A recent conversation between a potential client and myself:
Prospect: “How did you manage to grow your client’s Facebook page so nicely? Is it because you engage fans with your postings?”
Me: “Oh gosh, no. My postings are great and engaging, but they work to engage existing fans and keep them on board (provided I don’t post too often and annoy them). To get new fans, we did all kinds of promotions, including offering an incentive to become a fan (a promo code), running Facebook ads, running contests, and promoting the page on the client’s main website.”
Prospect (disappointed): “Oh.”
But there’s no reason to be disappointed. It is one of the best kept secrets of Facebook, that after you create a Facebook page, you have to invest quite a lot in order to grow your page. Unless you’re a well known brand, in which case your fan base will grow even if you do nothing (although not as fast as you’d probably want it to grow), you’ll have to do something to get people to discover your page, and – once they do – to nudge them into liking it.
The example above, from the PBteen website, is a good one. I landed on the website looking for a desk for my daughter. As soon as I landed on the home page, this big, bold invite to like the brand on Facebook (complete with an incentive to do so) popped up. It was compelling enough that I actually considered it – although eventually I didn’t.
But the bottom line is, you can’t expect to set up a Facebook page and grow your fan base without doing something that will make people:
(1) Find the page – do this via Facebook ads and by adding a prominent Facebook button on your site.
(2) Once they land on the page, have a good reason to press the “like” button – such as winning a contest or a sweepstakes or receiving a Facebook-only coupon code.