Facebook pages grow in two ways – organic and paid. There can be a healthy mix of both in any page growth, but they are distinctly separate methods. In Facebook terms, organic means simply that you haven’t paid the site to reach your audience. For the purpose of this blog, organically can also mean that you have not paid directly for followers.

Organic growth is harder to achieve, but most pages have developed this way. We find that organic pages have a more interactive userbase and those who ‘like’ it do so pro-actively rather than re-actively. What we mean by that is that rather than liking the page re-actively for the purpose of a competition or a sponsor or reward, they like it because they primarily want to receive updates from the page. This makes for a more loyal and – arguably – less critical audience.

At Digital Glue, we will need to create a firm plan when we start a Facebook page – and indeed any social network – for a company, or take one over. Plan what you want to achieve with your page and how you foresee that happening. This will often boil down to gaining enough relevant followers for any marketing campaigns to become effective.

Good attention on social media can only come from first having a big enough user-base to share the content. So how can we grow a Facebook page? Here are our 9 tips:

1. Know your target audience

A fairly straightforward concept for any business, but especially on Facebook, where the measures for target audience get set in stone – or code. Campaigns and posts can be targeted at specific individuals. With a much more flexible reach than a billboard that exclusively targets road users, your Facebook campaign can target people who like cars, are male, are aged 18-25, are straight, and who don’t like, say, a competitor. Know your target audience – because Facebook will be asking you.

2. Pay

Paying Facebook is something the website has grown to encourage. It is not essential; indeed, there has been a lot of success from pages that have grown through virality alone. But these are exceptions to the rule. Reaching out to your target market – be it by age, gender, postcode or job title – is going to be most effective by paying for it. This also allows you to reach them even if they haven’t liked your page yet. A powerful tool for growth, where you don’t need to rely on others to put your page in front of people.

Paying is a tool which magnifies the rest of the work significantly. The effectiveness of nearly all the following points will be increased by paying for reach.

3. Schedule your posts

Experiment with times to see when most of your audience are prepared to interact. There is no set rule for this, but people tend to be more willing to post in the afternoon/evening. This will vary by age group, interests and jobs. As an example, if your business sells sleeping pills, you might find it best to post in the early hours…

Once you know what works, stick with it until it doesn’t. Keep your posts regular so your users know what to expect.

4. Use the right tone

Your tone is crucial to reaching out to the market. Use the posts and pictures on the page to communicate that you are on the same level as your audience, that you are like them. Make sure you are talking, acting and behaving like them.

If you’re not sure how to get this right, look to your customers. Understand them better by visiting their profiles or simply reading the comments. We could help you convey that and use the right messaging.

5. Use humour

The promise of wit or laughs is magic for attracting likes to your page. Regardless of the original purpose, use relevant humour where appropriate. George Takei‘s Facebook page is a fantastic example of this, with over 8M likes. His page is named ‘George Takei’, and people knew they were liking him and not his content – but still they did because it regularly delivered laughs. A fairly low-list celebrity quickly became a star on Facebook even to people who had no interest in Star Trek because he utilized the nature of social media.

6. Emit trust

When asked what the number 1 reason is for liking a Facebook page, one of our experts said:

“Trust. Respect and admiration come into it too. But mostly trust.”

An odd concept, perhaps, for a digital page. But trust in the business itself is key, so ensure that the content you deliver on social media is consistent with what you deliver in real life, that the page is a fair representation. A ‘like’ of a page is often seen as an endorsement of that page – a public admission that you like it. If they are not comfortable telling people that, they won’t want it on Facebook.

7. Connect with other page managers

Pages that already have a following might offer their help to get you off the ground. If your business is a local one, other local businesses might help share you if you ask. The best part about this is that they may already have gone through the steps to grow their page with the relevant target audience – and so sharing yours to them is likely to be just as relevant.

8. Do a competition

Competitions are a great way to build interaction, as they encourage users to get really involved with the page. The incentive of a reward for not much effort – and certainly no money – will spawn a lot of activity. You want your competition to look professional and be behind a ‘likewall’, so users have to like your page to be considered entered.

…and finally

9. Think long-term

As your page grows and you have experimented with different posting formats, times and competitions, you will have an idea of what is working and what isn’t. Facebook is a long-term project and, unless you’re lucky or famous, will take time before it comes to genuine fruition. Use this time to adapt your plan and do more of what works – check Facebook’s insights, which detail who is interested in your page and content. If things aren’t working, cut it back – it’s not getting interacted with for a reason. But remember, results won’t come overnight. Your business wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your social media.

At Digital Glue, this is what we do. Growing social media channels with engaging campaigns is what keeps us ticking. If you’d like to start or build a Facebook page, feel free to get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

Follow Digital Glue on Twitter today.

Got any queries or want to find out more about social media marketing and the growth of your business Facebook pages? Contact us by eMail or call 0121 399 0065.

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