26 February 2010

0 6 Tips Toward Engaging Your Facebook Fans

February was unofficially Social Media month in my world. I've spent countless hours working with clients on setting up new Facebook fan pages, discussing strategies for getting more fans, and most of all answering the question "I have a fan page, now what?". Social media is all about engagement, so here are a few tips to help get the conversations started.

1. Start a Discussion
Social media is all about connecting and sharing. Start the conversation with a discussion application. This will help to open up your fan page from being a source of information about your business page to an engaging social media page.

An easy way to start a discussion is to ask for opinions or questions about a recent news topic related to your industry. If your business is related to plastic surgery or beauty, you could start a discussion about the ABC News story on at transfer instead of implants for breast augmentation. You can briefly share your thoughts about the procedure and/or story and end by asking fans what their thoughts are or if they have any questions they would like answered about the procedure. Write a teaser and post a link to the discussion as a status update.

2. Take a Poll
This is a quick and simple way for your fans to share their opinion. Thinking about doing a special on a service? Ask your fans what they would be most interested in seeing a special on. As an extra incentive to cast their vote, you can always provide a free or discounted service to a randomly chosen voter. Does your company make philanthropic contributions to charities? Have your fans vote to determine which charity you'll give to. You can poll about anything, but I recommend keeping it related to the business in some way. Get creative!

3. Host Events
You can connect with your fans offline as well as on. Keep the event related to your business in some shape or form. You can add details about the event, setup RSVP feeds, allow comments by attendees, and much more! The event application is also handy as a notification tool the company will be represented at any public event including someone being a featured speaker, a TV or radio appearance, an event sponsor, etc.

4. Join the Conversation
I've seen numerous pages that don't allow their visitors to comment! This is a serious issue. By allowing comments on videos, posts and photos you open the door for a conversation. But it is not enough just to allow comments. It's essential to join the conversation! If someone leaves a comment, then make sure that you comment back. It's best to have a dedicated admin to take care of this.

5. Become an Informational Resource
The most common mistake I see is in fan pages are companies that only talk about themselves. They tote their specials, charity events, blog posts, staff, etc. and nothing else. While I do recommend you share that information on your fan page (after all it is your company's page), I highly recommend posting interesting and relevant content that has to do with your industry, not just you. Have you recently read an interesting blog that someone else wrote? Then feel free to share it! This helps to make users not only fans, but turns them into repeat visitors!

6. Offer Fans Exclusive Incentives
While I realize this may not be feasible for every business, for most businesses it is an easy opportunity. When someone new becomes a fan, send them a welcome message along with an incentive code for a free or discounted service. In addition to sending out an initial fan incentive, you can periodically send incentives to all of your fans or you can just send them to the fans that are active on your page to thank them for their input.

The fundamental basis of all social networks is connection and sharing. So get out there and get the conversation started!


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