social media how toWe all want to see our Facebook Page skyrocket in numbers. And, there are many tactics for doing so. However, the fact is that numbers don’t necessarily equate to engagement and return on investment.

In the short run, an increase from 1,000 to 10,000 fans might look great to your boss or client, but when the fans start dropping off at a rate of 100 or 200 per week, and nobody answers the questions you put on your wall, you may not look like quite the hero anymore.

This article will reveal some effective tactics to gain quality Facebook fans and introduce the concept of engaging influencers.

While the actual worth of a single Facebook fan may be in debate, there’s no question that some fans are worth more than others. In addition, when quantity becomes a priority, there is a risk of driving low-quality fans by using general tactics that attract the masses.

However, there are ways to modify fan-getting marketing tactics to drive a more relevant consumer base and as a result increase the quality (and worth) of your fans over time.

One Key Strategy: Targeted Outreach

In my experience, new fans obtained will be at least 3 times as likely to stick around and participate over time if they’re secured through a targeted outreach.

For an example of how this strategy might work in practice, look at two fan-getting tactics: giveaways and limited availability offers.

Giveaways and limited availability offers are both great ways to quickly gain Facebook followers. I have seen Facebook Fan Pages jump tens of thousands of fans overnight from a simple giveaway campaign.

In January 2010, for instance, Einstein Bros. did a free bagel giveaway on Facebook that the company claims increased their Facebook fan base from under 5,000 fans to nearly 400,000 in less than one week.

einstein bros

From 5,000 to 400,000 in one week. Einstein Bros. Bagels takes off on Facebook.

However, there is a catch. General fan-getting giveaway tactics do not inherently attract the right people to your page. In fact, they may attract the complete opposite of whom you want to reach.

You Need a Filter Between Your Brand Message and Your Ideal Audience

The goal of a fan-getting Facebook promotion should be to use up as few resources as possible, while reaching the highest amount of relevant consumers along the way. The outcome, if executed properly, is more fans, longer stay times, and a higher level of quality participation and sharing over a longer period of time.

Without a filter, a promotion will inevitably reach the unfiltered masses of the web. Online giveaways that are not targeted properly nor protected with the correct barriers to entry will lead to a rush of people just out looking for something free. And, while some genuine consumers may be found in this group, the likelihood of your promotion capturing a high percentage of relevant consumers will be low.

Use Influencers

Influencers will vary based on your business. But, in short, influencers include relevant bloggers, popular individuals on Twitter, moderators of groups, and anyone else who has an extended and attentive online audience that fits within your target consumer group.

Influencers can also include those who are already in your direct fan network. I recommend looking at your existing fan base on Facebook and Twitter as an outlet for potential influencers. Active participants on your Facebook wall who have a large social network can be great influencers for your brand.

Tip: Look at the comments on your wall over the past month or two. Are there any individuals who continuously pop into the conversation and give positive feedback? If so, start with this group of fans. They are more likely to get excited by a direct offer and turn around and share your message with their social network.

Create an Exclusive Promotion For Influencers

In order to reach the largest percentage of relevant consumers through promotional efforts, create a mechanism by which an offer can be seeded to relevant influencers and not to the general public. Furthermore, implement a barrier that will prevent the general public from gaining access to the offer, at least for a certain amount of time.

One example of a mechanism is a digital gift card with an exclusive code.  Each influencer is presented a card with limited usage that they can seed out to their network and readership. The code is then redeemable on your Facebook page until it has expired.


CLEAN Perfume sent these cards out to beauty bloggers for their "Influencer Giveaway"

Tip: Create a digital gift card that an influencer can embed right on their blog, profile page or website. Encourage the influencer to link the card directly to your Facebook fan page so that readers can easily get to your giveaway page. The easier you make it for an influencer to participate, the better chance you will have of getting them onboard.

makeup divas

Make it easy for influencers to spread the message!

Not only do you get the public filter by using this method, but people are more likely to act on the offer when it has been presented by a trusted influencer source and not the brand directly. By the time the code does find its way out to the freebie hunters, it has already expired, or is close to expiring, and you’ve succeeded in reaching a larger percentage of relevant consumers.

Of course, this is just one example of integrating influencers and barriers to entry into your Facebook promotion. The proper method, in the end, will be determined by your brand, target audience and target influencers.

In the constant quest to increase return and decrease spend, don’t underestimate the power of influencers in your Facebook promotional efforts.

Have you used other mechanisms to reach influencers as a conduit for sharing a giveaway or limited availability offer? Please share it in the comments box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 480,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • Great article Terry, I particularly like the advice around using the people of influence. Will put that one into use.

  • girellegirl


    How can you track influencers, and how many “fans” they are getting you?


  • Wow Terry, fantastic article. The Quality of a fan is something that is very under-discussed (there is an abundance of articles on simply accruing ‘fans’, but little about fan quality). Your article does a nice job of explaining what goes into being a Quality fan, and also how to ‘obtain’ these quality fans.

    The strategies listed here are excellent. I have a question however: for users that don’t sell a product, but instead provide a free blog, how would they accumulate meaningful fans without giving away product offers? What alternatives would you suggest to help capture attention in a similar fashion?

    Jason (Follow me on Twitter for fresh entrepreneurial advice)

  • Terry,
    I LOVE this idea of targeting the “influencers” on our pages. It certainly makes sense to me to reward those “raving fans” and inspire them to spread the word.
    Thanks so much,

  • Jami Baker

    I like the Clean Giveaway example, where are they consumers typing in the special code? How do I know who is the first 50 facebook fans?

  • great article. I’ve thought about doing giveaways to bring in an audience. It may brings an audience, but will it bring in customers…there is a difference. branding & identity is such an important concept when building a company that many often overlook.

    thanks for the article,
    – Kat.

  • I can certainly appreciate the concerns and confusion that some owners of Facebook Fan Pages are having these days. Since so many Fan Pages are a new endeavor to alot of businesses, the unanswered questions with regard to “Quality of Fans” is very real to most. Your two suggestions were well presented and I think they both come with pluses and minuses. One thing that I have determined is the method of acquiring new fans with “FREE” is always the creator of more traffic, and it would seem that perhaps many of the Fans that are attracted come for some of the wrong reasons. Having said that, I do believe that if you Profile some of these Fans, you will find that they respond quickly and often to any FREE offer. These people represent the new “Value” incentivized purchasers of today. They make up a very real audience for most any business enterprise and must be accepted for who they are, not what we wish they were.I would suggest that driving your Fan base with “FREE” offers will work, but you should include the collecting of some data that allows you to re-connect to this customer base with additional “Value Statements”. This would include getting email address, blog opt-in contact info, and other Social Media links. Then plan on mentioning additional promotions to them via those channels of connectivity. Learn to appreciate the loyalty that they will learn to have for your business, but don’t spend the dollars that a traditional promotion would require in the way you announce it to them.Hopefully, this will enable you to achieve what is often called…The best of both worlds.With Regards….Stan Fossum

  • Susan


    Thanks for the interesting post, I agree with the others that this isn’t discussed nearly enough. I like your ideas. I wonder along with Jason whether or not you believe this is still an effective approach as a creative, and if you have additional advice for us. It makes sense to reward our fans, but the offer should be different from what we have available through free downloads on our website, correct?

    Also, service companies may not be able to do things of this nature and they are starting to make a stronger presence on Facebook business pages. Do you have any suggestions for them that don’t offer to give away free time on something?


  • Shanz

    Very timely topic as I was struggling with quality of members for our facebook fanpage which is non-profit organization.

  • LE Solutions

    Any recommendations for websites that produce the gift card codes to embed into blogs/websites?

  • tallchickvic

    Another great article and will look forward to sharing with others!

  • 24hourapartments

    Great Social Media suggestions.

  • Susan/Jason – definitely good and valid points. Tables are turned a bit when dealing with a service/content provider, especially in the b2b space. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to apply these methods. The real challenge with influencers is finding something that you have to offer that will be worthwhile for them to share with their own network/readership. And yes, my feeling is that this should be something that is an exclusive offer, and not otherwise available through your website as a free download. Not knowing what your business is, it’s hard to say what exactly that may be. But, just keep in mind that the point of the influencer, in this case, is as a filter to your audience. So, it has to appeal to the influencer enough to share, but your real goal should be to provide the readers with a valuable and exclusive proposition that gets them to act (on Facebook, your website, etc). If you don’t have a product, you’ll just have to get creative with what service you can provide in scale. Whatever it is, it must be relevant to the audience and it must have a broad appeal amongst that audience.

  • In the CLEAN example, Jami, consumers were typing in the code on a Facebook tab that was specifically built to be the landing page for this giveaway. Any programmer who knows how to work within Facebook should be able to put a simple form together that will collect codes. And, on the flip side, would be tied to a basic database where you could see responses as they come in. So, it would be easy to tell who were the first 50 to participate. I’d recommend doing it through a form and not through the wall, since anyone can see the wall, and would be able to pick up on the code.

  • David

    Thanks for sharing some great information. Your ideas were very insightful. I’m looking forward to implementing them with some of our clients. I’ll keep you updated on the results.

  • Diane

    Hi Terry
    I did a “win a free Father’s Day gift box” last year on my website, provided the people wrote me about their Dad’s. It provided some interesting results and added another page to my site, but I don’t think that any of those people have turned into buyers. However when I put out this year’s fathers day message to my customer base, I will include these people. It will be interesting to see if any of them become customers. I think the exclusive offer to my existing database would have far better results. I like your other suggestions, thanks.

  • Cindy

    Thanks for sharing great information. Your ideas were very insightful. I’m looking forward to implementing them with many of my colleagues. I’ll keep you updated on the results. – Cindy

  • I also post on twitter, myspace, reddit propeller actually many social sites, so I do not rely only on facebook. I am a writer and my blog is scifi sunday’s with the hipriestess. I have many followers on many sites, and they have read my scifi flash fiction at least 62 thousand times. Great info. Come visit my site and leave a message, great place for author resources

  • I think the Targeted Outreach that you discuss touches on a very significant point. To many facebook pages focus solely on the numbers and forget that ultimately the goal is to get sales. You could have 100,000 fans but if none of them are targeted to your product then it doesn’t mean much.

  • Noam

    Thank you for your interesting post. This is exactly the dilemma we have right now with our fan page.

  • I think and believe that FB can be used more positively for your business if you have something valuable to give and offer to your fans

  • I was just reading blog post on another blog about free give away to get actual FB fans and you can also increase your business…….this is another good read which will benefit FB business users

    I think on your FB page you should send regular updates to your fans and subscribe to similar fan pages and groups. Also ask their opinion as well as free give away and promotions with content

  • Hi! Terry,

    Nice article, especially on awarding active participants / fans. I ran a giveaway contest last month and gained some new fans on our facebook, I notice there is a fan – Joseph has been very active since then, maybe I should send him a specail promotion code for him to use on our eCommerce website.

  • Great article Terry.
    I have just started a new Fan Page on Facebook ( and I am looking at how to raise awareness and attract quality Fans to share and contribute to others on being social.
    I will certainly put some of your great tips to use….thanks again.

  • Nice article. Influencers as mentioned can give you filtered Facebook fans as compared to mass fans, but at same time the free offer should be attractive and time limited, so that you can get actual fans in a specific time frame…

    I agree with you that getting thousands of fans which are of no use is pointless, instead get only a few which really understand your products and are interested in your services and offerings.

    Also if you have niche blog, you can add these boxes in your blog which can increase you fans on face book

    Facebook Fan Box for blogspot blogs
    Facebook Like Button WordPress Plugin

  • Like you said the shorter the title the better it is, but what is the maximum no character one should for blog title ?

  • Or take it to the next level and empower him to spread the buzz a little. Instead of just giving him the code, give him a code that has 25 activations and let him share it with his friends. Of course, the code needs to have perceived value

  • oana

    great post. really helpful. ia ma just starting a facebook fan page and all the tips and tricks are more than welcome!!! thank you

  • Amalek_banafa

    Ilike it and i hope to learn more about Social Meddia.

  • Amalek_banafa

    Article is great ,its advice to fan habit in face book

  • LIndsay

    How does your giveaway promotion work with Facebook rules. I know they have clamped down on people conducting sweepstakes that have people entering through a 3rd party app on a tab or the wall. We were told FB requires a monthly ad spend of $10,000 for them to bless a sweeps that is run through a Fan page. (You can link to a web contest page without a problem.) The FB Promo Rules require having FB bless your rules.

  • Carolyn

    Hi, this article is kinda old, but I just happened to stumble upon it, and I do find it extremely informative. I have a facebook page that I created about 2 months ago. So far, I have 224 fans, but only after spending sooo much time in front of the computer, promoting myself.

    I started this FAN RAISER EVENT, where I will issue a $0.50 credit for each fan a person brings me. I will give up a max of 60 credits, which is the equivalent of $30.00. I have been posting the event all over the place, but yet no results. Am I doing something wrong?

  • Sasugac

    Oops! Hit post before I was done. This is my facebook page if you guys want to check it out!

  • Pingback: Ultimate Guide to Facebook Pages()

  • Pingback: “Facebook Dominated by ‘power users’”: Social Networks Following the Pareto Principle()