeted.)

  • 12.  Mine Pinterest to glean fast Facebook facts from infographics

Run searches in Pinterest with keywords like “Facebook” to quickly find useful infographics containing the latest tips.

Use these for your own information or share them with your Fans!

  • 13.  Make sure you post on the weekends

Many stats sites and experts the highest activity and most engagement occurs on weekends.  Make sure you try posting and hanging out on Facebook at those times.

  • 14.  Pay attention to your emoticons

Did you know that using emoticons can affect your shares?  LinchPinSEO did some tracking on theirs, and discovered a direct relationship between emoticons used and share rates.  Yes, it really seems to make a difference whether or not you make a Smiley Face by typing 😀 or 😀 (or even if you use emoticons at all).

Here’s a link to the entire infographic, as reported by Tnooz.com.

  • 15.  Use photos in your posts

You can pretty much bet that photo posts receive a higher-than-average Share rate because Facebook’s infamous algorithm, Edgerank, allocates more shares.  It seems to do this based on both cause and effect – it “observed” this trend, so takes steps to make sure it perpetuates it.

But in case you want proof, the infographic in our previous tip quotes the share rate for photos specifically as “39% higher than average”.

And now Facebook has redesigned Timelines to showcase and expand photo shares.

  • 16.  Think like a magazine editor

If you want to grow your fan base, then single-comment text posts should be just one type of Facebook post you include either in your feed or in your Facebook Page posting.  Visual appearance.  Post layout potential is going to be a major criteria, according to Facebook’s new Timeline rollout.

In other words, can your post be turned into something like this one Facebook features as an example on one of its new Timeline rollout pages?

Humble text posts (“Ate my morning yogurt. Did 35 min. yoga.”) aren’t going to do a thing for making fans pay attention (or even be shared by Facebook with them) unless there’s a photo to dramatically illustrate what you’re reporting.

Says Facebook:  “Goodbye clutter.  Hello, beautiful, bright stories.”

In other words, it wants your posts to look like glossy magazine ads or story headers.  You provide the raw material – the text and photo:  It will provide the presentation.

Your photo can turn even the most inane, generic or insignificant comment into a dazzling visual story, according to the new Timeline promotional material such as the previous photo.

  • 17.  Use Pinterest to increase your Fan Appeal

We’ve already spoken about using Pinterest as a research resource:  Now let’s touch on its official use – photo pinning and sharing.

Don’t just create and share your own Pins, “Like”, share and follow other people’s. (Do this by clicking on the Pin you like and clicking through to the source, to see if they have a Facebook “Follow” button on their website.

One caution, however:  Always check your Pin source – not just the Pinner, but the original site the photo was lifted from.

One thing you don’t want to do is share something that is under copyright.

Make it a point to check out and “Like” at least one or two pins from Pinterest every day.

When you consider that Pinterest attracts a massive proportion of all female social media users (82% at last count) with male social media user engagement increasing daily, Pinterest is a platform you can’t afford to ignore.

  • 18.  Regularly Ask for “Likes” for your posts and Facebook Page

Don’t just passively leave it up to your Facebook followers to decide – but don’t be “pushy” or spammy about asking for the “Like”, either:  However, when you see an opportunity to actually ask – that is, it feels natural and not forced to conclude a post with this sort of call to action – do so.

The reason:  Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm is prone to expanding the sharing reach of posts that have reaped “Likes”, according to the Edgerank Checker blog.

  • 19.  Think twice about what you share – and what you allow others to share on your Facebook Page

Just as Edgerank will share posts others have “Liked” with more people, it drastically reduces your sharing reach if people hide your posts – an action noted by social stats sites since Facebook made some Edgerank changes in September 2012.  (This alone could be the reason why many Facebook Pages have noticed a decline of anywhere between fifteen to twenty percent since that time.)

Posts most likely to be hidden (apart from overtly offensive posts with racist or aggressive comments):

  • Graphic photos of animal cruelty, domestic violence victims
  • Photos of unhappy people
  • Overtly sales-oriented posts in personal feeds
  • Repetitive posts and photos
  • Strings of photos posted in quick succession.  With the latter, people may not hide all your photos; perhaps only the last two or three.  But far worse – they may turn notifications off for your feed – or change it to “only the most important”.  That can be the kiss of death for your reach, if you are communicating with Fans and/or allowing the public to Follow you via your personal feed.

This argues for not allowing others to post on your Facebook Page, if you’ve ever had to hide offensive or just plain irrelevant posts:  Hiding posts on your own Page will bring down your Facebook reach… but then again, you may lose a fan.  (How important is that particular fan?  Do her posts bother other Fans?  Are they hiding posts on your Page or news feed?)

Bottom line:  Only you know the type of inappropriate posts that occasionally appear, so only you can decide if your best strategy is not allowing posts on your site… or ignoring the inappropriate posts, in the hope your other Fans will just skim over them too.

  • 20.   Use more Apps on your Facebook Page and Personal Profile

One of the big statements Facebook has made about its new Timeline:  Apps are going to play a more prominent role.

Why?  It seems Facebook is counting heavily on using Apps to make Facebook feeds display in a more organized manner, as well as provide a better variety of content.

Visit the App center to see what’s available via Facebook’s own apps.

  • 21.  Create a strong “voice”.

Do you read books about bland characters?  No, of course not.  It’s the same with Facebook Pages.  The ones we like to follow the most are those with personality.

If you analyze this feeling of “personality” a little closer, however, you will see that there are common characteristics these “personalities” share.  These voices are:

  • Consistent – They don’t change personality on us
  • Active – When we drop in for a visit, it’s never static:  There’s always a new post or discussion
  • Entertaining – We come away from the page feeling amused, uplifted, refreshed, educated. We take something positive away, and our day is a little brighter from dropping in

Be unique.  Be yourself.  Be authentic.

And do stay on top of all those Facebook changes!

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