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There’s a common misconception that if you set up a Facebook Page, or create a Twitter account and post really great content, people will just come and like your page and follow you. Unfortunately, “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply to social media! To get a loyal audience of the right people, you’ve got to work for it – especially on a platform like Facebook. Most people are on Facebook to connect with family and close friends. They want to be entertained, amused, inspired, and come away feeling good about themselves and the world, and they don’t want to have to work hard to do it.

This means that your Facebook Page needs to simultaneously provide high quality, engaging content, and get that content in front of the people who would most benefit from it. In other words, getting your family and friends to like your Facebook Page isn’t really the right approach to take. What makes building a loyal following on Facebook even harder is that there’s no guarantee that what you post to your Facebook Page is going to show up in the News Feed of your fans. Only 20% of the content posted on Facebook actually shows up in people’s News Feed, and that includes what you post to your Facebook Page.

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The good news is that there are several fairly easy and inexpensive things that you can do to build up a loyal following of the right people for your Facebook Page:

  1. Identify Energizers
  2. Run Facebook Promotions and Contests
  3. Create Facebook Ads


Identify Energizers

The way Facebook determines whether or not a story will appear in someone’s News Feed is determined by an algorithm, informally called EdgeRank by those outside of Facebook. This is a very complicated algorithm based upon as many as 100,000 items for each story, including the last 50 actions that a user took, and the number of comments, shares, and likes that the story has accumulated. For this reason it’s important to have a key group of people that you’ve ‘energized’ to consistently like, comment, and share the content you post on your Facebook Page. I like to think of these people as little Energizer Bunnies that go out and boost the EdgeRank of whatever you post on your Facebook Page. If you can mobilize even 2-3 people to be engaged Energizers on your Page, there’s a much higher likelihood that your content will show up on other fans’ News Feeds.

Facebook Promotions and Contests

WooboxFacebook promotions and contests are a fun, easy, inexpensive way to build your Facebook audience. A Facebook contest/promotion can be anything ranging from a sweepstakes, a random drawing, a coupon, to a photo contest. The key to running a promotion is to find a prize that is relevant to what you do, and something you know your target audience will really want. For example, if you run a local travel magazine and want to get more likes to your Facebook Page, you might consider giving away tickets to a local attraction. It’s related to what you do, and something that your audience would be interested in winning.

Facebook contests are successful because everyone likes getting something for free, especially if all they have to do is something simple like you give you their email address, or like a post on your page. When contests are run correctly, most organizations are able to double the number of likes they have on their page. The other good news is that running a contest can be free or cost as little as $15. My favorite application for running a Facebook contest is Woobox. They have a free app that lets you pick a random winner for a simple “like to win” or “comment to win” contest.  And for only $15 you can run a month-long contest of your choice including coupons.

Because Facebook recently changed their guidelines around promotions, running a contest is simpler than ever! However, it’s important that when running a contest you act within Facebook’s guidelines. How to Run a Facebook Timeline Promotion: 6 Tips for Success is a great article from one of my favorite resources, The Social Media Examiner. If you have any questions or would like to brainstorm contest ideas, get in touch with me – I offer an initial complementary consultation.

Facebook Ads

While you’re running a Facebook Contest you might want to consider running a companion ad to get more engagement around the contest. I personally love Facebook ads because they cost very little, and you get a very high return on investment. Depending on your budget and what you want to accomplish, you can spend as little as $25 on a month-long campaign and get a fair number of new likes and entries to your contest. Here’s a great article from Facebook guru Jon Loomer to help give you an idea of how much you should spend on a Facebook ad.

Facebook Ad Page LikesThe best way to set up an ad is to go to the Facebook login page, scroll down to the footer of the page, and click on “Create Ad.” Facebook will then walk you through what type of ad you want to create based upon what you would like to accomplish. In this case, we’re talking about building an audience – which means generating likes – so you would want to create an ad to get more page likes.

The key to creating a good ad is to take advantage of all the targeting options Facebook has. Try and be as specific as possible in designating your target audience. This help article from Facebook will give you a few pointers, but if you would like some support feel free to get in touch with me. If you have a small budget, you’ll want to make sure to have a small audience selection – no more than a couple hundred thousand. My best advice is to identify your audience by zip code and precise interests, here’s another helpful Facebook help article.

By identifying Energizers, running Facebook promotions and contests, and taking advantage of Facebook ads you’ll be able to build a loyal following of the right people in about a month’s time! And of course, after you’ve got the right audience, the key is to post high quality content that will keep them coming back for more. Running a contest a couple of times a year is a great way to continue to generate new likes, and keep your already established audience engaged. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments!