You know that little warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see +1? You are not alone. Receiving friend requests on Facebook is one of the most rewarding experiences the social network has to offer. Apart from the instant confidence boost, you also get the opportunity to confirm whether your friend-wanna-be will eventually receive the honor of an approval – and yes, saying no can be fun too.
So how can you boost the number of friend requests you receive? Although you could certainly buy your way into the ten thousand friends Facebook limit, we would advise you against this. Even if the idea of a bot friend somehow turns you on, you should know that Facebook plans to delete millions of fake accounts in the near future.
Here are six tips that will help you boost your number of friend requests (from real people).
Understand why people may add you as a friend
There are three main reasons why somebody may add you as a friend on Facebook. First, she might already know you outside Facebook. In that case, you must ensure that your profile is discoverable. Second, he might think you are hot stuff. That’s more likely to happen to girls although guys (with abs) do get some requests from time to time. Third, she might want to expand her network in a particular niche (professional or not). This invites are most likely to come through the friend-suggest tool. Fifth, your new hot friend is actually a bot so you might as well disapprove.
Ensure your privacy settings allow you to be discovered
Many of your friend requests are likely to come from people that already know you and are looking for your Facebook profile. Make sure they can find you by going to your Privacy Settings and clicking on “How You Connect”. Set all options to “Everyone”.
You need a strategy that will get your face in as many places as possible. Every appearance is an opportunity for somebody to like you and befriend you. You should try to reach as a diverse audience as possible by commenting on profiles of friends that belong in different groups of friends.
Take every opportunity to tag yourself in photos where your face appears. This may be trickier than it sounds as you might have no clue where to look for such photos. To increase the chances of the photos appearing in your news feed, sign up for Facebook events that you plan attending and check out the profiles of people you hang out with more regularly. Facebook will detect your increased interest and will adjust its news feed.
Join groups of people that like similar things or have similar hobbies and post messages with useful content in group or fan pages. Post at least one update every day on your own Profile and make it as funny and catchy as possible. Use your friends’ birthdays as opportunities to post on their Timeline but don’t say “happy birthday”! If you don’t want your post to disappear under a grouping of similar postings, send them a funny video or graphic instead! Do it early in the day to increase your exposure to friends of friends who visit the birthday profile.
Use a viral image as a profile picture.
This is the most important part of your +1 campaign. Your profile picture will show next to your posts, inside Timelines and News feeds. Unless your profile picture screams CLICK-AT-ME there is little chance that you are gonna drive traffic to your profile. Marketers use viral thumbnails to increase click rates and get more visitors to their pages. If you are serious about getting more Facebook friends, you must get serious about the profile picture you use. In order to make your profile picture viral you should aim for something that is sexy, funny, weird or extremely cute. A picture of your kitten, or your funny face could do the job. If you cannot create your own image, you can always search for viral images on Google.
Be creative and post quality comments
The worst thing you can possible do while leaving your social footprint is sound like a corporate advert. People will instantly switch off and your chances of them paying you a profile visit will instantly disappear. If you want your friend requests counter to start moving, you better forget spamming and start leaving some quality comments yourself. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion and don’t shy away from arguments. For every person that doesn’t agree with you there is probably one that does and would not mind making you a Facebook friend.
A new study by the University of Missouri found that if the comments alongside a user’s photo are supportive, funny and showcase a positive and social side of the user, this affects our perception of that person far more than the information the user herself has provided, such as their profile picture or status updates. Needless to say, negative remarks can severely damage the reputation and the person’s online image. Despite, or because of the possibility everyone has to create an online persona to their liking, other people tend to form opinions of you based on what your virtual social circle says of you, much like in high school!
Tune up your Facebook profile to wow your profile visitors
Once you get them to visit your profile page, your task becomes to get them to click the add-friend button. Your strategy here should be inspired from marketers but us a more subtle approach to avoid looking “whored-out”. Since the information that your visitors can see on your profile is limited (and you probably want to keep it that way for privacy reasons) your main tool to drive your friend-conversion rate is your Facebook cover.
Your Facebook cover, on the other hand, will be visible to all visitors regardless of your privacy settings, so it makes sense to use an image that is both inviting and unique. You can find a wealth of customizable Facebook covers at foob.me. If you are really starving for some Facebook love, then you can consider making a promise on your Facebook cover that reads like this “Check Out My Latest Bikini Shots in My Photo Album – Friends Only”
The University of Missouri study suggests that a big piece of the social media puzzle are in fact the user’s photos, and in particular their Timeline cover. The more social cues you give out in your photo, the more attractive you are to your new profile visitor. The study found that photos which showed the user playing sports, supporting a band they like, attending a cool party or playing an instrument, provide additional information about the user, and often help perceive the user more physically and socially attractive than people with plain headshots.