How to Get Facebook Fans: A Simple Approach

Facebook logoGetting Facebook fans isn’t that difficult for anyone with a small to medium-sized business.

But it is the cornerstone of a social media marketing strategy, which is valuable to any businesses seeking new ways to promote themselves online.

This free approach depends in part on:

  • How prominently the business promotes the fan page
  • How much consistent effort goes into the page
  • The type of fan page / type of business

How do I know? Because I have implemented social media efforts that have succeeded for some ventures and failed for others. The three steps above made the difference in many of the results.

Good Locations for Like Boxes

For many years, Google made available a “heat map” that was used to guide Web sites on where to place ads. It works the same for Facebook promotion on a Web site.

It should be no surprise that ads, like anyway else on a Web page, receive more clicks at the top of the page than the bottom because people often don’t scroll all the way down the page.

Plenty of research shows that ads placed above the site logo get fewer clicks than ads to the right of the logo. An ad below the logo gets more clicks than ads to the right of it.

Likewise, an ad in the middle of the page gets more clicks than ads on the far left or far right.

These behavior patterns make it easy to identify where to place a Facebook Like box. For best results, it should go in any of these top-of-the-page locations.

Decision Factors

Several factors determine the final choice of where the Like box goes.

Despite the above behaviors, some businesses choose to place the box in the bottom half of the page because more important content goes in the top half, leaving no room for Facebook.

A business owner may decide he or she doesn’t have time to work on a Facebook page. In that case, it’s not in the best interest of the business to use valuable space for the box because an inactive page will attract few likes or visits.

Assuming the business does maintain an active FB page, then it’s simply a value judgment of where to put the box at the top of the page compared to any other content up there.

Each page element should have a return on investment. Businesses that receive a large amount of traffic from a Facebook page should use the box in a prominent spot.

Realistically, the center of a page is too valuable for a Like box. A far left or far right column is a better location.

Adding the Like Box

Adding the box requires a handful of simple steps.

  1. Use the Like box social plugin available on Facebook. Use any search engine to find it.
  2. Make sure “Show Faces” and “Show Header” are checked.
  3. Place the box in the upper left or right side of the Web site, at least on the home page if not every page.
If the upper side of the page isn’t an option, then decide which position provides enough prominence.
Prominence is the key factor, and it is determined by the position and by the size of the box, which is why showing faces is helpful.

Consistent Effort

Just about everything online rises and falls with the amount of effort put into it. Determine the level of effort going into a Facebook page and be consistent about it.

I focus a large amount of effort on sites that benefit from Facebook fans and no effort on ones that won’t benefit from it. Site benefit depends in part on the type of site.

A single post on Facebook can take less than five minutes. Start by using an online calendar and schedule just 15 minutes a week at a single day and time to post three items. Use the Facebook scheduling option to make the three posts appear on three different days, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Then watch the results to see if the response justifies more or less effort.

Some Sites Are Worth It; Others Aren’t

The type of business is key. If the business has a natural affinity for a social environment, it will attract fans.

Events, associations, media organizations, community groups and businesses that lead to interaction with people are worth pursuing fans.

The organic approach to acquiring fans naturally — meaning that no money is spent on advertising — is an important goal because it will reveal if the business and the page can attract and hold onto a quality fan base.

Quality fans engage with the FB page and take some action that ultimately results in a benefit to the business, such as clicking to the parent site, clicking on ads, or buying a product or service.

If every effort to acquire fans organically doesn’t success, there is no reason to think that advertising for them will succeed either.

If the fan base does deliver a measurable benefit to the business, only then should the business owner or manager think about spending money on advertising.

Quality Likes and Fan Burnout

It is important to decide why the business values fans, what metrics they deliver and what effort is required to get enough of them.

Would the business rather have 10,000 fickle fans but only 50 engage in the brand? Or would it rather have 1,000 loyal fans with 100 of them engaging in it?

The second is more valuable not only because of the higher number of engagements but also because getting 1,000 fans requires far less money, labor and energy than getting 10,000 of them.

Finally, it is worth remembering that every other business is chasing after fans. The result will be fan burnout when people get tired of being asked to Like too many pages.

Facebook page managers will find it is becoming harder rather than easier to get fans going forward. So focus on quality rather than quantity.