Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Facebook. I don’t use a personal account or post selfies. But in the span of 16 days I was able to go from 0 likes to 1,236 likes, which had a huge impact on my website’s traffic. Here’s exactly how I did it, with the hope that it can help you.
The first time I heard of Facebook, I was a sophomore in college. Back then, you had to have a “.edu” email address to sign up, and only about 10 schools around the country had access.
After hearing friends talk about the site for what seemed like weeks, I finally went to register one day while I was goofing off in the library. There I hit a problem. I had to have a “.edu” address, but I didn’t remember what mine was. I also didn’t remember the password, even if I remembered the address. I tried about five different combinations before giving up.
“Oh well. I guess I’m not getting Facebook.”
Fast-forward more than a decade. Facebook has become a monster with billions of accounts. Given all the privacy issues and the fact that people seemed to waste hours on the site, I still never bothered to register. In fact, not being on Facebook became a badge of honor.
As my passive income sites began to grow in popularity, my friends who were on Facebook told me that I was crazy to not be marketing the sites there. It wasn’t until I talked to one of the most successful bloggers in my niche that I finally changed my tune. Talking to him, he kept talking about how well Facebook performed in getting people engaged with his site and bringing new visitors. He was stunned I didn’t have a page already set up.
This was the final straw. I jumped into Facebook with both feet. I had no idea how to even create an account for my site or how to get people to actually look at my page. But I was determined to figure it out.
As it turns out, I was able to generate a ton of positive momentum from Facebook very quickly. And it wasn’t near as difficult as I thought it would be.
Here’s step-by-step how I got started and generated all those likes. I write this from a beginner’s perspective in the hope it will help those of you not familiar with Facebook marketing on how to get started. If you’re already a pro, you might still learn a thing or two from my experience.
Signing Up With Facebook for your Website (Hint: You Have to Create a Personal Page)
As I said, I was proud of the fact that I didn’t have a personal Facebook page. Once I resigned to creating one, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. After all, I was creating a page for my website, not me.
It turns out that you cannot create a Facebook page for a website, company, band or anything else until you have created one for yourself. It took me about half an hour to finally discover this.
The first thing I did was go to Facebook’s homepage. There, buried at the bottom of the page is the link to create a page for anything other than an individual. But once you fill in your information about the page you want to create, you’re hit with a message to log in.
Frustrating. It means that to create a page for your website or business, you’ll need to create a personal account first.
To keep things simple, we actually created a “dummy” personal account. For us, this is a personal preference. Facebook has some very powerful tracking features across the internet that are frankly, a little creepy. We like having the separation of a “fake” individual account to tie to our real website account. This affords a little more privacy than if you used your full-time personal account with pictures of you, your family, and your last New Year’s Eve party.
Once you’ve created a personal account, then you can go back to the link to create a page for a non-person entity. To get started, you just select the category that fits your organization and fill in the name of the company, brand, or cause. Once you click “Get Started,” you’ll begin creating a profile to get seen.
Creating a Profile That Makes People “Like” You
After the initial step of creating your account, you’ll have to create your profile on Facebook. This includes filling out your profile, images, and target audience.
This is by far the most important step in creating your account. Take your time. It’s worth it.
Writing an Awesome Page Description
The first step to your profile is creating a page description. This description serves a dual purpose, but Facebook will only tell you about one. Here’s what Facebook says to put in this section:
“Add a few sentences to tell people what your Page is about. This will help it show up in the right search results. You will be able to add more details later from your Page settings.”
In other words, your site description is like SEO on your webpage. You want to make it keyword rich. But there’s a second aspect that Facebook doesn’t mention. What you put in your site description also appears when your page is suggested to Facebook users. So not only do you need to optimize the description for search, but you need to make it compelling for a user to click as well.
First things first. Your description should clearly state what your business, website, or brand is about. Beyond that, we suggest focusing on the benefits that visiting your page will have for any user who finds it. That’s what will draw users in to check our your page.
Say you are creating a Facebook page for your new blog about ice cream.
You could jot down something quick like:
IceCreamAuthority — A site dedicated to all things ice cream.
This certainly hits on the SEO aspect of ice cream. But what’s in it for the reader? If they saw this show up in their feed, would they be inclined to click? Probably not.
Instead, what about:
IceCreamAuthority offers the latest news, updates and coupons for ice cream. Be sure to check out our Flavor Finder — a patented tool to find the closest store carrying your favorite ice cream flavor.
Sure it’s silly example, but it gets the point across. Go big, be descriptive, and tell readers a benefit to clicking over to your page and learning more.
Profile Pictures Are Huge
As important as the copy for your Facebook description is, it’s no doubt eclipsed by your profile images. Facebook has turned to much more visual interface. Your profile picture is what appears across the site to attract new readers that might be interested in your content. And according to MDG Advertising, content featuring compelling images averages 94 percent more total views than those without.
In other words, without compelling profile pictures, you may as well not have any page at all. So what makes a good profile picture?
First, you want something that’s clean and open. Your profile and cover photos are going to be converted by Facebook into suggestions for users to “Like” and will appear in all sorts of sizes and formats. That means it needs to be clear and any text needs to be legible, even at a small size. You also want your picture to be clear, no matter what size it is or whether it’s on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. I suggest uploading an image that’s at least twice the size of the area these photos take up on the largest display:
That means at least 320×320 for the smaller profile photo and 1700×630 for the larger cover photo. Remember, you always want to scale photos down. Scaling up makes them blurry and distorted. If you aren’t sure how large the photo you want to upload is, you can hover your mouse over the pictures (when using a PC) to see:
Here’s a good example from Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas. Politics aside, the header is clear and easy to read. It’s a nice, clean photo. And it tells exactly what the page is about. Whether this is a huge page on a desktop monitor or shrunk down for a mobile device, it’s going to come across well.
Here’s an example of something that goes the wrong direction. It’s a small local restaurant that needs some help. The small profile photo is good. It’s clear and although it has some small text, the title is large and easy to read.
The problem is the cover photo. First of all, advertising a restaurant with a bunch of empty chairs is never a good idea. Second, it’s simply not an inviting photo. It’s dark, busy and not clear to see exactly what it is at a glance — especially if it’s shrunk down for a mobile phone.
If you need photos for your page, there are a ton of places where you can download high-quality image absolutely free. Don’t just go to Google Images and download a picture. The vast majority of these are copyrighted. Instead, here are 17 sites with thousands of photos for free.
Making Your Page Look “Lived in”
It’s tempting to start trying to get likes and tell people about your page the instant it’s up, but you’ll have a lot more success if you add content to your page for a few weeks beforehand.
We call this making the page looked “lived in.” It’s the same principle as if you are selling a house. Houses that are staged with furniture always present better than one that’s completely vacant. Facebook pages with content are liked more than barren ones.
You’ll want to fill in as much as you can, including profiles, photos, and posts. Make it a goal to post everyday for at least two weeks to build up content. This way if a visitor comes to your page, there is actually something to see and engage with. That makes it more likely that a visitor will like your page.
How to Get “Likes” (Or How We Got More than 1,200 Likes in Just Over Two Weeks)
Everything up until this point lays the groundwork for engaging visitors on your site. It may not be as sexy as actually getting the likes on your page, but without building this foundation, you won’t have near the same results.
Now it’s time to promote your Facebook page. Here’s the key — you have to be active. Simply putting up a link to your Facebook page or having people find it organically will not happen.
That’s why we paid to promote our page on Facebook, and the results were staggering. When you promote your page, it’s automatically placed around the site as a “Suggested Page” for members that you target.
Getting started is extremely simple.
- Click “Promote Page” on the left side of the site
- Define the creative you want to use (the default is your cover photo and page description)
- Set a target audience and budget
Your Ad Creative
Now you can understand why we placed so much importance on your page description and cover photos. While you can change these for your ad, the default is your cover photo and site description. This is where having a beautiful, eye-catching cover photo and description pays off in getting people to notice your page.
Setting a Target Audience and Budget
Our favorite things about Facebook advertising are the ability to set a target audience and the low budgets to advertise.
Setting a target audience is by far the simplest thing you can do to make sure that your page is seen by the right people. Not only can you type in locations such as cities or states, but you can also select interests. For instance, type in “ice cream” to target specifically the 129 million people on Facebook that have expressed an interest in that topic.
Budgeting is also helpful. Not only can you ensure that you won’t spend more than you want to, but daily budgets start at just $5. So for the price of a fast-food burger, you can promote your Facebook page. We suggest starting as low a budget as possible, giving you a chance to test and tweak your ad before you invest too much.
For our promotion, we budgeted between $5-10 per day. And since our website is focused on the travel industry in Texas, we selected Texas as the geographic audience, and interests revolving around major Texas cities and travel.
The results were awesome. Take a look:
As you can see, in a span of just over two weeks, we went from zero likes to more than 1,200. We received more than 1,000 likes in just a week.
The surprising part is that paying to promote our page let to a ton of positive organic momentum. The more people “Liked” our page and shared our content, the more other people found our Facebook page, and liked it without us having to pay. We ended up getting hundreds of likes organically thanks to the publicity generated (days with no likes are when we turned the campaign off).
Meanwhile, since running the campaign, our traffic from Facebook has soared. While more than 90% of our traffic comes passively through SEO, our traffic from Facebook has more than doubled.
Best of all, we haven’t begun to tap into this audience. The vast majority of our posts to Facebook have simply been travel photos. When we’re ready to tap into our audience on Facebook, we’ll have a highly engaged network ready to listen.
Have more tips or questions on getting likes on Facebook? Let us know in the comments below.