With over 700 million users, Facebook still reigns over the social media kingdom. Even though most of your organization’s fans are probably using Facebook, it can be a real challenge to grow a fan page that is interactive and helps expand your clientele base. Growing a Facebook page is a process that can sometimes be slow and tedious—especially in those early days.
So how do you develop a meaningful Facebook page? It requires time, patience, and strategy. Here are some basic tips to get you started. Building the page: 1. Identify your goals for your Facebook fan page. I like Social Media Guru Jay Baer’s take on social media goals where he suggests there are three realistic business goals for social media:
- Brand Enthusiasm. Turning customers into fans, driving repeat purchases.
- Sales. Using social media to create first-time customers or to introduce your brand.
- Loyalty. Decreasing customer churn, improving customer service.
2. Identify your target audience. Who is this person willing to make a ceremonious commitment to your page (and, by extension, your business)? They may not be the same people that follow you on other social channels. For SocialNicole, LLC, our goal is brand awareness which will grow sales. Our target Facebook fans are businesses and professionals looking for more online marketing know how. For your business, your audience may be clients and customers who have directly experienced the work you do. It could be future clients or people considering volunteering. It could even be a general audience—people interested in the links to unique content you post more than your specific product. Whoever it is, you are being given a golden chance to talk to them and have them listen and respond. Screw it up and you could lose their attention. 3. Identify what content your audience will want from you. Again, this may look different from what you share on Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. If your audience is mainly users of your online software, then perhaps your content needs to be heavy in “how to”s and specific product information. If your audience is there for general information (like those on SocialNicole’s Facebook page), your content must reflect that—a sort of “best of the Web,” linking articles and information related to your community or industry. Your audience and their interests can change over time, so be sure to keep an eye on basic analytics (which links are netting the most clicks, which posts are generating the most comments, etc.). 4. Make being a fan special. Figure out what you can offer your fans on Facebook that they cannot get somewhere else. This could be special discounts, content, contests, etc.—things that they could not get by simply signing up for your newsletter or following you on Twitter. 5. Create a custom welcome page for newcomers. Make users who are visiting your Facebook page for the first time feel at home. Invite them to join the crowd and tell them a bit about you—including who you are, what you do, and where they can get more information. This page should be branded to match your website and should also specifically invite people to like your Facebook page. Remember, this is a party and you are the host: show your guests where to find the important things and introduce them to the community. Make them feel welcome. 6. Consider investing in Facebook ads. You can target these ads very specifically to the audience you are looking for. Better yet, you only pay when people click on the ad. Are these ads effective? I have seen Facebook pages grow 200–300% in a matter of months thanks to Facebook ads. I have also seen pages not grow from ad placement. The trick is to be strategic in your messaging and targeting and be willing to test to find if there is a right mix.
Once it’s live:
1. Post directly to your Facebook page wall instead of using a third party application. This is often one of the most challenging things to accomplish, especially when there is software that allows you to schedule posts. Why not just schedule them and forget them? First of all, forgetting about your page updates isn’t very social—and that’s taboo in social media. But more importantly, the Facebook algorithm does not give third party posts as much value as direct posts made on the Facebook.com platform. In addition, Facebook clumps together posts from third party platforms in users’ newsfeeds—only one post from any given third party platform will be listed in the newsfeed. The other posts are only available if users click on a link to see additional posts. Basically, Facebook rewards people who use the Facebook platform and penalizes those who use non-Facebook posting software. 2. Interact with your fans. When they like your page, comment on a post, or ask a question, take the time to talk to them and make them feel welcome. It’s called “social media” because it is supposed to be social. Once you get some user interaction, you need to be responding. 3. Pay attention to what your audience likes, comments on, and interacts with. This is very important. The more people interact with your posts, the more Facebook’s algorithms will pop them to the top of your fans’ newsfeeds. You want your audience to see your links, and the best way for that to happen is if the links are the first thing they see when they log into Facebook. You can track links with applications such as bit.ly or more advanced paid software such as PageLever. 4. Remember to promote your Facebook page. Remember to have linked Facebook icons on your website, on your blog posts, in your email signature, and on all social channels where you can create interactive links. It is essential that these icons direct people to like your page and are easily visible at first glance. And don’t forget to include “Follow us on Facebook” icons on all print marketing materials as well. So there you go—a list to get you started growing that Facebook fan page. What advice do you have? What has worked for you? We want to hear from you, so please share in the comments below. Photo Credit