Facebook Fan Page Best Practices

What can you do with a Facebook Fan Page? More and more!

Facebook has an objective of drawing and engaging users into the actual facebook site as often as possible and keeping them there as long as possible. Some companies like Starbucks are getting so much activity and engagement from facebook that they are downshifting other online marketing venues.

Starbucks just passed the 20 million fan mark on Facebook. They regularly update their page and reward fans with special offers.

Page fans can manage their pre-paid Starbucks cards via an app in the facebook page. The Cards have about 50,000 “likes”. Separate pages are maintained for the Frappucino and Tazo Tea brands and the Seattle’s Best Coffee brand that is a Corporate subsidiary.

So how can this work if you have a small business?

For a new client with a busy owner, we are setting several goals for interaction and promotions that can be engaged step by step.

Step 1- Establish Local Search placement – because Google, Bing and Yahoo have various protocols for verifying business Place pages and search engine updates for website keywords can take several weeks to all come together, get your Google Places, Bing and Yahoo Place pages and basic facebook Fan Page set up. (This isn’t a facebook best practice, but it is Priority one for any business that has local walk-in traffic or is something that visitors or tourists might search for on a mobile device or smart phone.) (See our Local Search Package)

Step 2 – Basic anchor website cross-linked with facebook and Twitter – Often, clients have poor results from their website due to no keywords and no description giving location information and the products they sell. In Google search, Local Search results show up on top right now…and while this would have been the first order of business a year or two ago, not in 2011. (Find out if you need help)

Step 3 – Evaluate the ROI for Cell Phone, Smart Phone Mobile enabled site. People often interact with facebook and do local searches from smart phones – Google Places, Bing and Yahoo Places and facebook AUTOMATICALLY create mobile sites – for this business, creating a separate .mobi site isn’t in the budget, so we put a link to Google Places and the Bing Mobile Web page that is created when we optimize the Places pages. Unlike creating a dedicated mobile site, Google, Bing and Yahoo do all the work of updating sizes and coding for the hundreds of mobile devices people might be using. Unless the client has the budget and patience for constantly updating and maintaining for changing devices – we don’t do a dedicated mobile site when the important information is contained in the local pages.

Step 4 – Back to facebook – Branding your page

Profile Badge – Would you open a restaurant without putting up a big sign that people can read when they go by? No!

This is why each Fan Page should have a Profile Badge that contains a brief statement about the business or purpose of the page, an attractive image that will show up well as a thumbnail and contact information like website, phone number, street address.

Many businesses just stick their logo on the page and this doesn’t let page fans use the page as a quick place to look for contact information without having to go into the Info section.

Landing Page – Is it better to greet customers when they come in or just let them wander around? Top businesses in the “real world” stop and greet customers when they come in and make sure that they have an idea of how to get around the store and what you can get there. Friendly welcome gifts are an even better idea and can be distributed when someone goes to the landing page and “likes” the page.

Your landing page can have a video, should have some text describing what the page is about and some “Winning Words” asking for the new visitor to “Like” the page.

Step 5 – Engagement with the new member –

After the “Like” you can have the new member go to a static “thank you” page or into a mini-site using the facebook iFrame protocol that can do all the things a regular website does.

What should they find out next? How, When and Where to Go and What To Do to get special discounts or information promised on the Landing page.

Enroll in a mailing list? Many businesses ask page members to enroll in an external mailing list to gain additional contact information and to create a bit of “insurance” in case there is a disruption in page status or the business wants to promote additional offers or information.

Consumer preference for this is shifting and many people like using facebook specifically because they can get information on a casual basis via page updates showing up on their Wall or deliberate visits to the page to look for new specials, updates and information.

Step 6 – Page Activity Plan – Push, Pull, Engage and Monitor –

I recommend that each business create a basic page activity plan and make sure that someone has the responsibility for what is happening on the page daily.

1. Push – facebook is not a good place to post a steady stream of “Me, Me, Me” messages – putting an update out daily works for larger companies or pages with more engagement like a consultant or author might have…they can use it as a mini-blog or a way to post helpful information from other sources or to address issues in the news that they have expertise in.

2. Pull -invite page members to “check in” at your location and to invite their friends to the page to get special offers. Most apps that do this on a large scale end up being spam, so if you can consistently add value with entertaining, positive, good content it encourages members to read your posts as they show up and to visit the page voluntarily.

You can use “Events” to announce actual “in person” events to your entire membership or a filtered group of your membership. Some community orgs use facebook events to manage RSVP’s for smaller gatherings without having the expense of Meet-Up or Event-Brite.

facebook Ads – facebook ads can be used to promote “liking” your facebook page and targeted to a filtered group of members based on where they work, things and other pages they “Like”, location, age, sex and relationship status. This can be done relatively inexpensively – but is a topic for another time.

Pages that grow very large memberships fast do it with a combination of Ads, engaging content and external publicity such as the American Express “Open” Small Business Saturday campaign or this year’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business

3. Engage – encouraging members to post non-spam things on your wall like reviews, questions and related community events may feel risky, but can be highly effective if you can cultivate a good tone, zap spam comments immediately and respond back as the page or as the owner if warranted.

Contests – these are a separate form of engagement and can really boost page visits and membership, but they have to be managed and hosted via an external app and facebook has some really strict rules on them. WildFire is a company that explains this well and has a variety of packages for different budgets.

4. Monitor – If you don’t have time to monitor your facebook page, you can hire someone who provides a monthly Social Media package (like we do) – they post specials and updates, respond as the page to comments and reviews and do their best to keep the Wall Spam-free.

The more you can monitor the page, the more engagement you can encourage and the better results you will get. We recommend monitoring your name, your business name and your company’s website for activity in blogs, on review boards, facebook, twitter and in the press.

Every business is enrolled in Social Media whether you like it or not, and it is your choice whether to do this by default or to choose how, when and where to interact with your community and customers online. (Free Marketing Survey to help you decide where to start and qualify for free consultation)

Step 7 – The ULTIMATE facebook and Online Best Practice – Use Clear, Concise, Powerful, Engaging words in your facebook posts, your blog articles, your tweets and website page calls to action. You have limited space and a very limited attention span, so make the most of it each time!

Free Aid — When you “like” our Big Business Zoo facebook page, you get instant access to the eBook “Winning Words” (if you’ve already “liked” the page you can “unlike” it and see the new Landing page and “Like” to enter the Zoo… or you can select the “Visit the Zoo” tab on the Left to get the eBook from the Welcome page.

About the author

Kathryn Booth Trainor

I have owned and operated two service companies which merged into one, still in business after almost 20 years. The company was sold and I began writing and consulting while I completed my MBA at Oklahoma State University in 2006 with emphasis on Marketing and Project Management. My special expertise is in helping people evaluate entrepreneurial ventures, formulate business and marketing plans and structure their companies to be both lucrative and fulfilling. In addition, I have some techniques for transition planning and project management that I use to help clients move from one phase of operations to the next level. Because of the breadth of my business knowledge, combined with writing and marketing skills, I can quickly and effectively create an online footprint with website, mobile app, social media channels and search engine optimization that gets found fast. In web and print advertising, having just the right words and communicating each company's unique flavor and capabilities make the most impact. Specialties:Entrepreneurial experience with service companies and micro-businesses, Marketing and promotional materials, Business plans, Strategic Plans, Trusted Advisor