Over a six week period (1 December 2011 through 17 January 2012) we gained 137 new Likes/fans for our Tourism Currents Facebook Page. That is a 101% increase over a similar time frame from the previous year.
We did not buy Facebook ads or Sponsored Stories. We did not run a contest. We only did one thing differently …. we started interacting more on our own Home page (News Feed) with other Pages that we’ve Like’d.
That was it.
Sure, our Tourism Currents Page doesn’t have massive numbers of supporters, because we have a deliberate, laser-targeted focus on social communications for the tourism and hospitality industries. We’d rather have a small number of people from CVBs (Convention and Visitors Bureaus) and Tourist Boards who really care what we say on Facebook, and then maybe check out our online Store, than thousands of random button-clickers who we never see again.
Facebook is like blogging and most other human interaction – if you want attention, you must give it. If you want your updates to be noticed, you need people to Like, Comment and Share them; that means they must remember that your Page exists.
How We Did It
As a Tourism Currents Page Admin, I switch from acting as my personal Sheila Scarborough profile to acting as the Tourism Currents Page. You can switch roles when you’re logged into Facebook; look for a little arrow at the top right of your screen next to “Home”. The options available to you will drop down. If you are an Admin for many Pages, there is a small gray slider bar at the side of the dropdown box, although sometimes it doesn’t show up.
At least once a day, for about 10-15 minutes, I go to the Home page/News Feed acting as Tourism Currents. I click the Sort —> “Recent Stories First” dropdown arrow option on the upper right side. That puts my Home page status updates in chronological order, without regard to Facebook’s EdgeRank, which by default sorts the News Feed into the “Highlighted Stories First” setting. I want to see fresh, new, unfiltered updates. I also want my interaction to be noticed and not buried with 573 later Likes and Comments.
Then, I skim down and “like” interesting status updates, plus leave a comment on the ones where I have something useful to say. I know that many other Page Admins are a lot like me; they notice and investigate those who actively respond to their content. Likes and comments help increase the visibility and EdgeRank of individual updates, so not only am I calling attention to Tourism Currents, I’m also helping other people’s content get more attention.
As the screenshot above shows, once I started doing this consistently, we gained 137 new Likes in six weeks. For a Page with 895 Likes (as of this writing) that’s a nice little jump.
Numbers Aren’t The Point, Though
Excessive focus on getting more fans or supporters is useless bean-counting, unless it’s combined with actively engaging those people and getting them interested in and talking about your destination, attraction, lodging, service or product.
At a minimum, you should have a tab on your Facebook Page for easy signups to your own email newsletter.
You’re not in business to build an empire for Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg …. you want to own your own data.
We use a Facebook app tied to our Tourism Currents MailChimp email account to encourage newsletter signups right on our Page. To see how it’s done, here’s how to add a MailChimp signup form to Facebook; your email provider probably has a similar procedure.
I disagree with some of the current advice to increase the frequency of your Facebook posting because of the new Timeline format. Making more noise and spewing even more content for busy people to have to plow through is not a sustainable communications tactic.
To get Likes, be a Like-er yourself, and then have a plan for what the heck you’re going to DO with the community you build.
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