It used to be easy to get new Facebook "Likes".
You could specify which page new visitors would land on, and then set up a "Like"-gate so people had to connect.
But then... Facebook changed everything.
The biggest downside of social media marketing is that you don't own or control anything. So you have to play by Facebook or Twitter's rules, whether you like it or not.
But if you have a good understanding of online marketing strategy, then you can transcend these moves and still grow any social network.
Here are 3 shortcuts to grow any social network in record time.
You'll never get that many "Likes" if you expect people to find you through serendipity.
So if you want faster growth, then you need to drive people to your social network profile from other sources.
1. Start with your existing marketing assets. Most businesses can use their existing website traffic or customer database to drive new likes.
Social media encourages people to interact longer with your brand. So they'll stick around longer and hopefully spend more - which drives up the lifetime value of that customer.
But not everyone has a ton of website traffic or large email list. So what should you do then?
2. Piggyback off others. Find partners who will promote you to their audience.
Maybe you can help them with a technical problem, or maybe you agree to run a promotion and donate free products in exchange for their promotion.
Either way, you want to identify people - bloggers, companies, nonprofits, etc. - who share your target customers.
But you can't force people to Follow or Like you. So how do you get them to do what you want?
People won't "Like" or share your page because you're awesome. They do it because it benefits them.
So you need to go a step deeper and figure out what really motivates these people. Send them a survey, or use A/B testing to uncover the reasons your customers take action. Then you can choose an appropriate incentive that will appeal directly to these underlying triggers.
Once you've identified what they want, then align it with what you want. That way you can have them opt-in and follow your brand for access to the incentive.
But before you can do that, you first need to position the offer...
You can't just send people directly to your Timeline or account Profile and expect them to know what to do.
The best way to boost conversions is through personalization. So send specific people to targeted landing pages.
For example, when you buy a Google AdWords for a specific keyphrase, you don't direct people to your homepage. You direct them to the exact product or page that matches what they want.
Well the same holds true for social media. You can drastically improve conversions by matching each offer and landing page to the traffic source.
For example, your own email list might have different preferences than traffic from another blog's audience. The loyal customers on your email list would love reward points, while new visitors who've never heard from you probably want a discount so they can try you out for a small, first-time investment.
So direct them to the appropriate tab, page, or even single update that matches their triggers.
Social media technology is constantly evolving. New features are being added - and subtracted - every day.
But if you understand the underlying principles and marketing strategy, then you'll be able to grow and succeed no matter what happens.