We all want one thing when it comes to marketing – the quickest route possible to unrivalled online presence and unprecedented sales success (ok, that might be two things).
Whether you’re a giant corporation, an SME or simply a one-man band peddling a single item to local customers via Facebook, the quicker your social following can grow, the quicker you can start laughing all the way to the bank.
The great thing about social media is that, largely, it’s free. You can of course start paying for your tweets to be promoted or for your Facebook posts to receive the odd boost, but, if we can possibly help it, we don’t want such things to be eating into our profits – especially when we’re still a very small company.
This Post Is For SMEs
There are countless success stories that can be found on the internet describing how the likes of Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey growth hacked their way to immortality – but not everyone can invent the next Twitter or Facebook.
However, what you can do is use these platforms – along with a few other favourite social networks – to growth hack your way to relative success and give your business a super boost in a very short space of time.
All you need to do is get inventive – take the time to understand the networks that you are promoting yourself on and the type of users that frequent them. Yes, we can steal some marketing ideas from the big dogs if we can make them work for us (see my recent posts ‘How To Own Social Media: Always Coca-Cola’, and ‘Conor McGregor: How To Pack A Marketing Punch’ for examples), but don’t expect to see results in the thousands or millions like Coke, Oreo or UFC fighting champions can.
Instead, think in relative terms. As the above sub-heading most eloquently describes, this post is for SMEs. So we’re going to be setting goals that are relative to the SME – the first 100 Facebook likes, the first 500, and then the first 1,000.
I’m going to be talking you through the various hacks you can use to get off the ground and achieve these goals on Facebook, and I hope it works for you as well as it does for us every time we launch a new campaign.
Ok – let’s get into it…
Facebook Growth Hacks
Your First 100 Likes
I’m going to assume that you’ve already set up a dedicated Facebook Page for your business before we begin. If for some reason you haven’t done this, go and do it right now, and this blog will still be here when you come back. Make sure you choose an appropriate profile picture (your logo is best), cover photo, put your business in the right category, link your Facebook Page to your website, and describe your business as succinctly and as potently as you can.
Done it? Good – glad to have you with us.
Ok, so – your first 100 Facebook likes, and how to reach that milestone as quickly as you can.
1. Create Some Content
At the very beginning of your Facebook journey, simply posting content on your page will not be enough to get those first 100 through the door.
However, slightly counter-intuitively perhaps, posting up some great content to your Facebook page is the very first thing that you need to do. This is simply because you have to have something there of interest to read or view when your brand new fans start arriving. You don’t want them to just flippantly click the ‘Like’ button and then go back to stalking their ex-girlfriend, never to be seen again. You want them to stay on your page, have a look around, and see what you’re all about.
To do this, you need to make sure that your cover photo is exceptional. Say you’re in business peddling up-cycled footwear. Your profile picture should be your logo, and your cover photo should be a shot of the footwear being worn (and looking damn smart to boot (no pun intended)).
On top of this ‘static’ content, however (though it shouldn’t be too ‘static’, mind you – make an effort to change your cover photo frequently so as to continuously be giving your page a ‘fresh’ look for returning visitors), you will also want to have at least 2 posts on your page ready for viewing as soon as you start inviting people to like it.
Just like the opening sentence and/or paragraph of a novel (or any piece of writing for that matter) your first posts have to be brilliant – nothing less will do if you want to hook your new likers, pique their intrigue and get them wanting more.
Visual content is always best – if you can make a video, great! If not, then an image is just as good. Remember to welcome everyone in your posts and direct them to your About Page and link neatly to your website.
2. Invite Your Friends
The average Facebook user has somewhere around 338 friends – this figure is based on research from the PewResearch Centre, however the data is a year old, but is the most reliable and up to date that I can find.
Statista.com produces a similar figure for users in the US (350), and very helpfully breaks the data down by age groups (so take note of the demographic that you’re appealing to with your product).
Average number of Facebook friends of users in the United States as of February 2014, by age group
“This statistic shows the average number of Facebook friends of US Facebook users in 2014, by age group. The most-connected age group were Facebook users between 18 and 24 years, averaging 649 friends on the social media website.” (Statista.com)
With 350-odd friends on Facebook, you should surely expect at least one third of them to ‘Like’ your new business page in support of what you’re doing – though don’t expect them all to do so.
If you reach the magic 100 by just employing these first 2 basic moves, then you’re off to a great start. However, don’t be surprised if this isn’t enough. The first 100 likes can actually be the hardest to achieve of them all – there is a saying in social media: ‘The bigger you are, the faster you grow.’ This most definitely applies to Facebook likes. The more followers you have, the more visible you will be to a much larger and extended audience – so don’t lose heart in the first week when you’re struggling, just employ these next tips instead…
3. Encourage Engagement By Thanking Your Likers
Whether you reach 100 likes right off the bat or not, you still need to take the time to thank all of your new likers. And when you do so, make sure you do it publicly.
If they also ‘liked’ one of your posts, then thank them beneath it, making sure that they are tagged, or otherwise thank them on their own Facebook wall. This will increase your exposure, as your liker’s friends will be able to see the post, and they may well head over to your page, see what you’re all about and then click the ‘Like’ button, too.
And when they do, you thank this new liker on his/her wall, increasing your exposure once more – and on and on (and on and on) it goes…
4. Engage, Engage, Engage!!
I hope that this one is a no-brainer, but just in case I’ll spell it out loud and clear for you here. Your likers are not obliged to remain likers. If you don’t respond to any comments or likes that they leave on your page or on any of your posts, then they may very well feel ignored. Some won’t be too bothered, of course – but others will vote with their feet and unlike your page, and this can start to have a negative effect on your reach.
Engagement is also key for showing the human side to your business. When someone leaves a comment, it’s your chance to show how friendly you are, how grateful for their interest, and that you plan to show good all round customer service from hereon in.
Remember that Facebook is a social network, so never forget the importance of being sociable with your fans – here is your chance to win them over with your friendly brand persona and winning personality.
5. Add Social Buttons To Your Website and Blog, And Link Your Other Social Accounts To Your Facebook Page
Don’t forget that some of your followers and customers will find you via your website first of all. So make sure you use it as an opportunity to promote your Facebook page to your website visitors, using widgets or one of the social plugins provided by Facebook. You can simply add a ‘Like Button’ to your blog, which automatically clocks up a ‘like’ on your Facebook page, and you can also create a ‘Share Buttons’ for your blog posts as well – and I recommend doing both!!
Your First 500 Likes
Ok, I’ve purposely spent a lot of time explain how to get your first 100 likes on Facebook, for the above practices should not be abandoned as soon as you achieve your first century. No, you will need to keep up those first 5 practices as you press on towards your next goal – 500 likes.
In fact, you should never abandon those 5 basic practices ever, ever, ever – even when you’ve got 100,000 likes. By this time, of course, your Facebook chores will have turned into a full time job, but you will now be big enough to employ a social media manager to take on all of that for you – so that’s a good problem to have!!
Ok, so, keep doing what you’ve already been doing, and now use this super crafty hack to push yourself to the 500 mark.
Create A ‘Like and Share’ Giveaway
It wasn’t long ago that you get away with a good old ‘Like and Share’ giveaway. We’ve all seen them – ‘Like and share this post, and one lucky user will get a FREE GIFT when we reach 500 likes!!’
Unfortunately that has changed, and Facebook are now cracking down on such competitions. You can by all means give it a go and see if you get away with it – but I wouldn’t advise that you do so, for you must remember that Facebook reserves the right to remove any Business Page it likes if the page in question does not adhere to Facebook’s terms and conditions.
However, all is not lost, for it is still possible to run a Facebook competition whilst playing within the rules.
Helpfully, the HallamInternet blog provides us with the following very handy snippet, which explains everything.
When running a competition from your Facebook Business Page:
Got it? You can still run a promotion to garner ‘likes’, but you cannot ask people to ‘share’ your post as well.
It’s always best to stay within the rules on Facebook and on the internet in general, for these bodies always withhold the right to ban you if they see fit – and that’s no good for business at all.
So, run a promotion to get those extra ‘likes’. In fact, what you’ll actually find is that you won’t need to ask, as people are likely to ‘share’ your promotion anyway, for they will be keen that you make it to 500 quickly, so they can find out if they’ve won.
Just remember to keep up the first 5 rules of this post as you go – paying particular attention to number 3 in this instance.
Your First 1,000 Likes
Ok, hold onto your hats everybody. You’re halfway there to making quadruple figures – and so far all it’s cost you is one giveaway. Your last competition created a buzz around your Facebook page, and now you have at least 500 likes – which means that you are now reaching more people than you have on your Friend List. You’re in business!!
All the while you have been creating new content, thanking your likers, engaging with any commenters, pointing people towards your Facebook page from your website, blog and other social media channels, and of course inviting any new friends that you’ve managed to pick up on your personal Facebook profile to come and like your business page as well.
You have announced the winner of your 500 Likes promotion… and now the hard work begins again.
The last thing that you want to do now is lose momentum – and you might even be surprised. Some Facebook users actively hunt down ‘Like’ competitions on the network, enter them, and then as soon as they realise they haven’t won, they ‘unlike your page’ and be gone forever – seriously, people really are that churlish.
So, if you were up to say, 528 likes, don’t be surprised if a few sour grapes get tossed around and as soon as your promotion is over you’re down to 519. And don’t be disheartened either – for those likers that jumped ship as soon as they lost the competition were never going to very beneficial to you, your Facebook page or your brand either. Forget about ‘em.
But, now that you’ve got 500 people’s attention, you don’t want them to forget about you (Facebook is a rather fickle place, as I’m sure you know already).
So, you need to strike once again while the iron’s just heating up, and try now to double up on your already impressive achievement.
And guess what – it’s time to run another competition…
Create A ‘Comment To Enter’ Competition
One of the best ways to ensure a lasting presence on Facebook is to keep your fans engaged and interested in what you’re doing. And one great way to accomplish this is by devising means through which your likers will feel that they are a part of you, your brand, and your journey.
Facebook and social media in general is a great place for generating some really meaningful feedback from your valued fans and customers. People like to have an opinion, so you should encourage them to share theirs on what you’re offering. It doesn’t even matter if they’re criticising something – just so long as you deal with the comment politely, and take what they’re saying on board.
If you end making a change to one of your products or services based on suggestions on Facebook, then make sure that you tell your fans this. Acknowledge them and make them feel like they’re a part of what you’re doing.
But, feedback aside, creating a ‘Comment To Enter’ competition is a brilliant way to ensure that the buzz around your new page is maintained. In this instance, you won’t actually be asking people to ‘like’ your page, but, with all the comments and engagement that will be happening on lots of people’s news feeds, it won’t be long before your post picks up steam and many new users and likers start flooding to your site.
The best ‘Comment To Enter’ competitions are those that ask people to help you name a new product. As you can imagine, this will really get people thinking that they are a part of your brand – especially if they win, or vote for the winner.
What’s also so great about this sort of thing is that you are getting people to think – really think – about you. You are firmly implanting your presence in their heads. You are making them active participators in your Facebook presence, not just merely passive onlookers.
Here is a great example taken from the Facebook Promotion Guidelines page:
This is perfect – the only thing you could add to it is: “Commenters must Like our page to be considered for entry.”
The engagement that you will receive from a post like this can be enormous – and you don’t have to give away something quite as expensive either. You shouldn’t need to – you’ll be well on your way to 1,000 likes and beyond in no time.
Ok – good luck with your growth hacking mission. Remember to always employ points 1 to 5 on this post no matter how successful you become, and once you start to gain momentum, don’t stop. In fact, when this happens, it’s time to put your foot on the accelerator once more!!
Oh yeah – don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!!
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