How To Earn Facebook Fans Without a Budget

Local businesses don’t always have a big budget. Local businesses don’t always NEED a big budget to earn Facebook fans.

The Shalimar Restaurant wanted to engage its current customers more. As a restaurant with a large number of loyal customers, the Shalimar didn’t need to reach a new audience – the place is busy enough on a Friday night already!

For owner Iraque, rewarding loyal customers and keeping them coming back for more was most important: “1,000 Facebook fans would be great for us.”. From a standing start with very little engagement and just 65 Facebook fans, we knew this was going to be a challenge.

Facebook Marketing Solution

We started with a reward. The Shalimar has a loyal customer base; fans in the traditional sense of the word. We needed a reason for those fans to become Facebook fans, so we offered them a reward.

We offered dinner for free every Friday, picked randomly from entries in to a promotion powered by the Pay With a Post Facebook app. Following Facebook’s terms of service, the app shares the promotion with friends as they register for the promotion – for every customer entering, that customer’s friends were also exposed to the offer, gaining more local fans more quickly.

Importantly, the Pay With a Post app makes simple for users to enter, just one click captures email address and shares the promotion.

Secondly, we knew that a significant proportion of users would be using mobile devices in the restaurant or even at home. The promotion was configured to work on either device, opening up a greater audience and further accelerating fan growth.

Entering and sharing isn’t enough, the valuable commodity is to earn Facebook fans. When a user is a fan of your page, they give you permission to show your posts in their news feed. That frequency is the true value of Facebook.

All this works well once users start entering the promotion and sharing with their friends, but it doesn’t work without an audience in the first place. Too few customers know about the promotion, so too few enter, too few share and it just doesn’t work. As the Shalimar had virtually no Facebook fans to talk to initially, no email database to target and  no budget for a Facebook pay per click campaign to use we had to rethink.

What did the Shalimar have that we could use?

It had customers. Lots of them. Every week, hundreds of loyal fans came through the door, looking forward to a jalfrezi, a biriani, a poppadom or two and a naan, either eating in or taking away. We already had an audience. We just needed to motivate them to cross the divide between offline and online and to earn Facebook fans along the way. Sometimes new technologies need an old school solution: leaflets.

Beautiful, A5 leaflets were created featuring the offer, a short URL (easy to type on a mobile) and featured a QR code for those more technically savvy. The Shalimar staff dutifully handed these out to customers, stuffed them in takeaway bags and explained the simple opportunity.

Customers Loved It

The Facebook page (see Facebook Page Management) earned Facebook fans overnight and grew steadily for months. Real fans. Real customers who loved the food and the great customer service.

 Shalimar Leaflet

Earning Facebook fans isn’t enough. The real value of those fans is communication. Frequent communication. In marketing terms, “brand reach”. For that, our Social Media Specialists devised a strategy to keep the audience interested and engaged and of course, to have a little fun.

By regularly posting funny facts, stunning pictures (who doesn’t like food?) and cheeky quizzes amongst the drool-inducing enticements to pop in for a curry, We connected Shalimar to its customers in a whole new way which they’d never achieved before.

We spent nothing on clicks. We rewarded fans who were only too happy to share a brand they already loved and most importantly, we had fun.

 facebook fans

The Shalimar now have over 1000 fans on their Facebook page, many of whom interact on a regular basis and wax lyrical about their love for the restaurant for all to see.

Related Facebook Marketing Posts

How Facebook Custom Audiences Work

How We Earned 1.1m Facebook Fans

Changes to Facebook Promotion Rules

Speak with a SpecialistOur Facebook Marketing Services

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