If you’re using Facebook, you’ve seen them. You might even have one of your own.
Fan pages are Facebook’s response to marketing. Unlike groups, fan pages are (in theory) created and administered by an official representative of the business, celebrity, etc. Fan pages allow you to share and leverage content created inside and outside Facebook with dedicated followers. And when you’ve got news, it’s easy to send a message to all your followers using Facebook’s interface.
There’s a fine art to making a fan page that works for you. Instead of creating yet another web entity that you must update and moderate regularly, carefully tool your page so that content is distributed automatically and updates regularly.
Here are five tips for making the most of your Facebook fan page:
- Provide usable content: For many of us, the heart of a Facebook fan page is the content we’re producing elsewhere. If you’ve got a blog, you’ve got content: make sure your blog’s RSS feed is loading into your FB fan page automatically. Add to that regular content with occassional Facebook-exclusive updates – otherwise blog readers who have already viewed your writing have no other reason to visit your page.
- Automate: Unless you’ve got a lot of free time to continually cross-post all content in multiple social media outlets, you should take a few steps to automate the process. My favorite tools for sharing content on a FB fan page are created by Involver. Aside from the premium services they offer, there are a wealth of free tools to greatly increase the functionality of your FB fan page.
- Be human: One aspect of social media that is continually forgotten is the importance of presenting a human side to your company. When you get new fans, welcome them – on a regular basis. When people post discussion questions, answer them. You’ve opened a forum for your clients and customers. Most of us know better than to ignore a waiting room full of prospective clients, yet I frequently see pages and companies who fail to respond to clients online. If you can’t (or won’t) respond to your followers, don’t build the page. It will hurt you more than it will help you if you appear to ignore consumers.
- Raid your archives: Content is king – so what to do if you don’t have any content to share? Don’t underestimate yourself. If you’ve got PowerPoint presentations, use slideshare.net and an RSS feed to leverage them on your FB page. If you’ve got screen captures of your interface in action, use them as photos in your fan page. And don’t forget to encourage your fans to submit their own content – blog posts about your company, images of your product in use, case studies, success stories, testimonials – online or not, we’re still taking the marketing basics and putting them to work for us.
- Make a splash: If you’ve played around in Facebook long enough, you’re familiar with the alerts you receive whenever anyone does anything anywhere. The second your publish your fan page and become a fan of yourself, all your friends will know. Your message will spread virally. And that’s a good thing. But consider saving this one-time boost when you’ve got a big event on the horizon – a conference or trade show, a new product release, etc. Even if you don’t have something big coming up in the near future, take advantage of Facebook’s ability to delay publication while you get your ducks in a row. Post content so that your first viewers have something to read – you want to reward them for being first to the fan page and give them a reason to join and share your link.
If you haven’t already, consider getting to work on building your fan page. Once you’ve got one up and running, please post the link in the comments so we can take a look at your work and give you a little traffic – and possibly new fans. And check back next week when I take a look at five fan pages that are generating a buzz – I’ll present case studies so we can all learn some new tips and tricks.