Among social media networks, Facebook is the undisputed king. A whopping 3.2 billion likes and comments are posted on the social media site daily, according to data collected by Media Bistro.
Facebook now has 1.15 billion users per month with about 699 million people logging on daily.
Here’s how to leverage these users with a Facebook page that will build fans and customers.
How to Create a Facebook Fan Page
Creating your Facebook fan page is the first step in Facebook marketing. Create a Facebook Fan Page as a way to keep in touch with your customers. Use the channel to build your brand and to gain the ability to respond quickly to customers’ comments, feedback and questions.
Here’s a feature overview (courtesy: Facebook Pages). When completed, your Facebook fan page should look like this:
Your Facebook fan page should be a dynamic and interactive digital hub for your brand. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Choose a Category and a Page Name
Choosing the right category and page name helps your fans, customers, and prospects to find you easily. It also lets those who don’t know about you discover instantly who you are and what you do. Picking the right category and page name also helps with SEO (search engine optimization) and allows for extra visibility and traffic from search engines.
Here are the six types of fan pages you can choose from on Facebook:
- Local Business or Place
- Company Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band, or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
Marketing site MarketingGum has more on what each type of page means and how to choose the right one. But unless you are an artist, musician, public figure or in the entertainment industry, you will likely be choosing one of the first three.
Important: You can change the name and category of your Facebook fan page later on, but you can’t change the type of page, so choose carefully.
Step 2: Add Logo and Other Images to Your Fan Page
Next, you’ll want to load your logo and some images. Assume you have been marketing your business for some time across multiple channels. You’ll want to keep your logo consistent. Your photos should give visitors an instant understanding of your business and the products or services you provide.
Step 3: Fill in the Details. Let the World Know What Your Page is About
Fill in the basic information about your business and add your website URL. Think of Facebook as a social window to your business. What you write here helps create first impressions. So use the right personality and voice to represent your business well.
Step 4: Tweak the URL for a More Memorable Facebook Address
Facebook automatically gives you a dedicated URL for your Facebook fan page. However, the original one (default URL) is a mishmash of numbers, characters, and weird symbols no one would ever remember. Instead, claim your Vanity URL and change the address of your page to be more descriptive of your business. This will make it easier to remember and to promote later on.
Step 5: Work on a Cover Photo
Think of cover photos as flexible billboards. You can change the photo as many times as you like. The standard size for the cover photo is 851 by 315 pixels. And it will be the first impression visitors get of your brand on Facebook. Here are some of the choices you might consider:
- Pictures of people using your product.
- Custom graphics or photos that tell a story about your business or brand.
- Other materials related to your product or service: Album art work for musicians, a menu for restaurants, etc.
- A creative blend of images and graphics, perhaps incorporating both the cover photo and logo image, that tells something interesting about your business or simply attracts attention.
Want more inspiration? Check out these creative examples of Timeline cover photos from Social Media Examiner.
Get to Work on Your Fan Page
Building Your Timeline and Writing Your Posts
The Facebook timeline on your fan page is at the heart of engagement and brand building for your business. This is where it all starts.
Andrea Wahl has a few good examples of how some businesses use timelines effectively. Facebook has added some new features such as the ability to “pin posts” and to showcase larger stories with extra large photos, videos and links to drive more engagement.
You can add a “star” to highlight important stories or you can hide/delete stories if you decide not to display them on your timeline.
You may even set milestones to define your key moments in history: Your startup date, your achievements, new branches, etc. You also have the ability to add specific milestone photos (843 by 403 pixels) as a way to use visuals for image enhancement.
Keep Track of Engagement
As you go about posting information, tips, and updates, photos, and milestones and responding to comments from your new fans, you’ll also want to keep an eye on how your engagement progresses over time. Facebook provides you all the tools you need to study engagement.
To start with, your friend activity snapshot gives you an overall look into how many of your friends like your page. You might choose to invite more people on your network when you think they’ll benefit from it. On your “Friend Activity” feed, you’ll also get to know what others have to say about your business.
Your Facebook fan page admin panel will look like the snapshot below, with notifications, messages, insights at a glance, new “like” or “fan” notification box, and a separate link to view your page insights in detail (discussed below):
Facebook also provides you with a way to manage your posts and content over time. You could manage all your posts (including the ones you choose to hide) from a central location. You can filter stories by year or type, or edit, delete, or star posts. You can also choose to review timestamps and make sure your posts accurately show up under respective milestones.
Promote Your Facebook Fan Page
Once your Facebook fan page is live, it’s time to let the world know. Facebook gives you several ways to promote your fan page. You can “invite friends” or “promote your page” using paid advertisements targeted to other users.
Your Facebook fan page, like any other digital property you own, has value by itself.
So, it makes sense to promote and market your fan page just like you’d promote a website. Justin Wise of Social Media Examiner reveals 20 different ways to promote your fan page. The folks at Under30Ceo.com have another 7 ways to promote your fan page without spending a dime.
Ann Smarty also has some advice to help promote your Facebook fan page and get lots of fans in a post at Search Engine Journal.
Of course, you could go full-steam ahead on promotions (discussed in detail below): Do guest blogger outreach programs, launch webinars, give away free reports or whitepapers, get into conversations on other Facebook fan pages.
You can join groups within and outside of Facebook, “like” other sites in hopes they will come back to “like” your page, and even use offline promotions to get the word out.
Promotion > Exposure > Fans > Reach and engagement > Business.
Super Tips on Facebook Fan Page Promotion
It’s easy to set up a fan page but it’s incredibly hard to grow your fan page to reach a level where you benefit from engagement, conversations, and the community. It’s all about building on the “like” button. Here are a few “super tips” to help promote your fan page. But before you get started, it’s important to realize this:
We live in a trust economy, as Gary Vaynerchuck of VaynerMedia puts it. To earn customers’ trust, you need to give them value first (often for free).
Use Webinars to Boost “Likes” and Engagement
Webinars aren’t for selling. They are for providing information and value. They are to motivate, educate, and train. Use webinars to “wow” your audience with information and value. Then ask them to “like” your Facebook page afterwards.
Place social media buttons or links within every email campaign. Print out links for your Facebook fan page on all your offline marketing campaigns. Be sure to include links for Facebook fan pages on your podcasts and videos.
Guest Blog for “Likes”
Marketers have taken to guest blogging as a form of outreach because you can leverage visibility on another popular blog. That often means that guest bloggers get extra traffic, credibility, exposure, and even conversions. Guest blogger outreach programs have been used for promoting blogs, businesses, and websites.
But using a guest blogging opportunity to drive traffic to your Facebook page is another option.
Distribute traffic equally to your fan pages and your website properties to get a better return from your guest blogging campaigns.
Launch Offline Events
Launch events on Eventbrite and start launching events locally on the subject of your expertise. Be sure to promote your Facebook page at the event and encourage those attending to visit and “like” it too.
How to Make Facebook Fan Pages Stick: Adding Bells and Whistles
Another great way to promote your business using Facebook is to use contests, videos and giveaways to drive engagement on your page. You can take a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach or find some special apps to make these events easier to hold and promote.
Below is a list of tools that can help:
North Social has varying plans with apps including mobile sweepstakes, mobile coupons, and mobile signups (to leverage the fact that Facebook is big on mobile too). The regular apps include Instagram, deal shares, video channels, showcase, “show and sell”, “Twitter feed”, “ sign up page”, pages to make those “first impressions”, and much more.
Note: There’s a workable plan here for just about any fan page. If you have more than one fan page to manage, you’ll have to look at special plans for large companies or agencies.
Heyo, once called Lujure, provides an app that helps you launch promotions, deals, and contests. Using a drag-and-drop wizard, you can create fan pages that engage, interact, or maybe even dazzle your fans.
Social Candy has apps for running quizzes and sweepstakes, sharing content and coupons, and holding photo contests.
WildFire features interactive campaigns, large-scale analytics, and targeted advertising. Though it works for many kinds of businesses, it is clearly meant for companies and agencies that manage multiple brands.
Marketing Gum has apps enabling email opt-in, surveys, sweepstakes, photo contests, and many other features to liven up your fan page. With a far more affordable pricing plan, it’s a budget alternative for bloggers and small businesses.
Use Metrics to Measure Success
Facebook provides you with Insights – its built-in metrics tool – to help you check on the progress, engagement, and growth of your fan page. Diana Urban on Ustandout.com provides a helpful post about how to use Facebook insights to measure and analyze your fan page.
Often, you’ll need more than just Facebook insights. A huge suite of free and paid tools are available. They include PageViral, Social Crawlytics, and many others.