A Facebook fan page can be a great tool for your business, personality or endeavor. It serves as a fun way to update interested parties about what’s new and what’s news and is especially effective since so many people are already turning to Facebook as a means of staying connected.
Before you create a Fan Page, make sure this is the right option for you. Sometimes people confuse Facebook fan pages and groups. I’ve blogged about this topic before (click here to read that post); it’s my most read blog entry, as people search for this information every day. Here’s a quick recap.
Create a Facebook fan/brand page if
* you want to build buzz around a brand name or create interest/support of a product or service.
* you want to convey information to a core group of people who show interest in your specific topic.
* you want a place for comments and feedback, yet with less focus on interactions and discussions.
* you prefer to guide the tone and content of the page as it represents the person, company, product or service being promoted.
Examples of pages:
* Musical artists, celebrities or public personalities
* Businesses or brand names
* Products or services
* Events – for purposes of promotion, not planning
If you’re certain you need a fan page, here’s how to start it and make it work for your business.
Once you’re logged into Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. You’ve got to be authorized to create the page, and filling out the preliminary information is self-explanatory. Just be sure you’re making proper selections from the get-go so you don’t have to fret with corrections after set up.
Populate your page with useful, interesting information. Post some photos. Add a few wall postings. Don’t treat this page as a static profile. For a Facebook Fan Page to be effective, it needs to be consistently injected with fresh material, news, images and information.
After the page is created and populated with good content, invite people to become fans. Whether you tap into your existing Facebook friend base or invite people not aligned with you within this website, all Facebook fans will have to first be Facebook users. However, considering the ever-growing numbers of Facebook users, this shouldn’t create too much of a hindrance.
Obviously, by inviting people you already know to be “fans,” you’re really tapping into your network of “friends.” Eventually, you’ve got to grow from having friends to having true fans; heightened success with your page will take place when you see people you don’t even know participating.
So just how can you attract people beyond your existing friend base to become your business’ fan? Here a a few ideas.
- Ask your friends/fans to ask people in their networks to join. Sometimes it’s really as simple as making the request, and friends will rally.
- If you have employees, encourage them to help spread the word and support the page as well.
- Run Facebook ads. Facebook ads can be very affordable, easily managed and nicely targeted to reach interested parties. The ad can offer a direct link to the fan page, to encourage quick, simple affiliation.
- Add links to your Facebook page to existing communications, i.e. – email signatures, other profiles, websites, etc.
- Offer an incentive to fans via a membership drive. For example, I’ve seen musicians offer a free download for all fans once the page reached a milestone number of fans (“help me reach 500 fans by the end of this month, and everyone gets a free download of my latest song!”).
And just why would you dare drive traffic to a Facebook fan page and not your existing website? The reality is, you need to meet people where they are, and right now they are on Facebook. This is about building relationships with your constituencies, not hard line, direct selling. Think of this as great bonding time!
Your fans are logging into Facebook to connect with friends, message each other and share information. By capturing fans on Facebook, you then have the opportunity to message them (with good discretion, please!) about other news, links and products. The fan page becomes a meet-them-where-they-are message board, and via that ‘board’ you can ultimately offer links to send them wherever they need to go to get the full scoop on your business, product or brand.
Long term. it’s up to you to keep breathing life into your fan page. Personally, I’m a fan of many things of Facebook, but I rarely hear from the companies, artists or products I’ve chosen to acknowledge. Never assume your fans will keep coming back to your page on their own. Artfully remind them! When you post something new to your fan page, send a quick, single topic message to all members; feel free to add a live link to your main website if you so choose (some people will click through).
Even though we may now rely on click of mouse as much as word of mouth to share recommendations and information, we still value the input and perspectives of family and friends to find out about great things. With the innate interconnectivity of Facebook, friends and family can help convert others into new fans. And that’ll surely help small biz go big time!