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3 Ways to Grow an Audience on Facebook

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A large Facebook audience can do wonders for a small business. A recent study pegged the average value of one Facebook fan at roughly $175, up almost 30% from 2010.1 And given the nature of Facebook – people sharing things they like with their friends – the more fans you have, the more you can make. Here are three easy, cost-effective strategies to earn consistent fan growth through a steady flow of quality content.


1. Incentives


It was a snap getting your friends and family to “like” your Facebook page – all you had to do was ask. People outside your social network need more coaxing.


Let’s say you run a local sporting goods store and you want to grow your audience in advance of softball season. You could create a preseason training video and offer it free to anyone who “likes” your page: The 5-Minute Preseason Drill Every Softball Player Should Run.


Start by building a fan-only content page, which is essentially a giant call to action that offers a visitor something of real value (the video) for the simple task of clicking Like. For the sporting goods store, your fan wall (the page blocking the video) could read: You’ll like your swing so much more once you like us. Click the Like button to get our FREE training video: “The 5-Minute Preseason Drill Every Softball Player Should Run.”


Now when any of your followers share your content with their networks, those people will get two pieces of content (what their friend shared and the video) and a legitimate, timely reason to become a fan.


Note that while Facebook fan walls are free to implement, you may incur some costs to design and code the page if you can’t do it yourself. Coding shouldn’t run you too much, as it’s fairly simple PHP. Search YP.ca for “web developers,” and you’ll find a bunch. You can spend as much or as little as you want on the design, but you do get what you pay for (look for graphic designers or web designers).


2. Contests


People like having the chance to win and will “like” a Facebook page for the opportunity. In fact, a full 35% of people who “liked” a page on Facebook did so to enter a contest.


The big benefit of Facebook contests? They spread quickly. So in our example, as the local sports store owner looking to attract softball players, you might give away new equipment for the season (most teams would love that!). Or you could partner with a local bar to offer a free postgame wing night (every team would love that!). Word will spread throughout local leagues, and your Facebook contest entries will shoot up.


The increased Facebook “likes” you get will have nothing to do with you or your store and everything to do with what they can win, and that’s OK. Once they’re fans of your page, you can start rewarding followers with consistent quality content that helps you increase their net worth to you.


After picking your prize, you must choose the contest type. For Facebook contest ideas, the simpler the better. Run a photo caption contest, a quick survey or, if you want to keep it supereasy, just a “like” contest.


3. Boosting


Boosting is different from incentives and contests because you pay Facebook directly, but that gets you more eyeballs of significance.


Boosting to acquire more fans means getting your content in front of people who don’t yet follow you but probably would. Facebook can target these “lookalike audiences” – people who share similar qualities to your fans. As the sporting goods store owner, your lookalike audience would be friends of your friends who play softball – a fact many Facebook users would share with their friends.


If you have a piece of content you know will be of value to anyone who plays softball, like a sale or footage of last year’s regional championships’ walk-off homerun hit with a bat from your store, boosting can ensure more people see it. Again, you can implement a fan wall to help the process along, or you can build a request into the post copy: Check out this piece of walk-off magic with a bat from our store. Like us for more great moments in softball history.


A well-planned social strategy should have all three strategies built into its content calendar throughout the year, but not too often. Overexposure will blow up people’s news feeds, and you’ll risk being unfollowed – a fate worse than not being followed at all.


Read the original article on the Yellow Pages Learning Centre.

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Shop The Neighbourhood is a Yellow Pages initiative to encourage local shopping and support for small businesses. Shop The Neighbourhood raises awareness of the large-scale push from retailers both online and across the border which moves dollars away from the small businesses and directly impacts the health of our neighbourhoods and our communities.

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