I’ve received a lot of request from folks requesting information on how I’ve managed to build an audience on Facebook rather quickly. (In around 10 months as of December 2010) So…… instead of continually having to go back through old emails and “cut and paste” information to send to a number of people on 48days.net (as well as a number of email requests), I’ve taken the time to compile most of the information for you. (Also it’s free, and in my opinion, worth every penny…)
Okay… this is a lot of information so I’m going to offer it in two separate blogs. FYI: If you don’t want to invest the time in reading the entire blog, just go to the bottom of the blog and I’ve listed some “key points” from the blog (as well as additional points not found in the blog) that will provide a lot of insight as to how I’m building a page (i.e. building an audience).
At the very end of the blog, I’ve included an “about me” section if you’re more interested who is “actually providing this information.”
SO LET’S LOOK AT THE “RECIPE” I’M USING (which is a work in progress)
The page many ask about is for my first release, The Greatest Harvest. The page was created and went live February 10th, 2010.
(I’ve provided the page address at the bottom of the blog for you so no need to look it up)
1) I determined a small budget to advertise the page and also encouraged my friends who were interested to join. At the moment, I’m hosting (remember the term, “hosting”) 2600+ on my fan site and around 375 on my friend page. (Only about 200 of my friends are on the fan page). When the fan page reached around 350 people, I started establishing trust.
(I’m not very interested in building a “friend page” and I’ll explain that more in the 2nd blog.)
2) Once a small base was established, I built A LOT, A LOT, A LOT and A LOT MORE trust!! Before long, many of these folks began marketing for me and sending their friends over to the site. Contests where your entry is to have friends suggest others who may be interested worked well for me. For example:
I created a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” contest recently and gave away a copy of The Greatest Harvest and an actual “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” in a random drawing. The tree was purchased for $9.99 and I purchase copies of my book for around $2.00. This contest generated over 160 entries, a lot of exposure, played a direct part in selling a few copies of the book, and “captured” the attention of a book-club president in Mississippi who contacted me and wanted The Greatest Harvest (my book) to become the “December Selection of the Month” for their club. This will be followed by a review in a few local papers that reach around 10,000 readers. Remember, I spent $9.99 on a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” and $2.00 for a copy of my own book. The return was well worth the $12.00 invested!! So GET CREATIVE with contests and marketing ideas!!
3) Facebook, at the moment, almost induces ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) for most people. So when you’re trying to capture people’s attention, keep that in mind. Facebook is “information overload” using unlimited topics!! For example, I’ve had folks email me because they missed a current sale or contest even though it was advertised each day at the same time (sometimes for 14 days). So the information was presented to them 14 times at the same time and they never noticed it? Why? Because one of their friends “just ate at Cracker Barrel! Yum!” or a friend “just got home from work. I’m tired!” or a friend “just finished getting a haircut.” or a friend “just found a penny on heads and need good luck for tomorrow’s meeting!” Okay, what was this blog about?? Ah yes, Building a Facebook fan page!! (How confusing the last 30 seconds of reading this with a constant change in topic basically gives you an understanding of “Facebook induced ADD!”)
The point: The "current" topic is changing every few seconds!! So what do I use to meet this obstacle?
4) Learn how to “mini-blog”. You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention. (And trust me; it’s just a few seconds) A post on your fan site only allows 420 characters and I believe that is about the limit to most people’s attention span on Facebook. Right now, Facebook is a difficult place to expect to build an audience with an actual blog over a few paragraphs. And it has nothing to do with the value of the content; it’s more about attention span. So don’t get discouraged when you place a blog on Facebook and get few hits. Some good advice: Take key points from your blog, create a “mini-blog” to place in the status bar, and then offer a link to your blog.
5) BE ASSESSIBLE!! It is amazing how much it matters to some that the author/owner has taken the time to personally respond to a question, comment, etc... (It makes the person feel valued)
I know it is hard to respond to everybody and you don't have to always respond to every comment but responding often lets the folks on the fan site know you are paying attention.
Consider it this way: A “waiter or waitress” serves people food and then leaves. A “host” serves food and then participates in the enjoyment of conversation. Don’t be a waiter or waitress on your fan site, be a “host” on your fan site!)
6) At the moment, I think the time it takes for the customer to make a purchase is longer when using Facebook as a marketing tool. I believe a lot has to do with it being more impersonal, distractions, etc. But with my experience, the buyer does buy, it just takes longer. (I shipped out 26 copies to 6 different states a few weeks ago to people I only know from the fan site. So, YES, they do eventually purchase. It just takes a little more time to build trust.
7) I believe social media (such as facebook) is the “internet reinvented” and in the very early stages of evolution! Facebook has proven its power and will challenge Google next year as it has already (I believe) surpassed Google as one of the most searched sites in the world. I'm looking for Facebook to become a way that people become, not more connected to "the world" (i.e. CNN MSN, Google) but a way to become more connected to "their world" (i.e. Friends, Family, Community, Shopping Interests, Events, etc...) – a way to build a very targeted audience. So the new approach for many businesses is to present solutions, ideas, or services that maintain "long-term" customers and... (Shall I dare say it) possibly a “smaller audience” that is more committed to long-term support and/or investment in your product/service. (i.e. repeat buyers)
I’m very excited to see how marketing and “getting your message out” will change when Facebook makes a major push to become a “homepage” and search engine. At that point, I believe your personal homepage will allow you to see what is going on with your favorite author, store, friends, community, and will also give you the option to see national and world news that is of interest to you. A homepage that is truly built around a person’s interest.
· If you’re a business, author, or speaker, the goal is to “host” your fan site and not just become a “waiter or waitress” throwing information on your fan site, walking away, and not participating.
· Learn how to “say it” in a mini-blog. Learn how to summarize your book, blog, service in as few words as possible. The current attention span on Facebook makes this vital!
· Evoke communication with personalized questions. “What would YOU do if….” What is YOUR family doing for….” “If YOU were given _______, what would YOU do?” What is the topic people know the most about and the most comfortable discussing? Themselves! (And it’s the topic most love to discuss so give them a chance to discuss it.)
· Say “Thank You” often as well as thank the folks on your fan site for supporting your page, product, book, etc… Everyone likes to feel appreciated!
· Don’t be afraid to admit weaknesses and faults. It makes you more personal. (I’m not saying unload your family history, personal challenges, etc) but find ways to remind them on occasion that you are “human” and make mistakes.
For example, when the Bay of Pigs invasion occurred, most felt JFK’s approval rating would take a massive hit. What happened? It actually improved. Why? Americans realized JFK made mistakes just like they did. They realized he was “human”, related to that, and his approval rating increased.
· Friendship is made up of trust, commitment, encouragement, being truthful, respect, and communication. Therefore, if you practice those same qualities with your social fan site, you will develop social friendships that offer some of the same benefits that face-to-face friendships offer.
Hope this helps you guys out! If you want to follow what I am doing on Facebook just go to www.facebook.com/thegreatestharvest. (Also, feel free to join the site and participate in all discussions and contest. Your insight is valued!)
Be looking for the 2nd part of this blog in a few days…
Quick background: Degrees in Psychology and History. Most of my MS in Clinical Psychology and Intelligence Testing. Career: 3+ years as a counselor (drug rehab, marriage, mental health and depression, work-related issues, group therapy, and whatever else that walked through my door or was assigned.) Approx. 5 years in “Corporate America”. Primarily in sales but also used my skills in R&D while on a M&A Team (Mergers and Acquisitions) for a national insurance company. Owner of a landscaping company since 2005 www.rollinghillslandscape.com . My writing falls under a small publishing label created as a “shell” company a few years back but we began utilizing it in March 2010. (Cedar Farms Publishing.) www.cedarfarmspublishing.com