Building A Facebook Fan Base

So you want to build your brand’s Facebook fan base? Before I get there, a few disclaimers: 1. Size doesn’t matter. It is more important to have a few very engaged fans than a thousand who “like” your page once and never return. 2. Size does matter. The more like-minded people you have in your fan base, the more likely they are to engage in conversation and develop a living, breathing community in the context of the brand. 3. Facebook doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Facebook publishing and advertising tactics are only part of what a brand should be doing to build connections with their consumers. I can’t express this any better than John Jantsch already did on his blog: Facebook is Not the House.

As John points out, Facebook can be a “front porch”, an effective place to begin a relationship with a consumer, a place where they can get to know the brand. So if you have decided to start inviting people to come over to your front porch for a glass of lemonade, here are a few pointers to maximize the number of RSVPs:

1. Target cost-efficient Facebook Marketplace ads to consumers most likely to like your brand. The most obvious group of these prospects is the friends of those who are already friends of your brand. Use key words that are directly related to your product, category, or usage occasion to increase your chances of delivering a relevant ad to the right person.

2. Concentrate on the simple “Page Like” ad format. A Video Like unit or a Poll unit gives the consumer something else to do, which is great if you want to drive engagement. But if you want to build your fan base, keep a single-minded focus in your ad formats, and stick to “Page Like” units.

3. Start your campaign using multiple variations of image, copy and title, and eliminate lower performing units as the campaign proceeds. High contrast, simple images tend to work the best, given the white background of Facebook pages. Keep the text short and witty.

4. Start your campaign by using multiple, narrowly defined targets. Monitor the results from each target, and eliminate those groups that don’t respond.

5. Support the Page Like ad units with Page Like and Page Post Sponsored Story units, targeted to friends of your existing fans. For more detail, have a look at my previous post about Sponsored Stories.

6. Not everyone will click on the “like” button in the ad; some will click on the title and land on your brand page. Make sure that the landing page gives them an idea of what to expect from your brand, and why should “like” your page. You could have them simply land on the your brand’s news feed. If that’s your choice, take time to think about the default setting for your page: would it be better for them to see just the brand status updates, or is seeing recent posts made by all your existing fans more compelling?  As an alternative, you could develop a custom landing page, to allow you more control about the “first impression” your brand makes. Think about which approach will help them decide whether they do indeed “like” your brand.

Building your fan base is a continual process; Facebook is so widely adopted that it’s unlikely that a single campaign will reach all the potential fans for your brand. Maintaining a steady rate of fan growth provides a solid base that can be leveraged to support campaigns focused on fan engagement and  deeper brand experiences online and offline.

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