Lots of people have asked me how I got so many likes on my Crateinsider.com Facebook page (over 6400 in 5 months), with no paid advertising. I thought I would share some of the insights I’ve gained. Many of these strategies apply to any kind of business, while some are racing-specific. Whether you run a business, a race team, a series or a track, try a few of these items and let us know how it goes. Here are our top 22 suggestions:
2. Some people wonder if they should create a page, a group or a profile for their company or organization. The answer is simple—create a Page. There are two main reasons for this: on a profile, you will max out at 5000 friends. Secondly, and most importantly, Facebook provides an amazing amount of data for you to use when you have a page.
3. As soon as you have 30 likes, change the extension for your page. When you first have a page, you will have a url (web address) with your name, including lots of hyphens, and a long string of numbers behind it. At 30 likes, you can change it. Keep it simple. Remove the hyphens. I can easily tell someone my facebook page url, even over the phone and they can find me.
4. Be sure to include a brief description of your company. Referred to by Facebook as the “short description.” This should be a version of your “Only Statement,” as in “We are the only company that_____.” In our case, I stated that “Our site is dedicated to the Crate Racing Industry….” With the company name and this statement, I told a few friends (and I really mean 3) about what I was doing and they went ahead and liked the page. Because the page then showed up in their newsfeeds, word quickly spread and we had 400 likes in less than a week. I have to state at this point that I had only created the page in order to save the name while the website was being built. After all, we are talking about a Facebook page for a website that didn’t exist. Who would be interested in that? Or, so I thought. When we hit the 400 mark, I decided to start posting in order to create buzz and we have been growing ever since.
5. Know your audience. My audience consists of 3 groups: manufacturers who supply the racing industry, racing series, and racers themselves. My role is to connect these 3 entities. My advice to anyone is to first understand your audience and second to understand your role. Then, the next task is to look for ways in which to connect the two. In my case, I am building content for my website so it is a natural extension that I would share that content with my audience. This consists of racing series profiles, interviews with experts in the industry, information about products, and tech tips.
6. Building likes on my page has largely been due to the team I’ve built. When I post a series profile, for instance, I request that the series share it on their page as well. It is a win-win situation. We are each providing each other with exposure outside of our own circles. As the page gains more likes, it shows up more often in newsfeeds as “this person” likes this page.
7. Be informative without being overly commercial. I don’t have to say who I am and be self-promoting. I show it. Write posts as though you are talking with a friend and sharing a great idea. This also makes it easy for others to share your posts because it is more personal.
8. When I am referring to my company, I may say, “we at Crate Insider” or “the Crate Insider team…” I don’t say “Crate Insider recommends…” If I have ever referred to my company in the third person, it has been an oversight. Anyone remember, “Bob Dole says…?” Yeah, don’t do that. This is social media and even though we represent companies, we are still people.
9. I would personally recommend an active personal profile. If your desire is to be a hermit, keep your whole life a secret and live in a cave, social media is seriously not the place for you. Your page will generate personal friend requests. It just happens. I accept them and I keep up with the newsfeed. I like the pages of companies that pertain to my industry and I watch the activity. If a post is interesting, I give it a like. When someone shares my content, I may give it a like from my personal profile as well as from my business page. I truly am engaged with my audience. I’m interested in what they have to say.
10. My personal profile is me and not just a mouthpiece for my business. It’s really a turn-off when people are screaming their business at you all of the time. Therefore, I don’t share every post from my page onto my personal profile. Every once in awhile, I’ll update my status with an important announcement, or something I am personally excited about. In those posts, I am sure to include the link to the company page. (see how I did that in the first line of this article?)
11. Back to sharing—find related companies or people in the industry who are willing to share your page. In my case, there are many pages that are based on the topic of “Dirt Late Models” and their entire pages are built on sharing others’ pictures and content. I just sent a few messages telling them who I was and asked them to share the page, and they did.
12. On your posts, encourage people to share. I often add a comment (when I forget to put it in the post) that says, “As always, feel free to share.”
13. How to share a page: I just learned this recently, so I figure that there are other people who don’t know how to do this. Go to the page you want to share. Below the cover photo is a little gear icon with a down arrow. Click the down arrow and click Share… You can then add a message if you like.
14. When people ask questions or send messages, answer them as quickly as possible with complete follow-through. I know this seems so simple and straightforward that it is barely worth mentioning, but I have sent messages to pages and they have taken days to respond, if at all. For example, someone sent a question to my page about a month ago asking for the best oil selection from a particular brand. I immediately responded saying that I would check into it and get back with them as quickly as possible. I then sent a message to that company’s Facebook page. I received a response that they would check with their technical department and get back with me. That was the last I heard. I tracked down the answer from another source and answered my person’s question as I wasn’t going to wait until the company got back to me. (They never did).
15. If you are a business, I recommend posting original content. This is mostly a personal recommendation, but it also contributes to the next item.
16. Try to understand Facebook metrics. This is an ever-changing consortium of algorithms. However, a few things are pretty clear and standard. Whether you show up in people’s newsfeeds is largely based on your engagement rate. You know that spot on a page that says x number of likes, x number of people talking about this? The number of people talking about this is based on your post likes and shares. Lots of likes and shares = high engagement = a higher likelihood of showing up in newsfeeds. It is Facebook’s measure of how relevant your page is. Engagement rate is determined by the number of people talking about this divided by the total number of page likes. Now here are some crazy stats I just read about! The average engagement rate is 1-2%. Lady Gaga’s fan page has a 1% engagement rate. Crazy! So, you can imagine how shocked I was when I figured mine—my page has 6384 likes with 252 talking about this. Using the formula above, my engagement rate is 3.9%! I’ve seen our rate be as high as 6.4%. Facebook is a rich-get-richer scenario when it comes to showing up in newsfeeds.
17. Remember what I said about the great metrics that Facebook provides? Currently, in the Insights, there is a tab for Posts. Here you can see when your audience is online—days and times. A Facebook post only stays alive in Newsfeeds for 2-3 hours. Therefore, I am sure to post when my audience is online.
18. Take advantage of scheduled posts. I really can’t stress this enough! With a page, you can type up a post at any time and schedule it to post in the future. A lot of times, I work on these items at night, but it wouldn’t make any sense to post something at midnight. My audience has gone to bed and they won’t see it. It is a huge advantage to schedule posts for peak times.
19. Be consistent. You don’t have to post every day, but every couple of days maintains activity. I know some social media experts recommend posting 4-5 times a day, but unless you hire a dedicated social media person, this is not feasible for most businesses. In my personal opinion, I think too many posts dilutes your message. I would rather have fewer high quality posts with great engagement than a stream of noise.
20. Represent your brand. Quality information is at the heart of my brand.
21. Social media can benefit any business, but has a greater effect for some more than others. My product is a website, so social media is a core component of my marketing strategy. When my customers are using social media, they are online and only a click away. You will have to decide how important it is to your overall marketing program.
22. Lastly, if you’re wondering if this takes a lot of time and if it is a big commitment, the answer is yes. There is no 5-minute solution, but it also doesn’t have to take over your life. And Facebook isn’t the only platform. I haven’t even said a word about Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube………………. Best of luck to you!!!