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Are You Attracting Facebook Fans or Driving Them Away?

You entered the world of Facebook with all the best intentions. You wanted to use the social network as a way to connect with current customers, attract potential new ones, and share a little bit of your brand with those listening. So every day you take to the site to post new content and engage, but is it working? Are you attracting Facebook fans–or are youdriving them away? How can you tell the difference?

Below are some activities known to either attract or repel customers. See which categories your behavior falls into. If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time for a revamp.

How To Keep Them

Offer discounts. Studies continue to show that the leading reason customers engage with brands on social networks is to take advantage of social media-based promotions or coupons. Customers are willing to “like” a page with the hopes that the brand will “thank them” by giving them a discount or special offer. When you’re creating these offers, worry less about the extravagance of what you’re giving out and more about making sure it’s something unique and an offer people will want to redeem. For example, a discount associated with breaking a certain number of fans is more memorable than a generic 10 percent off coupon they could get anywhere.

Solve their problems. Another reason customers will look to connect with you on social media is because they have a problem they need you to fix. Maybe their cable isn’t working, they got a bad burger or they can’t figure out how to get the battery out of their Blackberry. If you’re providing information to help them solve their problems or answering questions as they come in, then you’re providing value and enough reason for someone to want to stick around and remain a fan of your page.

Chat with them. Are you using your Facebook page to host conversations about community issues or are you simply using it as a datafeed, auto-posting your Twitter updates, blog posts, etc.? Users who join your Facebook page are doing it because they want that extra connection with you. If you’re seeing a lot of conversation and engagement between members, it’s a good sign you’re attracting them, not sending them away.

Get their feedback. Another good way to retain fans is to ask for their feedback about new releases, future products, etc. People like to feel like they have a say in the brands they love, and inviting them into the process makes them feel more connected and part of what you’re doing. The more invested you can make someone feel, the greater the chance you’re going to keep him or her on your side.

Entertain them. When I’m deciding which brands I want to engage with on Facebook, I look for brands that can not only keep me informed, but keep me entertained as well. Don’t go totally unprofessional, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun or post a link to something that made you smile. Showing the personal side of your brand is a good way to keep people interested in what you’re doing and make them feel more connected to you.

How to Drive Them Away

Disrespect other members. How do you treat the members in your Facebook community? Do you allow healthy debate to take place or do you hop in and criticize those who may share negative comments about your brand? Do you censor their messages because they’re not totally complimentary? Do you step in when other members are fighting amongst each other? It’s your job to create a healthy environment in your community. If you’re not, people aren’t going to want to hang out there.

Post too many messages. How many times a day do you post? Are you constantly flooding your wall with new updates, new blog posts, new links and new synced Twitter updates? If you are, you may be giving users more information than they can handle and driving them away from your page. Information overload can be quite intimidating!

Don’t post enough messages. On the flip side, maybe you never update, to the point where people wonder if you’re still there. While you don’t want to flood people with constant updates, you do want to give them a sign that you’re still part of the community and listening to what’s going on. No one wants to hang out in an empty house.

Ignore feedback. When you ask for feedback, do you acknowledge it in some way or do you let it fall on deaf ears? While asking for feedback is a great way to encourage people to become part of your community, if you continually ignore them, it may also backfire. You don’t have to act on everything that is suggested, but do give people a sign that you’re listening and appreciating their effort.

What signs do you look for that people are engaged in your Facebook community and aren’t secretly looking for the “unlike” button?