Fan Page Fundamentals

beatles-fans.fullsizeEveryone with something to sell or promote these days has a Facebook Fan Page. Not surprisingly, there are more and more articles offering advice on creating a winning one.  After sifting through loads of content on the subject, I’ve listed a few pieces below that provide useful information on not only the fundamentals of Fan Pages, but provide pointers on creating a successful page that will help attract more fans.

To get started, Facebook does a great job of providing an overview of Fan Pages with both a Step-by-Step guide for creating the page, as well as pointers for determining your strategy before you even begin.

Next, learn more about the type of users drawn to Fan Pages. According to a Radical Trust, there are three types of people utilizing Facebook Fan Pages: the Enthusiast, the Advocate, and the Influencer. The Enthusiast is the largest group, and they can help spread word of your brand, while the Influencer can spread original content (think bloggers). They can help grow your brand without you lifting a finger.

Some brands simply do it right. This Mashable article looks at five such brands, using them as case studies of what to do right with a Facebook Fan Page. My favorite? Starbucks, because they understand the importance of updates that engage and add value. Too often, updates are about the latest event or product news. Go beyond that. Remember the golden rule of everything from marketing to making friends: what is in it for the target audience? Starbucks posts videos, seasons greeting—they just wished everyone outside the US a Happy 4th of July—job postings, polls and more.

The brands mentioned in this piece all had a solid brand and large client base before launching a fan page, but they lead by example and show the rest of us how to succeed.

I cannot live without Mashable. With all due respect to The New York Times,  in my world, Mashable is content king. Another Mashable article worth bookmarking is “Five Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page.” Among the gems in this article is this important nugget: Create a resource. They use the Dell Fan Page as their case study. Dell has become a one-stop resource for small businesses looking to build a brand via social media. Dell provides fresh content, easy access and free information and tools to small businesses who may otherwise be afraid to dip into the social media ocean.

I probably spend more time on Facebook than your average user and recently noticed, with some embarrassment, that I am a member of a rather large number of Fan pages: 39 to be exact.  A small sampling of my friends show that I am the leader of the pack. Dubious or not, I have learned a thing or two about what makes a Fan Page work, namely:

1)   Keep your brand look in mind, but use Facebook to do something a little different and special. Don’t just post your logo. Post a photo of a happy customer using your product. This is the place to think differently. Maybe you want an Andy Warhol illustration of your logo instead of the logo itself? Have some fun and make sure your fans are having fun, too.

2)   Engage through updates. A musician pal of mine recently complained that her Fan Page was not getting any new members. I looked at it and thought, “Well no wonder.” She only posts about upcoming engagements or her recent recordings, and neither occurs that often, which means her updates are infrequent and static. In addition to posting important news, she can keep fans engaged between gigs by asking what is their favorite line from one of her songs, or create a poll asking them to help her name a new song, or simply blog and give them something new and interesting to read.

3)   Respond to comments that fans leave. It sounds simple and obvious that you would respond to the comments that people post, but I was surprised to learn that there are questions that go unanswered or suggestions that are not acknowledged with a simple “thank you.” If they are fans, they are genuinely enthusiastic about your product or service, and they want to help you succeed so they can continue buying that product or service. Responding to the comments, questions and suggestions fans post is simply polite. And everyone loves politeness.

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