I own a medium-size hotel in Pampanga. I attended your talk in a conference and heard you referring to Nescafe Points and how it made the Nescafe FB page the number one page in the Philippines. What are your insights and how can I gain Likes for our FB page like how you did it with Nescafe. Would the strategy be the same? – Edward
 
There are many ways to increase the number of Likes for an FB page. But you are right in asking for the context. Is there a difference in a Facebook fan acquisition strategy if the product is a fast moving consumer good, or is from the service industry? While there are basic steps to acquire Likes, the context is just as important. Fast moving consumer goods have an automatic advantage since their target market is broader. B2B (business to business) brands, on the other hand, would have a harder time acquiring fans since their target market may be limited and focused on specific groups of people. In fact, for B2B, I do not recommend creating a fan page. On the middle ground are service industries like yours, where the market can be limited but still broad enough for you to engage them on Facebook.
 
Regardless of context however, there are universal principles that apply if you want to grow your Facebook page, be it making it 50,000 strong, or almost two million like Nescafe. I suggest you take a look at its page and see what they are doing right. Here are some learnings we can take from it if you analyze further.
 
The first step will always be to acquire fans. The essence of Facebook will always be the community that is created in the FB page. The Likes generated have to be significant in volume, because the engagement tipping point can only happen if it reaches critical mass.
 
Nescafe Philippines was able to do exactly that, but their strategy was different. Instead of creating multiple applications and games and incentivizing everyone for every engagement, they created Nescafe Points. It is an umbrella strategy where they create a Master App, and all interactions and rewards of apps would funnel back to the Master App. It means that fans that engage with the promos and games do not get gadgets, but earn reward points that they can eventually exchange for Nescafe items. This not only breaks the transactional approach that most brands are doing, but it also inculcates two things: engagement and brand love. Engagement in that fans are incentivized for every amount of interaction; and brand love because fans do not look forward to a chance to win a gadget (which can be quite expensive), but instead win branded items.
 
The second would be enticing engagement. The Nescafe Philippines page consistently engages fans through apps and relevant content. Beyond having the most number of Likes in the Philippines, the Nescafe Philippines FB page also boasts of having the highest engagement rate, which means people are interacting and talking about the brand. In an age where online conversations about brands are mostly negative, Nescafe Philippines was able to encourage positive conversations about their brand. While the Nescafe Points app allows the page to acquire fans at a fast rate and helps drive engagement, a community and content strategy were also in place. Community managers were deployed to ensure that every fan interaction was tracked, monitored and responded to, thereby encouraging them to interact more.

Finally, create brand ambassadors that would ensure that even when the community managers are not around, they will act as moderators and literally act as fans that take ownership of the brand on Facebook. Nescafe finds them and encourages them to take an active role in the page. Thus, they respond to other fans’ comments, and even defend the brand when someone says something negative.
 
The Nescafe Philippines page is one of the hallmark cases of a brand venturing into Facebook and succeeding. Your hotel may not necessarily have to hit 100,000 or 1 million fans to be termed a success. However, as the owner of your brand, successful social media marketing can be felt from the marketing and sales standpoint. Are you getting more queries online? Are people recommending you to their friends on Facebook? Are they sharing your content? If you say yes to the three, then you are on the right track. Good luck. 

 
 
Donald Lim is the Chief e-Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. He will have a seminar-workshop entitled Viral Marketing on November 28, 2012. Please email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text 0918-81-168-88. Also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.
 
 
Total number of words: 800