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Keep Your Facebook Fans Coming Back

Image Keep Your Facebook Fans Coming Back
One way businesses tend to measure their success on Facebook is by the number of fans they have. You have probably wondered how to increase your Facebook fan base. Perhaps you have even read articles that claim to spell out the precise formula to attract more Facebook fans. The fact is, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to get more fans. The best strategy for your business really depends on the type of business you have.

We have come up with specific ways to increase your fan base, as well as examples of small businesses that got it right. However, remember that you are the true expert on your business and know your customers better than anyone. Most likely, you will find that the best ideas for increasing your fan base are your own.

 

Step 1 - Know yourself and know your goals

What kind of business do you have? Is it the type of business that thousands of fans will be attracted to? Are your customers the type of people that frequent Facebook? Why should people “like” you on Facebook? Think these things through so that you can set realistic goals and know what to expect from your Facebook strategy. In the end, the total number of Facebook fans that you have shouldn't be your biggest concern. What matters is that you are reaching out with relevant information and interacting with people who care about what you have to say.
 
What do you want out of your Facebook page or your social media strategy?  Will your Facebook page be the go-to spot for the latest products and coupon codes? Will it be a hubbub of customers swapping stories and posting pictures about their experiences with your business/product/topic? Will the focus of your page be customer service and providing your fans with valuable information? You will probably want to include a combination of these things, but it’s important to envision why people will interact with your page.

 

Step 2 - Develop the social media mindset

This is your chance to get creative. If you are authentic with your fans then you will reap the rewards. Creating content is most of the game, but do not forget about interacting with your followers. Did something exciting happen at the office today, like an employee’s birthday, or the arrival of a new piece of equipment? Announce it to your fans. Would a question that you answered for a customer in your office be a question that applies to other customers as well? Share it in a status update. Did you read something relevant to your customers in your industry’s news? Make sure they know about it. Did you add a new product to your website? Post a photo and ask your fans if they “like” what they see. What is the common thread your customers share? Ask them a question that encourages them to post their stories. Be sure to respond back when your fans leave comments or ask questions - the interaction is half the fun and can help build relationships. 

 

Step 3 - Get more Facebook fans

1. Invite people who you interact with (in real life) to "like" your page.

It's easier to get people that you have an actual connection with (in real life - not the cyber world) to "like" your page and interact with it on their own accord. For starters, invite your personal friends on Facebook to "like" your page. In the upper right hand corner of your business page, click "Build Audience". From there, you can invite your email contacts or invite friends, allowing you to quickly expand your reach.

Next you need to get the word out to your customers. There are a number of places to share your Facebook page link that you may not have considered:
  • Your website/blog: Make a call-to-action banner to "like" your Facebook page. Display the Facebook Box. Use Facebook sharing buttons and "like" buttons throughout your website. Contact HEROweb at (541) 746-6418 for help implementing these features.
  • Your newsletter: You may want to send out a special announcement just to announce your Facebook page. Then include Facebook buttons in all future newsletters.
  • You email signature: In all of your correspondences via email your Facebook link will be visible.
  • Your business card: Use the backside of your business card to mentions of your social media accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
  • A sign at your brick-and-mortar store: Put up a sign in your physical store location with your Facebook address. You could include a QR code with a link to your Facebook page. Tell your in-store customers about your Facebook page. You could even set up an in-store display with a tablet, allowing customers to "like" your page on the spot for some small reward. Read example #3 of this article from Mashable to learn about a business that pulled this off.
  • In post-purchase thank you emails: Include something along the lines of, “If you were happy with your purchase, please “like” our page on Facebook to receive updates on new products and deals.”
  • On your packing slip: Like your business card, make a quick mention of your Facebook page (and website, and other social media) on the packing slip that customers receive with their shipped product.
2. So you asked people to "like" you, but no one is responding – time for some incentives!
 
Coupons. Promotions. Contests. Be careful. While this a great way to get more fans, it may only attract needy fans who solely liked the page to get discounts. Make it more of an interactive contest. Feature your own unique photo and hold a captioning contest. Or, utilize the fans you already have by hosting a photo contest and awarding the person who gets the most likes. The contestants will invite their friends to like your page so that they can gain more likes, and more people will gain awareness of your page in the process.
    
One clever Facebook campaign by Buffalo Exchange (a trendy vintage and second hand clothing store) was hosted in their Eugene store location. They set up an in-store photo shoot with a professional photographer. When you tried on an item and had your photo taken, they gave you a small discount on your purchase and also a card with their Facebook link. Then, they uploaded all the photos to the Buffalo Exchange Facebook photo albums. This was a great way to create some fun energy in their Facebook community and get “likes” from their in-store customers who wanted to see their picture on the Buffalo Exchange Facebook Page.
 
3. Reach out to other businesses.
 
Build alliances and do some networking by finding other businesses in your community on Facebook and adding them to your page’s favorites. Mention others Facebook pages using the “@” tag so the post will appear on their page as well. Interacting with other businesses will get your name out to the people in their Facebook communities. Comment on their posts either from your personal account or as your business page. To switch between your business and personal Facebook book, click the tiny white gear in the upper right hand corner and select “Use Facebook as (name).”
 
Imagine Group does a wonderful job of reaching out to their community. They constantly post about what other businesses are doing and get out the word about community events. This is a great example of a company that provides services instead of products and has created a valuable and interactive page.
 
4. Facebook Advertising- should you really do this?
 
Depending on your business, this could be a great tool for getting more fans. Facebook has also added more options for advertising like Sponsored Stories, where people may see a mention of your business higher in their news feed or on the right hand side of Facebook. There are fees associated with advertising and Sponsored Stories, so you have to decide if these investments are worth it to help you meet your goals. If you only have a couple of hundred fans, you should probably wait before trying Facebook Advertising, as you probably won't get the reach that you want for what you are paying. 
 

Step 3- Cultivate your community

This is one of the most important steps. What does it matter if you have 20 fans or one million fans if no one looks at your page? You must update your page regularly (no more than twice a day, but at least a few times a week). It is essential that you respond to any posts your fans make. The point of Facebook is to keep the conversation going - continued interactive with your fans is very important!. Through your status updates and posts you should be giving your fans something of value, such as tips, inspiration, important news, and a little humor. If you can accomplish this then your page will become it’s own community that people won’t hesitate to join.

Check out these other pages that have created successful and interesting Facebook communities:

Best Bully Sticks: With their featured dog of the day, photo contests and other fun activities, they have created a valuable and entertaining page for dog lovers. 

Erin Williams Watercolors: At the moment Erin Williams may have a modest 350 fans, but these fans interact with her regularly. Filled with beautiful snapshots of her artwork and heartfelt blog posts, this page keeps her fans talking.

Eugene Running Company: Eugene Running Company creates hype about their products and store and also posts running news that attracts avid runners. This page taps in to the Eugene running community.

Nancy’s Yogurt: Even something like yogurt can foster a Facebook community. Instead of letting their page go stale, Nancy’s Yogurt posts recipes, questions, and promotes photo sharing of their fans’ creative uses for Nancy’s.

 

For more tips on using Facebook to promote your business, please “like” HEROweb Marketing and Design on Facebook.

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