Today my Facebook page hit a milestone of 100,000 followers! Click here to go to the page (it will open up in a new window).
I was thinking back to when my page very first started back in 2012, and I was thinking about what I have learned about running a fan page during this time. I decided to share with you guys the top 7 tips that I learned, what works the best to grow your page and connect with your followers, and some things I did wrong along the way too.
1) Keep Your Voice Consistent Throughout All Your Posts. By this I mean, know who your target audience is, and know the overall message that you want to get across to people. For me, I know that I am talking primarily to women ages 18-40 who are looking to get in shape and/or moms who just had babies (Facebook gives you a ton of great statistics on who is using your page). The general theme and message of my page is to encourage other people who are or who have been in similar situations as me, show people how I made it happen, and teach them how they can do it too. I know that I'm not going to appeal to college-age football players, or male business executives, and I don't worry about that. I focus on the primary group I am trying to speak to, and so the posts I make are things that will resonate with that group of people.
2) Give a Lot of Information Away For Free. I know this might sound crazy. When I first got started I had so many people tell me that it was a big mistake to share all my recipes for free. But, I didn't listen. I knew how grateful I had been to other people for sharing information for free when I was first starting, and I wanted to pay that back. By sharing everything I had learned for free, my audience began to trust me, and knew that I wasn't just trying to make a buck off them. There is no problem charging for services, but my general rule of thumb is to give away 3x the amount of information as you are trying to sell. I have seen other Facebook pages take this approach as well and it has been very successful for them too.
3) Engage with Your Followers. How many times have you seen someone who runs a fan page put up a post, and then never respond to anyone who asks a question? This makes people feel dumb for asking you questions, and discourages engagement. There are times when I can't get back to every single question asked, but if someone asks a unique question, or something I think I can help them with, I try to respond as often as possible. Look at your followers as your social media friends and engage regularly. I recognize the names of people who comment often, and I feel like I 'know' them through our online friendship. Maintaining a sense of humility will go really far, and I think people can sense that when you write.
4) Add Your Own Perspective. Why are people coming to your page? Usually for some type of knowledge, motivation, or curiosity. I can go on Pinterest and find a thousand motivational quotes and images to put up. People don't really resonate with that. You may get some likes, and a few comments, but your engagement will really increase if you put your own thoughts and perspective in the caption. Let me give you an example:
Great picture, right? If I were to just put this picture up I probably would get some good responses and likes. But, instead, here is the caption I wrote:
"Remember, your closest friends love you because of the kind of person you are, the way you remember to call when they are feeling down, because you laugh with them over fun memories. Not because the scale was three pounds lighter today. Your children love you because you show them that you love them unconditionally, you tell them bed time stories until they nod off to sleep, and you are present at all their events. Not because you wear the same size jeans you did in high school.
5) Keep it Personal. People want to know the person behind the screen! If you are running a business fan page, show photos of you working hard on your brand. Show pictures of late night office pizza parties, or your kids helping you move product. Showing that you are a 'real' person and not just a name on a computer screen or a big, giant company will take you really far with your audience.
6) Share your Vulnerabilities. It took me a long time to get the courage to act out this one. I remember the very first 'scary' post I ever made. I sat there in front of my computer for a good 30 minutes before I was brave enough to click the 'post' button. It was a photo where I showed the stretch marks that I had after my first son (post is here). It was the scariest post for me to put up because it made me feel so vulnerable, but it ended up being the most popular post I had ever had up to that point. That post gave me the courage to continue being authentic, and now I share all kinds of things that used to seem scary to me (stretched skin (here), stretch marks, weight gain (here), etc), and I have found that those are the posts that people can connect with me the most on. Brene Brown has a book called, "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are." If you haven't read it yet (or listened to her TED talk on Youtube) go do it. Right now.
7) Have an External Website. This one might seem obvious, but it took me a long time to do, and was a game changer when I finally did. When you type posts on Facebook, they can be great in the moment, but they get lost so easily as you continue to make more posts. If you have a website you can save all those blog posts and refer to them and link people to them later, and if you have a product to sell you can put it on your website. I recommend using WordPress if you want to build a blog. I am one of the least tech-savvy people I know, and so I had a wonderful friend of mine build my website and she did an amazing job. If you are looking for someone who can do a great job at a reasonable price you can contact Rebecca by clicking here. She's great at what she does and put my website up really quick in just a few days.
I hope that is helpful! If you have any other thoughts or ideas, leave them in the comments below, I would love to hear what has worked well for you. One last thing I wanted to touch on, if you can get the 'talking about this' stats (seen next to the number of likes) number high, your page will start growing a lot faster. This is one way that shows how many people are engaged on your page. Doing things like finishing each post with a question, staying neutral on controversial posts but asking people their opinion, etc. will help keep that number high. If you enjoy blog posts like this one make sure to subscribe to my newsletter (top right hand side of this page) and get my monthly newsletter with tips that only my subscribers get to enjoy!
Natalie Hodson is a mom of two showing how to balance family, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. www.nataliehodson.com