A little less than a month ago we decided to make a concerted effort to increase the number of fans for the Young Democrats of America Facebook page. I want to talk about how we were able to add almost 1,000 new fans during this period.

First, we had the advantage of having a Facebook group with just under 5,000 members. Previously, these members had never been sent a message asking them to become fans of the page. Rob Dolin sent a message out to the group asking them to join and then posted about YDA’s online presence on the YDA blog. This was the first big momentum boost of the effort.

Second, we used Twitter and our Facebook statuses to promote the page. This combined with the new members joining from the group solicitation made the page rank fairly high on people’s home feeds, which brought in new members.

Third, I began to actively put content on the page. Since status updates from pages show up in home feeds, it helps bring traffic to the page. I used status updates that I thought would elicit the best responses in terms of likes and comments, which would help increase their reach.

I decided that I wanted to try out using Facebook ads to help build membership. I created an ad and targeted it to users between the ages of 18 and 35 who live in the U.S. and identify with the Democratic Party. I chose to buy ads on a Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) rather than a Cost Per Click (CPC) since I preferred the visibility (the ads have the YDA site url) and because I thought the targeting was strong enough. I set a max bid of $.25 CPM with a daily budget of $2 (this was my own money, so I really couldn’t break the bank.) I ran the ads on-and-off for a week and ended up with 49 clicks, and it seemed that most of the clicks converted into membership based on the growth numbers. While it may seem like I spent $13 for 49 new members, it will actually be more than that. With each new member comes the opportunity to reach their networks, so there is a good potential for a butterfly effect.

While the initial boost seems to have come from the group solicitation, the steady growth afterward seems to indicate that the other membership building tactics have been successful, especially when compared to the stagnancy in membership during the four months before the effort began.

What are your thoughts on building up the membership of a Facebook page? Share in the comments, and don’t forget to become a fan of the Young Democrats of America.