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If you run a Facebook page, getting more fans is a big priority. Here are seven ways to do it.

When it comes to , most people oscillate between hunting and farming. First, we all go on the hunt to build up our connections. Then, we start farming them, to grow their loyalty and engagement. For Facebook business pages, hunting and farming must be done together. The goal is to expand your sphere a little every day, while deepening your influence to existing fans. It’s not a contradiction; but it is a challenge.

That’s why we’ve come up with seven different ways you can do both – grow your fans (Facebook calls them “likes”) while deepening your relationships. One of the amazing things about social media is that you can, indeed, do quantity and quality. Here’s our list.

  1. Create momentum. Nothing attracts people’s attention better than motion, so create activity on your page every day. Even with a few fans, you still need to post one or two items daily to stay in their sights. Since your initial fans will likely be very loyal inner circle customers and business contacts, they are probably willing to help you spread the word about your new Page, but only if you can stay in their news feed regularly.
  2. Make every contribution count. More importantly, make it something worth sharing. It can be as easy as a blog post, motivational quote, relevant research or simply a fun video. The key is to select content that benefit your current fans and is good enough for them to reshare with their friends. Se-shared content is like a “warm introduction” to their friends to like your page directly.
  3. Become news. By most estimates, fans will only see ordinary Page posts in their newsfeed a small percentage of the time. So, you’re really going to need to “become newsworthy” in order to increase the chance of getting noticed and re-shared. That means creating content that gets people engaged with likes and comments. Ask questions: they’re a sure-fire way to get multiple comments on a post. Post a picture: images often get a lot of quick “thumbs-ups” as well. These interactions increase the visibility of your post in your sphere’s news feed.
  4. Act as your Page. Page administrators can “switch” to their Page’s persona by clicking the down-arrow in Facebook’s toolbar (upper right) and selecting “Use Facebook As…” This allows you to do two important things: Find and like other pages (related companies in their industry, competitors, etc) and to comment on other pages as your business Page, not yourself. By commenting other Pages, especially those with large fan-bases and lots of interactivity, you create awareness of your Page. Any individuals who are also commenting on those same posts could possibly click through to learn more (and like) your page.
  5. Tag other Pages in a post. After you “like” a Page, you can “tag” them into your own posts, which will “cross-post” your content onto their timeline as well. One way to do this without seeming spammy or inappropriate is to post some praise for a Page’s recent achievements, contributions or otherwise good news. For example, “Congratulations to @KCM Crew for hitting 10,000 fans!” (Note, the @ symbol isn’t necessary but using it forces Facebook to look up the Page and tag them anyway). Now, the tagged Page will have the option to “approve or deny” your post appearing on their Timeline, but who doesn’t like a little praise or attention? You’ll get to appear in front of their fan-base, and perhaps return the favor someday, too.
  6. Use the Build Audience button. Administrators can send email invitations to like their Page to up to 5,000 email addresses. Similarly, they can invite personal contacts within Facebook to like their business Page. Plus, Build Audience lets you share your Page onto other pages, Groups (if it’s permitted; some Groups frown on this) and even directly in a message to a group of Facebook friends. All three of those tools are free, but you’ll want to use them with care. Still, don’t pass up the email function, especially if you have a large out-of-network email list of contacts you want to reconnect with through Facebook.
  7. Finally, simply ask. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ request for a referral from your existing fans. So, asking periodically for help “reaching 500 likes” or “breaking through 10,000” is easy. It also lets loyal fans show their support and be part of something big. Time your requests to major milestones, and ask fans to share your page with their friends. Be sure to publicly recognize anyone supporting you (you can see it by watching the News or performing a search) in a thank-you posting once you reach your goal.

Whether you’re a brand new Facebook Page or you’re trying to break through new milestones in Facebook fandom, these seven ideas can help you grow and cultivate your sphere of influence a little bit every day. Of course, there are lots of other ways, too – so if you have one, be sure to suggest it to your fellow readers in our comments section below.