Everyone’s setting up a Facebook ‘fan page’ – or so you keep being told! But how to make a success out of it, now that’s the question.
It’s fairly easy to set up a page. But it’s what happens afterwards that’s important. So many people set up a Facebook page without actually giving any thought to their objectives. And they don’t plan how they’ll keep it up to date either. So here is some advice on planning to succeed with your Facebook fan page.
1. Create a Warm Welcome
Don’t miss a prime opportunity to get something out of a fan’s first visit to your page. Presumably, they’ll have arrived having clicked a link from your website or another online platform, or because they’ve seen your page advertised offline (side note – always do everything you can to push people to your page, whether telling them verbally, putting a sign up in your shop or including the page on all your advertising and livery).
When visitors ‘land’, make them feel welcome. Tell them that by becoming a fan, they’ll have exclusive access to all sorts of things non-fans could only dream about. This is where your ‘splash page’ comes into its own. With a bit of development help, you can have your own custom-designed, striking welcome page that delivers a compelling message, encourages likes and even gets you sign-ups for newsletters or enquiries via an integrated form. Why redirect fans to your website to sign up or make enquiries when you can grab them there and then?
2. Like for Like
I just mentioned offering ‘exclusive access’ to fans. Dangle a carrot and give people a reason to like your page. Perhaps you’ll be posting Facebook-only offers and deals. Or you might be giving fans tips and advice that aren’t available elsewhere. Or your Facebook page might be the first place you’ll be publishing news about your latest product range. You could be giving samples away, or the page might be the sole place where customers can air their views, as long as they’re a fan. Make it exclusive and give people a reason to become a fan.
3. Constant Content
So many page owners make the mistake of setting up the page, posting a few initial updates and links, and leaving it at that. The thing is – fact – this page isn’t going to attract new fans or keep existing ones interested unless you post regular, interesting material. So get yourself organised with a content strategy, and stick with it. Far too many people give up in the first few weeks because they think their page isn’t ‘doing anything’. But like anything, it takes time, and commitment. It’s the strategy part that’s important.
You may have news to announce from time to time, but face it, not every day is a news day. So for those times in between, plan some useful updates, notes, links, videos or images to maintain interest. Use Hootsuite to forward-schedule posts so that something appears every day, or at least every few days.
4. Engage Fans
Bear in mind that 95% of fans won’t pay a second visit to your page; instead they’ll interact via their news feed, usually on their phones or tablet PCs. So it’s vital to make your content posts rich and engaging. Run polls; ask questions; request feedback; ask fans what they’d like to see. And with every post, include a call to action. Whether that’s to visit your website, read more, call you or call into your shop, click the buy button, donate, sponsor or give feedback.
5. Set Objectives
What exactly are you looking to achieve from your Facebook page? Ascertain this from the outset and plan your strategy around it. Whether you want to get more customers; to build a fan base that will talk about and recommend you; to entice donations or sponsors; to attract attention from the media; to engage with existing customers or get them to buy more from you – make sure you know what you’re doing, and mould your approach to meet that goal.
For example, if you are looking to attract attention from the press to try and get interviews that boost your reputation as an expert in your field, you could highlight recent news stories and provide your comment on them – the more controversial the comment the better, of course! If you wish to engage with existing customers, you’ll be inviting reviews, suggestions and comments and making sure you respond to them – and act on them – in a timely fashion. You could offer exclusive trials of new products to fans and get them involved in the development stage to make them feel like their opinion is valued. And if your objective is to attract sponsors, you’ll need to be showing potential stakeholders what they’ll get out of their investment. And what’s better than a substantial fan base that’s hungry for your interesting news?
In Summary …
Overall, you need to incorporate your Facebook fan page into your overall marketing strategy. And you need commitment and to keep that effort consistent if you’re going to start seeing results. Don’t neglect your page once it’s been set up and take every opportunity to get people involved via online and offline means. You might also consider Facebook advertising campaigns to draw more attention.
Just one more side note – some brands go as far as transforming their Facebook pages into ‘mini websites’. Yes these pages stand out and have added functionality. Personally though – and this is just my own opinion – I believe that a Facebook page should look like a Facebook page. Social Facebook users are used to the format. Steer too far away from it and they may feel like they’ve stepped outside their comfort zone.