A blog about Facebook marketing

How to get the right followers on Facebook (part 1)

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Sven Hamberg

In a recent blog post I wrote about what companies can do to attract followers on Facebook. I stressed the point of thinking about why you’re on Facebook in the first place, which in turn determines how to handle your Facebook presence. Provided that you’ve got all that covered, a good next step is to figure out how to get the right people to like your Facebook page.

And why is this important? Well, my take is that it’s not simply a case of the more the merrier - not for all brands. Sure, if virtually everyone is in your target audience then no need to worry. But, if you’re somewhat niched (which I think most companies are), then it actually makes more sense to aim for attracting the right people, rather than just anyone.

In order to reach all the people in your target audience, you will most likely find yourself spending a bit of money. Provided that you do, you’d surely prefer to spend it where it makes the most sense.

Think of it as if it was your AdWords budget

Say you’re buying traffic on any of the big search engines. It would be highly unlikely that you’d spend your budget on just any keyword, as long as you got traffic. You’d obviously like to spend it on the search queries that make the most sense for your business. If you are sensitive about conversion rates you’d keep your keyword portfolio narrow. If you’re looking for impact you might want to keep it broader, and spend more on the keywords that truly define your business.

The same logic applies to Facebook marketing.

If you are marketing a niche product or service - say, dog food for instance - it would make little sense to spend time and money on reaching people allergic to dogs, people who don’t like dogs, or people who simply would never think of getting a dog.

And in order to be clear, I’m talking about building a fan base here, not buying traffic to your website. In the latter case few would argue I’m sure, but as far as acquiring likes for Facebook pages goes I’ve seen plenty of examples where marketers simply forget this and just go for as many likes as they can possibly get.

But isn’t many likes better than few likes?

Well I for one would much rather have 10 000 people liking my Facebook page that are in my defined target audience (or are already paying customers!) than 100 000 random people. Besides the fact that I wouldn’t have been too happy on spending time and resources on reaching those random people and converting them to followers in the first place, there are a few more reasons to why this is a more attractive case:

  • I’m more confident the resources I’m spending on creating content and interacting with my followers will have an impact on my revenue, by increasing retention and converting followers to customers
  • The money I’m spending on Page Post Ads and Sponsored Stories are spent on reaching the right people, as opposed to just anyone
  • I am less likely to get negative feedback from people seeing my content in their News Feed, thus retaining a better EdgeRank

Therefore, I’d argue that more is not necessarily merrier - again, it’s rather a case of finding the right people.

Start by working your core

When thinking about the people liking a Facebook page I like to divide them into the core and the potentials. The core are people that have already converted to customers, or have shown clear signs of purchasing intent with you (e.g. by signing up for your newsletter or contacting you directly). The potentials are just what they sound like - people that have good potential for converting into customers (more about them later).

Divide your target audience into Core and Potentials to structure your efforts in effectively attracting the right people to like your Facebook page.

The idea behind this is to make it a bit easier to figure out how to reach the right people, thus giving you something tangible to work with. As you get going and know your fan base better you might want to refine your segments, just as you might want to change how you segment customers over time.

I suggest you start working on your core - that way you will find it a lot easier to expand in the right way, and ultimately achieve a bigger impact on your revenue.

You probably have a pretty good idea of who your customers are. With this I mean returning customers, which obviously is easy if you’re running some form of subscription service. If your business is of the kind where people buy things irregularly you might still have a customer database, a mailing list or something of that sort. Either way, take a look at those people - that’s your core.

Ideally, you want all of those people to like and thereby start following your Facebook page, primarily to improve retention and to build a solid platform from where to grow.

However, although Facebook is HUGE, it is unlikely that everyone in your customer database have a Facebook account. To get a feeling for how big your core is, take a look at the geographical distribution of your customers (if possible) and then multiply it with the Facebook penetration for the corresponding regions/countries/cities (which is accessible via Facebook’s ad targeting). Not perfect, but it will give you a decent idea.

Reach out and let them know they have the opportunity to keep up with you on Facebook. Don’t forget to tell them why though! Keep reaching out to these people in the channels you have access to - your newsletter, invoices, logged in mode on your website, your physical locations - whatever channels make sense for you.

One great way to see how you’re doing, if you have have implemented Facebook connect for logging in on your website, is checking whether your logged in visitors also like your Facebook page.

After you’ve managed to attract a big part of your core you're in a good position to start extracting some real value from your Facebook marketing. It is your real customers you're communicating with, so make sure to provide them with valuable content and to learn from them. Done the right way you will affect their perception of your brand positively, and ultimately how long they stay and how much money they spend with you.

With a solid base of core followers in place it’s time to start thinking about your potentials. This will be covered in the follow-up to this post, which we’ll publish next week.

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