With 2.38 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the most important social network for many marketers and small business owners. Its advertising tools are deep, its audience is unmatched, and despite a barrage of negative press, its growth hasn’t stalled.
Building a Facebook following is still extremely important for connecting with potential customers, though the almighty News Feed algorithm is certainly not designed to help you.
To help, here are five tips to help you increase your fan base on The Social Network.
1. Block Fake Followers
Fake followers don’t engage with your posts, which ultimately hurts your reach. And since Facebook only shows your posts to roughly 6% (or fewer) of your Page fans, it’s crucially important that those you do reach are warm bodies – and not cold bots.
If Facebook’s algorithm sees good engagement from your fans, you’ll reach more people with future posts. If the algorithm detects that no one is engaging with your posts (if, for example, they’re all fake followers), your reach will only continue to decline.
Don’t make this mistake – go through your Facebook fans and block followers who are clearly fake. It’s one of the most important things you can do to reach more people and grow your page likes.
For more info, here’s a more in-depth analysis of why you should get rid of fake followers.
2. Turn Off Automatic Placements
If you’re running ads, be sure that your intended results are always front and center. Facebook will let you select from a variety of objectives, so you can choose whether engagement or messages are most important to you. For growing your followers, you’ll want to select “engagement.”
From here you’ll want to make sure you turn off automatic placements. This is a feature that Facebook automatically turns on so that they can show your boosted posts to people on Instagram. And while this will increase your reach, it won’t help you grow your Facebook following.
Uncheck the ‘Automatic Placements’ toggle and scroll to uncheck Instagram. Now your ads will show only to users on Facebook, who’ll be much more likely to like your Page.
3. Invite Users To Like Your Page
When someone interacts with your Facebook post, you have the option to invite them to like your Page and see more of your content.
This isn’t the same as sending a cold invitation to connect on LinkedIn – the people you’re inviting to like your page have already interacted with you, so the quicker you send the invite the better your chances of success.
Don’t delay when someone shows interest in what you’re sharing with the world. A good portion of your invites will accept and become active Page followers.
NOTE: You can only use the post Like invite process on Pages with fewer than 100,000 total Likes.
4. Add A Call To Action At The End Of Articles
Whether you’re writing for your own blog, on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, or for another publication, having a clear call to action is important at the end of all your posts.
Don’t ask users to follow you on four different social networks, subscribe to your email list AND visit your website – make your call to action clear and simple, and ask them to like your Facebook Page.
The paradox of choice prevents action – keep it simple and improve your results.
5. Use Your Page To Tell A Different Story
Too many brands use Facebook in the same way that they use all of their other owned social media pages. They create one post, then schedule it in Buffer or Hootsuite, and send it out to all of their social media channels in one go.
The key question you need to ask is this – if you’re posting the exact same content on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, why should your audience follow you on all of those social networks?
The simple answer is that, if you’re doing this, your audience won’t engage with you on multiple platforms. Take pride in your social media pages and create custom content for each network.
Use Facebook to share longer-form posts, share interesting images, and/or ask questions. Make sure each of your updates has a unique angle, and give your audience a reason to follow your Page. People don’t want to see the same messages posted everywhere.
Building a Facebook following is harder than ever, but it remains an important network, and there are ways to still use Facebook in an effective, engaging way. You should never put all your eggs in one basket, but if you can master Facebook, you can reap big rewards.
It takes times, experimentation and effort, but it’ll likely pay off in the end.
This story originally appeared in Social Media Today. Image courtesy of Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.