You’re so proud of your new Facebook business page!

You’ve designed custom, mobile-friendly images for the cover and profile image. You’ve used all sorts of keywords to optimize your descriptions. Your contact information is perfect and matches what’s on your website. You’ve carefully crafted the perfect first post that will establish your brand’s voice. You’ve read up on post times and published accordingly.

And … crickets.

Those first 100 likes can be so hard to get. Even using a combination of organic and paid tactics, growth can be slow-going, and it can feel like you’re talking to an empty room for a while.

There are loads of solid audience-growth techniques out there, and every social media manager has favorites. One of mine is one of the simplest to use, but in coaching others who manage Facebook business pages, it’s also one of the most overlooked: Sending page invitations.

If you’ve ever set up a Facebook business page from scratch, you probably know that you can invite friends to like your page. Depending on the nature of your business, that’s not a bad way to create an audience base, but that’s not what I’m talking about here (more on it further down).

Have you ever sent page invitations from a post?

It’s so, so simple, but I bring it up because often, I find people aren’t even aware the feature exists. If that’s you, keep reading. (Then share with others and amaze them with your Facebook prowess.)

Here’s how it works: You post something to your business page timeline. (Hopefully), people engage with your post. Click on the names of the people who reacted to your post or on the reaction icon(s). This used to only work if a certain number of people reacted to the post, but I’m seeing it work now with just one person.

facebook reaction

A list of the people who reacted to the post will pop up, and each name will have a button beside it. In this example, four users had already liked our page. So I’m going to invite that last one, which has “Invite” next to the user’s name.

facebook invitations

Click “Invite” next to that user’s name, and the button will show “Invited.” If that user likes another post on the Soapbox Marketing page, the button will still show “Invited” if the user hasn’t accepted the invitation. That helps keep you from spamming people with page invitations. If the user never accepts your invitation — and it’ll happen — the button will never change. If the user does accept, the button will change to “Liked.”

Two other things you might have noticed in the screenshot:

  • One user has no button to the right of the name. That’s another business page that liked our post, so we can’t send an invitation. Business pages can only send page invitations to individual users.
  • See the gear all the way to the right? If you ever need to ban an extra-nasty user from your page, that’s one of the places you can do it.  

So why does it work?

When a user engages with a piece of your content, you’ve made a connection. The user found value in your post, even if it was only enough to get them to click “Like.” By inviting the user to your page, you’re leveraging that connection and inviting them to find more value in your other social media content.

It’s sort of a mini content-marketing model: You shared the content, someone new shows interest, and only then do you ask them to make the commitment to like your page.

Timing is really important when you do this. My goal is to send an invitation within a day of the new user’s post interaction. Wait too long, and the person might not remember your page. Then the invitation feels like spam. Do it immediately, and the word “stalker” might come to the user’s mind.

Three things to note:

  • If you’re Facebook friends with the person you’re inviting to like your page, the invitation will come from you. For example, my Facebook friends get an invitation that says something along the lines of “Ellen Moseley invited you to like her page, Soapbox Marketing.” If you’re not friends, the invitation comes from the page.
  • Send invitations over time. This applies to any invitation — to friends or to someone who has liked your post. Page managers report being temporarily blocked from sending invitations after sending too many — usually more than 500. Wait for users to accept some of your initial invitations before sending new ones.
  • Use this trick with paid campaigns, too. After all, if you target outside your fanbase, your paid content will get more exposure to non-fans than your organic posts will.

Inviting friends to like your Facebook business page

I mentioned earlier that when you first set up your Facebook business page, you’ll get the opportunity to invite your friends to like your page. (After setup, you can invite friends at any time.) Inviting friends at setup can be a solid way to build an initial following, but beware: Inviting your friends to like your page can’t be your only audience-acquisition technique. 

Think about it: Your friends are your friends. They’re rooting for your success, but you still need to attract paying customers. 

Is that audience of friends still valuable? Absolutely! Some friends might well be potential clients. Beyond that, they know other people who are. Every time they react to or share something you’ve posted, you get another chance to get your brand in front of someone who needs your services.

Do you invite all your friends? It’s up to you and the state of your friends list, but as general practice, I say no. Selectively invite friends who you know will have some interest in what you’re doing — even if it’s only because you’re doing it. Then be sure to share content from your business page to your personal page. Others who are interested will like your page on their own.

Again, page invitations to your friends or others can’t be your only method to increase your Facebook audience. But for the effort, you should definitely be taking advantage of this trick.

Have you used invitations to attract new fans to your Facebook business page? Share your experience in the comments.

If you’ve got questions about this or other social media matters, get in touch at ellen.moseley@soapboxteam.com. Follow me on Twitter at @ellen_moseley.

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