Facebook: Building your fan base
Has your company taken the plunge into the world of social media? Now that you have a Facebook page, do you feel stuck? In the next few posts, I’ll discuss the beginning steps to managing your business or organization’s Facebook page.
The whole purpose of your new Facebook page is to gain new clients, right? Well, sort of. Your main objective is really to gain fans (or whatever it is Facebook is calling the people who “like” your page these days) and to, over time, gain their trust by providing them with consistent, useful information. With any luck, this will lead to referrals to new clients, and perhaps new business from long-forgotten clients. So, how do you build your fan base?
Suggest to friends. Navigate to your Facebook page; under the logo there is a link “Suggest to friends.” You may suggest your page to every single one of your personal FB friends, or you can pick and choose those who you think are most likely to oblige. Recently, Facebook added the feature where you can add a personal note when suggesting the page. Be sure to take advantage! And remember to include the benefits of liking your page, so that your friends will be more inclined to do so. It may make sense to send out groups of suggestions, instead of sending to everyone at once; this way you can tailor the message for each group or individual.
Newsfeed appearances and fan activity. The entire basis of Facebook works on the foundation of viral marketing. This means that the essential goal is to show up on users’ newsfeeds regularly and with meaningful content and updates. Your business will appear on your fans’ newsfeeds each time you post something (a status update, a link, a new photo, etc.). This is important for staying in the front of your fans’ minds.
An equally important part of this goal is to appear on users’ newsfeeds who are not yet fans (and sway them to like your page as well). How do you do that? Entice your existing fans to be active on your page. If you post content and links that are well-timed with current events and relevant to your fans, this should come naturally. Your fans will want to “like” your posts or leave a comment. And when they do, their activity will appear in theirfriends’ newsfeeds, thus multiplying your exposure.
Include your Facebook link everywhere. Add a link on your email signature after your website link. Include a Facebook icon on your website that links directly to your page. Even on printed materials, make mention of “Find us on Facebook” near your contact information with either your username URL or simply the name of your page that people can search for. (Once you have the required number of fans, you can set up a username so that your Facebook page will have a friendly URL, such as facebook.com/lbkdesigns. But even before that is possible, you should still promote your FB page.)
Send personal messages. Every once in a while you may want to take this active approach to building your fan base. Send individual messages to existing fans asking them to “suggest” (see above) your page to 10-20 of their friends who may be interested in the type of content you post regularly. The message should thank them for their support of your page and business, and be focused on how your posted content might also benefit their friends and colleagues. Keep it short, light, and non-obligatory. You do not want this message to appear as an uncomfortable solicitation or a desperate cry for fans (and you certainly don’t want to turn off existing fans!). You may choose to contact only close personal friends and family at first, and later include active fans or others you know might help.