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How to get a Facebook Page viral in 3 days !

Mission : Get a page viral in 3 days .


Why did I choose to have a window period of just 3 days for the experiment ?

The top reasons for this are :
–    I have other work to do . Wanted to have some fun and couldn’t afford more than 3 days for the whole experiment .
–    Wanted to see how much I can do in such a small time frame . As the “ How to make things go viral “ articles I read say you require atleast 30 days . So wanted to see what is possible in just 3 days .
–    Setting a small time frame has its own advantages :
•    Its just 3 days and you have a mission ! So you are super charged day and night to see the result ( I hardly slept 5 hours in these 3 days and was happy about it – it was thrilling ! )
•    Risk free : If the experiment succeeds – great ! If not its just 3 days you have wasted .
•    Motivation : The eagerness to see the result in just 3 days drives you a lot .

Why did I choose a Facebook page ?

The top reasons I choose to have a Facebook page as the landing page for the experiment were :
–    Easy to set up : Have only 3 days . So the landing page that serves as the stage for this viral experiment needs to be up and ready ASAP ( with a good design , quick load time , having social elements to registration , commenting system , provision to upload pictures etc ) . The first solution that flashed was a Facebook page and I stuck to it .
–    Easy to make it Viral : With a normal landing page , you need to convince the visitor to LIKE IT , SPREAD IT etc. But if the landing page is a Facebook page itself – it speaks the viral language by its own . A visitor coming to the page knows that he needs to LIKE it ( Facebook has built that in their minds already ) .
–    Facebook traffic : Well Facebook search is by itself a big source of traffic . With them promoting the new “Search graph” there will be a lot searching on Facebook- and Facebook gives a lot of imortance to its pages first . So I didn’t want to miss out on this traffic .

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Execution :

The Topic :

The most important thing I considered to get something viral in just 3 days was the TOPIC . It had to fit the following criteria :
–    It needs to be a current hot subject , so it triggers the interest of people instantly .
–    It must be a category that is liked by all categories of people ( Geeks , News lovers , Working people , Kids , House wife’s , Senior citizens etc. )
–    Something that is yet to happen and people are looking forward towards it ( Like an election , Sport event , a conference , an upcoming movie etc. ) . Because if we choose something that has not happened yet there is a lot of serendipity in the topic and people jump at any information about it ( Ex : Exit polls say Obama has 45% chance of winning the election , Tom cruise met with an accident during the shoot , Ronaldino to switch teams for the world cup , List of companies selected for the Techcrunch disrupt etc. )
–    Something people always have behind their mind and keep searching everywhere for updates regarding it [ If you are a Webmaster – For sure you always keep searching for the latest Algorithm update in Google . How about a sudden news that says “ 95% of sites HIT due to the latest PANDA update ! “ . Am 100% sure you will open the link to see what has happened :) ]
–    Something that is of NEWS value . Something that can be circulated as a HOT News over the Web .

So what is the Topic I chose ?

The date was Jan 2nd 2013 . Having all the above criteria in mind I started looking for hot topical topics . Spent 5-6 hours on filtering out various topics . The most lucrative topic was the upcoming Super Bowl 2013 . A quick keyword analysis on the Super Bowl 2012 showed MASSIVE search volume for the subject and related subjects . I decided to settle on the topic . But again to have such a massive topic was like just choosing the topic “ Upcoming movies “ and its too much to handle in just 3 days . So I decided to choose a granular niche under this Big category . Interestingly saw that there is a LOT of interest for the Super Bowl commercials . Again doing a keyword research saw there was atleast 1 million people who have searched for the “Super Bowl commercials 2012 “ – Man I have got the exact niche I wanted ! so the topic I finally nailed down upon is : Super Bowl commercials to be aired in 2013

Setting up the page for the topic :

As decided I wanted to setup a Facebook page for the topic . But I got a second thought of using a page which is already created and has a website supporting it . The reasons are :
–    I don’t have the time to setup content . As the topic I chose needs continues new engaging content , so people share it .
–    I also wanted to see how much money can be made during this experiment  . For this you need a website to re-direct traffic to from Facebook .

So searched in Facebook to see if there are pages that exist already for the subject . To my surprise there were a lot of pages there for the topic already . Selected the page that had no fans at all ( so its easy to convince the owner to help me in the experiment ) . Selected 5 pages that didn’t have any fans at all and looked deserted ( or else the page owners wont believe you and wont give you manager access to the page ) . Sent a Page message to all the 5 owners ( decided to go with the page that first replied ) . In 2 hours time I got a reply from a page with lots of questions . I answered them and he was glad to help me out . He gave me manager access to the page in the next couple of hours . This is the PAGE .

Promised the owner that I will help him for FREE and all I expected in return was for him to keep the supporting website and the FB page filled with quality content continually ( which he was already doing and was glad to increase the effort )

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Getting the page ready :

–    Profile picture and Cover image : I instantly got a profile image for the page and did a quick and dirty cover image [ Well this cover image got near 20 like so far ;) ] . You can check it out in the page .

–    Call-to-action button : Got a simple call-to-action button ready so people can click and goto the main supporting website
–    Fan Gate : Got a Fan gate ready . But only after installing it came to know of the Facebook policy change that you cant have the Fan Gate as the default page ( My plan was to allow visitors to see the content only if they hit the LIKE button on the Fan gate ) . You can see the fan gate I created for the page HERE . But as I said it became useless due to the new policy change in Facebook .

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–    Got the website owner to have the Pages Fan Box appear on the website here : ( So I can harvest the little traffic that’s coming to the website and convert them as fans as well ).

Viral marketing :

Call it Viral marketing or Guerilla marketing or growth hacking – my aim was to finish the experiment in 3 days and with a marketing budget of only $100 . So my challenge was to get the page viral in the available time and in the fixed budget – not a second more or a penny more !
I decided the experiment start date to be Feb 1 ( midnight ) and end date as Feb 5 ( early in the morning ) – so the execution days are Feb 2nd , 3rd and 4th . I lined up all the tasks that I need to do in this time frame and all the resources I can make use of . Waited for the day to arrive ( While the page owner kept posting content ) . During the time I kept watch of the page and there was not much happening expect for the new content getting filled in . There was hardly 5 – 10 likes for the page .

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Count down :

Day 1 ( Feb 2nd , Saturday ) :

–    It was also the Groundhog day . So didn’t expect much people to be online . Thought that many will be out enjoying the day as it’s a weekend as well .
–    All the press and media was already getting flooded with news about the Super Bowl 2013 .So was damn sure that a majority of people will get online in the evening to check out news about the Super Bowl happening the next day .
–    Anticipating this I already submitted 2 articles in Press release sites like SBWire , PressDoc etc. with the target Keywords on Feb 1st. The PR got approved on Feb 2nd . But the issue was since there was all these big players already giving news releases for every hour . The PR’s I gave were nearly invisible !
–    Even though it may have appeared on top in Google News for only 5 minutes I got near 2000 people coming to the Facebook page the first day . Got 200 likes.
–    Quickly found an interesting article in the website about commercials to be aired during the Super Bowl 2013 and posted it in the Facebook page . Spent 5 dollars to promote the page ( Facebook didn’t approve the promotion instantly and had to wait for the next day to get it promoted )
–    Submitted a page related to the Movie trailers to be aired during the Super Bowl 2013 to Stumble upon .
Note : Here  I used a friend of mine who had a POWER USER account in Stumbleupon to submit it , so there are high possibilities of it getting viral .
–    Submitted the page to 50+ other Social bookmarking sites .
–    Submitted questions in Quora related to Super Bowl and had links .

Day 2 ( Feb 3rd , Sunday ) :

–    To our surprise the supporting website we had was on top in BING for the target keyword . But however the traffic count was pathetic from BING . Even if it was 500 visitors – I wanted to make the best use of them to get things viral .
–    The Stumbleupon link I submitted got nearly 130 likes in Stumbleupon .
–    The Fan count for the Facebook page had raised to 700+ . Ok the confusing part here was we were getting near 5000 people coming to the facebook page , but only few were hitting the LIKE button or sharing . So we kept posting posts in the page that forces the user to check out the supporting website . My aim here was to re-direct user to the website and get him sharing the page , so our visitor count gets increased and which will eventually change to LIKES on the FB page – using which we can again promote . It worked ! The Web page LIKE count and SHARE count were increasing tremendously . Some of the pages got near 100+ likes and Google+ votes ( )

Day 3 ( Feb 4th , Monday )

–    I liked this day because I anticipated that many people in office will be still in the Super Bowl hangover and will be checking the web to see the commercials that were aired the previous day and the ones they have missed out .
–    Put up a POLL in Facebook for the TOP 10 best commercials and promoted it for $5 . The outcome was good . We got about 40+ Likes of the Poll , 15+ comments , and 800+ people voting for their favorite commercial !
–    I put a post on the Tom cruise movie “Oblivion” and Johnny Depp movie “Lone ranger” . The trailers were run during the Super Bowl . Had a question at the end of the post asking who was best “ Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp “ . Around 14+ Shared the post instantly , 25+ Liked it and there were 40+ comments ( to my surprise not 1 person voted for Tom Cruise . All are mad on Johnny Depp  ) . I decided to promote the post – but for some reason Facebook declined it . If only it was promoted I Am sure it might have received atleast 200+ comments and 300+ likes .
–    Had another Press release for the day .


Ok this is the most interesting part I know :)

Following is the outcome in my 3 days experiment with a budget of $100 . I still dunno if its was a success . That’s upto you to decide .
–    Day 3 ended with 1400+ likes to the Facebook page .
–    Insights showed that the page has reached 551,884 ( friends of fans ) . Total of 2000+ were speaking about the page at any moment during the 3 days . But only 1400+ Likes for all these numbers .
–    The total visitors to the Supporting website in the 3 days were 40,000+ people . 90% of the traffic was from Facebook page .
–    The site earned $1500 in the 3 days from Google Adsense . $300 from Kontera In text Ads . $185 from GUM GUM image Ads .
–    Surprisingly the Facebook page is now on Top in Google for the Keyword “ Super Bowl commercials 2013 “ . But its of no use as the traffic was peak only on Feb 2nd and 3rd with a massive 1 million people searching for the exact keyword . Just imagine the traffic we might have got and the revenue if we were top on those days .
–    The top source of visitors to the Facebook page were from Facebook search inself , From Stumbleupon , Press releases , Google & Bing , Quora ( In my task list I had Digg , Reddit , Buzzfeed etc. But due to lack of time and friends who have power accounts there – was not able to submit )

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Lessons learnt from the experiment :

–    Maybe the experts are right . You need atleast 30 days for the page to explode virally .
–    If your trying to make a Facebook page viral – don’t expect all the people who come to the page to become a fan . In our case we had near 30,000+ visitors come to our website from the Facebook page . But had only 1400+ likes on the page .
–    People tend to Like your website page more than your Facebook page . Our reports showed that nearly 50% of the traffic that went to various pages in the website from the facebook page shared those individual pages – but didn’t hit LIKE on the FB page .
–    You need to test out things before in hand . In our case Facebook rejected promoting certain posts in the final moment due to payment issues , post issues etc. Press releases were delayed to be approved . Nearly 3 of our Press released got rejected in the final moment .
–    Search traffic can really help to get pages viral if the topic is a topical one . And you need to plan it well ahead . If only I should have started the work 2 weeks before , the Facebook page would have been on top during the event and things might have been totally different and I would have given you amazing numbers :)
–    Your network is very important . I got some serious traffic to the Facebook page from Stumbleupon , since it was submitted via. a Power user . If I had a network of friends with power accounts in Reddit , DIGG , Buzzfeed etc. surely might have got more numbers .
And last but not the least …
–    We had many people trying to hack the Facebook page during the 3 days . As the manager of the page I got anonymous password reset mail every 4 hours once ( Doing a little research found that its so easy to hack a Facebook page by just hitting “forgot password” and entering the details of your friends ) . So I changed the page to a entirely new account with no friends at all – and kept changing the password every 6 hours once .

As for the page owner . He is happy :) and wants to do another experiment with the upcoming Soccer world cup happening in 2014 !  ( and wants to pay me for it :-D )

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