Facebook has recently announced its intention to clear brand pages of fake likes – those purchased to inflate a brand’s popularity on the networking site. These are typically likes that are created by bots or duplicate accounts. Purchasing Facebook likes has been easy up until now and a practice that many businesses have considered if only for appearances sake. While it may help to create the (false) impression of a brand leader, having a page littered with fake likes can lull your social media efforts into a false sense of security by concealing the true number of fans in favor of your social networking presence.
With Facebook set to clean house and remove automated likes (which it deems a violation of its terms of service) now is a great time to focus on real likes and how their actual numbers can be increased. If you’re fearful of Facebook stripping your page of a number of fans, take remedial action as soon as possible by launching a counter initiative to replace what may be lost with real brand advocates.
1. Go Back To Basics
There are lots of day-to-day opportunities to generate real Facebook likes which require almost no effort. Thanks to the complexities of the modern search engine marketing landscape, many of the basics are easily overlooked. Fortunately, Facebook provides business pages with a choice of readymade buttons and HTML code for easy integration which means taking care of these basics requires little to no time. Go to the Facebook help center, pick the button you like and then check that this button is included on all website pages, email footers and email newsletter templates. It can be copied and pasted into place and then left to run. Simple but effective, this means every email enquiry you answer from a potential new client does double duty – providing them with the information they need from you but also encouraging them to check you out on Facebook. Easy.
2. Link your Blog
If you’re an active blogger, sync your blog to your Facebook page and each blog you upload will also be posted on Facebook instantaneously. This ensures a constant stream of on-content posts and saves time manually copying and pasting the link. Automating the process ensures that Facebook isn’t overlooked, helping to create a great page full of detailed, useful and interesting information, all approved and used by your brand. This is particularly valuable if you frequently post case studies, product updates and news releases on your blog.
3. Be Choosy
Although popular social media wisdom dictates that you update your social media profiles as often as possible and confirms that it is a great idea to have synergy across each of your accounts, choosing to link your Facebook to your Twitter page or vice versa can be a risky strategy. For those that follow you on both channels, it can be annoying to see the same thing twice every time. It also creates a false sense of security and mean you get lazy about posting great content on Facebook simply because you know it has been updated automatically from Twitter. Try and keep the two separate, especially if your tweets tend to be very short, sweet and sporadic.
4. Create a Competition
Everyone loves the feeling of being a winner and of getting something for free. You can combine the two to generate goodwill and page likes by running a Facebook competition. Simply create an entry form on your page which can be seen after the user has liked the page and then pick a winner at random to keep the process straightforward. The prize is up to you – personalized versions of your particular product are popular as are simple giveaways. You could also team up with another company to create a super prize. It’s worth keeping the competition up for a week or two to get the maximum number of entries and limit yourself to a maximum of one a month.
5. Suggest to Friends
If you already have a personal Facebook page and are struggling to make the leap from person to brand, the ‘suggest to Friends’ button is a fantastic and under-utilized way to bridge the gap. Suggest to friends allows you to send a message to all of your existing friends, asking them to like your new Facebook page. They in turn can do the same thing, suggesting your brand page to their friends, helping to create an extended network of likes.
6. Facebook Advertising
While Facebook don’t want you to buy likes, they don’t mind if you buy advertising space. Running a series of Facebook adverts is relatively cheap to do and thanks to their demographic targeting, means you can pinpoint exactly the kind of user you’d like to click on your ad and subsequently, like your page. Although they recently admitted that around 8% of their user accounts are for pets and duplicates, they still boast a massive audience and one easily capable of swelling your page popularity. Facebook advertising works like PPC so you can set a budget you are comfortable with to get started.
Image: Facebook Likes by Shutterstock