Using Facebook for business has been a wild ride in the last few years and has become increasingly competitive. Here’s some practical tips to get you started to increase your following and to also decide if this should be part of your strategy.
FIVE simple principles to get facebook followers
I started the Facebook business page for Zestee on 6th January 2010 and my other two pages Professional Parents and Dutch Australian at around the same time. At first, it wasn’t too hard to get new followers by following these five simple principles:
- Understand your target market (are they on Facebook? Where?)
- Post regularly (but not too regularly – about twice a day)
- Create and share interesting (original) content
- Respond to all comments and questions from your followers
- “Polite” promotion – pushy promoting doesn’t work well on social media, but joining in discussions and sharing your page where appropriate – both online and offline – can work very well.
Then Facebook got more crowded
As more and more people joined Facebook, it meant a bigger potential market for business owners – but also an increasingly crowded one. It became harder and harder to get the likes/followers (at first, they were called “fans” for a page) by following the five points above, and even more difficult to get those who did like your page to see your posts….and even more importantly, to engage (click, like, comment, share).
Then, Facebook began to push businesses towards advertising to get the reach and engagement – first subtly and then more aggressively. Now, there is a lot of talk on social media blogs that reach is down and that you MUST pay on Facebook if you’re a business and want to reach both your current followers and gain new ones. So, is this true? There are arguments for and against, but I think your own specific strategy is the most important thing.
So what’s your social media strategy?
My perspective on getting more followers, whether you pay for them and whether you should all comes back to your overall business plan and social media strategy. This involves a lot of questions such as:
- Should my business be present and active on Facebook?
- How important is it to my business that I have a lot of followers?
- How many resources do I have (time/money) to dedicate to this?
- How engaged are the followers I have?
On top of this, there are a lot of other “secret ingredients” such as the various algorithms that Facebook create – and aren’t often public about – as to who will see your business page posts and when. A HUGE part is also the quality of your content.
I recommend that all businesses should at least be present and active. It’s still free to set up and operate a business page and regardless of the various pros and cons, the reality is that a significant number of people around the world log in daily. Facebook still is a giant in the social media world and I want to make sure my business is at least in on the action. Personally, though numbers are always nice, my own business plan and resources don’t really allow me to grow at a fast pace. I currently have 686 likes on Zestee, 2129 on Professional Parents and 779 on Dutch Australian. They all grow at a few a week and I’m happy with this. I’ve never paid for advertising and don’t intend to in the near future.
Watch what others are doing well
One great way to learn how to get more followers on Facebook is to watch what others are doing who do have a lot of followers and analyse what works for them. I have friends who started pages around the same time as I did, and have grown HUGE. Brisbane Kids for example has over 100,000 and Be A Fun Mum has over 200,000. So how did they get more followers on Facebook? I have had the privilege of watching what they do for many years, as well as talking to them about this from time to time. From my perspective, five things they have both done really well are:
- Posted consistently (usually several times a day)
- Created and maintained a consistent and clear voice (they and their followers know who they are and what to expect)
- Created and shared lots of awesome content their followers are interested in – and that the followers themselves want to share.
- Backed it all up with a great website and offline promotion
- Engaged regularly themselves with their audience
I think they may have both experimented with Facebook advertising and running competitions, but neither rely on it heavily.
You’ll notice there is some cross-over with my own five principles above, but they have taken it one step further and done it extremely well and been rewarded with the numbers and the engagement.
I also know that Facebook is an important tool for both of them and they are online-based-businesses. You may have a different style of business where you may focus more on face to face activities or that simply isn’t as well suited to Facebook, and that’s ok – you don’t have to have 100,000 or 200,000 followers on Facebook for it to be a useful part of your business activities.
No one “right” way
So if you’d like to know how to get more followers on Facebook, after reading this post you may begin to realise that there is no one right guaranteed way to do this. I still follow my original five simple principles, but am now starting to try and implement more of the things I’m learning from watching others, like the five points above.
I’m also currently doing a great course by Donna Mortiz called Create Traffic Driving Images and totally agree with her angle that successful social media marketing, whether that be Facebook followers or other platforms, relies on great original visual content. Check out her free video training for more.
In regards to Facebook advertising, I’ve heard mixed feedback in relation to getting more followers. Again, it comes back to what your budget and marketing plans are – you may get more followers if you pay for them, but is that worth it for you? As Facebook changes algorithms regularly and advertising becomes easier and cheaper this may become more appealing and maybe even crucial way to get more followers on Facebook.
ULTIMATE ANSWER: It requires resources
In conclusion, getting more followers on Facebook is possible for anyone, but it requires resources, whether that be time, talent or money…and often all three (sometimes with a bit of luck thrown in). As with all aspects of running a business, it’s up to you to decide whether investing resources to get more followers on Facebook is worthwhile for you. Reading through posts such as this one, analysing your social media strategy regularly is a great way to start to make these decisions. Good luck!
These free social media tips are part of the Zestee Social Media School.