How to Keep Fans and Influence People on Facebook

This is a guest post by Tom Parnell.

With more than 500 million active users on Facebook ignoring it as a platform has become the select privilege of the kind of people who live up mountains with a goat (and don’t have wi-fi).

If you have anything to promote, on or offline, whether it’s a product or just a personal blog, Facebook is a free and easy way to reach a huge potential audience.

It is very easy to get fans on Facebook if you’ve got something worth liking, but what do you do once you’ve got them? And how do you stop them abandoning you when it’s as easy as one click?

Building an Attractive Profile

Kevin Costner may believe that “If you build it they will come” but for us mere mortals we need something more than a crazy voice in our head to attract interest.

Before you do anything you must decide on the purpose of your Facebook profile or page. Do you want to spread awareness of another site or brand? Do you want to host all your content on Facebook? Do you want to just gather a contactable list of people who like what you’re offering?

Think about the actions you want people to take once they reach your page and the resources you have to maintain it. If it’s just you promoting your own blog or website do you have enough time to write long reams of fresh copy for the page? Or would you be better off making it clear it will just be the occasional status update?

Facebook is more about people than companies, so where possible make your profile human. With nearly everybody who has a computer able to edit photos these days you can easily make a composite image of yourself and a logo if needs be. Check Out LogoBee’s logo design samples for inspiration!

Texas Holdem Facebook Page

The world’s most popular Facebook page has a human face in its picture, even if it is a cartoon one.

Making Friends

I’m not going to spend too much time on this because everybody has their own marketing ideas and attracting fans to your Facebook page has already been widely discussed on the internet. Personally, I think the most important thing is to have a good quality service/product/idea because, however well you market it, in the end you are asking people to tell their friends that they like it.

There are 5,000,000 Facebook users out there, and as soon as you sign up you are connected in some way to each and every one of them. Invite your friends, invite your colleagues, invite your customers, ask them to tell other people (they will tell all their friends simply by clicking your like). The potential to grow is awesome.

Keeping Friends While Getting Results

Facebook may make it easy to make friends with people, but it also makes it easy to ditch them too. No need for a protracted conversation about their personal hygiene standards down the pub, simply click a button and they’re gone from your life.

The easiest way to lose people is to annoy them. Remember that your updates will appear in all your fans’ feeds, so don’t send out 20 a day saying things like “I’m still great! Check out my website again.” Only put out updates when you have something new and of interest. Try to make some unique content for Facebook too so that your fans have an incentive to stick with your page and returning to it regularly.

When Oreo’s page passed 11 million fans they created a congratulatory video to celebrate. You may not have a world-famous legend backing you, but you could always run a small competition or just hold a poll.

Whatever your goal, use interaction to achieve it. Ask questions of your fans, stir up controversy. If you’re really good you can divide your fans, causing them to debate against each other. And where are they holding this debate? On your site, allowing you to promote whatever message you want.

Cadbury Facebook Page

A great example of this is the Cadbury’s Spots vs Stripes campaign, which has two groups of more than 35,000 fans each and, while asking people to argue the most inane of questions – which is better, spots or stripes? – it sells both sides a huge heap of chocolate bars.

Keep your fans entertained and they will do your promotion for you. Who knows, they may even take your message to the top of a mountain and pass it on to a goat.

Your Tips to Keeping Fans

What do you do to keep your Facebook page fans engaged? Please share your tips in the comments below.

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  1. says

    Hey great text, thank you! And thanks for involving me as a reader 😉 I often try to involve my fans on my photo fanpage by asking them to invent titles, names, background stories to my photos. It’s not only done by showing a photo and hoping that the fans like it… So I try to involve them for example by asking questions: “What do you think is the man on this photo doing? What’s his job? What are his dreams and so on and so on..:” This doesn’t work with every photo and it’s necessary to be online most time and work as a host of the discussion, but it’s really an amazing and rewarding experience to hear the interpretations of my photos from someone on the other side of the world!
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  2. says

    Hey Tom!
    I didn’t know that having a human face on a facebook page would have such an impact. For me, using a face was intuitive merely because I feel like facebook is a “people” place online. Nevertheless I think your point is incredibly valuable. Particularly to business bloggers who insist on using their logo instead of a person.
    Great insights!
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  3. says

    Everything I’m realing about marketing your blog is .. no matter what trick you use, it comes down to real connection with people. I guess that is why the face is so important. I’m just a smaller art blog.. not selling products, just ideas. Some of the marketing tactics seem against the nature of what I’m trying to say to begin with. Facebook has been a so-so venture with me. Not sure it’s really going anywhere now. Will continue to think of new ways to use it! Thank you for the inspiration!
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  4. says

    Thanks for the reminder that there are 500 million active users on Facebook. It’s so popular, it’s easy to take it for granted. We must remember that it’s a valuable tool and it should be treated as such.

  5. says

    Hey Thomas!

    There’s nothing wrong with living on top of a mountain herding goats. In high school, I used to joke that I wanted to move to the mountains and raise a bunch of goats.

    But I see what you’re saying: Only the most out-of-touch people would have an understandable excuse not to use Facebook. I see the “We’re on Facebook!” logo, and stickers, and other ads on hard copy, at the check-out desk at the salon…everywhere!

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  6. says

    Great tips Tom. I think, updating and engaging with the fans of your Facebook page is the most important thing of all. It will keep them highly engage in the community.

    Thanks a lot for the above tips!
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  7. Tom Parnell says

    Thanks for all the positive responses! I agree TechChunks – you can have the fanciest page in the world, which will be no use to you at all if you don’t have real fans for it.

  8. says

    I like that goat thing haha Anyway, like Kiesha, my fanpage needs an overhaul too. Well, not the picture because it’s already a caricature of myself and I’m human 😀 but, it’s more on engaging my fans. I will definitely think about these tips you’ve mentioned. I’m leaning more towards creating a poll actually.
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  9. says

    After making friends, it is important to interact with them and not let them alone in the corner of your friends list, otherwise the connection to them and also to their friends is wasted. Don’t just thank them for connecting with you. In each of your messages to your friends and friends walls, try to end each message with a question, to keep the discussion between you two going.

  10. says

    Been thinking of making my own facebook fanpage (for my personal blog), just to make some tests on how to really utilize it effectively. However, the part where you have to influence people in your fanpage seems to be so vague, given that you can never really please everybody. I guess I do have to start testing it for myself. I do have to focus with the design first, thanks for the heads up.
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  11. Tom Parnell says

    Josh – perhaps consider creating an avatar for your brand or a cartoon styled on your brand colours/logo.

    SandyK – You can definitely start the buying funnel on your Facebook page, if you promote special offers or just highlight good deals then of course link through to a revenue producing page.

    Thanks again for all the comments!

  12. says

    This isn’t exactly related, but I usually don’t “like” pages if they never update them or if there’s anything new. That mostly happens if I click a facebook link from their website to ask a question. But then if they ignore the page, there’s no point in asking, because they’ll never see it or it’ll be too late. So rather than sticking around their site or their facebook page, I usually just end up going to do something else on Facebook.

    Also, if it isn’t an “official” page and it’s just a bunch of kids who made a facebook for their company and talk sh*t to customers, I’m gone – and they’ve just lost a customer. Yes, that’s happened in the past. They were mostly just using it to talk crap about the job and to their customers. I even emailed them to let them know and no response. They obviously didn’t care at all.
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  13. says


    This is a great post with very valuable information! I have been putting more thought into my facebook fanpage lately. Up to this point I have mostly been posting links to my new blog posts with a couple other useful links or pointers here and there.

    Today I have started a weekly activity where people can share their fanpages on my wall and all that I ask is that they also pay it forward by promoting another fanpage that they find useful. I’m going to do the same thing with blog posts on Fridays.

    I’ve seen other bloggers offer that on their fanpages and it really encourages a lot more interaction on their walls.

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  14. says

    The idea of using a face is interesting, but I do wonder whether it has a substantially greater positive effect than a popular brand logo that people recognize. Zynga Poker, as the most popular facebook fan page, is definitely an example of a successful page with a face as the profile photo, but I think that hardly stands as definitive evidence that a face will be more likely to attract potential fans.

    Coca-Cola isn’t far behind with 22,304,964 fans and their profile photo is their iconic bottle. I would go so far to say that the content of your shared posts and your overall brand image will go a lot farther in winning you new friends than the attractiveness of your profile, especially given the homogeneity of Facebook profiles in general. I feel like adding a larger picture or a couple tabs with FBML are hardly huge influences on people wanting to friend you. It certainly hasn’t been an influence for me.
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  15. says

    The “if you build it, they will come” philosophy doesn’t work well for businesses. Sure, if you don’t build it, they definitely won’t come, but building something then expecting the masses to “fill the stadium” just doesn’t make sense. You HAVE TO promote.
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  16. says

    Thanks, Tom. I’ve just recently created a FaceBook “page” for my site and agree with TJ that it doesn’t necessarily naturally gather traffic even through 500 million users. I’ve been exploring ways to promote traffic there, but it’s not easy to stand out in FaceBook. I’ve typically used it as Stacy has by just announcing new blog posts there, but need to find creative ways to boost followers.


  17. says

    Hi there,

    Good article! I’m having a harder time with FB than Twitter at the moment because it’s harder to reach out to people on FB. I can’t simply start conversations! I’m dependent on people responding to the content I’m posting, and if that doesn’t attract them I get nothing. Hmm. It makes me think I ought alter the content I’m offering to encourage more interaction – but I’m not sure how! Something to ponder I guess.


    Pete @ Pure FX
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  18. says

    Hi Thomas,

    I agree with your points that how keep your fan on field every time. Its a good platform to promote personal or business services. Though its a Fan page i might say its also a Fun page where all the info are attractive. Like what you say about to promote by arranging “debate or discussion” or create controversy topics, at the point i want to add one of my point of view to add some further poll over the debate or discussion. I think it will create attraction to see if they are wrong or right who give their opinion.

    I am not sure how much my point is sensible to you or do i create sense to you. I am just waiting for feedback from you and others…

    Could you also please check out my new fan page and advice me also what i am missing on my page (its still developing)

    Thank to Thomas and also to you all.
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