How To Grow Your Facebook Page For Free (and what NOT to do!)
If you're just starting your Facebook page, chances are that you may be a start up or running on a shoestring budget. It's important to maximize your marketing efforts without spending a lot of money. With a billion people on Facebook it's almost guaranteed that your target audience is there, but how do you get them to like your page?
Here are some of the ways that you can grow your audience at no cost. #10 might be a game changer for you! And at the end, 2 common mistakes that I see a lot of people making that you should avoid.
1. Post Good Sh*t
I know that it may seem easier said than done, but this is honestly the best way to grow your page. Post content that your target audience will find helpful, funny, insightful, or that will make their lives better in some way. They will show up. I promise.
2. Invite Your Contacts
If you have more than 1 admin on your Facebook page, this applies to all of them. From your Facebook page you can invite your personal Facebook contacts to like your page. They will receive a notification that you've invited them and can either accept or ignore. Be genuine when inviting - don't just mass invite everyone to get likes. Invite people who you think might be interested or who have a lot of contacts who might be interested (because hopefully they'll invite their friends too - don't be afraid to ask them to do this!).
3. Upload Your Mailing List
**This feature has been temporarily removed from Facebook pages** :'(
4. Make Sure People Know You're On Facebook
Put a link to your Facebook page in your email signature, in your newsletters or promotional eblasts, and on your website (note: people will typically look for social media links at the very top or very bottom of a webpage).
Add the Facebook logo or your page URL to your offline marketing material such as business cards, posters, flyers, brochures, etc.
5. Link to Your Page From Your Personal Profile
We all have an 'intro' section on our personal Facebook profile pages. Make sure that you've added your business as a current position, and even a little blurb about your organization or profession. Here is mine.
6. Partner Up
Find a business on Facebook that has complementary products or services (and also in the same geographic location if you are exclusively brick-and-mortar) and partner up to share each others' content and give shoutouts periodically.
7. Make Sure Your Page is Getting Recommended
In your page settings, make sure that the 'Similar Page Suggestions' option is turned on.
8. Engage As Your Page
Like and comments on posts as your page to catch people's attention - but remember to be authentic in your comments! In order to engage as your page you'll have to access your page's newsfeed. Once you click 'See Pages Feed' you'll see a newsfeed of posts from pages that you've liked as your page. Add any pages that you'd like to interact with.
9. Offer Exclusive Content or Deals to Your Facebook Fans
Keep in mind that since your page is public you can't technically restrict things to fans only, but if you are really focussed on growing your audience you can market your page as being a place to get exclusive information that is not available via other channels.
10. Invite People Who Have Engaged With Your Page
This is one that a lot of people still don't know about - when someone likes a post, you can invite them to your page. If they already like your page or have already been invited, the button will be greyed out, so don't worry about bothering people with repeat invites. So make sure to post content that people are going to like!
DON'T Run 'Like My Page' Contests!
The Facebook Page Guidelines state that "Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions". One of the big reasons for this is because of personal privacy. When an individual likes your page, you may see your page likes go up, but you won't see the names of your new likers - why is this? Because personal profiles have a setting that makes page likes public, friends-only, or private.
Consider this scenario: Person A sees your contest post and likes your page. Their friends see that they've liked a new page. Person A has their privacy set to friends-only. Later you make a random draw from your new page likers. Person A is not included because their name wouldn't show up in your page likes. Your contest is no longer fair and you may be violating actual law governing contests or promotions (for Canadians, please reference The Competition Act). If Person A ever finds out that these kinds of contests are not allowed on Facebook, what impression do you think they'll have of your business? They may feel like they've been tricked and their opinion of your business will take a nosedive.
DON'T Run Facebook Like ads
People are always asking how to grow their Facebook page audience. More and more frequently, I'm seeing the response to this is "Run Facebook Like ads".
I will never advocate for running Facebook ads just to get page likes. The only exception to the rule is if you are trying to get your first 30 page likes so that the Insights feature becomes available for you to use. But in every case I've ever worked with, the first 30 likes are the easiest to get organically, and so ads were never necessary.