Most big brands would balk at 10,000 fans. Apple and McDonald’s buy media by the truck load and could probably care less if it ran over 10,000 fans let alone had a Facebook fan page 10,000-strong. Getting 10,000 fans for the major brands is as simple as shooting off an email, tagging an existing ad campaign with the URL of the fan page, or hijacking a page created by a brand enthusiast. But, for small or emerging brands, finding 10,000 people that are willing to “become a fan” can be difficult.
Here at Anvil, we would like to help.
7 Steps to 10,000 Fans
- Test your friend boundaries: Most marketers recommend adding a badge to your website and your newsletter, creating an email campaign specifically to announce the fan page, and including the fan page URL in all advertisements, but don’t stop there. Go a step further and encourage your employees (easier to do in this job climate) to use the “suggest a fan page” link to recommend all of their Facebook friends become fans of the page.
- Break Facebook’s Terms of Service: According to Facebook’s Terms of Service, all profiles should represent real people. Facebook prohibits companies from creating profiles. Rather companies are expected to make due with fan pages or groups. Unfortunately, fan pages and groups cannot spam connect with other Facebook profiles. Create a profile for your company and start reaching out to your target audience. Find public groups where your target audience resides and start “asking” to be friends. One caveat: be sure to link your fan page to another profile. If Facebook finds the company profile, it will be deleted, and if that profile is the only admin on the fan page, you will no longer be able to edit the fan page.
- Force people to share your content: Got a great white paper, awesome viral video, or spectacular promotion? Why not force people to share it? All it takes is an experienced FBML developer to add a firewall to your content.
- Pay per fan: AllFacebook.com recently reported that brands were paying up to $4 per new fan using Facebook advertising – probably not much of a risk to bet that there are companies out there that will do it for a lot cheaper.
- Set up phishing sites: Why wait for fans to come to you when you can login with their information and become a fan in two easy steps? The trick with phishing sites is to create a landing page that looks similar to Facebook and then spam people’s email to get them to login. Just avoid the lawsuits.
- Create 10,000 accounts: Facebook accounts may be a little harder to set up than Twitter accounts but there is little stopping you from creating 1,000’s of accounts and becoming a fan of your company’s page. Boss breathing down your neck? Have to get 10,000 fans or you’re out on the street? I am guessing you can get this down to 46 seconds per new fan.
- Hijack a popular brand/term: Want to have 10,000 fans? Why not create a fan page for Nintendo or cute puppies? Although you will not be able to change the fan page name, you can amass 1,000’s of fans and then direct them to your page or message your fans about your brand, events, product releases, etc.
So, hopefully, it is pretty clear that Anvil does not recommend any of the above tactics (otherwise, my boss may have second thoughts about asking me to write on Fridays).
Here’s the problem with shooting for number of fans as a goal. It says nothing to how you got the fans and may have dragged your company name through the mud in the process. Nor does it tell you how many fans are actually interested in your products and potential customers.
Social media marketing (SMM) is not about the number of fans, followers, friends, subscribers, video views, or whatever else. SMM requires real business objectives. You wouldn’t set your email marketing goals to have 1000 people “interact” with your email. You want people to come to your site and convert.
Print and television campaigns are bought with the target audience in mind. Shouldn’t social media be held to the same standards? 10,000 fans from Russia are useless to companies that can only ship in the US.
For companies that aren’t yet on the social media train, please figure out what you are trying to accomplish before jumping aboard. For companies that are already neck deep in social media, it is probably a good idea to step back and determine if you are meeting your company’s business objectives.