Facebook marketing is somewhat of a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, Facebook had 1.94 billion monthly active users as of Q1 2017.
That’s the most users of any social network by far.
On the other hand, its organic reach is lousy.
According to a study by Social@Ogilvy,
Organic reach has declined to just six percent.
This means that out of 100 of your followers, only six will actually see the content you post.
That’s not ideal.
This means one thing.
You need to grow your following.
If you apply Social@Ogilvy’s findings:
- having 100 followers means six people would see your post
- having 1,000 followers means 60 people would see your post
- having 10,000 followers means 600 people would see your post
…and so on.
Although the interaction rates across social platforms naturally decline as followings grow…
…it’s obviously beneficial to have a large following.
That’s how you make real headway, generate leads and boost sales.
With years of Facebook marketing under my belt, I’ve learned a thing or two about building a following.
Here are some of the best ways I’ve discovered to get more Facebook followers free and grow your network organically.
Strive for transparency
There’s no lack of megalithic, faceless, overly corporate brands these days.
They’re a dime a dozen.
But these aren’t usually the types of brands people connect with and relate to.
If I had to use one adjective to describe what people love and admire in a brand, it’s transparency.
I don’t care how far we advance as humans and how much technology is integrated into our lives, we all have a deep, innate desire to connect with others.
And let’s be honest.
It’s hard to do that when a brand shares nothing about its philosophy, values, culture and general underpinnings of its activities.
But what does create a connection is being honest, straightforward and transparent.
This is what gets results.
Take TOMS for example.
They posted this video snippet featuring their founder Blake Mycoskie talking about the darkest period of his life, his fear of failure and how it helped motivate him in his business.
He clearly expressed his vulnerability, which is something we all feel at some point.
Needless to say, content like this was an asset to TOMS.
Just look at their massive following.
This isn’t to say you need to take it to this level and discuss your deepest, darkest fears or anything like that.
But it goes to show that putting yourself out there has its benefits and can help you build your following.
I’ve made it a point to incorporate this formula into my Facebook marketing, which is evident in several of the pictures I’ve posted.
And just look at the engagement levels.
And this is no coincidence.
I don’t care how serious or formal your brand is, a little transparency goes a long way.
Make it a point to throw in some “behind the scenes” posts every now and then.
Don’t get me wrong, posting good old-fashioned articles is fine.
I do it all the time.
But that’s what everyone is doing.
Most people get tired of the same old format, and their interest gradually wanes.
I’ve found posting alternative types of media, and video in particular, is a great way to spice things up and get people excited about my content.
Let me give you an example.
On average, the posts on the Neil Patel Facebook page receive a reasonable amount of engagement by most brand’s standards.
Not too shabby. I’ll take it.
But in terms of comments, it’s a little lackluster.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve posted multiple articles on Facebook that received numerous comments.
But take a look at what happened when I posted a video recently.
There was solid engagement in terms of likes and shares.
But check out the comments.
There’s no comparison.
The point I’m trying to make here is that people love video.
They eat it up.
Just look at how the number of Facebook daily video views grew in just one year.
As engagement increases, so do your odds of gaining more followers.
I know I’ve had tremendous success with video and can say with certainty it’s been a contributing force in helping me gain over 900,000 followers.
Video is definitely something you’ll want to incorporate—if you haven’t done so already.
It’s just starting to hit its stride and is poised to dominate social media (and the Internet in general) over the next few years.
Promote your Facebook page with a Follow button
Think of all the different ways your audience interacts with your brand.
There’s your homepage, landing page, personal email, newsletters, social networks and so on.
Each of these presents an opportunity to grow your Facebook following.
It’s simply a matter of making it as convenient as possible for people to follow your Facebook page.
I recommend creating a Follow button and installing it everywhere where it makes sense.
It looks something like this.
Creating a button is fairly simple, and this guide from CCM will walk you through the process step by step.
Once you’re done, you’ll get a piece of code to copy.
All you have to do then is paste the code into the source code of your site or wherever you want to feature your Follow button.
What I love about this tactic is that it doesn’t require any additional effort once you’re set up.
Anyone who comes into contact with your content instantly becomes a potential Facebook follower.
With a single click, they’re following your brand.
If you want to increase the odds of someone following you even more, include a Follow button on a popup.
That’s what Wishpond did, and it seemed to work for them.
However, I would use caution if you go this route because over-the-top interstitials can result in penalties from Google, especially if they dramatically diminish the user experience.
You can learn more about it in this article from Search Engine Land.
But as long as you’re not obnoxious about it, you should be good to go.
Utilize Facebook groups
As of early 2016, there were one billion people using Facebook groups in some capacity.
And I can see why this number is so high.
Facebook groups are a great way to exchange thoughts and ideas with other like-minded people.
Each group focuses on a very specific niche so users can get great input from experts and enthusiasts.
Here’s the “Being Boss” group—a community for creative entrepreneurs and business owners.
As you can see, it’s got a sizable number of members.
Groups also present an excellent marketing opportunity and are perfect for getting more followers.
There are two ways to go about leveraging Facebook groups.
One way is to simply join groups relevant to your industry and area of expertise.
This tends to be the easier route because you can join a group that’s already well established and has plenty of followers.
What you want to do is get in the habit of consistently engaging with the group by leaving great comments.
It takes some time, but believe me, people will take notice.
After a while, you’ll be on the radar of other group members.
You should inevitably pique their curiosity enough so that they check out your Facebook page.
Many of these people will ultimately follow you.
The other option is to create your own group from scratch.
I’ll be honest with you.
This takes a significant amount of time and energy.
Generating initial interest and getting the ball rolling can be difficult.
But the payoff is huge if you can get solid membership.
Just think about it.
If you’re the admin of a group, you’ll get an immense amount of exposure.
After all, your profile is one of the first things people will see when landing on the group page.
You also have a high level of control.
You make the rules and can share files and tag various members to spark a discussion.
And generally speaking, you can expect a considerably higher level of engagement with a Facebook group than you would with a typical Facebook page.
The bottom line is building a thriving Facebook group is going to increase your visibility in a big way.
More people will end up landing on your brand’s page, and your following should increase.
For me, it’s worth putting in the time when you look at the long-term impact.
Analyze your competition
Another great way to increase your followers is by stealing your competitor’s fans. If they are interested in your competitor’s products or services, why won’t they be interested in yours as well?
Here’s how you can steal your competitor’s Facebook fans:
Let’s say, for the sake of this blog post, Hubspot was a competitor of Quick Sprout, and I was trying to attract its fans.
The first thing I would do is run its Facebook fan page URL through Fanpage Karma.
As you can see from the image above, the first thing you will be shown by this free tool is the basic stats of your competition’s fan page. The data covers everything from the number of fans Hubspot has to their engagement ratio.
What you have to do is start digging a bit deeper to get an understanding of the kinds of posts that are attracting these fans as well as generating their engagement. You can do this by first looking at the engagement per daytime graph.
As you can see from the image above, Hubspot’s most engaging day to post is Thursday. Which means if you are going after their fans, you would also want to post heavily on Thursday as it should generate more likes, shares, comments and new fans.
You’ll also want to look at what types of posts produce the most engagement. Hubspot posts both images and links. But their image posts don’t seem to do well.
This should tell you to avoid posting images, assuming you are trying to attract Hubspot’s fans.
Through the post history report, you can also see what types of posts have done well.
From the image above, you can see the specific posts that did well and the ones that didn’t gain any traction. If you are after Hubspot’s fans, you would want to post on topics related to the ones that received high engagement. And you would want to avoid posting on topics that receive low engagement.
Similar to Social Lead Freak is Fanpage Karma. You can use it to find out who the top influencers are.
The cool part about the list Fanpage Karma provides is that with one click you can see the number of likes, shares and comments each influencer produced. From there, you can see pages with the same active fans, which will help find more fans to steal.
Get your first 1,000 real followers
To further get you started I’ve created an infographic that outlines all of these tips and other steps that you need to take to get your first 1,000 real followers.
Follow these steps to get started building your followers today.
Click on the image below to see a larger view:
Facebook’s reach isn’t exactly stellar.
But you can jump over that hurdle by simply growing your following.
While there are a myriad of ways to go about this, the points I mentioned in this post are the ones that have worked the best for me and my clients.
This will provide you with a framework for gaining more followers organically without having to invest any money into paid promotions.
The longer you wait, the harder it will become to penetrate Facebook. So, start following the steps above, and you’ll quickly reach 1,000+ real fans.