This is a guest blog post by Jenny Ann Beswick of CRUK, who works alongside the charity giving Cancer Research team.

We all know that social media can be a hugely powerful marketing tool that can really drive your business forward but how can you harness it to its full capability? If you want to get more Likes on Facebook, then it is a good idea to study how some of the most successful pages go about their own promotional campaigns. So, here are three organization who have achieved over 819,000 Likes since starting out on Facebook and are inspirational case studies that you can learn a thing or two from:

Cancer Research UK

As a charity, CRUK (Cancer Research UK) draws in a sympathetic audience and it is through emotive subjects that content gets shared across their Facebook page. Why do they have over 819,000 likes? Because they’re honest. Cancer Research UK tells it as it is – the cancer truth is at the forefront of the cause and few of us can honestly say we haven’t been touched by this wretched illness and as such, the dedicated Facebook page already has something of a guaranteed readership.

But Cancer Research haven’t just relied on empathy to get to a total like count of 819K and when you study their Facebook page, it reveals a regular stream of similar posts. Typically, their updates will show real people, many of whom have beaten cancer and each picture tells a different story. One update in January 2014 was from a cancer survivor called Mary who explained she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and since surviving she now she gets to see special moments like her grandchildren being born and growing up- this Facebook status update achieved over 3,458 individual likes alone.

It’s also interesting to note that Cancer Research UK don’t flood their page with updates. A one a day upload is common and it will show real people, along with brief, engaging content that readers can really identify with. In addition, CRUK will use hash tags to engage the audience and unite them together. An example Facebook update questions “What can you do to help beat cancer sooner?” and within this status refers to the hash tag #ActNowForResearch – a great call to action; within the first 14 hours it achieved over 1400 likes.

From a list of the top 25 most popular Facebook pages, Coca-Cola is the only commercial company to appear. Business operations therefore have to be very innovative to compete with global superstars such as Lady Gaga, Cristiano Ronaldo and even The Simpsons.

Tesco may never be able to crash into that top 25 but the supermarket giant works hard on its social media presence and currently has over 1.3m likes on its Facebook page. The company varies its updates greatly and will look to include recipes, product news and special celebrations of regular events such as Pancake Day. Similarly to Cancer Research, the supermarket tends to update only once a day.

Changing the style of your content is one way to keep things fresh but everything must engage the readers and Tesco have struck a perfect balance which in turn, has seen them breach the One Million like barrier. With status updates that include fundraising awareness for charities, Tesco are able to gain over 300 likes on one post alone.

Their charity awareness posts will refer to “what a breaking year is has been”, looking at their achievements and how the staff and customers have raised £10 million for Diabetes UK. But, although this may be great content and their “like’s” increases horrible customer comments are likely to appear which is one of the dangers that Facebook holds – in that it allows these comments to appear. What Tesco gets right in this awkward situation and is a strong learning point to take away from is they respond back positively to the comment and do not delete it. For example when a customer horribly commented on the £10 million charity funds that were raised for a charity stating that shareholders would take me than the £10 million, Tesco commented back on the collaboration of charity work they were doing and said they apologised and hoped the person could see the positives. Engaging back with customers in the right way is important and showing acknowledgment shows you do care about what is being stated.

The global Virgin chain is a good example of a company that posts more than once every day and their approach has seen them reach in excess of 160,000 likes. It can be argued that this operation has so many interests ranging from airlines to Vodka that they can vary their posts more easily but the page admins remain very creative.

News updates are a regular part of the process with Virgin regularly looking to promote their annual V Festival in August. Serious articles include a piece on women in business while more a more light hearted, random post showing crazy pictures of a Lemur earned over 40 likes in isolation.

What Can We Learn?

Cancer Research UK, Tesco and Virgin have all implemented a successful Facebook strategy in different ways and here are some tips that you can take from their respective approaches:

  1. Keep updating regularly and consistently. Readers like daily posts but don’t want to be swamped with updates.
  2. Make content engaging and be sure to keep the conversation going. Asking a question at the end of the post is a good way to do this.
  3. Keep a diary of news and events within your business niche so that you know when to update throughout the year.
  4. You can consider using Facebook’s own promotion feature but you may need a hefty advertising budget if you want to see any results.

Did we miss anything? Let us know how you achieve your Facebook likes.