Do you hear crickets when looking at your Facebook page? Not sure what to post to create a little conversation?

Growing a Facebook page from nothing is not an easy task. Sure, there are ways to buy a quick 5000 fans out there, but those fake fans won’t engage with your page or your content. Ultimately, they won’t help you grow your business either.

What you need are REAL, quality, engaged fans. Here’s how to get them:

Be the Face of your Brand

Do your social media fans know who you are? Not your company, but you personally? If you are Target or Ford, it’s okay to post as a brand. However, if you are a solo entrepreneur or a small business you need to put some faces out there and not just your logo.

More than ever in this digital world, people long for real contact with other human beings. They want to do business with people, not pages. If everything you post on your page is generic, or only refers to “we” as a company, you are robbing your readers of that personal experience.

I don’t love seeing my face plastered all over our social media, but the bottom line is that it works. Even at close to 30,000 fans, I still personally “like” every comment from my fans and reply to many of them frequently so they can see that we are more than just a company. There’s real people here.

This personalizes our business and plugs into that need for personal contact. We then gain fans because we’re human.

Have a Conversation

Copyright: samuraitop / 123RF Stock Photo

Along the same lines, consider how you interact with your fans. When readers like and comment on your posts, take the time to respond to them as a person would, not a robot. Agree with them or ask them a question. Conversation on Facebook increases your engagement which gets your posts in front of more people.

If you have difficulty doing this, make yourself a go-to list of 15 -20 quick and easy comments you can post as replies to readers. “Thanks for your feedback Sally – I so appreciate your candor!” or “Wow, Joe, great point, I hadn’t thought of that!” Use these for those moments when you have a mental block and can’t think of what to say.

Personal comments from you to your readers generate conversations which increases engagement. You’ll start to notice that some of your new page fans are the same people who chatted with you briefly on one of your recent posts.

Post Content your Readers will Love

We all want to get our business content in front of our readers. It can be tempting to continually post our sales pages and tell our fans about our products.

However, if you want to grow your page, you need to remember that Facebook is a social platform. People aren’t there to be sold to. They are looking for content that interests or inspires them.

One of the strongest of these emotions is nostalgia. You should capitalize on it.

Take me as an example. I’m a child of eighties. These were my childhood and teenage years. I played Space Invaders video games and watched “The Breakfast Club.” I can sing the tune from the Smurfs cartoons on cue. If a song comes on the radio by Duran Duran or Toto or Bon Jovi, I’m not going to be changing the channel and I will probably rock out in my car.

Just last month I immediately followed a Facebook page that sent me a video clip from the movie “The Lost Boys.”

Why? Because I remember the movie fondly… Kiefer Sutherland being young and the two Coreys battling it out against evil (but good-looking) vampires in this epic teen movie from 1987.

Everyone loved the 80’s, right?
Copyright: pixxart / 123RF Stock Photo

I am not alone.

What do your fans identify with? Are they sports fans? Women who love cosmetics? Millennials looking for great jobs? Whatever it is that they like or relate to, send them content about those things first.

If your business sells high-tech copiers and printers, I can guarantee you that your readers don’t want to see posts about the latest multi-function Xerox machine every day. If you only post about copier products, people will unfollow your page.

You need to get in front of them with content they will love first. You don’t even have to generate that content yourself. Simply find Facebook pages that are already geared toward your readers’ interests and follow those pages. You’ll find great content there that you can share with your own readers.

Here’s the key takeaway on this:

Remember that Facebook rewards engagement, as noted by marketing guru Neil Patel in this post. If you frequently post content that your readers engage with in a big way, then when you finally do post something related to your business, more people will see it in their news feed. Facebook’s algorithm assumes your fans want to interact with your content.

Now Boost What’s Working

Now that you’ve got the conversation going, start to boost the posts where you are getting the most engagement so that fresh eyes can see your content.

You can also post something fun and then follow that with a business-related blog post like this one that you boost the next day. You don’t have to spend a lot either. Often for less than $10, you can reach hundreds of people in a very short time. These readers will see all the great conversations happening and want to become your page fan, too.

Practice these four activities and you’ll start to see steady natural growth on your page.

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite practices for engaging your readers on social media?