There’s no point beating around the bush: if you’re not on Facebook than you’re losing a whole heaping of potential leads to your affiliate marketing business.
Facebook, the goliath of a social networking site, has found integration in nearly every piece of our gadgets and technology, stretches across the globe, and keeps users hooked longer than nearly any other website.
For the savvy mindset of an affiliate marketer – you can immediately understand the benefits of gaining access to your community especially since they’re already there and they’re already talking about you.
In this article, I’ll take you through the absolute basics when it comes to getting setup with Facebook for traffic generation, various ways to build that following, and then a good bit of strategies for making the network worth your while (and not another time sink).
It’s Been Said Before …
And I can’t stress it enough: you must be on Facebook.
- It’s free
- It’s easy to use
- It’s great for traffic
- It’s excellent for community building
I’m sure you already have a personal account on the network because, let’s be honest, who isn’t on the platform – but do you have a fan page setup for your website? If not, you’ll want to dig deeper into this post because the tremendous opportunities presented by Facebook (both free and paid) can do some serious lead generation for your affiliate offers.
Though, one word of warning: Facebook has implemented features like EdgeRank which limits your ability to reach your fan base. There is a workaround by asking your subscribers to change their page settings but you may need to invest some coin into the promoted posts in order to get heard.
With that being said, fan pages aren’t much different than your personal page with the exception of a few additional features to add applications and do a bit of self-promotion. The platform comes with basic analytical tools so you can track your updates (more on that later). And, as a final note, Facebook is getting bigger with each passing day and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon which means you’re not just localized in your market – you can go global (if you wish).
Getting Started with Facebook for Traffic Generation
As mentioned: the core of using Facebook for traffic comes through the use of a fan page.
Yes, there are other options such as:
- Paid advertising
- Promoted posts
- Developing Facebook apps
But the heart relies in the humble fan page which acts as a platform for your message and community; it’s the same as your personal page but you have greater control over the message.
Setting Up a Facebook Page
First, go over to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and choose the type of fan page you will create; most likely it will be for ‘Brand or Product’.
Select a category from the drop down list, enter your page name, agree to the terms, and click ‘Get Started’.
Following the basics, add the following:
- Profile image (180px X 180px)
- Basic info (about the page, page link, representative question)
- A unique name for your page (URL)
Once you’re through the guided process (and dig into the short tutorial upon creating the page), you’ll want to include a few basic graphics and pieces of information to fill out the rest of your page:
- A banner graphic (851px X 315px)
- Tab images (111px X 74px)
I’d recommend going with a banner image that packs a punch because it’s one of the first items people notice when joining a page. Likewise, you should take a few moments to tweak the tabs, you’ve added, to use pictures which also give it a far better visual design.
Play with the platform for a bit. Don’t worry about what you post – just learn how to do things. You don’t have followers at this time and any post you place up there can be deleted before you start promoting the page.
Got it? Great.
Now it’s time to move on to building the community around your page …
The Cultivation of a Facebook Community
Like any online platform – the only way you’ll get followers is by letting people know you’re present on the platform. Luckily, since you’re an affiliate marketer, you have plenty of assets to tap which will give you that initial influx of subscribers.
Consider each of the following to build the base:
- Emailing your list about the new addition
- Including the fan page link on your website
- Using other social media accounts to promote the page
- Adding a byline to your emails
- Linking the page when you’re guest posting
A word of the wise: people want to land of a fan page that’s packed with content, not a ghost town. For this reason, you must update your page quite often, get people engaged, and share some awesome stuff. People noticing a page that’s active will feel far more compelled to join than one that only displays offers with very little likes and shares even if they’re part of your existing community (because who wants to join a ‘party’ if no one’s ‘partying’?)
The cultivating part of your community comes from the engagement. As mentioned, Facebook has implemented an ‘EdgeRank’ system which basically means that if people aren’t active in your community – you’ll have a harder time reaching them next time.
I recommend mulling over these two, previous, resources for community engagement:
Again, I would recommend taking a look at the brands that are doing well on the network and seeing if you can replicate some of their style into your work.
- Ask questions
- Upload pictures
- Conduct polls
- Have contests
- Respond to people
Treat it like a website in which you control the message all-the-while users have the ability to share their own thoughts on the matter.
Working the Facebook Platform for Traffic Goals
So, let’s jump ahead to using the platform for traffic generation.
There are quite a few options but let’s be honest here: you probably only have time (and a budget) for the bare essentials at this time (since you’re not a mega, global brand … yet).
I would recommend starting with the following before going the next step:
- Getting used to sharing content to your followers – make it a point to share something every day, at least. Track what pictures, videos, links, and questions work for your community. Repeat what’s effective and drop the others. Use the regular updates to push free information but, on occasion, share reviews and other money pages that include hard sells for offers.
- Using Facebook apps to increase engagement – Answer questions and comments that appear on your feed but don’t forget direct messages and items shared on your page as they aren’t always noticeable. These quips of conversations can do wonders for building a solid community willing to share your information and check out your offers.
- Networking and promoting your page through external assets – Like in the building process, use your external assets to bring people into the page and get them participating. Other mediums don’t have nearly as much interaction (emails, blog comments, etc) so use the fan page as a launching point for new ideas, small-scale tests, and new offers.
- Cross promotion with other brands using fan pages – Like all good networking, playing fair, making connections with other affiliate marketers on Facebook operating pages, and those within relevant industries can be a great way to do a bit of cross promotion to reach segments of your industry – try teaming up.
- Promoted posts – Pay $5 – $15 to promote your post to, basically, everyone on your list and then some. This option is good for when you’re doing a big product launch but can also aid in branding when you consider fit.
Use each status update and test as a way to improve your knowledge of the platform. Don’t be afraid to experiment and go outside the “best practices” because your community will be wildly different than most examples you find covered on blogs.
Advertising on the Facebook platform is a monster in its own right and warrants an entire post to its own; of course, we do have a good amount of resources on this topic which can be found here.
For the lazy: FB advertising gives you plenty of options to segment your message based on many elements of demographics. The cost of running a campaign is generally inexpensive and you can choose multiple outcomes for the campaign whether it’s driving people directly to a page or used to increase likes on your page.
For now, in terms of getting started, keep with the free route and learn the platform. Expand into advertising after you begin to see a return on your investment when using the network.
Final Words and Wisdom about Facebook Traffic Generation
Adding Facebook to your list of assets can be somewhat of an annoyance because it’s a lot of time needed to learn, interact, and track, which could be going to your important business items – but you shouldn’t dismiss the network.
When used correctly – you’ll find that Facebook will begin being a very powerful tool for traffic and community engagement. Your benefits will grow, exponentially, as your subscriber count increases.
Spend the next hour, or so, and get setup with a fan page (if you haven’t). Play with the platform for a bit and learn what you can but remember that doing is far more educational than just reading.
Do you have a Facebook fan page? How are you using it to drive traffic to your offers?