If your business has a presence on Facebook, then you’ve already taken the first step toward connecting with your current and potential customers on one of the most popular social networking sites to date. But to fully benefit from having a fan page on Facebook, you’ll need to actively engage your fans to maintain their interest and keep the momentum going for your business.
So how can you accomplish that? Let’s look at seven ways:
Advertise your fan page. To get the most out of your page, you can’t rely on the mantra: “Build it and they will come.” You’ll need to get the message out to your current and potential customers by advertising your new Facebook page. At the very least, you should link to your fan page directly from your website, blog, Twitter page, or other online forum. You’ll want to make sure that the link is at the top of the right or left column on your website, especially in hot spots like the masthead. Including a Facebook icon is the best way to draw attention to your link.
To boost your advertising even further, try using Facebook ads, blog posts, or other messaging to communicate your page’s existence to future fans.
Build your brand. You should mention your Facebook page on all of the elements in your marketing program. One of the quickest ways you can do this is to include a link in your email signature. You can also mention your Facebook page on any fulfillment materials, invoices, packing slips, company brochures, or business cards. To gain popularity, you’ll need to spread the news through every customer contact avenue that’s available to your business.
Include your company information. On your Facebook fan page, there’s an Info tab that allows you to include information about your business. At a minimum, you should provide an overview of your company, information about your products or services, and a link to your website. But you don’t have to be constrained by the current categories. With a little creativity, you can expand on this part of your page and use it to drive conversion in other areas. For example, in the Company Overview section, you can place links to specific pages on your website, or you can add a sign-up form that lets people subscribe to your email newsletter. This area is also a great place to put links to your other social networking sites, such as Twitter.
Create a landing page. One of the greatest aspects of Facebook’s fan page is the ability to create a landing page that leads into your “actual” page. Facebook provides an application called Static FBML (Facebook Markup Language), which allows you to use basic coding to create a small landing page that becomes the first thing people see when they come to your fan site.
To install this tool, log in to Facebook and add Static FBML to your page. Once you’ve installed it, you can insert your code and adjust your settings on your wall so that people who aren’t yet your fans will land on this particular page first. To get the most out of this technique, you should provide a short description of your business and request that people become a fan of your page. I’ve known businesses that have used this technique and have been highly effective in converting visitors to fans.
Provide engaging content. Having a Facebook fan page provides an ideal opportunity to interact with people. The more information you include on your page, the more inclined your fans will be to stay involved. But remember, interaction requires the efforts of both you and your visitors. And when your fans are more involved, they’re more likely to take advantage of special promotions you might be offering or to suggest your fan page to their friends.
To encourage interaction, you can adjust your wall settings to allow your fans to post comments, links, or videos on your page, and you can host a miniforum by using the Discussions application. If you have videos on YouTube that are related to your products or services, you can educate your fans about your videos by using the Notes application. You can also import an RSS feed through this application, which is an excellent way to provide relevant content to your readers.
Promote with offerings. Besides creating a landing page, you can use Static FBML to create coupons and rewards, promotional announcements, or even a little shopping area. If you can imagine it, you can create it. Start thinking of your Facebook page as an extension of your main website. If you publish an email newsletter, you can use the markup language to create a subscription form for sign-ups. If you use an email marketing program, you’ll need to put the code for your subscription form in FBML to create a tab on your page.
Above all, make sure that you’re following the Facebook Pages Terms to avoid making mistakes that could inadvertently cause your Facebook fan page to be deactivated.
Do your research. Facebook provides the Insights tool that allows you to view certain metrics about your fan base. It’s not extremely robust, but it does provide a snapshot on things such as the number of active fans you have in various age groups, the geographic breakdown of your fans, and the growth of your fan base over time. This is helpful information when you’re deciding which promotions to advertise to your fans or whether you should target your messaging to a specific age group.
You should also research other businesses on Facebook to see what they’re doing to promote their page or to engage their fans. Pay attention to what features they’re using, what kind of content they frequently post for their fans, and what methods they use to interact with their visitors. There are a lot of successful Facebook fan pages that offer creative and effective ideas you can try on your own page.
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