How we got 126,244 Facebook Fans 1216

Some of you may not know this about me, but I work full-time as the manager of Envato’s educational network, including FreelanceSwitch, Nettuts+, Psdtuts+ and 9 other sites. Each of our sites have had Facebook Pages for a while now, but they never really took off until I set aside the time to do an in-depth investigation on Facebook marketing strategies, and worked with my team to implement them. The results surprised all of us.

We saw the number of daily new fans for each site skyrocket, and today these 12 Facebook Pages, as of this writing, have 126,244 Facebook Fans.

I’ve poured all the insights gained from this process into my new book (published through Rockable Press), Successful Facebook Marketing. It was released today, and yes I have been doing my “book launch” happy dance around the house :-).

Since I know not everyone wants to put significant effort into Facebook marketing, I thought I’d briefly share some of the key insights here so that, even if you never pick up a copy of the book, you can still learn the basics of how to knock it out of the park with your Facebook Pages.

The full breakdown

  • 36,891 Fans of Psdtuts+
  • 16,480 Fans of Nettuts+
  • 16,500 Fans of Vectortuts+
  • 4,376 Fans of Audiotuts+
  • 11,554 Fans of Aetuts+
  • 7,479 Fans of Cgtuts+
  • 4,027 Fans of Activetuts+
  • 11,038 Fans of Phototuts+
  • 3,147 Fans of Mobiletuts+
  • 8,230 Fans of Webdesigntuts+
  • 5,294 Fans of FreelanceSwitch
  • 1,228 Fans of RockablePress

Each Facebook Page is run by the editor of the site the Page is dedicated to. Feedback from the editors suggests that running one of these Pages takes on average about 15 minutes a day. We’ve highly automated the process so that minimum labor is required to keep the Pages healthy and growing.

Why this is important

These days there’s a huge focus on Twitter as a source of new visitors to your site, but on our blogs, we’ve discovered that Facebook traffic regularly beats Twitter traffic, even when comparing a Twitter account that is bigger than our Facebook Page. We’ve discovered that, in general, Facebook Fans convert far better into visits and pageviews than Twitter followers.

For example, on Psdtuts+ we have 36,891 Facebook Fans and 42,472 Twitter followers. Even though our Twitter account is bigger, Facebook regularly sends more traffic.

And then there’s this day, where we had 12,638 visits in 24 hours, all from Facebook:

If you’re reading this, you probably care enough about social media and attracting new visitors that you have a Twitter account. With the above in mind, it’s important that you also create a Facebook Page for your website or business as soon as possible. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can begin building your core group of fans.

If you want in-depth advice on how to set up your page for highest conversions from visitors into Facebook fans, well, you’ll need my book for that ;-).

Strategy 1: The Like Box

No single factor bumped up our daily new Facebook fans more than adding a ‘Like Box‘ to each of our sites. Not only does the Like Box give your website some fantastic social proof, it makes it very easy for people to ‘Like’ your Page without ever leaving your site. If you only do one thing to promote your Facebook Page, it should be this.

The Like Box we added to Nettuts+.

The arrow points to the day when we first added the Like Box to Nettuts+.

Strategy 2: Fan-only Content

With a little bit of effort, you can create a landing page for your Facebook Page that only triggers when the person visiting it isn’t already a fan. They’ll be greeted with a call to action to Like the Page, and some enticing goodies they’ll receive if they do so. Once they become a fan, the goodies are ‘unlocked’. Here’s the funnel we use on the Psdtuts+ Facebook Page:

As soon as the visitor clicks ‘Like’ and becomes our fan, the page reloads with a fan-only tutorial they can download immediately. This system is another key reason why our fan count has grown so quickly across all our sites. There’s no better way to convert visitors into fans than a call to action and exclusive fan-only content.

Setting up this system requires a little bit of technical savvy (or technical help), but it’s something anyone can do if they know how. You’ll find the instructions for the system we use inside the pages of Successful Facebook Marketing.

Strategy 3: Automation

When people become your fan on Facebook, they’re expressing that they’re interested in what you do. If you run a website, it’s likely that they want to know about new content you publish. If you run a business, they probably want to know about new products or services you offer.

You can save yourself countless hours in admin of your Facebook Page by automating updates as much as possible. The simplest way to do this is to add your RSS feed to your Facebook Page so that new content is automatically cross-posted to Facebook.

Once you’re logged in to your Page, click ‘Edit Page’ and then select ‘Apps’ from the left-hand menu. You should see something that looks like this:

Make sure the ‘Notes’ app is installed, then click ‘Go to App’ underneath the description of the app. You’ll be met with a customized Page for your notes content. You want to look at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar for a small link that says ‘Edit import settings’.

This will take you to a page where you can paste in an RSS feed to import. Once that’s done, Facebook will start automatically publishing new content from the feed to your Facebook Page. If the content has an accompanying image, it will automatically use that image as a thumbnail for the update, meaning that even auto-generated content looks great.

Even though we do publish some great custom content on our Facebook Pages, the majority of content we publish is piped in automatically via RSS. It takes zero time to maintain this, but our fans love being able to keep up with new content this way and are constantly posting comments and ‘Liking’ these automatic updates.

Strategy 4: Targeted Content

As I mentioned above, we publish great custom content alongside our automatic updates.

When we want traffic we publish questions about our content, we ask for opinions on our content, or we recommend our content – and every update has a link back to our site. Not only does this bring traffic, it also heightens the feeling of community on the Page.

When we want discussion we use Facebook’s Questions feature, publish polls and ask for opinions. Comments are extremely important for the growth of your Page because when a user posts a comment it also shows up in their News Feed to be seen by all their friends.

When we want to build loyalty we interact with fans in the comments, thank them for their support, run special promotions and give fan-only gifts and bonuses.

When we want sales we post teaser updates about new products, share images of a products in development, share news about new products, and give fans discount coupons.

And though we are not in this field, if we wanted clients we would post examples of newly completed work, share testimonials from clients, post about our services and talk about what we’re currently working on.

That’s a good start, but…

Though these 4 key strategies are an essential part of building popular Facebook Pages, there are so many more things you can do to grow faster and build a fanbase who adore you, your website or your business. Unfortunately, good information on Facebook Marketing is scarce. Facebook Pages are are only just starting to be understood by marketers, and those that do ‘get it’ are reluctant to share what they know. I guess they don’t want to give up their $500/hour consulting fees… and who can blame them?

Luckily, consulting for big companies is not my thing. I’m a writer. So, when I realized how powerful these strategies were I couldn’t help but to start writing…

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