Making the decision to promote yourself or your business through Facebook fan pages is exciting. Facebook boasts a network of over 845 million people worldwide, and there are many reasons to become a part of the community on a professional level.
Setting up a Facebook page can seem intimidating, especially if you are unaware of how to use Facebook thoroughly. Let’s put together a plan of action and discuss important elements on the page and ways to ensure its success from the beginning.
1. Define your Facebook Fan Page purpose.
Why are you starting a fan page? Are there specific goals or is it another place to interact with clients and potential clients? Are you looking to create a community or cash in on some new leads?
Whatever the purpose is, it should be clearly defined before the process begins. Your business is entering a large pool of fish and giving its consumers another place to voice their opinion, get to know the brand and to buy or invest something.
If the purpose is clearly defined from the beginning, it will reinforce all decision made from here on out. It will guide the creation and make it easier to maintain. Plus, it will bring wisdom when and if negative situations arise on the page.
Know exactly what you want, and then begin having some fun!
2. Cover picture, Profile picture and About section.
Once the purpose is defined, these three assets are the first priority.
- The profile picture is the tiny square that pops up on a user’s timeline alongside the page name, so make sure it is easily recognizable with one glance. A logo or picture that clearly represents the brand is best. Do not make it difficult to recognize the brand.
- The cover picture should continue to showcase a representation of who the brand is, but more creativity can be used. It can be a graphic, a picture from an event or a staff photo. It can be a placeholder for relevant information about the business or a special service it offers. But Facebook does not allow advertisement on cover pictures for specials or anything related to dollar signs. They will remove it without asking question.
- The About section is a vital piece. Do not leave it blank and take the time to fill it out with precision. Include all pertinent information as well as company visions, slogans, or anything else necessary to articulate who the business is. Also, add some humanization by including fun information that people can relate to – We like chocolate, I am obsessed with peanut butter – you get the idea.
3. Send out invites and start advertising.
After setting up the essentials, go ahead and start sending out invites to everyone you know. Do not be shy to contact those you already have a relationship with. Ask your friends, ask them to ask their friends, and get your family members involved. They are not business leads, but they are people who will interact with the page, so consider them akin to gold.
Start advertising and think outside the box. List your fan page URL on all your marketing, in your e-mail signature, on your personal Facebook profile, promote it with a widget on your blog, better yet, write a blog about why you started a Facebook page. Discuss the purpose behind it and how it is useful to your target audience. Add a “Like” box to your website (s) – make it simple readers/viewers to become fans. Add it to your LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+ profiles – any place holding information about your business online.
4. Fill in your timeline.
Check out Coca-cola and Whole Foods – two brands who took the time to fill out their timelines and created a story in which to engage their users with.
Filling out a timeline humanizing your brand by showing where the business came from, the idea, the personal moments behind it. Give your fans a story and they will love you for it. Show them why you decided to sell wedding invitations or what obstacles your marketing firm went through before it began – give them an opportunity to get to know the brand without the sparkle.
If you have a personal fan page and are promoting your freelance business, cooking skills, whatever – show them why. Share childhood pictures in the kitchen, in college classes or somewhere along the journey. Do not worry about having top dollar photos, either. The more unfiltered these moments are, the more people will respect and be drawn to the brand.
5. Create engaging and fun content.
Your content is the everyday posts and the updates your fans will see streaming through their news feed.
Question. What will entice them to engage? What types of posts grab their attention?
It is hard to get people to interact and will take more than a few good articles or cute pictures. But at the same time, there are limitless ways to achieve engagement.
It is important to constantly post fresh content and use a variety of it. Share videos from events, personal pictures from work or company outings, and articles about your industry or similar industries. Do not just post an article, add a comment and then add a question. The simpler, the better.
Share a picture with a funny caption and say, “Like this pictures if you agree.” Find a way to get a reaction from your action. Remember, social media is a two-way conversation. Keep it open ended.
6. Find fans.
This can be a tough part of your fan page campaign, but “if you build it, they will come.” Hopefully you know where which movie that line comes from.
Rehash your initial invite list, make sure to send out more, do not be afraid to ask people on other social networks to support it. But be respectful and ask those you have a relationship with. Sending out a “Like me” email is rude and will not garnish you a fond reputation in your social media community. To begin with, stick to the people you know.
Then start branching out. Find pages hosting your target audience and begin interacting. Comment on those pages, participate in the community and bring value to conversations. Build a knowledgeable and fun reputation and it will follow you back to your page.
You can also host specials, promotions or sweepstakes to get initial attention flowing. Everyone likes free things.
Once new fans are multiplying, make everything as personal as possible.
On a Facebook fan page, fans cannot be tagged unless they start the conversation. This prevents companies and individuals from spamming us to death, believe me, it is a great thing. But it makes personalizing more difficult.
So, tag people when responding to their comments, make sure to thank new fans for supporting the page, offer a prize for the 100th fan and make a huge deal out of them, upload pictures of users, and make them feel special.
Social media is about creating a relationship and cannot be done without personalization. The fans must know their presence counts. This appreciation causes a trickle effect and spreads through their list of friends, and on and on.
8. Be a giver.
The law of the universe dictates that through the art of giving, we receive. If you want to create a successful fan page where people freely interact and want to spend their time, then give, give, give.
Find business pages in your community and promote them, promote their events, discuss what other professionals in your industry are doing and add links to their work, support the pages of those who support your page, and promote them. Showcase bloggers you admire, photographers who blow your mind or Pinterest pinners whose pages you cannot live without.
Seek to encourage the community you are building by enriching and promoting their success. Not only is this ethically good, but it will humanize the brand and build a good reputation on every level.
Never be afraid to promote the success of those around us.
9. Create engagement with a fan page website.
Fan page websites are like adding coffee (or tea) to the mix. Built right into the fan page, they heighten the experience and add innumerable amounts of interaction for your fans.
Websites can be used for promotions, games, sweepstakes, interactive portals full of videos or portfolio pieces, questionnaires, feedback inquiries, client testimonies – anything to drum up the excitement and keep them coming back for more.
The website will double the engagement and add a ripe place to generate new leads. All industry types can benefit from a fan page website.
It is important to remember Facebook is a network for maintaining and building personal relationships. Facebook fan pages offer an energetic environment in which to tap into for businesses and brands of every type.
Be respectful, treat fans like you want to be treated, share content they cannot live without, interact on a personal level and build a community that fulfills the purpose laid out for it.
Do you have any additional tips for starting a Facebook fan page? We’d love to hear your thoughts.