Use targeted advertising on Facebook
Sure it’s pretty basic, but that’s for a reason. It’s the most effective tactic for growing your Facebook followers. These adds are relatively inexpensive, highly targeted, and can be customized to appeal to different prospective demographics
Pay for fans
Believe it or not, there are actual services out there that guarantee you a certain number of fans–if you’re willing to pay for them. FansAndInvites.com and SocioNiks are two such companies that offer these services. You can even target fans or followers by location.
Though the companies absolutely insist that the followers they bring are real, genuine people, beware: their interest in your company or intent to support your small business probably isn’t. Still, one Facebook “like” begets more, and this is one way to get the snowball rolling in hopes of an eventual avalanche.
Incentivize clicking “like” or following on Twitter
If you’re not willing to pay for followers directly, try offering free stuff, discounts, or other attractive items. But make them available only for people who “like” you on Facebook or follow your Twitter feed.
Piggyback off hot-button issues
How did one little-known author get more Facebook fans than George Clooney? Completely by accident. But it serves as a good lesson for those looking to up their fans.
Gregory Levey’s memoir recounting his experiences as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s speechwriter was titled “Shut Up, I’m Talking.” Facebook users became fans of the book’s page for the title’s implications rather than the content of the book.
Sure, many of those fans aren’t likely to buy the book, but once again, it’s crucial to get the ball rolling. And going from 700 fans to 700,000 in a matter of months does exactly that. Consider using catchy headlines, or reference hot-button issues to garner attention for your Facebook page. The more popular it becomes the more likely you are to turn heads among people that actually might contribute to sales.
Notice trending hashtags
Maybe the popular #RIP2TheCompetition hashtag isn’t the best way to introduce the world to your business, but engaging in trending topics is an excellent way to get the word out.
For example, if you’re in the travel industry, be sure to chime in on the “Travel Tuesdays” hashtag and offer a discount to followers. Or, your company sells treats or luxury items, engage in the “TGIF” hashtag and tell all who are willing to “Like” your Facebook or follow your twitter that they’re eligible for weekend savings
Target popular tweeters
Say you’re opening a sandwich shop in your neighborhood. Seek out a popular local food blogger that tweets, and tell him about your business. Fatten him up with a free sandwich, and, if he likes it, he might fatten your social media following.
How? Be sure to tell him that any of his followers that follow your business on Twitter are welcome to a half-off sandwich. Remember, anyone interested in the blogger’s content is perfectly suited for your business. Or, for a quick gauge of your ROI, consider offering a discount to customers that mention the blogger’s name.
For a mere $8 sandwich, you could potentially gain dozens of interested followers
Create good content
If people who discover your page find it boring or useless, all that hard work you put into getting them there in the first place will go to waste. Create beautiful, compelling content that invites visitors to click around, read, and truly “like” or want to follow your page.
Several digital media PR experts told us the number one mistake businesses make with their Facebook and Twitter pages is they don’t update enough. Social media is not rotisserie chicken—you can’t “set it, and forget it.”
Take advantage of Facebook’s news feed, and applications like TweetDeck, by constantly updating your social media pages. It will keep you fresh in your follower’s minds and, with a little luck, can appear on news feeds–or be retweeted–to prospective customers.
Engage customers conversations
The beauty of social media is that customers truly believe they can have direct content with your company. Uphold this belief and create trust by responding to your customers who comment on your page or tweet to your account.
But don’t dare do so in PR-speak or corporatese. You’ll shatter their trust. Answer in an authentic voice that’s consistent with your values to keep existing followers happy and give reasons for new ones to hop on the bandwagon.
Respond to complaints
Remember Domino’s recent campaign that urged customers to post photos of pizza delivered to their homes? Well, here’s a shocker: some of those pictures showed some pretty sloppy, nasty pies. Worse, some pizzas depicted orders gone wrong.
Yet Dominos used social media savvy to turn a disaster into more Twitter followers. One store manager-turned-social media expert, Ramon DeLeon, took matters into his own hand. He tweeted a link to a video to one unhappy customer, and has since garnered nearly 7,000 followers.