How to Get Facebook Fans: 5 Facebook Fan-Acquisition Strategies

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These are the only five ways to get Facebook fans. If you have another way, it’s wrong. Just kidding.

These 5 fan-getting techniques are part of what I call my Complete Facebook Marketing System (yet another audacious title that will turn some commenters into haters).  The system is a two stage process for getting fans, then getting revenue. I’ll tell you below where to find more info about that if you’re interested.

Here’s what the system looks like:

Yeah, I make cool systematic diagrams. But it’s more than just a pretty picture, because it came from real world testing of what works and what doesn’t. It was derived from proven results on Facebook for multiple clients, both mine and the work of a handful of other Facebook marketing stars in a variety of verticals and including companies like Axe and Hershey’s, but also local companies. And it can work for lead generation, with some modifications.

Here are the five fan acquisition strategies:

1. Turn Buyers Into Fans At Time of Purchase

This is a no-brainer. If they like you enough to buy, there’s a good chance they’ll like your Facebook page, but it requires a little work.

The easiest way is to make a Facebook Like Box the most prominent thing on your thank you/confirmation page.

A more difficult but stronger strategy is to use another incentive to get them to like your page- for example, a contest that requires liking to enter. With a little programming, you can require they fan you and post a message on their wall about you, and then you can add them to your database of contest entrants immediately. This increases your fan-base and gets some word of mouth out about you as well.

NOTE: there’s a lot of controversy about contests and the Facebook Terms of Service; the upshot is that if you talk to a Facebook rep and get yours approved, you can do more. The downside is that you’re not going to have a rep to have that conversation with until you’re spending 5 figures on Facebook advertising.

2. Incentivized Like, or “Reveal Tabs”

Facebook pages have evolved toward better business results. Here are the stages of evolution so far:

  • Get a Facebook page
  • Create a special landing tab for new visitors who haven’t LIKED the page yet, make that the default tab for non-likers
  • Add a special reward (like a discount) to the landing page for Facebook users specifically
  • Require people to LIKE the page before they can get the special thing – now the reward is an incentive

The “Incentivized Like” increases the percentage of new visitors that like your page. And if you run Facebook ads, that decreases your cost per new fan.

Matt Monahan coined the term “Reveal Tab” – I call the pre-like tab a “reveal tab” and the post-like tab the “revealed tab”.

And yes, the next stage of evolution uses Facebook Apps.

3. Facebook Ads (Social PPC)

Facebook pay per click advertising is a huge topic (you should check out my free training, “Pay Per FACE: 52 Facebook Ad Tips and Best Practices” for a start on Facebook ads). That’s a good basic intro. And my FanReach course is full training.

Combine good Facebook Ads with the “Incentivized Like” strategy above, and you’re getting the most fans for your money. This combo-strategy can lead to up to 80% of visitors becoming fans.

4. Incentivized Word of Mouth Contests

[See the earlier note about Facebook TOS]

We found that, if you have something (or a variety of things) you can give away every week, you can boost

  • Engagement,
  • Word of mouth, and
  • Fan growth.

If you don’t have anything, look for partners that do have things to give away that want more exposure themselves. Then you both benefit from the conversation and fan growth it drives.

The basic idea is:

“Hey, post X on our fan page wall, and whoever gets the most likes and comments wins a Y.”

X is the conversation, and Y is the prize.

  • The conversation could start with any question relevant to your offerings, benefits, or audience.
  • You can combine it with a survey need you have.
  • Or most ninja of all, make them think about the core desire or dream your offering fulfills for them.
  • Or the easy one: “Tell us why you think you should win the prize.”

You’ve told them they’ll win if they get the most engagement, so you’re incentivizing them to post and then tell all their friends to come to the wall to like and comment, and what do those friends have to do first? LIKE your page. 😉

5. Email Transformation

This is a trick I got from one of my Social Media Expert interviewees. It also might be a hole that Facebook will plug one day, so now’s the time. Depending on the size of your email list and how you value your social media list, it could be worth thousands of dollars to you.

Some say a Facebook fan is worth twice what an email subscriber is worth, because you have to ability to reach their friends too. It’s much easier to get a fan to bring their friend in than for an email subscriber to get you another email subscriber. And the value of a fan or email really depends on what you do with them. If you’ve made money from your email list, you may be able to make a rough guess what a Facebook fan is worth to you.

There are other more obvious wasy to turn emails into fans:

  • Include Social links in all your emails
  • Send an email quarterly about your Facebook page and tell them about your “Incentivized Like” discount

Then What? How Do We Make Money From These Fans?

That’s the next step. There are four or five primary strategies for that, but it’s beyond the scope of this article.

If you’d like more,  check out FanReach. It’s a little bit easier to grasp than just reading all this text. If you hate reading, you might like that better 🙂

Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to Get More Fans on Facebook, and LinkedIn For Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedInBrian has 12 years experience as a freelance consultant and digital marketing agency director. His hands-on business experience, cutting edge insights, background in improv and stand up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker, and social media trainer who leaves every audience not only entertained, but armed with powerful strategies and tactics.
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  • Michelle Licudine

    Good stuff, Brian, thanks.

    As a local news organization, we're always challenged with taking best practices, which are usually for e-commerce sites, and applying them to our model.

    Take #1, for example. What constitutes a “purchase” for us?

    It might be a subscription to the print edition. Or, the electronic edition. Easy enough to add a Fanbox to the “thanks for purchasing” page.

    On the other hand, a “purchase” might be as simple as “consuming one news page”, in which case the Fanbox should be much more prominent than we have it currently. But, then you get into page real estate territory struggles with both content editors (“Don't push down the other news!”) and ad sales (“Advertisers want the ads above the scroll!”).

    This is further complicated by having multiple Fan pages — should the Fanbox on any given article page be the “main” account for the news site, or the niche page dedicated to that topic (e.g., education/school news)? Or, both (even more real estate debate!).

    • briancarter

      Depends on your goal(s) and how you prioritize them. If you make money on advertisements online, then pageviews are important too, not just subscriptions. Have you read the Eisenbergs' books on conversion optimization? The biggest takeaway is to think of the conversion paths- who subscribes? how? after how many visits and pageviews? what would the subscription path be if they first found you on Facebook? How do you get your subscribers onto Facebook to act as advocates and help you get more subscribers?

      Think of the fanbox in terms of both social proof and contact retention. If they're a subscriber, they should be a fan, which increases your # of “believers” and increases your conversion rate on everything, because you gain value in the eyes of prospects and light users- that's leveraging your subscriber base as social proof to make new customer acquisition easier. And if they haven't subscribed but are thinking about it, getting them to Like means you can remind them about you and increase the chances, even if it takes months to get them to subscribe.

      It's definitely confusing to have more than one fan page, and if you have to stick with that, I would put the main page on the homepage, and anywhere else you don't have a fan page for; and the niche pages on category pages and articles within that category. Eventually, the people who fanned the niche pages will see the main page fanbox and Like it too.

  • JasonPeck

    I'm under the impression that for most of us who don't have an account rep and spend less than $10k on Facebook ads per month (and maybe even those that do), you can't do things like:

    ““Hey, post X on our fan page wall, and whoever gets the most likes and comments wins a Y.” or even “post a comment and we'll randomly pick a winner each day.”

    What is your take on this?

    • briancarter

      Yes, under their TOS you cannot. But I've seen people do it anyway – a risk.

    • Matt Simpson

      Jason, one way around Facebook's $10k requirement is to work with an agency or app developer that has a direct relationship with Facebook. My company Bulbstorm develops FB promo apps and works with FB to get client campaigns approved. No minimum spend required.

      Brian, dug the post. Love the sophistication we're seeing in FB analysis these days!

      • JasonPeck

        Thanks, Matt. Would be interested to chat with you sometime.

  • UK Dedicated servers

    Hey these makes the networking very easy by using above all credentials.

  • asset protection

    i usually don't write comments that are in direct disagreement with the author of a post, but i have to say that i don't feel that when everyone uses the same online social networking sites it is a good thing.

    • Facebook Messages

      You're absolutely right here – the thing is that business owners, and website owners need to do the marketing that they need to do to add as much value as possible. Often, starting with the lowest hanging fruit is easiest – often a full blow social media strategy effort exceeds that of a SEO or article writing activities with a lower return on capital employed.

  • emcgillivray

    I'd also add that promotion by partners is another way to get fans. The company I work for had great success when one of our partners told their followers how cool we are and to become our fan on Facebook. Definitely the biggest one day boost in fans we've had.

    • briancarter

      You're right, I've seen the same thing… you found one I missed! ūüôā

      • Facebook Messages

        The concept above mentioned by “Emcgillivray” is “social proof”. Which is essentially why Facebook “liking” can be very effective for businesses – that said building a fan base is only as good as what you do with it, and if they're “genuine” fans – I've seen many social marketing firms build up fake fan lists which essentially have no real value.

        D. Offer

  • Niki Payne

    Great article Brian. The company I'm working with is exploring various social media strategies. The problem for us is creating an incentive for people to like us, especially within our very niche demographic of timeshare owners, many of which come to us after being burned in the past by other companies trying to mimic our business model. We do have a lot of valuable content on our Web site as part of our strategy and I can't believe we're not implementing social sharing capabilities on these. I loved the idea about incorporating the Facebook Like button on our thank you/confirmation page. These are some really great recommendations that I will definitely start implementing into our social media marketing strategy, thought our main goal with social media is primarily customer referrals more so than sales which ultimately comes from the referrals. ps. Loved the simple infographic!

    • briancarter

      Maybe you can make a joke about it: “we promise we won't kidnap you and force you to listen to a sales pitch!”

  • WebHosting Guru

    There is another one way to get Facebook fans in which I think you may consider as wrong as you said. Anyway, some friends of mine are getting fans from engaging people on other fan pages on a healthy and smart discussion, and then my friend will ask the people to like the fan page he is promoting. Pretty much hard work for first timers but if you are a regular on that fan page, it is easy to get fans in there.

    • briancarter

      Ya that's a good one if you have more time than money. A lot of bigger companies get the fan-base before they get someone to manage the page, but if you have the time, creating it that way, as long as you're respectful to the host page, is a great idea ūüôā

  • Austin Adel

    Good post.. Nice strategies to get more facebook fans. Social media marketing is becoming very important nowadays. Hope your tips will be very useful.. Will make a try.

  • McGarrell

    thanks for sharing, for my company, we found that it is very hard to get fans for our fb page, twitter is much easier for us. but we will have a try, hopefully we can get more fans soon.

  • Anna Efimova

    I like It! thanks

  • Sekhar Saha

    Its a step by step conversion. Great one. If we can categorize the visitors/customers into 4 then things would be more clear and goal specific. ROI would be maximized. Example:

  • Dante Monteverde

    I love the concept of the “Incentivized Like” and the “Reveal Tab”. I've seen some really creative uses of this on FB Pages. However I've also seen some very poor uses of this. You have to be cautious when implementing an “Incentivized Like” or have contests to just gain “Likes”. While initially effective you still want to put in enough time and effort into your actual FB page and engage your audience on your wall. That's really were you’re going to build your audience and create conversions. Remember there is nothing stopping FB users from immediately “unliking” your page after they have arrived at the “revealed tab” or “liked” you page to help their friends win some prize. The hard part is to keep your audience engaged and continue to visit your page after they were initial inactivated to “like” you in the first place.

  • AlphaProjectStudios

    Nice post. I have used #1 with much success, especially on sign-up confirmation pages.

  • China Electronics Wholesale

    Thanks for sharing this bit of information, I might actually try it in the future. I hope I will not encounter some issues. But, if I do, will be informing you.

  • Kiran

    Great concept and a great post! Love to read more from you Brian.

  • Social Pinger

    SEJ always rock. I love to read their article. All post mixed with high quality information and giving me good motivation.
    Thank you Brian for you cool post.