There are many articles written by so-called "gurus" telling how to increase your facebook reach. First of all, if you call yourself a guru you should go look up what a guru is, because you're probably just a jerk trying to sell something who wants to call themselves a cute name.
So I'm not going to approach this as a guru, because I'm not. I am, however, someone who has seen plenty of people who try to increase their facebook friends/likes count by doing really stupid things.
First of all, don't go send a million random people friend requests from your personal page, then try to say that you have that many fans for your business page. That's just dirtbaggery in action. And I've seen people do it, which is sad, and makes you look desperate.
Next, don't go onto your competitors' personal pages and send their friends messages to come like your business page. That's just double-dirtbaggery in action. And I've seen people do that too.
If you genuinely want to increase your local interaction, then you need to interact with other local businesses and brides. In order to do this without the dirtbaggery, start by going to the facebook search box and type in the name of your city. That will bring up any number of pages that you might be interested in liking. You can also put in your city and other search terms if you want to narrow it down.
I also find other wedding pros who I know by finding someone whose business page I've already liked, then seeing who they've liked. Sometimes people who I know and work with have pages that I haven't liked yet, so by connecting with them you can get some online networking in. You can do that by going to someone's page and clicking on the "show all" button on the "likes" box that sits on the right side of the timeline.
Again, do NOT do this with people, just businesses. If you want to search for your old high school friends then do it from your personal page, not your business page.
And always avoid the most dirtbaggish move of all, which is to post a link to your own page on someone else's business page. Some people skate very close to the edge with this one by posting something like "A new fan here, please like my page back!" with a smiley face. This is the equivalent of exchanging links on websites, which people used to do in the dark ages of SEO. That's sketchy, but when people post an actual link to their website on my page that's really too much.
To find more clients locally, you can put a facebook button on your website with a note for people to like your page. You can also do giveaways for facebook fans only, with the goal being to expand your local reach. By giving away a free cake and making the terms be that the winner has to pick it up, you'll target local clients rather than ten million random people who would never hire you due to their location.
Do you have any other ways of reaching local customers? What have you done to increase your LOCAL facebook reach without resorting to the tricks of the dirtbags? Add any tips that you have in the comments section here!
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA