Slash’s Rocking Facebook Fan Page, Explained

Over the last few weeks, we noticed that former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash was all of a sudden getting popular on Facebook. Instead of just gaining a couple hundred users a day, he was gaining tens of thousands. But recently, he’s gone from less than half a million fans to more than 1.1 million.

Why? Well, first, we recognize that Slash is a great guitarist, and that people just want to be fans of him because they love him. Second, we recognize that he has a very active page — he’s constantly updating via text messages, even automatically sending his updates to Twitter via his page.

But we also recognize that he’s been active on Facebook for months, yet only recently saw a spike in new fans. So there is likely another cause, or two. We asked readers, and a few people responded to say they’d seen actual ads for Slash’s page on Facebook — apparently ads being run by Facebook itself. Slash may be benefiting from a larger effort by Facebook to promote celebrities.

“A few weeks ago, I noticed that Facebook replaced ads with fan page solicitations,” as commenter Jason F. told us. “I think Slash was one of them. I wonder if that helped seed the audience more diversely than organic growth ala Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolvers’ fan pages would have.”

What does Jason mean by “seeding?” Facebook fan page advertising is not itself necessarily the main explanation for the new growth. Jeff Widman, a Facebook marketing consultant who helps big clients grow pages, has more:

“The Highlight section of Facebook means if you can get a page rolling along at a good clip, you can keep picking up more fans. It’s a solid way for him to basically capture on Facebook all the people who already like him (and are friends with him). I’ve seen some major spikes with my clients when we try to push something hard all at once rather than dribble a little at a time. If they want to spend $1K on ads every month, I tell ’em to blow it in one week every month.”

In other words, a little bit of growth can snowball into a lot of growth. So the answer to the riddle of Slash’s page growth could really be “all of the above.” First: He is already popular with the general public. Second: He has an active page. Third: He had ads running that apparently were seen by a lot of people. Fourth: Facebook’s viral loops — its highlights, as well as its activity stream — may have allowed the first three conditions to exponentially increase the results.

For page owners looking to grow, this is maybe another reason to buy those Facebook ads, and to think more strategically about ad spending patterns. Or, of course, to figure out who within Facebook decides to promote particular celebrities, as that person now appears to be the equivalent of whoever is in charge of the Suggested User List over at Twitter.

And with that thought, it’s time to rock: