So, you have a Facebook Page for your business. Check! You even have a couple of people “liking” it already (mostly friends and family). Check! It might also have your blog posts or website updates automatically appear on its wall. Great! But what now? Why aren’t your revenue charts spiking to the ceiling?! There is an update after an update, but is there actually anyone there? No response, no interaction – what’s the point then?
Managing a Facebook Fan Page takes more than that. The good news is that you can truly build a community of loyal fans converting to loyal customers over time. The best part is that it does not have to take most of your day (or budget, if you are considering hiring a social media manager to deal with it for you).
In fact, after making yourself familiar with few basic rules and getting the feel for your Facebook audience (since every industry and offer or product you want to promote is totally different), half an hour of daily Facebook management is all you need to maintain the flow and eventually stimulate conversion.
No doubt, Facebook is the hottest social media channel. No marketer can ignore its 500+ million active monthly users around the globe, with the average user checking it daily (well, some four to 10 times a day, to the horror of their employers!). Nevertheless, all “Facebookers” want to do there is:
- a. Be nosy and up-to-date on what others are doing
- b. Share their own opinions, memories and simply show off
- c. Be on top of great offers around their needs or interests and again – show others what they like, believe in and want to be part of.
As much as you would like to contribute to your fan’s arrival of a new puppy, baby shower news or their latest weekend getaway, leave it to them or their friends and concentrate on giving what you specialize in instead. So, whether you are a local organic farmer delivering produce to their door or a national fashion guru, make your value proposition stand out in a friendly way (think of Facebook being an informal version of your website). “c.” is where you want to catch them. You have to be where they hang out, let them know about your presence and make them hang out on your wall or discussion tab!
For our cheerful organic farm owner, talk about healthy recipes, post pictures of your happy pigs living a dream life, eating beets and rolling in mud. Educate them about natural pesticides and how they could turn their kids’ lunch box into an attractive piece of edible health (using sweet potatoes from your upcoming delivery, of course).
The well-known designer is in a slightly better position, since most of his 140,000 fans probably found him on their own. But it doesn’t mean he can ditch all Facebook activities and keep fascinating the world with his latest trends. These trends have to be mirrored on his Facebook Fan page with updates and photos of runways and celebrities wearing the so-wanted sparkly leggings.
Make people want to join your page because there will be something for them. Give them a great reason to keep visiting often and checking each update. Don’t worry about selling yet. If you start by promoting your product/service at the beginning, you might start losing fans. If you’re a landscaping company in Georgia, don’t talk about your reduced spring service (yet). Rather, share tips on how to take care of region-specific plants, show examples of beautiful ponds (that you’ve installed, with links to the testimonials on your website) and how to set up a filter or what type of fish could flap their fins there.
Promote yourself indirectly, share your knowledge and experience first. You might even consider naming your Facebook Fan Page “I Love Flowers” instead of “Jessica’s Flowers of Brooklyn”. People want to join something that identifies them, relates to their passions and interests, and shows their friends what they support.
This is the key piece of any social media marketing strategy. A two-way conversation is what you need on your Fan Page’s wall instead of broadcasting and selling, or even just posting updates that do not involve the readers.
Posts in a form of questions are a great way to stimulate discussion. Perhaps some of your fans read everything you write, but update after update will not strengthen the bond. Show interest in their opinion and feedback, refer to them by asking questions.
A great example is the Facebook Fan Page of a small mixed martial arts gear company, with a little over 1,000 fans. Whenever they post the recent blog post’s link, a video, or link to a recent fight review, there is not much engagement, even though people do read them. There is just no reason for anyone’s involvement:
On the other side, any time a question is asked, they get tons of comments and likes from and between the fans within minutes:
And, of course, to make it a two-way conversation, you have to be the one involved in that discussion as well. This leads to the next point.
You definitely want interaction on your Fan Page; with an average of 130 friends per Facebook user, every time one of your fans makes a comment, “likes” anything, or is tagged in a post or image, all of his friends see it and might join it as well. Two easy rules to apply every time you are checking activity on your Fan Page:
- Respond to questions or concerns. Make it visible to everyone rather than sending a private message.
- “Like” and make comments, just as you want your fans to.
Facebook users like to know that there is a real person behind all that great content and that their opinions are valued.
As mentioned earlier, your Page has to be tailored to your audience. And, as with all kinds of marketing, it takes constant testing to determine what works best. Some of the most effective ways for you and your fans to get to know each other are to:
- Run Contests
- Test various promotions and offers
A lot of the magic happening all over Facebook, and the relationship-building, comes from the ability to interact (Have I mentioned that before?). Create a vibrant space with main focus on how your supporters can play an active part in sharing what you present.
Finally! Isn’t it what you were waiting for? Yes, you can share your best offers, products or services in between the non-branded posts, once you feel that there is a good number of fans, with great interactions present. Inject your offers slowly, don’t make your wall look like your online store. Track your website’s traffic with Facebook being the source and see which approach works best, if you’re testing several of them.
Cross promote your page by placing the linkable Facebook logo or box on your blog, website and underneath your e-mail signature.
Measuring the performance of a Facebook Fan page is very limited to the number of likes, page views, daily interactions, active fans, post’s impressions, etc. You might not be able to equate these interactions to dollars (unless you use specific promo codes exclusive to your Facebook fans, promoting a particular offer). Nevertheless, checking your Fan Page’s insights on a weekly basis can help you determine what practices work best.
Go and Get Them!
Although I’m pretty sure you don’t expect to monetize each of your fans by next Wednesday, you shouldn’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing a significant ROI increase as a direct result of your social media activities for weeks or even months. Rest assured, though, that many other, indirect elements are being built and getting stronger (brand awareness, relationship, trust, word of mouth). Facebook is a place for people to talk to each other – if you give them the reason to talk about you, they surely will!
*I have used the word “fan” throughout the post, even though Facebook had changed that term to “people who like” or “Likes”.