Every startup dreams of building a thriving Facebook page, with millions of loyal, engaged fans who actively take part in contests, post comments, and share regularly -- creating a viral buzz. But if you've managed a Facebook page, you know it's not that easy and at times can be extremely challenging.
Here are five techniques that I've used to turbo-charge our Facebook strategy; we've grown to 14,000 fans with very little advertising, almost doubled our weekly total reach over the last 10 days (up 98 percent), and recently doubled our "people talking about this" measurement, increasing it by 113 percent.
Create a leader board and recognize your top fans
In addition to your ordinary posts and photos, it's key to enable your fans to create a community. Give them a reason to interact with your page. We implemented an app powered by Booshaka called "Top Fans Pro." Plink is in the loyalty business, so it makes sense to reward our fans based on their engagement. "Top Fans Pro" tracks how often our fans are "liking," commenting, and sharing posts and awards points based on engagement. Each week our top 20 fans are placed in a drawing for 1,000 "Plink Points" for digital gift cards that can be redeemed at leading brands.
Each month, our top five fans are placed in a drawing for 2,500 "Plink Points." Each week a new fan is recognized for their community involvement, and the monthly prize keeps them frequently active. During a recent month, our top five fans alone generated over 700 "likes" and 88 unique comments. According to the stats provided by Booshaka, 26 percent of our fan base is engaged with our Facebook page, well above the national average of 7 percent for a typical Facebook page. The combination of a public leader board and the chance to win rewards motivates our fans to become extremely engaged -- or as we call them, "super fans."
Listen to your fans
You've built a product or service that you're pretty sure is appealing to consumers. You may think you know what your customers want, but as we've found out, companies typically get more wrong than right when first getting started. Take advantage of your engaged fans. Let your fans lead you to smarter decisions. Ask for suggestions, questions, and recommendations about your product. Have your fans vote on various features and enhancements. If you ask, your fans will answer, and you'll start a conversation. This is a great way to increase community involvement with your product. Recently we asked our fans, "Which rewards would you like to see offered in the Plink program?" Within seconds, we had recommendations and suggestions rolling in. Based on this feedback, we added reward options including digital gift cards that can be redeemed at leading brands such as Amazon.com, The Gap, Home Depot, iTunes, Nike, and Target, among others, to the Plink rewards catalog.
An additional benefit of asking for feedback is increasing the percentage of fans who are engaged with your page. Your page's posts will rank higher and show up more prominently on your fans' walls who are engaged with your page -- and fans are more likely to be engaged when you ask questions. According to a recent article by Brian Carter, CEO of FanReach, for brands that have 10,000 to 100,000 fans, an average 7 percent of fans see a typical post. When posting questions, we've seen engagement as high as 30 percent, several times the average.