You’ve done your research and determined that it makes strategic sense for your company or organization to create a Facebook page. You’ve checked out a couple good Facebook business and marketing guides and have the basics in place.
But now what?
Time and time again, I see Facebook pages created and then left static with no plan in place. Facebook is an excellent way to help you connect with your target audience but you need to keep in mind that it is another tool and channel for communication – not an end all, be all resource for accomplishing all of your communications goals. Before you hit that publish button, be sure you’re considering the following items to make effective use of your page:
Yes, Facebook pages do take work. Depending on what you plan to do with the page, setup time can range from 1-3 hours for a nicely designed page. Beyond that, plan to assign 1-2 people as admins on the page to handle content uploads, status updates, advertising and other outreach. Depending on how aggressively you’re using your page, plan to allot 30-45 minutes a week to page management.
I’d recommend uploading at least some of your photo/video/event content prior to publishing. You can always link back to publish a particular photo album for example, but if you want to help build your fan base from the beginning, it’s best to already have engaging content in place.
Once your page is live, think about how you can repurpose existing content. Do you have a good YouTube video you can link to? A landing page on your site where you’d like to drive traffic? If you don’t have a constant content flow, think creatively about how you can help bring existing content to fans.
Facebook ads can be a great, budget-conscious way to build up your fan base. Think about setting aside a small budget to run a series of ads to your target audience. If you’re using Facebook ads to build a fan base, keep in mind that you can naturally help spur word-of-mouth since news feeds announce a new fan’s commitment to your page.
Think Beyond the Page
Using the static FBML application, you can set up custom tabs on your page (excellent for developing a “Welcome” tab, tailored landing pages to tie in with Facebook ads, etc.). Each of these tabs also has it’s own unique URL. Get creative with how you use your page to tie in with other communication outreach efforts. For example, Stanford University has had a lot of success situating office hour sessions directly on their page.
As is key with any social media platform, make sure you integrate a link to your page wherever possible. Once you cross the 100 fan mark, you’ll be able to soak up a clean, vanity URL which is nice to pass around. Until that point, I recommend using a custom BudURL which will also help you track clicks on the link to your page. The Facebook fan box widget is another great way to integrate your page activity onto your website.
Connect & Interact!
Above all, provide your fans with engaging content, ask for feedback, and position your page as a resource for interaction. I would recommend not doing more than 2-3 status updates on a regular basis so as not to overwhelm your fans’ news feed. Use the link buttons to provide a nice visual component to your update that will help captivate attention in the news feed and focus on posting updates mid-day to early afternoon when users are most active on the site. Depending on your updates and especially if you’re a nonprofit, status updates are a great way to discover new advocates and supporters that you can then connect with directly with a message.
Beyond that, play close attention to your pages’ insights to track and trend how fans are engaging with your content to determine content for future updates. Now, go get your fan on!