How to get 100 000 fans on Facebook in less than a year

In September 2011 a small company had 1 600 fans on Facebook. The company had no clear Facebook strategy and there was little activity on their Facebook page. Less than a year later, the company has over 100 000 fans, a very active base of enthusiastic fans and a Facebook page that contributes significantly to the bottom line! What happened  during this year? What can we learn? Strategy is simple. Execution is difficult!

Some Experts will tell you that you have to develop a detailed plan, set specific goals and get management on board  before you start. Other experts have a more practical approach to success with social media. I think this story will show that the practical approach is more effective .

Facebook growth

In order to succeed on Facebook, you need to attract and engage fans and measure effect in order to share success stories. Here´s the story.

1. Just do it

Some activties require little planning. I consider them “no brainers” when it comes to any Facebook effort. Here´s a short checklist:

When you start implementing, you trigger reactions from other people in your organization. You get people to think and you create a positive “sense of urgency”. You might even inspire other people to take action! You´ve essentially kick started your company´s social media efforts. No planning or meetings required. Just do it!

2. Do some research

You don´t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at what other companies do and emulate them until you come up with something truly unique. Expand your horizon. Look across countries and industries for inspiration. Read reports and blog posts about Facebook success stories. Learn from the best companies in other countries:

  • Who´s the best? Make a list of the 5 leading companies in the world.
  • What do they do on Facebook? How do they use Facebook on their own websites?
  • What do they publish on their Facebook pages?
  • How are they different?

3. Choose a general direction and implement like hell

After you´ve completed step 1 (Just do it) and step 2 (Do some research), you´re ready to really get going with your social media efforts. Test different approaches and adjust along the way. Remember that ideas have no value if you don´t implement.

  • Contests & promotions
    Facebook promotions are a great way to attract fans. In September the Norwegian company used Wildfireapp to launch a promotion. The first attempt failed, but in October they launched a new promotion using a quiz-app from Offerpop. The second promotion was successful and the fan-base  grew to 5000 fans.
  • Simplicity is genious
    In November the company launched a Facebook Christmas gift app. The idea behind the app was to make it easy to give Facebook friends Christmas gifts. The service had several social mechanisms to maximize viral exposure.  It´s also worth noting that Walmart launched a similar gift app around the same time. The app was not a commercial success, but the company gained some valuable social experience!
  • Christmas calendars 
    Alot of companies launch Christmas calendars before Christmas. It´s quite boring, but it works. People love quizes and contests with daily prizes. If you add a grand prize at the end, you´re guaranteed success. Read more about the Facebook activity that lead to 45 000 new fans.
  • Copy Groupon
    Groupon offers daily deals to a large customer base. If you have 100 000 Facebook fans, it´s worth trying daily deals towards your own fans. Only approx. 16% of your Facebook fans see any given post (source: Facebook – don´t remember exact source..)so you can post almost daily without wearing out your fans! Don´t abuse it and remember to focus on relevancy!
  • Common sense
    Mark Zuckerberg once said: “Communities already exist. They´re already doing what they want to do. The question you should ask is how you can help them do that better”. This is key to success with social media. What are your customers, partners, employees already doing? How can you make it easier for them to do what they´re already doing?

4. Measure results and share success stories

It´s much more fun to share success stories when you know the exact numbers at the beginning of your quest. Before taking on a new project, it´s essential to look at the numbers. There´s a variety of good tools out there: Facebook insights, Allfacebookstats and Socialbakers are good tools that make it easy to track progress.

Next steps

The story about the small Norwegian company that gained 100 000 Facebook fans in one year shows that you can succeed on Facebook without extensive planning and huge budgets. The key is to choose a general direction and implement like hell. It´s hard work and somebody has to take action. We hope that this short story inspires others to share success stories!

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