Summary: If you’re using Facebook at your business, naturally you’ll be looking to gain a good following. This article looks at how can you encourage people to follow your business page.
This is a question asked a lot by business leaders The simple answer is that it takes time to grow a dedicated following, it is not something that happens overnight. If it does, you can be sure they will disappear just as quick (why? read this: Facebook Fans – it’s about quality not quantity).
From the start when you create a Facebook business page, it requires commitment from you and your company. It is not something that is just going to work quickly and have a huge impact on your orders; but given time and dedication, it could have a big impact on your company’s turnover. You have to give it time to develop and be willing to spend time engaging, monitoring and networking. Facebook is not just another platform to push your products/services – it provides so much more, if you’re willing to spend time communicating and building a relationship with your followers. Remember, they are potential customers!
Due to the power of Facebook and user numbers (over 500 million active users), it is a great way share your news, products/services and gain feedback, without it costing your anything apart from time. Facebook allows you to get your message direct to your target audience, without them having hunt for you on the internet and find your website. Every time you update your Facebook pages status, it automatically appears in every follower news feed.
To gain the most from your business page, spend time getting to know what it can do for you and your business, what you can add, etc. You can add photos, videos, music, to name a few things. You can even poll your followers to find out their opinions on your products/services.
A successful Facebook page needs to -
- Reward loyalty - if you’re seen as loyal to your followers i.e. responding to them when they ask questions about your products or ask for help when something goes wrong, they will be loyal back to you and get involved when you ask for their feedback.
- Have quality posts – you need to provide quality content to get people willing to comment and engage with you – they don’t just comment on anything. It needs to be appealing and interesting to them.
- Target your audience – for your page to be a success you need to appeal to the right audience, i.e. if you are a trendy fashion brand aimed at young people, that’s who your page needs to appeal to.
- Use tagging and acknowledgements – to showing your appreciation for your followers comments, shares and likes. Show your followers their interest hasn’t gone unnoticed.
- Ask followers/friends to help spread the word about your activities. Get them talking on different forums and/or platforms – e.g. get them talking about you on Twitter and spreading your message even further than Facebook.
Things you can do to help increase your Facebook following include:
- Invite your work colleagues and industry friends; get them spreading the word to their friends.
- Encourage your current followers to like and share your page and posts, this will spread your message to more people.
- Include a link to your Facebook page on your website
- Include a link in your email footer, so that every time you send an email to a potential or new customer, they have the chance to check out your Facebook, and like it if they wish to continue following you.
- Include a link in your email campaigns – create a call to action button to include in every email campaign you send out.
- Talk about your Facebook page on forums and membership sites – this could be industry specific sites or ones you use in your personal time. If you think your business offers products or services that users will be interested in create a post and talk about it and include your Facebook page for their reference. Also include a link in your signature.
- You may want to create a group and encourage users to share their experiences of your product/service in the group.
Bear in mind Facebook is a great platform to showcase your business and its activities. You can promote your products and services, but don’t push them; you don’t want to scare off your followers/friends. Build a community to be proud of – make a place people want to be part of it. Encourage active participation; ask questions, give answers, give away free information, even free gifts (depending on your industry.
Example: Free gifts – beauty brand Lush does this with great effect on their Facebook and Twitter page. They encourage followers to share or RT their message and if the user does so, they get entered into a draw to win some of their products.
It’s all about sharing information freely between you (the business) and your current and potential customers. It has been shown that the more open and honest you are on social networks the more people are likely to get involved and purchase from you in the future – all because you have spent time building up a relationship and gaining trust.
When creating your page and building your following, remember – it will not happen overnight, and if it does, chances are, they will disappear quickly. You need to spend time actively engaging with followers, asking questions, inviting them to leave you feedback. Facebook is not a one way communication channel, it is a community – one where everyone can have their say, engage and develop together.
Remember quality networking begins with effort from the Company – put in some time and effort and the returns will be worthwhile.
Zoe Short is our social media spy, always lurking around the Internet hunting for the next big thing in social media. Coming from a PR and marketing background, Zoe is a strong believer in reputation.