Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are you overlooking the easiest way to build a Facebook page audience?

Maybe you've been rethinking whether you need that Facebook Page. Perhaps the number of people liking the page--as opposed to the posts--is flat, stalled in place. Maybe your posts get a handful of likes here and there, but nothing magical, aside from the occasional super-well-received post. And no doubt you've read all the news about Pages getting less priority in Facebook users' news feeds. All that might add up to wondering whether you should shut down the page or give it less priority, right?

Well, no. Not until you take care of a little housekeeping item that many Facebook Page managers overlook: Engaging with post likes.

This is one of those areas in which you may not be taking advantage of all of Facebook's features. On any post which people have "liked" or reacted to, you will see a clickable link that shows the like icons and "Jane Jones, Fred Smart, and 344 other people." Clicking on that will give you a pop-up box that lists each person who has liked or reacted to that particular post.

For each person, you'll see a thumbnail of their profile picture, along with one of three buttons that show you how and whether they engage with your page on a regular basis. So those who have liked the page will have a shadowed button that says "Liked." You can skip over those folks. You also may see a bolded button that says "Invite." These people have liked the post, but not the page. Finally, if you have clicked on that invite button to invite them to like the page, it will display the shadowed text "Invited," so your invitations are tracked.

Now, like anything, it's completely up to the user to decide whether to like the page. But if you are not inviting people who already like one or more posts, you may never realize your potential on this platform.

If you like, you can make a pilot project out of this. Measure your page likes now as a baseline, and go look at your page's Facebook Insights to see how long it took you to gain your most recent, say, 100 followers. Then start inviting likers of posts, and keep it up for three months. At the end of three months, calculate the growth and compare the rate of growth. Then keep doing it.

This is one of the easiest ways to boost your page likes and followers, and that in itself brings other benefits. Once you pass a certain threshold, Facebook will start sending you data summaries each week on your page engagement, and your posts will be seen by a wider audience, which in turn means their followers and friends are more likely to see your posts.

It's certainly wise to do this if you have a post that has gone viral, even in a small way. But frankly, this is a basic housekeeping chore you should be doing once a week, on every post. You're already getting notifications when people like your posts, so it's easy enough to click on the notification, click on the list of likers, and take it from there. Or, if you like to batch things, wait till Friday, then do it for all the week' likes.

You may find, as I have, that you have a few people who like a lot of posts...but haven't gotten around to liking the page. Why not make that fan relationship a little stronger? This is a type of engagement seen only by you and the person doing the liking, so it's a much more personal type of outreach.

The other good news? I can't find a statute of limitations on this option, so if you go back through your posts and their likes, and start inviting, you will find your follower count creeping higher. Go ahead, don't take my word for it. Try it. I've read before that the vast majority of Facebook Pages have 250 fans or fewer. Perhaps this is why?

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Bob Doran)

Join me in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 20 for a new workshop, Add Meaning with Metaphor: Improve your Speeches with the Most Powerful Figure of Speech. It's a pre-conference workshop at the Edinburgh Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference, designed to help both speakers and speechwriters use this powerful tool. You can register here for just the workshop, the conference, or both.

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