This guest post is by Neil Patel of Quick Sprout.
Would you like to double, or even triple the number of fans you have on your Facebook business page? Are you looking to turn those fans into loyal and active fans?
Your Facebook business page can die on the vine without a loyal and active following.
But success will never come overnight. Instead it will require that you apply the marketing strategies you are about to read … plus a little bit of hustle.
Tactic #1: Crank out a lot of content
People like Facebook business pages for many reasons. They want to learn more about the brand, discover new products, and get educated.
So the very first Facebook marketing strategy you need to use is providing a lot of content in different media like photos, posts, videos, and surveys and you have to do it consistently.
The passionate community around eCycler was developed because the brand posted great content on recycling in the Notes sections on a consistent basis.
In addition, they posted fun videos and used Facebook to show its 10,000 plus fans how the inside of the company works. This transparency from the co-founders of this Illinois-based company has made it a great communication channel between the brand and the fans.
Meanwhile, the community over at the SmartPak Facebook page is very active, leaving hundreds of comments on the dozens of videos and 1,000 plus photos that SmartPak has posted.
The company uses Facebook to market new products on nutritional supplements and medications for horses, but it’s developed into something so much more over time. Over 110,000 fans talk, share ideas and like the consistent content that SmartPak shares. In turn Facebook has become the seventh highest source of traffic to their website.
SmartPak’s director of new media, however, says that it’s really become a place where they deliver great customer service, responding to complaints and trying to help users of their products to solve problems.
Tactic 2: Run weekly giveaways and discounts
One way to drive a loyal following to your Facebook page is to have weekly giveaways. The candle company Candles Off Main’s Facebook page not only provides weekly discounts on its products, but also shares great instructional videos and very detailed photos that help educate and entice potential buyers.
The company has been around for five years but joined Facebook only in 2009. In that time they’ve grown their fans to over 3,500 with a blend of giveaways. But this is not just about tripling their following: it’s about a community they created where members are active on discussion boards and constantly giving responses to posts.
Their Facebook fan page isn’t a big driver of sales—it produces less than ten percent of sales, but it provides something way more valuable. The community they built with giveaways and then cultivated into a thriving community gives the company insight and suggestions on how to make better products that followers will buy.
Tactic #3: Train your staff
Stella & Dot is a direct-selling company that gives women who work from home an entrepreneurial business platform. And their Facebook fan page, with over 166,000 fans, is a hive of activity. There, fans rave about products, people share ideas on how to be stylish, and direct-sellers share testimonials about happy customers.
But the unique thing about Stella & Dot is that they use Facebook to train a staff team that’s spread across the country. For each product that the company creates, they also create a video demonstrating how the jewelry should be worn and what it should be worn with. Then they post it on Faceboook so their direct sellers can watch it.
The neat thing about this is everyone gets to see the content—each instructional video serves to entice potential customers as well as training the staff.
Tactic #4: Create a culture
Clothing company Threadless has turned the tables on the conventional business model by putting all the power in the customers’ hands. It’s more of a culture than it is a business, and its using its Facebook fan page to drive that culture.
There, the business invite fans to share t-shirt designs and then vote on their favorites. Threadless will then make that product. You can also buy products straight from the Facebook site. Of course, the company shares interesting videos and photos on the stream, but it encourages face-to-face meetings through the page.
Thousands of people share their ideas via the company’s website, but it is on Facebook that the actual voting occurs. That voting, and the interaction between the designers and the fans, creates a powerful culture that continues to grow as Threadless advocates talk about the company across the social web.
Tactic #5: Make word-of-mouth advocacy easy
There is no denying it: you trust people you know more than you trust strangers. So when you see a product shared by a friend, you are more likely to consider using that product. It’s that word of mouth that really works on Facebook, which Brendan’s Irish Pub in Camarillo, CA used to grow its fan base before the business opened its doors.
It created a business fan page to generate buzz about parties, sell products, and get commitments from first-time customers about coming to the grand opening.
The Facebook page existed months before the pub did, and owner Tyler Rex used that time to create hype around the Camarillo area. In just those few months he gained over 3,500 fans in a city of 65,000 people.
Tactic #6: Encourage fan-to-fan conversations
Your Facebook business community will get much better if you have fans talking to each other, and the best way to do this is by putting the spotlight on those very fans.
One way you can do this is by creating a “Fan of the Week” post to recognize top contributors to the community. But if you have a Facebook fan base like Bare Escentuals you can take a hands-off marketing approach, and still get fans to talk to each other.
Fans totally dominate the conversation here. Bare Escentuals has adopted a strategy in which they do not ask for testimonials, yet the 550,000+ fans leave hundreds of them, which in turn leads to traffic being driven to their resellers and shops.
But this fan-to-fan conversation has also given the company recommendations on how to improve the product. The chief marketing officer said that their new “Click, Lock, Go” container was created as a result of suggestions from fans.
Tactic #7: Focus on your brand
When it comes to how your Facebook page should look, you can go about it in two ways. One way you can brand it to look just like your website. The other way is to create a completely different experience so that fans have a feeling of exclusivity when they like your page.
Community Coffee chose to keep the brand consistent, using the same colors, style, and even images from their website to their Facebook page. But they deliver that feeling of exclusivity through the use of recipe posts, and inviting fans to post their own recipes, contests and trivia.
Facebook has proven to be a great new media marketing tool for this company, which is over 90 years old. The active fan base is exposed to the brand, which in turn builds awareness of the business, generates more leads, and engages customers.
Tactic #8: Donate a dollar to quickly build a fan base
You can build a terrific following by pledging to donate $1 to a charity every time someone Likes your Facebook page. That’s exactly what Clarisonic did last year. They increased their fan base by over 80 percent and raised $30,000 to help women with cancer.
But once you are a fan of Clarisonic, you’re treated to lots of activities that get you involved, such as contests that invite users to share pictures of themselves using the brand’s products. That’s the key to running this type of pledge: once you have fans, you need to keep them engaged using some of the tactics that I’ve shared above.
When you follow up with good user-interaction content like Calrisonic did (they’re doing pretty well, with over 118,000 fans) you can build on that momentum from the quick injection of fans as they spread the word about your company across the social web.
Tactic #9: Reward your social media users
If you have a brick-and-motor store like Fresh Brothers, a southern CA pizza chain, then you can use your Facebook business page as a place to reward your fans with discount codes for products.
The company actually shares a weekly special to thank fans, and if you Like their page, you’ll get access to these weekly deals. This is applying the exclusivity trick to entice people to follow Fresh Brothers.
But Fresh Brothers also rewards fans with great stories about their family, as the company is run by three brothers, employee tales, and snippets of company history. This is a really great way to deliver that human touch that shows customers that this isn’t just another business who wants to get its hands on their money—it’s a company with personality that truly cares about customers.
What’s your favorite tactic?
One of the keys to running a successful business Facebook fan page is to create a very human feel to it. That can be done through great content like photos and videos, all the way to providing awesome deals to fans as a thank you for their following you.
You will be rewarded with an active community of fans sharing their own stories, creating conversations about your brand across the social web, and even driving traffic to your website.
What other Facebook marketing strategies have you found effective for building a fan base? Share them with us below.