Organically growing a Facebook community can be a hard slog, unless your brand is iconic or has a cult-like status (Coca-Cola), or unless it’s just really awesome and lots of people want to find it and like it (Bubble O’Bill).
Many brands feel like they must have thousands (even millions) of likes / fans to prove they are more popular than their competitors, or to generally keep up appearances.
This race for numbers has always bothered me, because bigger isn’t always better. Bigger is sometimes really crappy. Bigger on Facebook can mean more random, less engaged, more noisy, less manageable, more time consuming, less meaningful.
To stimulate the growth of Facebook community the options are usually: hit the Facebook advertising button; run a cool competition / promotion; or have a big idea to accelerate the number of likes on your page.
Hands down, Facebook advertising is the quickest, easiest and sometimes the cheapest way to get a surge in the number of page likes, as the graph below shows (in October we hit the advertising button for a client). But don’t think more people will guarantee more comments or more engagement, because it won’t.
I think Facebook advertising is about the best form of advertising there is, because of how targeted it is. In fact, I’m all for it, but only in certain situations. If you want to give it a go, here’s what I suggest:
1/ If your brand is already on Facebook, with an engaged and active but small community, and you want to attract some new likes / fans etc., I recommend short bursts of accelerated growth, via highly targeted Facebook advertising, that offers something of value to users (people get fatigued with Facebook ads pretty quickly, so short bursts are better). But, be prepared to potentially dilute the quality of the community. Also be prepared with more excellent content and more time to manage new community members. You’ll organically attract more people from the ads after they stop, which is a knock-on effect, and then you can continue on your way, integrating new fans. Follow this with long periods of organic growth.
2/ If your brand is already on Facebook, with a dead community, I recommend going back to your brand, your comms and content plan, your social media strategy (is there one? There should be!) to make changes that will increase the likelihood of engagement, before you drive a bunch of people to a page that’s not working. Tweak things, develop better content (by asking people what they need or want from your brand), ask for feedback and then, once things are better, go for advertising, as per the above.
3/ If your brand is really new to Facebook or about to create a page, I recommend starting with organic growth and sticking to it for a while, ensuring you’re cross promoting your Facebook page heavily through other channels. The people who like your brand, in the early stages, will have specifically sought it out or they’ll be customers who have come from your other assets (e.g. website, newsletter, emails). They are interested in engaging; they are the true fans; they are your people! During this time you can hone your content and conversations, and get a feel for the community and what works for them. Then, when you want to reach fans that might not have thought to find you on Facebook, go for small bursts of targeted advertising,
So, buck the trend! Grow organically and attract quality, not quantity, and your brand will reap the rewards.
Posted by Renee Creer.