How We Gained 18,000 Facebook Fans in Our First Year
by Laura Roeder
We launched our software app, Edgar, in the summer of 2014 with exactly zero followers on social media. Zilch. And as you see from the graphic below, we've steadily grown our audience.
Now, just over a year later, we have around 18,000 Facebook fans and 2,500 Twitter followers. That’s about 1,700 new page likes per month, or over 400 a week. Not too shabby!
How’d we do it? Here are some of the core concepts we followed to get more fans and followers.
A key component for Edgar’s success on social is getting the most mileage out of our best content. This should be no surprise because, well, that’s what Edgar was built to do!
Think about it: You share something great when you’re starting out and only have 50 followers. That’s just a handful of people seeing your work, so why not share it again when you have 500 followers? And then share again when you have a thousand?
Keep in mind that the average post on Facebook will reach about 4 percent of your followers - and who knows what will happen the next time Facebook tweaks its almighty algorithm! On top of that, less than a third of Twitter users check the site more than once a day. These facts mean that the majority of your audience misses your average post on social media. Your social content is like a shooting star - beautiful for those lucky enough to be looking in the right place at the right time, but zipping by unnoticed above everyone else’s heads.
Social media is all about conversations, so we’re uber conscious about how we interact with our users. We want to get to know them, and for them to get to know us. We want our brand to evolve through conversations with the customer.
Think of your brand as a living thing. Our brand, Edgar is a character—a nerdy, bespectacled octopus who just loves to be helpful. As we interact with people on social, we imagine how Edgar the character would respond to the situation, and then we run with it. This gives us a voice to use, but not a script to stick to.
You've got to find a way to do this for your own brand - if your company were a person (or an octopus), what would it be like? What would he or she like to do? (Don’t say sell things!) What did your brand have for breakfast, and how will it spend next Friday night? It may seem a little odd, but building a character is a great way to find your brand’s voice for social media.
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb—especially if it fits the brand character. We like to let Edgar’s quirky sense of humor shine in spontaneous, goofy, one-to-one interactions that make folks feel a genuine connection with the brand. When you go out of your way like this to make someone feel special, chances are you’ve got a fan for life.
Listen & learn
Social is a huge listening tool. Use your social channels to keep a finger on your audience's pulse, and you’ll find new ways to connect with your fans and improve your product. You may even discover folks using your product in a way you never imagined, which opens up a whole slew of options for you.
For example, we created the Edgar HQ Facebook group as a place for our users to chat about all things social. Fostering discussion in this group has led us to some great discoveries about what our users want. We’ve added functionality to our app that is a direct result of these discussions. Give your users a forum for their ideas, and you’re guaranteed to find ways to improve.
Listening to your audience - really listening to them - might be the most valuable part of social media for a brand. Learn from it, and use it to grow.
Make it easy for people to find you on social! You’ll see links to our Facebook and Twitter profiles on our website, in our emails, on our newsletter—just about everywhere! We want to make sure everyone knows where we are and how they can join in. And you should too.
Once you get people to your social channels, the real trick is getting them to come back for more. Ask yourself, “If I came to this page for the first time right now, would I want to stick around?” If your social profiles won’t keep you interested, how do you think your audience feels?
You’re constantly vying for people to pay attention to you over the billions of other things they could be looking at online, so it pays to try new things! Ask questions, share your own content, share other people’s content, post pictures, post videos - be creative and keep things interesting!
Growing your fan base on social takes a lot of work, but it’s absolutely worth it. There’s no perfect blueprint to follow - that would take all the fun out of it anyway - but I think the bottom line is pretty simple: learn what works for your audience, and do more of it!
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