I do not become your fan by clicking a button. The click merely affirms the work you’ve already done.
If I’m a true fan of a business (not just in the Facebook sense), I am rooting for that business’s success. I’m an advocate for the product or service. I feel a sense of pride when I see people using the product or I hear of the business’s growth. I’m invested. The business’s success is my success. That connection does not get created with the click of a button.
The volume of real Facebook fans you have is a trailing indicator of how your customers feel about you. You will not earn more real fans with giveaways and coupons. You’ll just build a list as impersonal and generally ineffective as the average non-customer email database. They will ‘hide’ you from their stream quicker than an ‘unsubscribe’ request.
Having a lot of Facebook fans alone doesn’t make you a popular company, just like having stacks of business cards doesn’t make you a good networker.
The businesses I’m a fan of have worked for that type of respect and investment from me. They didn’t give me a coupon in exchange for my allegiance or fandom. They built that respect before I was willing to click the button.
If you’re unhappy with your volume of fans, consider doing more to earn the allegiance of your customers before you ask for it.