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You have a massive network, especially when you consider second- and third-degree connections. When trying to get your first 1,000 users, doesn’t it make sense to dip into the pool of people you’re connected to before soliciting business from total strangers?
If you have 1,000 Facebook friends, each with 1,000 Facebook friends of their own, that’s theoretically up to 1,000,000 people who are a “friend of a friend.” (Of course, this doesn’t factor in mutual friends, but you get the idea.) These steps will get your content in front of all of them. The secret is to make Facebook’s algorithms think your post is extraordinarily relevant to your network by getting friends to share it.
1. Create shareable content.
The two most important things about the content you create are that it expresses the value proposition of your business and it is shareable. To make video content shareable, try acting in it yourself. People share things on social media for “social currency,” meaning they want to look good because of what they’ve shared. Showing that they’re friends with the next big entrepreneur (and now commercial star) makes them look cool, compelling them to share the content. Additionally, everyone likes being the first one in their friend group to share something because it makes them seem in the know. Think: “You’re not going to believe this commercial that John is in!”
When it comes to the concept of the content, an easy and effective strategy is to play off of a giant company in the industry. This should come naturally, since entrepreneurs exist to disrupt industries by building something better than what the current players offer. At this stage, you’re too small to attract the attention of the big company — it’s simply not worth their time.
Because my company’s purpose is to help you find a roommate safely through your network, we played off the fact that some peer-to-peer online marketplaces, where people often search for roommates, have a reputation for being unsafe. We created a found footage-style horror video. I played the part of the innocent roommate being chased by my new murderer roommate with a chainsaw, who was played by my co-founder. I looked into the camera and begged viewers not to find their roommates on unsafe avenues, for their own good. We took it what people would tend to call “way too far.”
The idea here? To be absolutely ridiculous. We were trying to produce the “I can’t believe they’re actually doing this” effect, which usually leads to the “you have to see this” effect, which leads to social shares.
2. Ready your sharing troops.
Create a Facebook group for each social group you’ve ever had. One could be your high school soccer team, and others could be your summer camp friends, your sorority, etc. Then, invite every single person who belonged to those groups.
People have become desensitized to Facebook group invites due to how common they are, so they’re often ignored. To cut through this mental filter, appeal to the empathetic side of your friends. A title that worked well for me was “[name of social group] — I need your help!”
3. Post a call to action in the group.
It takes a lot for people to take any action online these days. If a task takes one too many clicks, people will give up entirely. To get your acquaintances to do you a favor, you have to pull at their heartstrings. Write about how much this venture means to you.
In my groups, I wrote that I had just quit my job, moved across the country to California and risked everything to pursue my dream. I said I would never make it without the help of my network to get the word out.
Many of your friends are really interested in what you’ve been up to, so it’s interesting and motivating to them to read lots of background on your journey. However, some people won’t read more than a couple of lines, so it’s critical to have a summary at the top. You can do this by writing TL;DR (too long, didn’t read), followed by the basic instructions (i.e. “TL;DR: Share this post on your wall tomorrow”). In this way, you’ll be able to motivate your engaged friends with your detailed, heroic underdog story, and still get participation from those with short attention spans.
Make sure to qualm their social fears. A huge reason people won’t share your video to their network is because they’re embarrassed about subjecting 1,000 people to a post. They don’t want to bother their network. Remind them that they’ve probably seen 20 videos on their feed today and have no idea which of their friends shared those videos. Several of my friends said that tactic effectively relieved their anxiety about posting a video to their network.
Finally, make sure you tell them days in advance exactly what time you’re planning to share the video so that they can be available to share it.
4. Post the video to your company’s Facebook page and give your friends the go ahead to share.
The number of times this single post on your page will be shared in the first few minutes will be much more than the average fantastic-quality post. Think about it. People hardly ever share videos they see on Facebook, even if they love the video. The Facebook algorithm that determines the order of content on someone’s newsfeed puts a lot of weight on the number of shares a piece of content has generated, so by getting dozens of shares right after the video is posted, your video can compete with the most viral videos out there.
Tons of people in my network told me that my company’s video was at the very top of their newsfeeds for multiple days, meaning every time they checked Facebook, they saw this video. Talk about a lasting impression. In the first 24 hours, our video received over 20,000 views. With this four-step system, your next video just might, too.
January 2, 2019 at 07:11AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs