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How I grew my Facebook page by over 20% in 30 days.

My goal for 2012.

In January, I set several goals personally and for The Collective. One of these was to grow The Collective Facebook page to 2500 people. It was and still is very ambitious. January 1st, I had only 190 likes on The Collective’s Facebook page. As I write this, it  has 265 likes.

Not bad, 40% growth, but not nearly what I need to reach the goal. So in mid-February, I purposely set out to re-figure out Facebook. I had done it several years before with the Senior Portrait Artists page (now over 5700 likes), but I realized much has changed since then.

So what have I done? How have I grown the likes, and what will I do in the future? Here are 5 things that have worked for me, and I suggest you try out yourself.

1. Change to Timeline.

According to Facebook, today (March 30, 2012) is the deadline to change over to Timeline for business  (which is very, very similar to your personal page Timeline). What your page will look like if you don’t change, remains to be seen.

Screen shot of The Collective's Facebook Timeline

First, why Timeline doesn’t matter for your Facebook business page.

It does not help much with current “fans” of your business. Look at these interesting stats about The Collective and Senior Portrait Artists from the week of 3/19/2012:

  • The Collective’s page reached 799 people (this includes views of the page, views of a post in a news feed or ticker). Of those 799 people, only 76 came from pageviews. Even more interesting is those 76 pageviews came from a total of 48 people.
  • Senior Portrait Artists page reached 6300+ people, but only had 347 visits (and even fewer people visiting the page).

48 people actually visited The Collective page in a one week period.

People aren’t going back to your page. They mainly make an first visit but very occasionally after that. However, visits will increase as you build an engagement with your fan base (#4 on the list, and my next big hurdle to jump).

So why does Timeline matter?

Timeline gives a great picture to those interested in your business on what is happening. It also does a better job of displaying what you do best…take GREAT pictures.

For more information on Timeline for business pages, take a look at these articles:

2. Ask for likes.

Facebook like buttonAsking is THE easiest and most overlooked way to grow your Facebook page. I did this right here on The Collective on March 19th - Show me some love. Give back to The Collective.

The 8 days before that post, I had 13 new likes. The 8 days after that post, I had 21 new likes. That’s a 50% jump in growth over the same time period.

There multiple different ways you can ask for likes -

  1. Facebook. On the upper right hand corner of the new Timeline, administrator’s have the button “Build Audience”. The drop down displays 4 ways to build your audience – invite email contacts, invite friends, share, advertise. Use them.
  2. Blog. Write a post on your blog asking for Facebook likes.
  3. Email. In a regular email newsletter or a special offer, ask people to like your page.
  4. Printed materials. Send out catalogs or postcards? Have a display at the mall? Make sure to include your Facebook info.

People want to help you. They want to see you succeed (most do anyway). You just need to let them know how to do it, and liking a Facebook page is one of the easiest ways possible.

3. Advertise.

On February 13th, The Collective had about 205 likes (approximate, because Facebook doesn’t allow you to see the total past likes in your FB insights).

Facebook ads results

On February 14th, I began a short test advertisement. I originally planned to run it for 2 weeks (2/14-2/28), but ended it a few days early. I was VERY targeted. I narrowed down my list to less than 2,000 people (friends of current fans who liked photography or photographer). During that time I made 21,000+ impressions and 15 clicks. I gained 4 fans directly from the campaign, but a total of 20 new likes during that time frame. I spent less than $16.

Facebook ad demographics

Here’s what I learned.

I used a particular post on my Facebook page as the advertisement (the 2012 Word of the Year challenge). I liked this concept, but I ran the same advertisement too long. In the 2nd week, every one of my stats dropped by 20% or more.

I’ll also find an article/post that was very well received (I can figure this through Facebook insights) and promote it.

My target audience was probably too small. Using my current insights, I targeted the largest demographics on my page (24-24, 35-44, 45-59 year old females), so I’ll probably widen this audience to include either older or younger women and/or men.

More coming!

As I wrote, this post turned into a 2,000 word beast, so I thought it would be best to split it up. Monday, I’ll run part 2 with the last 2 steps and my overall thoughts.

It’s also been pointed out to me that I’m targeting a different client than you. I’m a business to business person and you are a business to consumer person. It’s true that businesses and consumers interact differently, and they have different needs online, but the principles on how to reach and grow the bases are similar.

Good luck!

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