In a previous post I looked at growing an account on Instagram for free, today we’re looking at doing the same thing with Facebook. Despite the fact that organic reach is falling on Facebook it remains a platform that you likely need to invest in.
Although it’s harder than it ever has been right now to build a loyal following on Facebook without investing money, it is still possible. Here’s how I grew my Facebook page to over 4,000 likes without spending a penny…
- Understand the audience
- Define the content
- Produce the content
- Promote the content
Understand your audience
The first step to building a successful Facebook page is to get to grips with the people you want to engage with. You need to find out what type of content they’re interested in, when they want to see it and how frequently they want it.
You need to do a little work here. The first port of call is to take a look at the content you’ve posted so far and determine what has worked. Which posts have attracted the most views, comments and likes? You can do this by visiting the page insights section (available from your own page) and choosing posts from the sidebar menu.
Your next step is to identify similar pages to your own. Look for accounts that are doing well. That doesn’t just mean accounts that have a lot of likes, we’re actually looking for pages that post content with high engagement. Assuming you know your industry pretty well, some pages should spring to mind straight away. Again, lets take a lot at the posts and find out what’s working and what the audience is interested in.
You won’t have the luxury of Facebook Insights here but you can watch similar pages to your own and get some information on the best performing posts. You can access this under the Overview section of Insights and scroll down to Pages To Watch.
By understanding the posts that your target audience are engaging with, you should start to build a picture of that audience.
As you start to develop a better understanding of your audience you’ll be in a far better position to actually deliver them the type of content they want to see.
Define your content
You should be starting to building your knowledge now. Now we need to look for the patterns in the posts you’ve found. Are you seeing a lot of question based posts? Are people responding to images? Check the times that those posts are being published at. Again look for the patterns here.
What we’re aiming to do is to build a bank of content ideas that we know are going to perform for us. If you can get 5-10 here then that’s going to give us enough variety to keep the page interesting without looking repetitive and it will also allow us to post frequently enough to gain a good following.
Here are a few general frameworks that may help you build those ideas…
So looking at that list above, if you’re trying to build your Facebook page for your bespoke kitchen business you might like to include inspirational images combined with quotes about the kitchen being the central point of the home. It’s a specific example but it should get you thinking.
With your audience and content defined, next we need to produce the content. I’d recommend building up at least 2 weeks worth of content to allow yourself a buffer going forward.
You need to make sure that the content you produce is formatted correctly for Facebook – Hubspot have a great guide to social media image sizes that will help you get the right dimensions for your images. Take a lead from what you see on Facebook though – videos tend to work better when they are captioned for example.
With your 2 weeks buffer of content produced, you need to deliver that content next.
As a minimum, I’d be looking to post at least twice a day. Facebook’s post scheduling isn’t bad, but I’m a big fan of Buffer to help out here. Buffer allows you to easily schedule and distribute your content. You can set delivery schedules and easily add and rearrange your content. It’s incredibly fluid to use. The best bit? It’s free for up to 2 social accounts.
From your initial research you should have an idea of when your user wants to receive that content. What time of day, what days of the week?
Schedule your content to be delivered in line with your findings.
Now your content has been created and scheduled, you can sit back and relax. Unfortunately that’s not true, there’s still work to be done I’m afraid.
It’s all about the promotion
There are other opportunities to help put your content in front of the right audience. Facebook Groups are really useful here. Find groups that are relevant to your page, a good old fashioned search on Facebook is a good start. Filter your results to only return groups. Look for active groups with engaged members, the size of the group is worth noting but it’s not the only metric to look at. I’d rather my content be put in front of a group with 100 active members than a group of 1000 with little to no interaction.
Next up, make sure you can post your content to the group. Not all groups want people pushing their own content, it’s understandable. There are groups out there that are ok with this though and if your content is interesting enough people will interact and if people are interacting the group’s will be happy for you to post your content.
Read through the rules for the group, there will usually be a clear indication about posting promotional content. If it’s not clear, you can always ask.
You’ve learned how to create content that your audience is interested in, how to deliver it at the right time and how to promote it for free.
All that remains is to do it!