FACEBOOKWe’re pretty sure that we don’t have to explain the value of Facebook to internet marketers and affiliate marketers. Its power is pretty clear and obvious. There’s almost one billion user accounts on Facebook. Such a userbase can’t be neglected, and everyone who says that Facebook won’t work for them is simply wrong.

Of course, you won’t see much results from your Facebook efforts until you attract a healthy number of followers. Facebook is huge by itself, but people don’t visit it to find new brands to follow, they visit it to keep in touch with their friends and family.

So in essence, we – marketers – interrupt them by running our campaigns. The true skill, however, is to interrupt someone in a way that they actually thank you for it – to provide something interesting and valuable. But this is a whole other part of the story.

Additionally, there are so many brands with a Facebook presence already that differentiating yourself can be really difficult… The main question being: Why would anyone follow you instead of the next guy? But first:

Two Ways of Getting Followers

The most basic thing about Facebook is that you can get one of two main types of accounts. You can either get a personal profile, or a fanpage.

Anyone can sign up for both. While you can have only one personal profile (Facebook will ban and delete every next profile belonging to a single user), at the same time you can create many fanpages for whatever purpose you choose.

The limit of one personal account per user is not the only difference. One that’s even more important is the friend number limit.

When you have a personal profile Facebook limits the possible number of friends you can have to 5000. A fanpage doesn’t have any limitations. You can gather as many fans as you like/can.

This is the other difference – personal profiles have friends, fanpages have fans. Not longer than a couple of years ago Facebook has decided to remove the old “Become a fan” button to substitute it with the “Like” button. This was just a simple name change, but it has actually made it a lot easier for fanpage owners to acquire new fans. As it turns out, people are more likely to admit that they “Like” something than that they “are a fan” of something.

This whole situation makes it very clear which type of presence an affiliate marketer should have on Facebook…

Create a Fanpage

Driving new people to your personal profile can quickly cause problems if you manage to get close to 5000 friend mark. Fanpages don’t have this problem and this is just one of the reasons why you should create one.

Focus on Your Keyword or Keyphrase

You don’t have to create a fanpage for your .com domain or for your website strictly speaking. Instead, you can (or even should) take your main keyword and create a fanpage around it.

For example, if you are in the guitar niche you can create a fanpage called “I love guitar playing in the evening.” People on Facebook, who – again – are not searching for brands to follow and don’t like to be interrupted, are more likely to enjoy such a fanpage than a fanpage of learnguitarintheevening.com.

There are thousands of silly fanpages on Facebook that have massive followings simply because their name is really catchy. We’re not advising that the name should be the only strong point of your fanpage, but it will surely help you drive some initial interest.

Create a Custom Welcome Page

Any fanpage can be set up in one of two different ways. When a new visitor comes to it they can either see the wall (default setting), or a custom landing page (i.e. welcome page).

Even though walls are default we strongly advise you to spend a while and create a custom welcome page. It’s been proven that welcome pages do a lot better job at converting random visitors into fans.

Welcome pages have only one purpose – to get people to click the “Like” button. Remember, when someone clicks it they immediately become your fan, and then you can post updates directly to their News Feed.

There are different rules of creating a great welcome page, but starting with these two is always a good idea:

  1. Give a clear call to action. Say that you want the visitor to click the “Like” button.
  2. Give them a reason to do so.

Your welcome page will be displayed to new visitors only. Everyone who was already liked it will be redirected straight to your wall.

Use Your Off-Facebook Promotion Power

Finding Facebook followers (fans) is all about driving them to your fanpage through your other channels.

Here are some ideas you can implement:

  • Use real-world promotional methods. For example, if you’re promoting any kind of local offers you can print out flyers with your fanpage’s address and have them placed in all the places where your customer base hangs out.
  • Place a Facebook like box on your website. Facebook provides many widgets website owners can use to integrate their sites with the network. These widgets are really easy to include in any site, and if you’re using WordPress it becomes even easier. A like box presents the latest posts you’ve made on your fanpage and also the number of fans and their avatars. In essence, it’s a social proof of your presence on Facebook.
  • Use “Like” buttons in your content. Apart from the main like box you should also use “Like” buttons wherever possible. Each of your posts is just another opportunity to get someone to like your brand. Even if someone considers one of your posts being truly life changing they still won’t like you on Facebook if you don’t give them an easy way to do so.
  • Link your fanpage to your other social media profiles. Chances are that your Facebook followers, your Twitter followers, your LinkedIn followers, and your {include social network name} followers are not the same group of people. If you link your profiles to each other you can make all of your social media profiles grow at the same time.
  • Use every piece of your digital real estate. Some additional places where you can promote your fanpage: your email signature, your byline on guest posts, your YouTube videos, etc.
  • Advertise. This is the most obvious way of promoting anything. If you’re willing to spend some money then advertising might be THE thing.

Get Education

Yes, there’s education on topics like Facebook too.

The only constant thing in marketing is change itself. Just because something was working last year doesn’t mean that it’s going to work now. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date with what’s going on and with all the effective techniques of getting new followers and marketing on Facebook.

You can always search the internet on your own, read the most popular social media blogs, listen to podcasts or search for some one-on-one help from professional social media experts. You can also get a program like fbinfluence that will teach you all ins and outs of building a solid Facebook following and turning it into profit.

Do you have a fanpage for your affiliate site? What are your experiences with Facebook? Feel free to comment.