Many of us in Digital Marketing have been practicing beyond the Facebook Like for a while now, focusing more on engagement metrics like viral activity around posts to see if our message is getting through and getting shared. For this article I wanted to let you in on a fundamental practice — the art of increasing the Like in a legitimate and practical marketing effort.For a small to medium business without a lot of time, money and resources, you might exhaust yourself asking, “How do I just get to 10,000 Likes?”
For social media marketers, like it or not “Likes” are still the virtual currency when it comes to brand recognition on Facebook. It’s the first metric impression that the new customer views of how popular your brand is. It’s also the first number that everyone else in your company sees (including senior management). And it’s the first question your peers will ask you when inquiring about how your brand page is performing. Yeah, I guess that still makes it a pretty important metric to focus on. Watch as your client starts to glaze over when you talk about Facebook Insights terms like “Weekly Reach” and “People Talking About This.” But if they see their competitor has more Likes than them? You’ll hear about it.
There has been a lot of talk recently in the market about how the “Like” is receding in its importance to the brand page, especially now with the continued onset of Edge Rank and Promoted Posts. For now, the Likes number is the still the highest profile metric on your brand page. Here’s how to grow it.
I work for an SMB that doesn’t have a large advertising and promotion
budget to throw around. As a new hire last year, it was imperative that
I grew our social media presence immediately. In fact, I felt like our
burgeoning brand really had to get up and over 10,000 Likes as quickly
as possible to be perceived as a player. In an industry where the
largest player has over 132,000 Facebook Likes, we had to get moving
How Our Company Did It
We started to work right away with a few tried-and-true methods of rolling up the sleeves and putting in the dirty work. We didn’t have endless meetings about it; we got scrappy, determined and took action.
Our brand is also not a loud talker; we don’t yell for attention or even require a “Like” as an entry for a promotion. Sound crazy to a digital marketer? Maybe, but the following methods work. I grew our brand’s Facebook Likes from 2,132 in June 2011to knocking at the door of 11,000 in 2012 – a whopping 406% increase. Do you still feel that you have to require a “Like” in a promotion for a brand page to obtain tremendous growth?
First, get your Facebook ducks in a row. Make sure you have an active
brand Page with a few followers (we started this project with around
2,100 fans) and make the decision to dedicate time to your Page. I work
on what I like to call a two-cycle system for social media. That means,
as the Community Manager, I am active on the Page for one full session
in the morning hours (generally about 30 minutes to an hour) and a
session in the afternoon. Of course, I periodically address one-off’s as
needed if there is a customer service question or something comes up.
How to Grow Facebook Likes on a Budget
Second, spruce up your timeline. It’s a good move to make for first impressions and it is a relatively easy step to take. Here is a link to good tips on how to enhance your Facebook Timeline from Anita Loomba’s post on TMMPDX.
Finally, make content. Post a photo, post a poll, share a fan picture, launch a promotion, highlight a related article, ask a question — just do something! Make something happen so there is a flow of activity on the Page. You can keep it simple, just reread all Facebook posts before you post them and confirm they are in the brand voice and Make. Activity. Happen.
How long does it take you to make up a tweet? Look at that short list
above about making activity happen. Now do that in your Twitter feed,
your YouTube post feed, your LinkedIn feed, and your Blog Roll. Post
often, and then use these community touch points to push your social
media agenda, which includes “Likes” on Facebook. For an SMB (small- to
medium-sized business) you can manage social media, just know your brand
and Make. Activity. Happen.
Embrace a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
We added Facebook Share buttons to every product page. We also added a
prominent link to the official Facebook brand Page above the fold on
our website home page.
Connect Your Website to Facebook
Don’t be afraid to cross-channel market your social media posts. Most people have more than one social media profile these days: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They’re often willing to go over and check out what’s going on and see if they’re missing anything. At which time they are now spending more time with your brand and consuming more of your message/content/media.
When you send out an email include the social media buttons in your
email with a link to your official Facebook Pages. Make Facebook the
first link they see. Also, when you post a new Facebook promotion
include the marketing text and banner (as mentioned below) in your email
announcement. This was one of the single most effective tools in
driving “Likes” to our page — announcing our Facebook promotion in our
Include Facebook in Email Marketing
Not the type that take you a calendar year to set up with a strategic
partner (although that is important too). Run quick, easy-to-launch
“enter-to-wins” or giveaways based around an event or a holiday. We like
to use the Wildfire App
because it can create a custom tab on our brand page and it shows up in
Facebook’s Promotions roll. This is the Facebook stream (here)
where all Facebook promotions that are properly executed reside. By
properly executed, I mean promotions that are run by a third-party app
(in this case, Wildfire) in line with Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines.
Be sure and follow the rules, you do not want to be made an example of
and lose your page. Facebook doesn’t grant you any recourse and if you
are the Community Manager for the brand and lose your page? Major
Run Facebook Promotions
In the marketing copy of the Facebook promotion, pop in a line of text that says, “Remember to ‘Like’ our Official Brand Page.” This works. People generally believe they have to “Like” a page to get entered. Like sheep, they will inevitably Like your page during this process of taking a quick look through the marketing text of the promotion. This allows us the considerable financial savings of only utilizing the “Basic” Wildfire App promotion package and saves us dollars and a bureaucratic hurdle for our customer that just wants to enter and get surfing on their way. After including our Facebook promotion and Like request in our email blast, this was the second-largest driver of Likes on our Page.
No, not in a way that is ostentatious. A simple request will do. I
periodically ask the community with a single statement in tweets,
YouTube feed posts, Google+ posts, that reads:
“Like” our official Facebook page and keep up with the latest product news, updates, and announcements. Link – https.//www.link to the page/official
With the brand Page up and over the respectable 10,000 mark, we are now taking a look at the bigger picture and moving into a larger strategic initiative for the long-term focus of the social media community pages. It feels good to be moving forward with a solid foundation of Facebook Likes reflecting out to the world. You can do it too.
As a bonus, our “Weekly Reach” has grown to over 16,000 in this same time frame (more a “pure” marketer’s metric).