In this post I’m going to reveal The Secret Formula. It’s the one that’s promised by the Facebook marketing ninjas, the one that reads: “I’ll show you how I added 3 000 raving fans in just 7 days!” Then I’m going to explain why using it will destroy any chance of your Facebook page succeeding.
First, the formula.
Step 1 – Friend
Friend as many people as possible. Yes, that’s right, hit the Add a Friend button early and often. Go through your friends’ friends list and find those friends of friends with lots of friends. (Lots of friends often mean they’re not choosy. There more than likely to accept your friend request). Hit Add. Again. And again. And again. Stop only when you get a Facebook warning for over-friending.
Especially add those friends with whom you share lots of mutual friends.
And, if you really want to be smooth, add a personalised note. You can find the text for your *personalised* note here.
When the person accepts your friend request send them a direct message or write something personal on their wall. Say how wonderful it is that you’ve connected, that you’re looking forward to getting to know them. Now you’re really starting to connect. A relationship is starting to form. Kumbaya.
Step 2 – Suggest
Start suggesting. Go to your Facebook page and suggest it to your newfound friends. Don’t worry that the page is of no interest to them. What’s important here is the number of Likes on your page.
If you really want to get personal add a message to the suggestion. Make it *sincere* and meaningful. It will improve the conversion ratio of suggestions to Likes. And that’s what the exercise is all about. Right?
Step 3 – Flick
Finally, when you’ve started running up against Facebook’s 5000 connection limit, start de-friending. De-friend all those you’re unlikely to do business with. Get rid of anyone that’s not in your tribe or not your target demographic.
Keep de-friending until you’ve got enough room to start adding new friends and making new page suggestions.
Now that was easy. All it takes is a few weeks of concerted friending and suggesting and you’ll have a massive following guaranteed to earn you a six-figure income working just a few hours a week from your yacht in the Greek Isles.
Who could want more?
And that’s the formula. Seriously, it’s that simple.
Now here’s why it’s a bad idea.
In case you hadn’t noticed Facebook has two feed tabs; Top News and Most Recent. Most people spend their time in Top News. It’s no secret that to do well as a Facebook marketer you need to show up regularly in Top News.
But how do you crack the Top News big time?
Facebook’s algorithm attempts to deliver the stories that you’ll find the most interesting into your Top News feed. To over-simplify, it observes those pages and friends with whom you interact (Like, comment, share) the most and deliver more of those stories. But it also looks at what stories are the most interesting to your friends and takes a punt that you’ll like it too.
For example, if one of your friends posts something that’s really funny in their status and it achieves lots of Likes and comments, chances are it will appear in your Top News feed.
This means that the clever, cool people often appear in Top News, giving them a prime spot to generate even more Likes and comments. And become cooler in the process.
In short the more popular you are – the more Likes and comments you generate – the more popular you become.
And that applies as much to Facebook pages as it does to personal profiles.
Pages that achieve few Likes and comments rarely see any action in the Top News of the people who Like them. So even though I click Like on a page, if Facebook think it’s boring, chances are it will rarely, if ever show up in my Top News tab.
But how does Facebook work out what’s boring and what’s not?
Well, firstly they look at the number of interactions (Likes, shares, comments, shares, posts) a page gets. Lots of interactions will often lead to a spot in Top News.
But not always!
You see Facebook also looks at post quality (they now call it Post Feedback, but I like the old term). This is a measure of how engaging posts are to the page Likers. They not only look at the number of Likes and comments but at the number of active users on the page relative to the total number of Likers.
For Facebook an active user is anyone who makes a Like or comment, views a photo or video or views your page.
So, if your page has lots of lurkers rather than Likers then chances are it will be relegated to the Latest News tab, a place where many simply don’t go.
By now you’ve probably already connected the dots. All those *friends* who graciously clicked Like after your page suggestion are very probably the reason your page is now buried in the back blocks of the Latest News.
You can pump out all of the funniest, most thoughtful, value-added information you want but because it’s of zero interest to all those thousands of fans your page is (probably) doomed forever.
The situation could be worse. It often is.
You see the Facebook page marketer’s worst nightmare are those people who hide a page in their newsfeed. Rather than offending a “friend” by un-Liking a page some people simply hide the page from ever showing in their newsfeed. There’s no way to know who these non-liking Likers are and so they can’t be removed from the page. Rather, they just sit there dragging the page down, like a blanket of barnacles on the bottom of a brand new boat.
And just to be clear Users Hidden from Feed is something Facebook measures. Page admins can see the numbers in their page Insights. It’s almost certainly something that affects the chances of a page showing in the Top News tab.
So sure, go ahead and use the friend-suggest-flick page formula. If big numbers stroke your ego or if it keeps your boss happy, do it. But if you want a brand that means something, that stands for something, that aspires to make a difference then make fan numbers the last thing you measure.