Want more Facebook fans? Why didn’t you just ask?

Want more Facebook fans? Why didn’t you just ask?

There are lots of reasons you might want more Facebook fans: to build a campaign audience, to move a sector of the electorate that’s highly likely to vote, to spread your message, turn out people to your events, or to crowd-source campaign ideas.

But the fundamental reason we want more fans on Facebook is because it’s where the people are. As Laura has already noted in her excellent primer on social media:

More than 66% of adults are connected to one or more social media platforms (via Mashable). Roughly 50% of the U.S. has an active Facebook account (via New York Times).

That means, if you want to build a big campaign and win – whatever you want to win: elections, policy goals, voted most popular – you NEED Facebook fans.

“Great” you’re thinking, “just what I need, another list I have to spend hours and hours creating and tend like a beautiful Zen garden.” Not at all, in fact one of the fastest and least-utilized ways to grow your Facebook fanbase is simply to reach out to your email list and ask for ‘likes’; Just like one of the most effective ways to build your email list is to ask people on Facebook.

But not all emails asking for Facebook fans are alike, so here’s a few best practices to follow.

  1. Ask people simply and directly to like your page. It almost goes without saying, but like any email keep your message short and to the point. Use some of the stats above to make your case if you like (50% of people reading this email are on Facebook, but only 2% are fans of our page already). DON’T mix an ask for Facebook likes with some other ask: e.g. “sign this exciting petition AND THEN come like our Facebook page!”. If you mix 2 asks in one email you’ll get half as many clicks on each action. Instead, just pick a time that’s convenient in your message calendar and ask people for likes as though it were as important as asking for donations or anything else (it is).
  2. Make it look like a Facebook email, not just your email asking them to join you on Facebook. Environmental Action sent an A|B test to 6200 people (3100/email). Version A was a straighforward email in thier usual wrapper asking people for likes and explaining why it matters. Version B was an 8 word version designed to look just like a friend request message from Facebook.
    Click the image to see larger screenshots.

    Facebook fan request - Facebook style Facebook fan request - newsletter style

    Both versions had similar open rates but the version that ‘looked’ like a Facebook email had a 6.2% click rate vs a 2.3% click rate for the version that did not.

  3. Ask consistently to catch new people and keep the group growing. In our experience, a single email generates 1-3% new likes/email recipients depending on how active your list is. That means 99-97% of the people on your email list aren’t going to join you on Facebook the first time you ask. That also means, since 50-60% or more of them have a Facebook account, you’re going to need to ask more than once, just like you would for donations, endorsements, votes or petition signatures. In our Environmental Action example above – an email to about 15,000 active members returned almost 500 new fans in a single weekend – even more than a small advertising buy that added 384 members at less than $.70/like. That’s about a 3% like/send rate, and totally worth it.
    Facebook screenshot of new Likes sources
    For Extra Credit/Awesome-ness try
  4. Develop a whole line of communications and an outreach plan just for your most active Facebook fans. Think of these as your personal team of influencers (to borrow a hackneyed and over-used term from Gladwell). Then, develop a strategy to use those people by engaging them as evangelists for your campaign – and how you can make that experience rewarding for the user with special rewards, insider info and perks/schwag.

Have more questions or need help growing the Facebook fanbase for your organization? Contact PowerThru.

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