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How to Get More Fans on Facebook

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Now you've created and set-up your Facebook Page, your next step is getting people to become Facebook fans and Like your Page.

In this post, I show you how to increase likes on Facebook, drive Facebook fan engagement, and overall grow the number of your Facebook page fans. Learn how to get a bunch of Likes on your freelance Facebook page.

We'll take a close look at the type of people you want to like your Page, and share tips and tricks for turning these people into engaged Facebook fans.

Why are Facebook Fans Important?

Facebook fans are important for two reasons.

First, fans are a form of social proof. In an ideal world, we'd all have access to perfect information before making decisions. In reality, this would be difficult and time consuming. So, we base many of our decisions on what other people are doing.

You can have hundreds of thousands of fans, but if none of them buy your services, recommend you to a friend, or help you to find work, your Facebook marketing has failed.

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As a result of social proof, the more fans you have, the more people will trust you. They'll think: "If hundreds (or thousands) of other people like this business, there must be something to it."

Think about it. If a page only has 25 or 50 likes, will you like it? Probably not, unless you know the person or business already. Whereas a page with thousands of Likes looks like something valuable. You'll wonder if you're missing out.

From a social proof perspective, the more fans you have the better.

But there's more to it than that.

You can have hundreds of thousands of fans, but if none of them buy your services, recommend you to a friend, or help you to find work, your Facebook marketing has failed.

Which leads me to the second reason fans are important. Fans can become clients, or they can help you find clients.

Fans extend your sales funnel, but only if they're the right kind of fans.

Who Are the Right Fans for Your Freelance Business?

The right fan for your freelance Facebook page are potential clients or those who can put you in touch with potential clients. In other words, the right fans are people who trust you, and people who need your services.

As such, your ideal fans are:

  • Your current network, including friends and family. These are the people who know and trust you, and even if they don't need your services directly, you'll find many of them willing to support you and recommend your services to a friend.
  • Other freelancers. They'll provide a valuable support network, and can provide work directly or through referrals.
  • Current and former clients. Facebook helps you stay in touch, which means you'll be front of mind when they next need your services.
  • Prospects in your target market. For example, if you provide web design services to faith groups, you want church leaders to like your Facebook page.
  • Your tribe. Such as those who follow your blog or connect with you on Twitter.

What makes all these different types of people the ideal Facebook fans? Facebook is about connecting with people through conversation, and building trust through relationships. All of these people have an interest in what you do, so they'll want to engage and build a relationship with you.

As such, you'll create an engaged Fan base who like what you do and are interested in what you say.

Engaged fans comment on and like your posts. If you have a good level of engagement, that is if a significant percentage of your fans frequently like or comment on your posts, Facebook rewards that by showing more of your posts in your fans' news feeds. What's more, engaged fans will share your content with their friends, giving your page a wider audience.

An engaged audience is better for your marketing, as it brings more prospects into your sales funnel, and is more likely to lead to prospects becoming clients.

How to Get More Facebook Likes: Free Options

Now we've laid the groundwork for who your ideal fans are, you're ready to start growing your fan base. There are a number of free strategies you can use.

Ask your family and friends to Like your Page. You can do this by posting an update about your Page in the timeline of your personal Facebook profile. If you have time, you could also send individual Facebook messages to supportive friends about your new Page.

Inform your broader network about your new Page. Facebook allows you to invite Skype, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail contacts to Like your Page.

If you use GMail, you'll need to send out an email about your Page directly from your email account, as Facebook's spat with Google means they've currently blocked GMail integration..

To keep your network informed about your Page on an ongoing basis, set up a custom URL for your Page (I show you how to do that in an article on Facebook page configuration). Also, add your Facebook Page URL to your email signature, Twitter background and business card.

Integrate Facebook into your website. An easy way to do this is to add the Facebook Like Box plug-in to your blog or home page. The Like Box shows website visitors how many people like your Page (including whether any of their friends like your Page), and offers them the option to Like it too. This is FreelanceSwitch's Like Box:

Lastly, get your tribe on board. Write a blog post about your new Facebook Page and what you plan to share there. Tweet about your Page to your Twitter followers. Promote your Page in your email newsletter. Post a LinkedIn update to let your contacts know they can connect on Facebook, too.

Once you've started to build momentum in your fan growth, set a goal, and ask your tribe to help you reach that goal. For example, if you have 430 Likes, set your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and blog readers the challenge of helping you reach 500 Likes. If you have an engaged audience, they'll be willing to help. You could even offer a prize to your 500th fan, or promise to make a special video or publish a ground-breaking blog post when you hit 500 Likes.

The advantage to using these free options to grow your page organically is that you're more likely to attract the right kinds of fans to your Page. The disadvantage is that, unless you already have a huge network, your fan base is likely to grow slowly.

The more you're engaging across the web, such as through your blog, Twitter and LinkedIn, the easier it will be to grow your fan base organically.

How to Get More Facebook Likes: Paid Options

If you've got the cash to splash, then your fan page can grow faster.

Facebook Ads are the obvious choice for freelancers seeking paid growth. Facebook Ads are highly targeted. You choose the age, gender, and location (right down to zip code) of those you want to target with your Ad. What's more, you can pinpoint people with specific roles or interests, such as small business owners, early technology adopters, or people interested in education. Use this carefully, because advertising indiscriminately is a massive waste of money.

When you create an ad, you need to include text (up to 90 characters) and a picture. Remember to ask people to like you in your ad. Including this call to action will increase your click-through rate. That's good for your fan growth, and good for your wallet, too. The better your click-through rate, the less Facebook charges per click.

It’s a good idea to split test different pictures and text for your ads to see which get the most likes.

Once you've written your ad, and chosen who you want to target, let Facebook know the budget for your ad campaign, and launch your ad.

It's a good idea to split test different pictures and text for your ads to see which get the most likes. Set yourself a maximum budget, too, because advertising can burn money fast. Experiment with a small budget, and see where it takes you. If it goes well, you can always increase your budget. If it proves costly, you may need to rethink your ad picture and copy, or even the design of your page so it better engages your target audience.

Facebook Ads are the best paid option, because you can ensure they're going out to prospects in your target market.

A paid option to avoid is buying fans. Though it's possible to grow fast with paid likes, doing so is against Facebook's terms of service. These fans are usually automated spam-bots, so they don't create any additional engagement with your freelance business, and actually drive down engagement as a percentage of your overall fan base. Facebook has said it is cracking down on these fake likes.

Start Where You Are

However small your current network is, chances are at least some of them will Like your Facebook Page and support you in your marketing efforts. Starting small, where you are, is the only place you can start. Every Facebook Page starts with a fan count of one and grows from there. What's more, you don't need tens of thousands of fans to support a thriving freelance business. Aim for a few hundred, and see where that takes you.

Most importantly of all, always respect your fans, and help them out whenever you can. Helping your fans is the key to a flourishing Facebook Page. I'll explore the best ways to engage and help out your fans in my next Freelance Switch article.

I'd like to know: who are your ideal Facebook fans, and what strategies do you use to grow your fan base?

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