Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest blogger, Joseph Bushnell.
Facebook is the perfect platform to find & connect with like-minded individuals who are interested in your message. With over 600 million members it’s a pretty safe bet that the people in your target market have Facebook accounts & are using Facebook on a regular basis.
The problem is where do you find these people? And how can you connect with them?
The first thing you need to get you on your way is a Facebook page, (Often referred to as a “Fan Page” or a “Business Page”) these are pages that Facebook has set apart for businesses & brands to have a presence on Facebook. It is important to understand that these types of Pages are different to Profiles or Groups.
Profiles are intended to represent an individual. Groups are to represent a topic or theme, which the members hold as a common interest. To protect the integrity of the network, Facebook do not want people broadcasting their business messages on groups or profiles. They know that if Facebook becomes some kind of spam fest then they won’t last very long as the world’s number one social network.
So in order to give businesses a space on Facebook they gave us Pages. You can create a page by going here but you must have a profile set up first… http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php These pages are based on a Facebook user opting in to receive your information, with the knowledge that you will be discussing business matters. This permission based system works really well; users simply click “The Like Button” at the top of your page & they understand & expect that your updates will have a business related theme.
But now that you have a page set up, how do you get people to opt-in & then listen to your message? Well this is the tricky part. Build it & they will come right? Well unfortunately not, there is too much competing noise online for that to hold true. It’s your job to actively find your audience & let them know that your fan page is there. Your job is to get people who are interested in your message to hit your pages “Like Button” so they will receive your updates in their news feed.
The first step is to let your current audience (wherever that may be) know about your fan page.
1. Your website or blog is a good place to begin
The visitors there are most likely warm to your message already. Invite them to join your Facebook page. There are various ways to do this but my favorite is using a “Like Box”. This box is a widget provided by Facebook which you can add to your site to get more fans.
This box will show the name of your page, its profile picture; it’s most recent updates & the faces of your fans. Visitors to your site can either click the “Like button” right there and then, or they can click through to view the Fan Page itself & then decided whether to “Like it” or not.
You can get this widget by going to facebook.com/share where you can create the Like Box & generate some code to paste into your site.
2. Tell your email list
If you have an email list then once again these people should already know about you & your message. Do one special email offering an incentive for them to come and like your page. Then on all messages thereafter leave a link to your fan page in your email signature so that people who didn’t do it the first time may possibly do it in the future.
3. Invite people from your other Social Profiles
Another audience that you may already have are other social profiles such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or MySpace. Offer an incentive to your lists on these sites to come & join your Facebook page.
Also another way to redirect traffic from these sites over to your Facebook page is to publish your Facebook content on those sites. So in this case you aren’t specifically asking people to like your Facebook page. You are sending them there to view some content. For example, if you publish a note on Facebook, you could do a tweet with a link to that note. The person clicks on your link, reads your note & then once there they may decide to further explore your page & hopefully like your page.
So there are 3 ways to get your current audience to join your page. These people should already know who you are & be warm to your content. They should in theory (if you have engaged them previously) be easier candidates to not only click the like button but also come interact & engage with you on your page.
So how about new people? How can we get people who haven’t heard of us yet, to come & join our page? Here a few ways that you can find some fresh blood…
4. Facebook advertisements
Using Facebook adverts is one of the best ways to find people on Facebook who are interested in your topic but don’t yet know who you are. Using Facebook’s advertising platform you can target people who are likely to be within your target market. People share a lot of personal info with Facebook and you can use this to your advantage.
For example if you are in weight loss industry, your adverts can be shown to people who are fans of Weight watchers, P90X, The Four Body etc
There all kinds of variables you can use to target your audience including age, gender, interests, location and much more to ensure that the people who see your ads are highly targeted.
Ads are not free but done correctly you can build a highly targeted Facebook page which is super responsive to your offers so that you can get a good return on your investment.
5. Facebook SEO
People will look for you based on their interests but you need to make sure your page is optimized so that they actually find you when they come looking. The most important thing is to have your main keyword or biggest benefit included in the name of your page itself. This shouldn’t replace your brand name that needs to be in the name of your page too.
So using the “Weight Loss” example again for a company called let’s say “ToneZone” you could name your page “ToneZone – 7 easy steps to rapid Weight Loss”. That way when someone types in weight loss into Facebook’s search bar they can find your page listed but also quickly identify your brand. This is just one example for illustrative purposes but just have a careful ponder before deciding upon your page name. After you get 100 fans this cannot be changed so don’t be hasty!
Also make sure all your keywords & secondary keywords are included in your description & are scattered throughout a thoroughly filled out information page.
6. Article Marketing
Write articles relating to your topics with your main keyword in the title of the article. Make sure the article is quality & unique content. Then submit your article to ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com & any of the other big article directories. At the end of the article you will have the chance to fill out an author’s resource box where you can tell people about yourself or your business. Here you can include a link & invite people to join to your FB page.
People can find your article on the directory itself, in the search engines (because Google indexes articles from both those sites) & also in submitting your article to the directory you allow others to be able to publish it on their site so long as they also include your bio box! Meaning you can have the invitation & link to your fan page published on other people’s blogs or websites.
7. Guest Posting
Find other fan pages in similar niches & offer to do a guest post or note for their page & get a link back to your page at the end of the note. This is a good way to siphon off the audience from other related pages.
So going back to our weight loss example you could contact the admins of these fictional pages “Yoga for Beginners”, “Alkaline Recipes” & “Sports Supplements R Us” offer to write them a quality article for their audience with a link back to your fan page. People will read it & if they liked the content will be likely to head over to your page & like it too.
8. Viral Spread
Last of all you need to make sure that your content is so good that others will share it. It’s kind of like word of mouth but electronically. If you publish an awesome article or video then others will be happy to share it with their friends on Facebook so they can benefit too. This share button will automatically link directly back to your page. The awesome thing about this is the average person on Facebook has 130 friends so if they share it, they are helping you get into the news feeds of 130 people that you probably couldn’t have otherwise. Also the fact that they have shared it is a recommendation, so it’s more powerful than you just announcing it yourself. Instead of you saying look how great my page is, it’s someone else saying look how great their page is. Much more credible.
But this can only happen if you have awesome content, so make sure it is.
If you can do these 7 things on a consistent basis you will find more & more people finding & liking your page. Once you have people there, do your very best to keep them there! This is where your content & ability to engage your audience becomes vital.