A question often heard from prospective and current clients alike, increasing Facebook followers is a major concern of SME’s that have embraced social media and want to see immediate results.
There are easy answers: Placing a Facebook ad, inviting your personal contacts, and consolidating your other social media contacts are good ways to see a spike in your (or your client’s) followers. Once exhausted, though, these don’t always provide for the viral growth many agencies promise their clients.
The fact of the matter is that Facebook fan growth – and by this I mean real growth, from new stakeholders in your project – is an organic process. People become interested in a product or service because they see that a trusted friend has become a fan of it. The legitimacy of the brand, product or service is relayed to the prospective stakeholder through the legitimacy of their personal contact. It’s word of mouth marketing for the twenty-first century, and if the cycle continues to capitalise on the viral nature of the internet, many more users will become exposed to your offering than through a paid-for online ad campaign – and are more likely to trust it, too.
The problem most start-up companies face in increasing their online base comes from the need – if the strategy is to be genuine – for this to be grassroots growth, which can only be influenced indirectly. Pushing too hard to increase followers will decrease the product’s legitimacy; the last thing you want in a web 2.0 world is angry geeks with a vendetta against you!
It’s not all bad news, and it’s far from being random. By ensuring a degree of social media integration with the client’s online presence, by including buttons in email newsletters (still the most effective online marketing medium), and by creating an interesting and useful Facebook application, both PR firms and stakeholders in the project can guarantee organic growth.
All of this being said, growth should never be an end in itself. Adding value through your Facebook presence to your target audience’s online experience is far more important than simple numerical growth. Sound social media integration with your target audience will get them to rant and rave about your offering – though nowadays through pixels and plasma screens, rather than from atop soap boxes.
If you need help increasing your fanbase, why not see if we can help?