How to Increase Facebook Fans (Likes)

Before I proceed with the production/proofing process series of posts, I’d like to take a moment to congratulate David Olson of Albuquerque, NM, who was the winner of a free Barnes & Noble NOOK in our random drawing on the Outskirts Press blog.   This was the way we celebrated reaching 5,000 fans on our self publishing Facebook page. And that gives me a reason to really quickly offer 3 steps on increasing YOUR Facebook fan base.

1. Create a Welcome Page that motivates visitors to your page to “Like” you by offering exclusive deals, promotions, events, information, etc. I’ve posted about how to do that here.

2. Engage your community with quotes, quizzes, polls, information, content, and rapid, helpful answers to their questions.  Yes, this is the time consuming part, and usually the step that either makes or breaks this 3-step plan.  In the case of Outskirts Press, we are fortunate to have a LOT of content to share on Facebook, so it’s more a matter of logistically and efficiently sharing it, rather than having to create it.  In our case we share writing and inspirational quotes twice a week (Monday and Friday), “Awesome Covers of the Week” on Wednesday and Saturday, “In Author’s Words” (inspiring and motivational comments and testimonials from our published authors) on Tuesday and Thursday.  This is in addition to the daily doses of information about publishing, “self publishing and book marketing” that is shared via RSS from our blog and the periodic polls and quizzes we hold to further engage our community.  Plus, with nearly every comment or question, we attempt to respond informatively, helpfully, positively, and with encouragement and professionalism.  I.e., this step isn’t “easy.”

3. Give things away.  This is actually a combination of #1 and #2 in addition to its own step.  You can promote what you’re giving away on your Welcome Page that you create; you can constantly mention it among the tactics you are taking in step #2 (particularly when you have a winner); and you can create a poll for what should be the next prize that is given away, which, in theory, should prevent those who joined solely for the award from “unliking” you once they realize they didn’t win.  And that takes us to our NOOK winner, which we announced this morning on our Outskirts Press blog.

Changing Facebook Settings to Add a Welcome Page app

Ah, we’ve arrived upon the last posting in this series of posts about designing, coding, and setting a Facebook Welcome page. Wednesday of this week we covered the HTML portion and then yesterday we chose an app from among the many choices and installed it to our Facebook Page.  The final step is setting your Facebook page settings so that the first page that loads is the “Welcome” page rather than the Wall or Newsfeed page.  And you do this simply enough:

1. Make sure you’re logged-in to your Facebook account as the administrator of your page.
2. Click on “Edit Page” in the upper right-hand corner.
3. Along the left-hand menu choices, click on “Manage Permissions”
4. You’ll see a number of fields and settings on the resulting screen. One of them says “Default Landing Tab.”
5. Set the “Default Landing Tab” to “Welcome.”
6. Click “Save Changes.”

That’s it! You know have a welcome page incentivizing people to “like” your Page. Depending upon the strength of your incentive, you’ll watch your friends numbers grow.  Our Facebook friends for Outskirts Press have more than doubled in less than 2 months, from about 2,000 fans at the beginning of December to 4,456 as of today.  When we reach 5000, we’re going to hold a drawing for a free Barnes & Noble NOOK, and in January, all our FB Friends were invited to submit material for our 2nd Annual Facebook Anthology – Fandemonium Volume 2!

See you next time…

Adding a Welcome App to Facebook

Continuing our topic from the past couple of weeks: Now you have your creative content designed for your Facebook welcome page, and you have your HTML code containing all the elements within a 520 pixel wide table.  The next step is adding a Facebook “app” to your page to enter the HTML.

There are several apps that do this. Some companies even create “easy” ways to do this and charge monthly subscription fees for them.  In those cases, you can usually skip the HTML portion that I discussed yesterday, because what those companies are charging for is the ease with which they allow you to do your welcome page.  Time and knowledge is worth money, so there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing.  But this series of posts is designed to help you do it yourself for free.

The app we use for our Outskirts Press Facebook page is the “Static HTML : iframe tab.”  Installing it to your page is as easy as:

1. Be sure you are logged in to Facebook.
2. Find the Static HTML’s Facebook page by clicking here:
3. Click on the blue “Add Static HTML to a page” button.
4. Voila, that app has been added to your page.
5. Return to your page on Facebook
6. Click on the “Welcome” link along the left-column menu.

You have to be logged-in as the administrator of your page. If you are, when you click on the “Welcome” link you’ll see two blank fields in which you can enter content. The top field is labeled “Enter your content here” and this is where you cut n paste your HTML code from yesterday — or your own HTML code if you prefer.  The bottom field is labeled [Optional] Fans-only content and this is where you add content that is only visible for people who have “liked” your page.   After you have entered your contet, preview it and save it.

Now, whenever a non-administrator clicks on that Welcome link, they’ll see your brand new Welcome page content.  How, then, do you get new visitors who have not yet “liked” your page to see your Welcome screen first instead of your wall when they come to your page?  That’s the topic of tomorrow’s post…

Facebook Welcome Page – HTML

For the past several weeks I’ve been discussing the steps for creating a landing page, or “welcome page” on Facebook. I’ve broken it down into two parts – the creative component, which I covered last week and the week before, and the technical component, which I’m going to cover this week. The technical component consists of three parts:

1) The HTML formatting of the welcome page. I’ll discuss this today
2) The Facebook app. I’ll discuss that tomorrow
3) Setting Facebook settings so they utilize the app. I’ll discuss that on Friday.

See the previous posting for an idea of what our current Facebook Welcome page looks like for Outskirts Press, or click here to go to our Facebook page and you will see our Welcome page if you haven’t already liked us. That graphic is actually a composite of 6 graphics, put back together again with HTML. The previous postings have explained the reasoning for that. So, here’s the actual HTML:

<table width=”520″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″>   <tr>     <td colspan=”2″><img src=”TOP IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”520″ height=”125″></td>   </tr>   <tr>     <td width=”75″ rowspan=”4″ valign=”top”><img src=”SIDE IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”75″ height=”350″></td>     <td><img src=”YEAR IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”446″ height=”100″></td>   </tr>   <tr>     <td><img src=”JAN IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”446″ height=”100″></td>   </tr>   <tr>     <td><img src=”FEB IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”446″ height=”100″></td>   </tr>   <tr>     <td><img src=”BOTTOM IMAGE HOTLINK” width=”446″ height=”50″></td>   </tr> </table>

You’ll notice two things when looking at this HTML table coding. The first is that the width parameter is set for 520 pixels across. That is the optimal width for a Welcome page graphic for Facebook. Or even if you’re planning on incorporating both text and graphics, and even a form, the entire width of all your content should not exceed 520 pixels.  The Welcome app uses an “iframe” tag, and once the content starts to exceed 520 pixels across, your users may start to see vertical scrolling bars (not optimal or aesthetically pleasing).

The second thing you’ll notice is that the actual image hotlinks have been removed, although I bolded their location so you can easily replace them with your own graphics. The width and height parameters of each graphic remain.  Simply hotlink those images to their location on your company’s server, and Facebook will pull them into the Welcome page as it loads the HTML. Voila! Graphic Facebook Welcome page.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to add the Facebook app to your profile or company page to make a Welcome page for your HTML…. stay tuned.

 

Designing a Facebook Welcome Page – Part Four

Over the past week I’ve displayed two graphic elements of our new Facebook Welcome page for 2012, which incentivizes “likes” for our Outskirts Press Facebook page.  We’ve talked about the advantages of “cutting” up the welcome graphic, not only for speed of loading, but also for the efficiency with which it allows you to update elements.  This was particularly important for us, since we plan on updating the Welcome graphic every month with new monthly opportunities, perks, and events.  In fact, the top-most element of our Welcome page (the one that actually asks for the “like”) outlines those benefits:

Now, the trick to making such a graphic not LOOK like a graphic that is horizontally cut up for efficient marketing purposes is to put a vertical element into the design.  You can see the start of that element in the graphic above, that curved gold… “thing.”   Here’s the rest of that element, which runs down the side of the whole Welcome graphic:

And now the pieces are starting to fall into place. Let’s see what we have so far when we put these three elements (including the first one I showed on Tuesday) together in HTML. I’ll talk about how to do that when we get into the next portion of this series, the technicalities of creating a Welcome Page, but for the sake of this post, I’ll show the HTML tables so you can start to see how the elements fit together into a cohesive whole:

 
 
 

In this fashion you can also see the three blank table cells that still require graphics. And we’ll discuss those next week, which really bring the plans for our Outskirts Press efforts on Facebook into sharper focus.

Designing a Facebook Welcome Page – Part Three

This week we’ve been discussing the creative design of making a Facebook welcome page. Yesterday I showed one of the “pieces” of our current Welcome page for our Outskirts Press page on Facebook.  Now let’s talk about the two most important elements of a successful Facebook Welcome page:

1) Understanding Facebook policies as it relates to incentivizing links
2) Graphically showing your visitors exactly what you want them to do when they see your Welcome page on Facebook.

Let’s discuss #1 first: Facebook allows you to incentivize links, provided all new and past friends are eligible to win the same prize/award.  So, for instance, you cannot reward only new “likes” with the offer.  Facebook has a specific posting in their FAQ about this exact topic, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=free+for+liking+page and it says:

Is incentivizing Liking an app allowed?

Yes, you can provide special rewards to users who Like your app’s page. These rewards must be available to new and existing users. For example, users should not be immediately rewarded for clicking the Like button (i.e., “click here for 10 bonus points” is not permitted). Your messaging should clearly indicate that all users who Like your app/site are eligible to receive the offer or reward (e.g., “Free gifts are available to users who Like our Page” and “Users who Like our app/site are eligible for special offers.”).
 
So anyone who has “liked” your page (before or after the incentive) needs to have the same eligibility for the reward. You cannot just reward the new “likes.”  Easy enough.
 
The second most important part of the welcome screen is showing visitors HOW to “like” you, which is best done with a graphic that is pointing to the actual “Like” button on Facebook. In our case, this is the very top element of our Welcome Graphic:
 
 
Again, just like the graphic I showed you yesterday, this graphic element looks a little odd all by itself, and that’s because the full graphic has been “cut-up” to accommodate both faster loading and more efficient manipulation when we want to update elements of the welcome page.  Then we put it all back together in HTML. Don’t worry, all this will come more into focus as we continue putting the pieces into place… and we will continue that next time…

Designing a Facebook Welcome Page – Part Two

How did Outskirts Press increase its Facebook friends by 40% in one month? By “incentivizing links” and using a “Facebook Welcome page” to promote that incentive. In our case, we encouraged visitors to our Facebook page to “like” us for an opportunity to win either a free Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, or Apple iPad 2. The more “likes” we received by Christmas, the better the prize.   We unlocked the first tier (Kindle), but not the second.  So with the start of 2012 we knew we wanted to continue the opportunity for our Facebook friends to still win that free Barnes & Noble NOOK.  Therefore, that opportunity became an element of our new welcome page that we unveiled on Facebook on January 1st.

On it’s own, this graphic doesn’t look very impressive.  But don’t worry, I’ll show you the whole thing soon; or you can cheat and look at our Facebook Welcome page now to see how this element plays its role in the Facebook Welcome page as a whole.

By designing this welcome page graphic in “pieces” we are easily able to swap out elements without having to redesign the entire graphic each time. This is particularly efficient (and cost effective) when using rolling monthly promotions and events like we plan to do in 2012.  When January ends and February begins, we won’t have to create a whole new graphic. Instead, we will only have to create a new month.  All this will become clear as we continue this series next time, and more of the pieces fall into place… stay tuned.