There are currently over 400 million active users on Facebook, which is somewhat insane. Last month Facebook became my 4th largest traffic source (admittedly it is ‘currently’ quite away behind the top 3). Before reading on I suggest becoming a fan here so you can see what I’m writing about.
I’ve always been a huge fan of building lists and subscribers to my various sites, it removes some of the reliance on search engines and gives you a bit more stability. Using my site coolest gadgets as an example we currently have around ~69K RSS and 10K email subscribers. When speaking to people outside of the industry, only a small percentage know what RSS actually is never mind using it, however even my technophobic father has heard of Facebook, so around 9 months ago I started looking at building a list on Facebook.
Creating a FaceBook Page
Make sure you’re logged into Facebook, go here, click “Create Page” and follow then follow the simple wizard. You’ll need to create a logo, add links in to your site and write a simple description but nothing too challenging. Next up we need to populate your page, you can either make daily posts yourself, pay somebody to do it or if your site has an RSS feed you can automate.
I’m currently using RSS Graffitti (thank you Zath, Clarke and Keith for the recommendation). This will automatically post a thumbnail and excerpt on your pages wall whenever a new post is published on your site. This will then link to the relevent page on your site, like so
You now have a fully automated page and source of traffic on one of the most popular sites on the web, cool.
Promoting Your Fan Page
The first thing you need to do is get 25 fans so that you can claim your vanity URL, I’d suggest manually mailing friends to become a fan, explaining why and personalise your messages a bit. Once you have 25 fans head here and claim a more human friendly URL for your fan page.
I’ve tried a few different methods promoting Coolest Gadgets fan page, the following graph shows how it’s grown since inception
1 – Did a blog post saying we are now on Facebook
2 – LG kindly donated a LCD TV as a competition prize, to enter the contest readers had to become a fan or tweet about it (hence promoting the competition more).
3 – Did another blog post about the contest, this time keeping it really simple: Fan on Facebook? Then Stand A Chance to Win 42″ LG LCD TV
4 – We announced the winner
5 – The site was redesigned with much more prominence on becoming a facebook fan, including a banner advertising the page and a widget showing current fans (see right).
If you have the funds you can also promote the page using Facebook ads, as you can target based on peoples interests this can be highly effective.
If you don’t have a fan page yet I’d suggest investing an hour of your time and creating yourself a new traffic source, let us know if you do and we’ll link them from here.