If you want to grow your Facebook fans without a budget, it isn’t as easy today as it was five years ago. With so many competing pages, local businesses, and corporations vying for attention, it’s tough to get your page noticed by the people who count; potential customers.
Most of us lack the budgets to go for costly Facebook ads. However, by building relationships with those in similar sectors or business niches, you may yet grow a good, organic fan base without resorting to expensive ads.
In the following sections, we will highlight three ways to get a high-quality, engaged fan base.
Curate Your Facebook Page For Your Target Audience
Your target audience is like your gold. Investing wisely in identifying them is the obvious first step. Remember, the entire 1.25 billion Facebook community will not be your target audience. If you run a corner bakery – your neighbourhood is your target audience. If you’re running a stationery shop, school kids and office managers are your target audience.
However, defining your target audience is only half the job. The important thing is to network with those folks in your industry, increasing your reach and visibility.
As Gartner says, audience engagement is an 80:20 rule. What that means is that 80% of the content you share must be useful, with education, strategies and tips that help people. The remaining 20% is self-promotion.
Nobody enjoys following a Facebook where all the posts are about generating sales for your business. Your expertise and knowledge will offer tangible value to your fans, and fans of the pages you share or contribute to. If you offer reciprocal sharing services, you increase your reach to a wider audience and also increase the chances of people returning the favour and sharing your posts.
Guest curating other pages need not be difficult. Just choose the top 10 pages in your niche which share your business goals. As you take your relationship forward, you may offer to speak or curate, backlink, and share articles on each other’s pages as planned events at certain times of the week. Eventually, you build an advertising channel using organic traffic from linked articles that often outperforms paid advertising.
Just a quick rule of thumb – always message these page owners personally (adding an individual touch helps), ensure that they are willing and happy to engage in an opportunity like this, and most of all – make sure their goals complement your business goals. Competing businesses are unlikely to want to help!
Complementary Promotion Swaps
As mentioned above, identifying communities, services, or products which are complementary to your business is critical. It’s a bit tougher than you think. Businesses may share your goals, and mutually benefit from a relationship, yet they may not have the same target audience or fan base.
When you message businesses, initially it is a good idea to note if their fan base is roughly at the same level as yours, as a page with hundreds of thousands of followers is unlikely to engage in promotion swaps with a page with only a handful of fans. This means you would be better off contacting pages with 3,000 to 4,000 fans at the outset, and grow your way up to the bigger players.
Keep your offer, details about your page, your approach, and goals clear. Once you both agree, you can cross-promote each other’s posts.
Social experts Karmen Reed and Neil Patel endorse these techniques as their preferred way of growing their page in their early days, often garnering over 1,000 likes within a week.
Surveys And Polls With A Twist
Opinions are free, and everyone loves a chance to offer them! Opinions are also valuable when you can use them as feedback. Surveys and polls have always been great avenues to keep fans involved, now, with Facebook Live, you have a chance to up the game.
Use this visual outlet to invite subject experts, create online events, webinars, or simple Q&A sessions between the interviewee and fans. Real-time engagement, including the ability to respond online, follow the stream, or share such events with friends creates a massive opportunity for page growth.
While traditional status updates are still relevant, increasingly there are options to conduct these events with a twist.
Simply request a known face, a celebrity, or a popular speaker in your relevant field to host a small talk. Once they are confirmed as the guest speaker, promote the event with all the benefits that fans will get. You may also pre-record some more standard questions from FAQs on your page, and drop them in as questions during the talk.
Include links, pin the posts, promote as events, and be on top of sharing the campaigns via email or group messages as well.
The bottom line is, there’s no magic bullet for increasing your Facebook fan base overnight. Just focus on getting the best out of your existing resources. Engagement is the holy grail and what you should aim for!
Be patient. Like Google’s search algorithm, these techniques take a bit of time to show results. Invest the time and effort in curation and cross-promotion. The more relevant these are, the better the chances that you’ll hit upon an audience who are faithfully aligned to what your Facebook presence represents.