Marketing on Facebook 101: How to Build Your Fan Base

How would you like a fan that was so crazy about you that they dressed up and wore make up for you?

Instead of picking on other Facebook pages, I’m going to use pages that I manage to share some insights on building fans. The tips I’m sharing with you are from the trenches of creating content that attract or repel fans from joining pages. The pages that I manage had no budget for attracting fans. Every fan won to a page has been carefully cultivated.

The easiest way to illustrate tactics for winning fans is to compare why one page has fans and another page struggles with adding fans. Let me start with my most successful page that I manage – the Santa page with over 20,000 fans from every country. My friend has a seasonal Santa business and wanted a way to quickly gain visibility for his business. When I created his page in October 2010, I had no idea that he was the only Santa on Facebook at that time.

Here are some ways that we grew his fan base:
Sent a press release announcing the page. Of course novelty and timing worked for us. Fox 4 News called 5 minutes after I sent the news release. The Lee Summit Tribune and Lee Summit Journal quickly followed. Then the Kansas City Star. He even got interviewed by the L.A. Times.

Associate with a cause. After we got some news coverage, the page spiked to 5,000 fans by the end of November. We partnered with the City Union Mission for a toy drive. Several of my friends who own retail businesses agreed to be a drop-off location. I sent another news release and the toy drive got more news coverage. We quickly gained thousands more fans.

Suggest to a friend. My friend and I suggested the page to everyone of our friends. I think I had about 500+ friends and he had 200. That “Suggest a Friend” campaign gained another couple hundred.

When Christmas rolled around, we were close to having 10,000 fans. Fan growth was driven primarily by offline public relations. I’m a huge proponent of building a public relations campaign into promoting your Facebook page. I’ve seen pages languish with no fans – I have one right now – because of the lack of offline promotion.

Here are some other ways to build your fan base:

Add the link to your page to your signature box in all of your outgoing emails. “Join me on Facebook at .”

Create an incentive for joining the page. Donate $1 to a cause for everyone who joins or giveaway an item in a drawing.

Launch a Facebook ad campaign to draw visitors to your page. Add a custom tab as a landing page as part of the ad campaign.

Print business cards with the name of your Facebook page to further drive visitors to your page.

Add the link to your Facebook page to your web site. If you have a retail location or office where your clients drop in regularly, promote the page with signage.

Creating a Facebook page with no offline promotion may work for someone like Justin Bieber. But if you’re a mom and pop shop or a small to medium-sized business, then you need to build in offline promotion into your social media efforts. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come.


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