You have a passion for the vegan lifestyle, you eat a clean diet and live the true lifestyle. You walk the walk and talk the talk. At this point you might be thinking of helping the spread the message of your wonderful vegan life with others, be it a blog, podcast, or even training to become a certified vegan lifestyle coach. Whatever the case, you need to build a community in order to spread the word. Where do you start? First thing, you must have a website. Your website is your home base, the landing page for your business. It’s very important to have a destination that you control. In this article we are going to talk about building a community using Facebook, but you don’t want it to be your final destination. The same is true for Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. The reason is that without your own website as a permanent address, you lose control. If one of social networking sites sites decides to shut you down because they believe you violated their terms of service, your business is closed.
Your website needs to be the place you post your content and then share to social media. Online traffic is everything for building a community. There are many sources of traffic including all the social sites I listed above, and Google+. Today we are going to talk about building a strong following on Facebook, mainly because it’s the most popular social site. The first thing we want to do is create a Facebook business page. I see so many people creating their business site using their personal page and the reason I hear this is because they already have 100 followers. 100 is nothing. And understand that if Facebook finds you using a personal page for business, they will shut your page down. The second problem is that you cannot run ads for a personal page. So you must create a business page, either for a business or an organization. I set up my page — the Oh So Very Vegan Facebook page — to be an organization.
Once you have your Facebook page up and running, you need to customize the header with a graphic as well as the image icon. Next, start filling it with content from your blog, repost some news articles in the vegan space, or create some funny memes. The reason for all this is that you want to have a good amount of content on the page when you start sending over traffic.
Now that you have your Facebook page up and running it’s very important that you post to it once every day at the minimum; it would be better to post several times a day. You can schedule your posts to publish early for each time zone. After about a month you should have enough stats to see what hours of the day get the most interaction. Then change your posting times to coincide with these popular times. Always be testing, trying new times throughout the day. It’s also important to position your page as a resource for the lifestyle. In other words don’t just post your own stuff. Share other sources — you can find this info by searching “vegan” in Google news.
You can’t rely on organic traffic alone because Facebook does not show your posts to everyone unless they get traction. You’re going to need lots of likes to get lots of engagement. Running a “like campaign” is the way to do this. A Like Campaign is nothing more than a targeted ad you run on Facebook. The great thing about Facebook is that it allows you to truly target who you want to attract. You can get pretty granular in the vegan space. My ads personally attract vegans, animal activists, vegetarians, and people looking for vegan recipes. The ad you create has to be engaging and cannot have a lot of text, so a strong photo is very important. In the vegan space I find that an ad with a farm animal — cow, pig, chick — does very well.
Let’s talk budget, because you have to have some money to run your ads. If you’re a business person you have to understand that nothing is free. I talk to people about Facebook ads and I hear things like “I want to make money not spend it. I’ll just build a page and invite my friends and clients.” If this is your mindset then you have a hobby and not a business. If you are ready to bite the bullet and understand that you have to invest in advertising to build your business, then you’re good to go. The great thing about Facebook ads is they are not expensive. You can run a $5 or $10 a day budget and attract a few thousand likes a month. The cost per like in the vegan space is less than 5 cents per like. Once you attract several thousand likes, you really need to start thinking creatively. As an example, I now have over 30,000 likes on my page but when I post, not all 30,000 people see the posts. Facebook has an algorithm that only shows ads that people engage with. I have created posts that were shown to 350 people and only attracted two likes. I have had posts that have been shown to 3300 people and attracted 20 comments, 56 likes and 10 shares. My best post ever attracted 100 comments, 400 likes, 200 shares and was shown to 30,000 people. So you want to post info that people engage with. You need to attract all three: likes, shares, and comments. I also reply to all comments this tends to attract more comments, creating more engagement.
With all these likes, you really want to start attracting people to your website. Maybe have a giveaway or an e-book download. Always share blog posts to your Facebook page so they have to follow a link to read it.
There are a few great benefits to this.
- You are building a community you can market to.
- Somewhere in the Google algorithm, a “like” is a vote.
- Developing great content attracts links that helps your site in Google searches.
If you have a product or service to sell, that’s great but don’t overwhelm your community with marketing messages. I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of what I send is value added info and 20% is sales and marketing speak.
Facebook is a powerful marketing tool and it’s very affordable to put your business is front of extremely targeted traffic.