A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give some one-to-one marketing advice to business owners and marketing executives. One participant who handles her company’s marketing admitted that her company, which is very new in the beauty industry, decided to buy fans for their Facebook page to add credibility. She knows that buying fans is the biggest boo boo a marketing team can do as you won’t be reaching the right audience most of the time. This also makes it very difficult for the company to track genuine growth and conversion rates.

If you started your Facebook page in the early 2010s, you would notice that at that time, whatever you posted on your page would reach the majority of your page’s fans without having to boost posts. Then came the algorithm that sorted content.

Just like Google, Facebook filters the posts that you see when you visit the site. What you see is personalized based on your interests, who your friends are and the pages that you follow.

So how do we get real likes without having to pay for fans?

  1. Make sure your page is filled up completely

Make sure you add as much information about your business as possible from website, to contacts, to your story(About), your social media handles, events, photos and videos.

For your page profile photo, use your logo or something iconic to your brand so people will immediately recognize your brand.

         2. Get all your contacts to like your page

I’m not so much of a social butterfly so when I started out with my event agency Facebook page, it was really about asking my small group of friends and putting my Facebook page name on my website, business card, monthly newsletter and flyers.

It’s tricky to ask people you only know on FB (and not real life) to like your page but if you ask nicely, they usually will.

Cross sell your other social media channels eg Ask your Twitter, IG and Linked followers to also like your FB page. People can’t like your page if they don’t know you have one so promote it like crazy!

        3. Share content that your fans will appreciate

My events Facebook page is really about Industry trends. It’s very informative and business like. It doesn’t have to be that way with your page.

If you are the page admin, you would that there is an “Insight” tab. This is where you can see which posts get the most engagement, page views, page likes, reach.

Below that you can see “Pages to Watch” and this is where the action begins!

You will see a list of pages Facebook thinks are similar to yours. You can add up to five pages to your “Pages to Watch” list when you click “Watch Page”.

Once you add a few similar pages to your “Pages to Watch” list, you will be able to click on the page names and see which posts did well on their page.

By watching what works for your competitors, you can leverage that information to engage YOUR audience. (Sneaky, eh?)

Here is how to do it:

  • Look at the most engaging posts for your top five competitors on Facebook.
  • Make a list of topics and key terms that are resonating with their audience.
  • Head over to Google and search for the topics and key terms you listed in the step above.
  • Search your own blog site for similar content.
  • Schedule the posts you find on Google and on your own site to publish to your Facebook page.

Use this posts to link them back to your website. Make sure to schedule posts to the times your fans are most active by going to Insights > Followers

        4. Be a human being

I’m guilty of not being human enough, sometimes. In social media, you should be social. Eg talk and converse with your fans like they’re your best friends. Initially you might hear some crickets but overtime when they feel that you really are interested in getting a conversation going with your regular questions and chats, they will most likely respond.

Have you seen some pages just sell and sell and sell their products and services? You might get one like if you’re lucky.

Look at Southwest Airlines. They don’t just post about their flight promotions, travel advisories or new business developments or features. They post about community causes and about current issues and how they solve problems any way they can and get their customers to appear in videos.

So, how do we project ourselves as social beings on Facebook?

Here are a few ideas to get you going. Just remember that any conversation starters need to fit with your brand image.

  • Images work wonders. Create an image to ask a question, instead of posting just text.
  • Share related content that aims to make your audience’s life easier, such as recipes, DIY guides, and memes — but only if it makes sense for your brand.
  • Host a live Q&A session, either on a post or through live streaming
  • Run interactive contests

      5. Invite people who liked your post to like your page

Each time someone likes, comments on, or shares one of your posts, Facebook shows this action to some of their friends.Those friends might also like or comment on your content.

The next logical step would be to invite those people — who have interacted with your content but don’t like your page yet — to like your page. You already know they are at least somewhat interested in the content you post, which means there is a good chance they are in your target audience.

Go to a post which has gotten a lot of likes. Click on the “LIkes” to see who liked that post.  There will be a button to invite them to like your page. If the button is grayed out, that person already likes your page, so there is nothing to do.If the word “Invite” is black, click it to invite them to like your Facebook page.

      6. FB Live Streaming

Now anyone can share a live video with nothing more than a mobile phone.

From the Facebook Newsroom in March of 2016:

Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.”
So what does this mean?

Facebook live videos get preference in your fans’ News Feeds. So, they are more likely to see live videos than an image, recorded video, or text post which they will comment or like and this means their friends will also see your live feed.

Basically, it means live video gets more views than any other type of post on Facebook.

What should you broadcast? You could talk about an upcoming event or make an announcement or talk about something that is happening in your industry.

Once you pick a topic, it is time to schedule your live video so your audience knows when you will be streaming.

During the live streaming, make sure you have a plan for customer support or moderation during your live video so you can answer questions or reply to comments as the broadcast goes on. Fans like to know that they can get their answers or problems solved immediately.

Conclusion

Buying fans might be a good way to build brand awareness but won’t really help with truly getting the engagement and conversion rates you want.

What non-paid strategies have you used to earn more Facebook fans? I’d love to hear what worked for you.

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