A few weeks back, hoping to separate my Facebook (FB) postings into “private” and “public,” I started tweaking my garden-themed blog’s FB fan page . Planning to use it more this spring, I wanted to work on recruiting new fans, too. Without fans, what’s the point, right? So, I tinkered. Within a week, I tripled the page’s followers–and released my high school chums from all those garden and sustainable living posts! (A few of them came with me to the page, which was very kind.)
Curiously, while I was doing this, ProBlogger was doing the same thing on FB for many of the same reasons. Might this be a trend? Yeah, I think so. Recent changes to Facebook have put fan pages into the news feed, which means independent fan pages get the same basic exposure as MSM. Because of this, as I confessed on Twitter, I’m starting to prefer my FB page to my Twitter account for my daily (over)dose of social media interaction. Shocking!
From my recent experience at fluffing up my fan page, here are some essentials I’ve uncovered on how to increase traffic. Thanks to these, my page’s fan base is small but growing steadily. In truth, this is all common sense stuff, yet I have more time to tinker with it than others. So, here we go…
• Use it or lose it. If you’ve already got a fan page, then start posting. (Need a page? Start here.) This was a big deal for me because I’d stopped posting on it almost as soon as I started a page last summer. Why? No one could find the fool thing back then! Before I began a experimenting with increasing traffic, I spent a few days adding fresh content.
• Create exclusive content. It’s great to post links to your blog, but regularly add links and content (ex. updates) that are exclusive to your FB page. Moreover, if there’s necessary overlap between your FB page and your Twitter account, acknowledge the duplication with a simple “x-post w/ Twitter” notation. In my experience folks get irritated seeing the same content over and over and over. Sure, they may stay fans–but they may also tune you and your content out.
If you feel you must cross-post content with regularity, then add something extra in your link introductions–maybe a question for your fans or some “insider” background on “why” you wrote the post or selected the link.
• Allow your fans to post to your page. This notion is freaky for some folks because they fear losing control, but it’s one of the easiest ways to encourage interaction–and build community around your ideas/interests. Remember: only content (links, updates) posted by you make it into the page’s feed. Random posts by fans stay put on the page. And, as the page’s administrator, you always have the right to pull inappropriate content, including spam.
• Post information about other pages you follow. Much like tweeting out links to other sites you like, showcasing other fan pages on your page helps to build connections, channels through which ideas and traffic flow.
• Promote your page. This is probably the easiest part of all. First, because the fan page addresses are so long, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use a unique Facebook URL or a shortened URL from a site like Bitly.net. Then you need to put that link up everywhere–on your private FB account, in your Twitter account, etc. You’ll also want to create a FB badge/widget for your blog. Finally, fan pages of interest and post relevant links on them. respond to content in a courteous, collegial manner. You’ll pick up a few more fans that way.
• Ask folks to be your fans. Yup, point-blank ask ’em. Share a link to your page with an invitaiton on Twitter. Via email. On your private FB profile page. This is the human-touch that will be more effective than any widget alone could ever be.
That covers it for now, save for that thorny issue about page administrators not receiving notifications when someone posts to one’s page. My suspicion as to why those notifications aren’t yet available? Because the FB people haven’t figured out how to stop spammy posters from flooding the site with excessive fan page posts. Think about it: if spammers knew they could reach you instantly through the page, they’d go for it. For now, my only advice is that you check your page hourly daily.
How about you? What strategies or ideas have you come up with to increase interest in your FB fan page?