30,000 Facebook Fans
30,000 Facebook Fans: How we got here and what we’ve learned!
I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. We launched our Facebook page at the beginning of 2011 and have averaged about 10,000 new fans per year. There has been a lot of trial and error along the way. Here is what we’ve learned so far, and what has been unique to our approach.
a. Seeing Double: When you start a fanpage for your business, you generally create just a business page. We did something a little different. We created both a personal and a business page. Copy-Kids for the business page and Copy Kids for the personal page.* While it has created some confusion, on balance it has been wonderfully beneficial to have both accounts. Facebook limits what a business page can do — especially when it comes to notifications and contact. So when I need to reach out to a person or a business — I do so from the personal page. This also allows me to keep my own personal page truly personal — a major benefit. *(Update: That worked for 4 years, then Facebook made me change it to my name. Now I have two personal accounts… one for friends and family and one for business.)
b. Invite friends and family. They will be your first fans — but probably not your most passionate. You will locate your most enthusiastic fans through interest groups. Find them. For us it was feeding specialists, food art enthusiasts, other kid pages, health practitioners and produce devotees. Like these pages, follow these pages, interact with them and support them — and they will return the kindness and be the ones most likely to sing your highest praises.
c. Images over chatter. A picture is worth a thousand words. Create a beautiful page so that people can love and share what they discover there and have reasons to return over and over again.
d. Paid Ads: Forget it. There was a time when they were useful for reaching interested fans — that time has passed. We had a positive experience with advertising before Facebook went public. The fee was reasonable and the ads brought over real people who were actually interested in what we were doing. Then about a month before Facebook went public all that changed. We had this weird infestation of odd, presumably fake likes, and the money set aside for a month of advertising was drained in a day. Every now and then I dip my toe back into the water to see if anything has changed — I set up an ad, let it run for a few hours and the same thing happens. Weird likes. So I am leery of advertising now. It could change. I hope it does. If it ever goes back to the old true like system I would jump in with both feet. We attracted some great fans back in the day.
e. Mix it up. Facebook fans have seen it all. They get bored easily. You will also get bored running your page if you don’t try different things. Surf the web and discover new things and share what you discover. I personally try to stay away from political, preachy or negative subjects. There are plenty of other pages out there who are happy to tell you everything you are doing wrong — not my style. This parenting gig is hard enough. Yes, our products will help kids who are picky, undernourished, obese, food adverse, etc. — no I do not need to make parents feel any more helpless than they already do by touting statistics. I just want to show their kids how joyous it can be to eat a bell pepper. Nothing more.
f. Give it away. Do you have a ton of product in your warehouse? Keep it moving. If it is not flying off the shelves of its own accord, give it away. Seriously. Give it to libraries. Give it to teachers. Give it to people who could not otherwise afford to buy it. Get it out there, and moving, and doing something useful. It feels great to gift things. Stale, stagnation serves no one — do not allow your products or your brand to become dusty. Give. It. Away. Some of your recipients will thank you — and many of them will do it where most of us live — on social media. It’s good for everyone.
g. Mom influencers. Mommy bloggers. The hardest working people on the planet. The overwhelming majority have left professional careers to stay home with their children. They are bright, intelligent, scrappy, hard workers. Make friends with lots and lots of bloggers. Get your products reviewed. Offer them products for giveaways. They are the backbone of the internet and an incredible asset on Facebook and any other social media platform. They will take you where you want to go. God bless them one and all!
h. Other vendors. There is no such thing as competition in social media. Only huge potential upsides from combining your efforts and cross promoting with other brands in the same or similar space. Help each other. Join forces. Put your products together for greater yields on giveaways. Share your lists. Introduce them to your contacts. Wield good will toward anyone and everyone who shares your goals and values. Social implies relationships. Go together.
i. Fan appreciation. Every chance you get — thank your fans. Without them you are nothing. Give them interesting content and contests and conversations. Give them reasons to visit your page and support your brand. Reach out to them as a group and reach out to them as individuals. Answer their questions. Ask for their advice. Include them in the highs and lows. Share your personal story. We are all just human beings, doing our best, making it up as we go along — learning. Share a little of your heart. Keep them in your prayers. Befriend those who share your vibe and your passion. There is incredible possibility for building relationships that yield something far more precious than sales — it’s the opportunity to find and build your tribe.
30,000. Feeling blessed and deeply, deeply grateful.