Facebook 101: How to earn fans for your brand page

You can buy fans or earn them. The latter is more effective. Here are the basics for making it happen.

There are essentially two ways to get people to like your brand on Facebook: the paid method and the earned method.

If someone simply likes your brand—in the actual sense of the word—and wants updates from the company, they will find you. That’s the earned method.

If you want to spread the word that your brand exists on Facebook, you can purchase pay-per-click ads and sponsored stories. That’s the paid method.

This story will focus on ways to earn fans. After all, anyone can see an ad or promotion and click “like” thinking they will get something free. Problem is, so many will never pay attention to your page again. But when you earn someone’s “like” you start to build the robust community that every marketer dreams of on Facebook.

For example, a costly pay-per-click campaign might attract 1,000 fans to your page, but there’s a good chance that many of them don’t care about your brand in the way you would hope. And that means they probably won’t become brand advocates who “like,” comment on, and share your posts.

However, if you earn those fans—even if its just 100 of them—you have a Facebook following that’s sharing, “liking,” and commenting. They’re recommending you to their friends, and soon your reach has grown. In fact, a recent survey found that companies with fewer fans often have a more engaged community.

Bottom line: Consider how you can get the right fans to “like” your page.

So how do you earn the right fans?

Among the easiest methods for attracting fans is the shared post, which is basically an endorsement from your fans. They “like” what you post so they share it on their wall (with a link to your page) for all their friends to see.

Of course, like many aspects of social media, this is easier said than done. What makes posts sharable? I’ve created many highly sharable posts, and I can’t say I fully understand it. Sometimes, I’m certain my post will see a ton of shares and it flops. Other times I expected average traction and the post went viral.

But when it comes to creating sharable posts, this much is true:

1. You can ask your community to share your post. It doesn’t mean they will, but it’s worth a shot. I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen it fail. When I’ve seen it work, the post was genuine and written in an authentic (read: human) tone and had a purpose behind it. When it hasn’t worked, the post has been forced and the accompanying content wasn’t exactly worth sharing.

2. Fantastic images are sharable. If I’m marketing my brand of chocolate chip cookies through Facebook, here are two potentially sharable posts, one that’s only text and another with art:

• “Chocolate chip cookies are always better when they’re shared. Share this post with someone you’d like to have a chocolate chip cookie with!”
• [Close-up photo of a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk] “Stop! Cookie time …”

While I don’t encourage MC Hammer references in your posts more than once a month, the second post with the great imagery and the pop culture reference will likely get more shares than the “share this post” version.

3. Timing has a great deal to do with it.
If you post the cookie shot first thing in the morning, you’re probably not going to get a ton of traction from it. However, if you catch people around 3 p.m. when they’re thinking about a mid-afternoon snack, it may help drive the shares. Or if you aim for the before bed crowd who is checking their Facebook page one last time before turning in, that could also work well. After all, we’ve seen how posting in non-peak hours can boost your page engagement—but that’s only because fewer people are online. When you post in non-peak hours expect your reach to drop.

Of course, building a fan base on Facebook starts with a great product (or service) and an identifiable brand to back it. We can’t all be Coca-Cola and Red Bull and sit back while our fan base grows to several million. But believing in your product, touting its best assets, and posting with confidence will help you attract the right community.


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