10 practical tips for Facebook fan pages

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7. Nothing spreads the word like photos
Another great tip for virality is to encourage your fans to post photos to the fan page and tag them. When the photos are tagged, they appear in the news stream of the tagged person's friends, along with the link to the fan page. This works especially well for businesses that have events, retail outlets, or products that can be photographed. For example, a clothing company can have a photo page that encourages people to post and tag pictures of them wearing your brand. Or if you are a tech company that gives away T-shirts at a tradeshow, ask people to tag the photos for their page.

In this example, you can see how Joey's picture, posted to the California Academy of Sciences, appears in the news streams of his friends.

 

8. Monitor and engage
I am continually shocked by the number of companies that have Facebook fan pages but aren't monitoring them closely. If your company has a page and you haven't tasked someone with making sure the comments are responded to regularly, you are missing a huge opportunity and likely doing more damage than good. Social media is about conversations, not the one-way broadcast of ideas. There's no reason to have a fan page if you're not going to engage with fans. Why would anyone want to associate with a brand that doesn't take the time to listen to fans?

As an example of someone doing it correctly, the author of "Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's" engages with fans in a friendly, natural way.
 

9. Determine your strategy in advance
Before you post your Facebook fan page, your company should have an employee policy around social media. Employees should know what is acceptable to post, and what is cause for dismissal. I recently went to the Starbucks fan page and, on the discussions tab, there was a topic about rude customers, started by an employee. If your company employees are young or part-time workers that might not understand the ramifications of bad PR, it's best to have a policy that is clear and leaves no room for misunderstanding.

10. Treat your fan page like an online ad and optimize
Fan page administrators have access to reporting tools and can use the tools to optimize the performance of the page. All posts are given a quality rating based on how many people comment, like, and write posts in response. You can use this quality rating to get a better understanding about what fans want to see from you.

The Facebook Pages platform provides the most effective way for businesses to engage fans on Facebook. But to be successful, you must remember that pages are a two-way conversation, and you need to be present and active. The rewards are great. Embracing this form of interaction will build deeper connections with your most loyal advocates. 

I hope these tips and examples have provided value. If anyone has other tips or ideas, I would love to hear them. Social media welcomes two-way conversations better than any other medium out there.

Carnet Williams is co-founder and CEO of Sprout.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

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Comments

Offers King
Offers King February 1, 2011 at 5:12 AM

Excellent tips.. Nice. A Facebook fan page is a great way to promote businesses and essentially anything for which you want to build an audience.

http://www.fourpxdirectory.com

Offers King
Offers King September 16, 2010 at 8:11 AM

I've been into online social networking since 2001, so I've been very active on Facebook and Twitter. If you've seen my personal Facebook page, you'll know that it's quite lively.

http://www.offersking.com/

Michael Shurr
Michael Shurr September 9, 2010 at 7:37 PM

thanks for the invitation

alex mike
alex mike September 7, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Facebook has 250 million users. Twitter has 40 million. The potential for your audience on Facebook is clearly much bigger and in a way it's easier to find your target. The Fan Page allows you to add your own apps. We plan on creating a ‘box' on fan page which can list latest shows and their comments. On top of custom boxes you can also use the discussion board, this can allow you to get closer to your fan base without having to create custom forums.

T

Carlo St. Juste Jr
Carlo St. Juste Jr September 3, 2009 at 1:47 AM

I am really at limbo with the on line social marketing idea. I believe it sounds like a great thing. Everyone is flooding to face book and twitter because it seems to be a viable tool for business owners. However in society we always have the tendency to over do it, so when is too much too much? This doesn't just seem like a craze or a trend.

Carlo
www.thenaturaldirect.com

jean dyer
jean dyer September 2, 2009 at 12:56 AM

I agree with Robert Linger, These are great suggestions for engaing fans then escalating that enthusiasm and interaction into financial benefits for a brand.
Whether or not the brand was previously successful does not detract from the fact that fans influence the growth of a brands reach .

robert linger
robert linger September 1, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Drinking the Kool-Aid or not, what IS clear - socially engaged companies are connecting with existing customers and new prospects in ways that enhance brand awareness, yield customer relationship benefits and provide useful research insights into consumer interests. It's hard to argue that these things don't have a positive impact on the financial success of these companies.
Before you dismiss social engagement as a component of the financial success of these companies, how do you come down on the value of traditional marketing and research designed to do exactly the same things...

christine hagel
christine hagel August 20, 2009 at 6:13 PM

great article but what about B2B. I'm not sure that these principals would still apply.

Carnet Williams
Carnet Williams August 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Hi. Thanks for all the comments. To clarify, I didn't write the quote in Kathryn's comment. That is from the engagementdb report that got a lot of buzz in July. In the report the researchers find a correlation between social engagement and financial success. They go on to say that brands shouldn't dive in whole hog but rather find what works for them and start slowly, as needed. The intention of my article is to provide practical tips for brands who want to test the waters with Facebook Fan Pages. Hope this clarifies. Thank you!

Kip Edwardson
Kip Edwardson August 19, 2009 at 10:14 AM

I agree with Kathryn. I stopped reading after that paragraph. Cause and effect....you are drinking the Kool-Aid if you think social media engagement drives financial performance at those companies. They were successful long before Facebook and MySpace. You can't seriously believe what you wrote.

Kathryn Klein
Kathryn Klein August 18, 2009 at 11:37 AM

"the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social media engagement... Socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful."

The question I have is whether the social engagement is driving success or whether success is simply making more social engagement affordable for these top brands moreso than to others, with less budget to spread around?

demetrius pinder
demetrius pinder August 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Great article but, how about providing links to the actual pages you are referring to so we can check them out live.