Contributor: Mike Templeman
Okay, before we get started, I want to differentiate between purchased followers and real followers on Facebook. You can do any type of Google search and find hundreds of websites that will have their robot and spam account followers go and like your facebook page in just a few hours. And if you do that, you will ruin your Facebook page. You see, Facebook has an algorithm that looks for these types of activities. And if they find that your page is indulging in a quick fix, they will penalize you. Going forward your organic reach will be stymied and your page will never have the potential it could have had if you had built it the correct way.
Now, even though we’re going to be discussing real followers, this doesn’t mean you didn’t pay for them. Instead, you’ll be paying Facebook. Because Facebook has become a pay-to-play network for businesses. They just want to make sure that you’re paying them and not someone else. And when I say you’ll be paying for them, I mean you’ll be spending promotion dollars to attract them.
Alright, so is it possible to get a quarter of a million people to like your page in under a month? Yes. It’s actually quite easy when you follow a set plan. I’ve done it myself several times over for pages that my agency owns and operates.
You will need time and money to accomplish this. If you’re expecting to be able to do it for free, then it is still possible, but it is ridiculously unlikely that you can accomplish it in the time frame laid out.
One quick note before we begin. There’s the possibility of “boosting” your page on Facebook which will attract people to like and follow your page. You can get people to like your page for anywhere from 50 cents to 5 dollars per follower on average. This is not that strategy. Instead, we’ll be targeting a cost per new follower well below 5 cents.
You’ll first want to identify an audience that has a significant number attached to it. By this I mean you want to choose who will be fans of your Facebook page. And you’ll want to ensure that there are enough of them to warrant a 250,000 follower number. Thus, if you’re creating a Facebook page for dog owners, choose dog owners. Do not choose hairless chihuahua owners who live in Arizona. That second audience is far too small and you’ll never gain your desired following.
Once you’ve identified them, you’ll want to create a saved audience in the Facebook ads platform for this group. I recommend creating a half dozen versions of the audience and target them in different ways. For instance, you can choose people who like pages about dogs. You can also target people who follow other popular dog pages. There are even ways to target people based on their buying habits. So, create a few different ways that you’re going to target dog owners (again, the audience we’re using as an example).
Set up your Facebook page and fill in all the pertinent information. I also recommend creating an Instagram page at the same time since you can receive a lot of collateral benefits on Instagram from your activities on Facebook. For example, one of the pages that I’ve created on Facebook reached the 250,000 follower mark and the Instagram page reached 30,000 followers in that same time with almost no additional effort.
You’ll now want to find out what your audience is engaging with. Go to pages that speak to your target audience and study the posts they are putting up. Find out which ones are getting the most likes and shares. Then create a posting calendar for your page and emulate those posts. For instance, if you notice that people engage with cute images of dogs (which they do) at a high rate, then you’ll want to source as many of these posts as you can. They may also engage with training tips (which they do), so you’ll also want to work posts in about that topic as well.
On average you’ll want to post at a minimum of 4 to 6 times per day. And spend a few days populating your page with posts before you start any type of promotion. That way the page looks like it’s been around for a while. You have a higher chance of people following your page if they see some history.
You’ll now want to boost every single post you publish. I recommend using a set small amount per post. Usually this is $5 to $10. And you’ll want to boost them for just one day.
As a quick cheat sheet, images will get the most engagements in terms of reactions (likes, love, laugh), shares, and comments. Videos will receive a lot of views, but less actions. Updates are third in reach, and link shares are dead last in the amount of people you can reach for the same amount of money. So, I would put most of your time into image posts at first.
The reason you’ll be boosting every post is because you’re looking for the outliers when it comes to cost per engagement. Some posts can cost 10 cents per engagement and others can be upwards of $1 per engagement (a terrible post if that’s the case). But there are some lucky few that will be below two cents per engagement, and some even less than a penny. These are the ones you’re looking for. As you skim the data, find the posts that did extremely well on a cost per engagement basis and then go back to those posts and boost them with more budget.
You can spend as much as you want, but watch for diminishing returns. They eventually start costing more per engagement as time goes on. And it varies on how much boosting each post can handle. I’ve had some posts that I’ve spent thousands of dollars on and I’ve had others that lose their efficacy after 50 dollars.
Now you have to start growing your following. People will have liked and followed your page based on some of your promotions. But the quick way to get new followers is to go through the posts that received reactions, click on the folks that reacted, and now you can invite those people to “like” your page for free. There is a limit on how many people you can invite per day, and it varies based on account.
I’d recommend adding a few admins to your page in order to increase the amount of invites you can send out. For instance, when I first started doing this, I would add my wife’s Facebook account as an admin on my pages and then have her go through and invite her daily limit after I was done. If you have coworkers, friends, or family, I’d recommend using them.
This will allow you to gain thousands of followers for extremely cheap since you were able to get them to react to your page for pennies, if not less, and you can invite them for free, you’ve basically reduced your cost to almost nothing for a new follower.
You continue this process every single day for an entire month. At about the two week period you’ll want to now start “boosting” your page, as I mentioned above. If you have a great following and engaging content, you should now be able to get your paid followers down below 20 cents if you’re targeting your audience correctly. If you can’t, then don’t turn that campaign on. It’s not worth it.
And that’s how you can achieve over 250,000 followers in just under a month. As I’d mentioned it’s been accomplished a few times by myself and my team. It does take a lot of work and your budget will probably end up being around $5,000 to $10,000 in paid advertising with Facebook.
And if you’re wondering if it’s worth it. The answer is a resounding yes. If I were to simply boost a post to a target audience on Facebook, I can expect to reach 1,000 people for every $5 to $20 spent. With an audience of 250,000 my average post reaches over 150,000 every time I post. If I post 4 to 10 times per day, I can make up my costs in a few weeks.
I’m an entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about startups and marketing. I am also the founder of Foxtail Marketing, a digital demand generation firm that is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country. When I’m not working, writing, or speaking, I enjoy watching 80’s action movies and spending time with my family. You can reach me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.