It’s hard to find a business participating in social media that isn’t doing something on Facebook. In fact, “I want a Facebook fan page,” has replaced, “I want a company blog,” as the single most heard request from clients in the social media world these days. With 350 million accounts and growing, it’s no wonder.

Facebook is one of my favorite places to recommend for businesses for a lot of reasons. The primary one is that Facebook offers almost of all the various social media tools that companies can apply to their brand.

Facebook allows you to participate without having to spend time or money on your own website. Still, few companies are using Facebook well. One example of a business doing it right is Ernst & Young Human Resources effort (brilliant).  But for every good Facebook presence there’s a brand page we like to call a “campground.” Not because lots of people hang out there, but because all you hear when you visit is crickets.

To give you a leg up on getting smart with Facebook, here are five facebook-only strategies for business success.

1. Drive Off-Line Engagement With Event Postings

Facebook event postings are not just whimsical little calendar items. If you use them correctly, you can drive a veritable viral wave around what your business is doing because people who RSVP, comment or add to the event conversation have their activity posted publicly to their friends.

Here’s an example of an event page on Facebook

The catch is making your events irresistible, making the headline, description and invitation irresistible, then delivering on the off-line experience.

2. Give People Virtual Keepsakes With Photo Tagging

Speaking of events, when you have them, take pictures to post on your fan page. Then create some post-event buzz by inviting attendees to tag themselves in the photos. You won’t be able to tag most people (unless they are Facebook friends with the brand page administrator) but encouraging your attendees to tag themselves and their friends gives you a fun reason to reach out to them after an event.

This serves as a long tail effect of your event, driving your fans back to your fan page or event posting to see their images and further engage with your brand. And as a courtesy, put signage up at the event informing people their pictures may appear on your Facebook page or website.

3. Turn Customer Service Up a Notch With Facebook Discussion Forums

This tip works wonders for companies that don’t have some sort of support forum on their own website. Drive customers to your Facebook forums (called “Discussions” on the brand page tabs) by letting them know they can get support there.

Here’s an example of Jeep’s discussion forum on Facebook

Open up a forum topic for customer support and have someone on your staff check the forum for new issues every hour or so (or more depending upon volume). You’ll immediately give confused or frustrated customers a direct connection to solutions without having to spend a lot of money on complex issue tracking software.

4. Promote Your Page With Super Targeting

While I do not have access to specific data, almost every company I’ve talked to that has placed ads on Facebook has been thrilled with the outcome. The click-through rates have been higher than normal display ads and have had immediate impacts on page traffic.

The great thing about Facebook ads is that when you set them up, you can hyper-target them to the exact audience you’re trying to reach. Age, location, interest… filter your targeting to the specific profile of your target consumer and let Facebook do the rest. Because the ads are served on Facebook pages only, Facebook knows the age, location and interests of the people they serve the ad to. It’s probably the most effective ad targeting system in the world. Take advantage of it.  Here’s 5 more ways to promote your Facebook fan page.

5. Collect Fan Photos and Videos at No Cost

Want your fans to take their picture with your product at various landmarks while traveling? Throw out a cool video contest or activity idea to engage your customers in some fun creativity. No need to hire a developer to pull together fancy code or pay YouTube thousands of dollars for a branded video contest.

Just ask your Facebook fans to upload their entries. Using the commenting tools provided, you can work up some guidelines for judging or just highlight and post the best stuff on your wall to promote the video makers. Even better, by posting appropriate policies and guidelines, you can get permission to use anything uploaded for company advertisements, projects and more. However, you should beware that Facebook has recently implemented some strict promotional rules.  See this post for more on that.

There are lots of other strategies you can use on Facebook to engage your customers and even drive them to your website or other calls to action. These will at least give you some Facebook-exclusive ideas for starters. But these are just my ideas. Please share what you’re doing or your ideas to drive your business on Facebook in the comments.

Are you using Facebook events, photos and discussion groups? How are they working for you? Add your voice to the discussion by commenting below.

Image via Wikipedia
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • Great ideas to keep fans engaged – as a new fan page administrator, I can say I’ve learned so much from fans – sharing valuable info, engaged with pictures and video – these really work! Vickie @Vickie_Smith

  • Debbie Ferm

    These are great. Why are the simplest, common sense ideas so hard to come by? Good work.

  • This is a great article – I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind as I help strategize Facebook Fan and Group pages for non-profits I’m involved with.

    It’s nice to see a non-video post for a change, also!

  • Melissa

    yawn. need more meat than that… for a successful post. don’t get me wrong. all other posts so far are great. this one is just a yawner. keep em coming. i enjoy this site very much. This article was just too basic.

  • pencosta

    I love facebook because the games. Footbattle is my favorite.
    Play in

  • Great ideas for business of all sizes.

  • Excellent post, as always. Although I tend to wonder about 2. As a small business employee, I hate bothering people in general, and the notion of asking a bunch of other business owners or customers to tag themselves online seems a bit childish, and a time-waster. Not sure many business owners would want to use this method.

  • beja

    I think you misunderstood what the article was saying on rule number 2. I run the FB of a large sports venue, and this would actually make sense for us because lots of fans take pics and could get a kick out of the attention their photo could get, so there is motivation for them to tag themselves. They’ll tell their friends that they’re on the official _____ FB.

  • I could see it working on that scale beja. I just was picturing the small business owner with very limited time for social media, e-mailing a bunch of contacts, asking them to tag themselves. On a grand scale, I’m sure it’s a good idea. So often with tips like these, the size of the business plays heavily into what works, and doesn’t.

  • Dee

    Great post. What Ikea did was another really creative use of facebook. They placed multiple photos on their fan page, and which ever user tagged an item with their name, got the product… Genius! Not sure if that is within Facebook rules, but they got away with it and did very well….

  • Ace

    This is such a cool blog! I just found you guys on Popurls and you have some really interesting content here, thanks!

  • Lucas2

    Great post Jason (as usual). I’m currently developing a social media strategy for a non-profit and most of these tips also apply to them. I especially like the photo-tagging suggestion – that’s a really great way to avoid the post-event drop in community interaction that typically happens.

  • Great Tips Jason… my question for you… is where is the Social Media Examiner Fan Page…. I have searched but cannot find… and if there isn’t one I would be interested to know why you haven’t joined the masses with a fan page


  • These are pretty good ideas. I could help my clients with their facebook page and suggest what they could really do with facebook

  • Excellent ideas! I will keep the points in my mind.

  • Larna,

    It is in the works as we speak 🙂


  • Thanks Larna. I have … my blog is Social Media Explorer (slightly different than Social Media Examiner) and the fan page is at Michael runs Examiner and I contribute a post every now and then. Thanks for asking!

  • Thanks, Lucas. Glad they could help you.

  • I can see your concern, Patrick. I think I would do the ask more at an event with signage and perhaps even a little business card or takeway that said, “Smile! Your picture is being taken. Jump on our Facebook Fan Page tomorrow and tag yourself and your friends!” If they’re fans of yours, they’ll probably do it. The ask can be subtle. Thanks for the comment.

  • Sorry do disappoint, Melissa. But thanks for the feedback.

  • Thanks Debbie. People used to make fun of me for being simple. Nice to have that turned around a bit. Heh.

  • natashakhan

    These are great tips!

    We definitely do all of the above at Modcloth

  • thx Mike … will look forward to it…

  • Thx for the reply Jason… I don’t know what I am doing wrong.. but the link doesn’t seem to take me to the fan page and I can’t find it in searches either….. I would love to share your page with some of my collegues. Cheers

  • Cool ideas to promote and stay on top, will keep these tips in mind when working on facebook. Facebook is becoming more and more interesting place to share and grow. Great post

  • stevewillinger

    The internet is the information highway any Jason Falls is doing a great job of creating valuable information.

  • Thanks Jason your post was right on point

  • Thanks Jason your post was right on point

  • gregreyes

    Yeah I am agreeing with stevewillinger, you can get any information to internet. Anything you want to know about business… And hopefully if you’re decided to build a small business, you will become successful.

  • Great article! Allow us to add to the article. We recently shared some of our Facebook strategies for building Facebook Fan bases. This is cumulative of the projects we deployed for some of our Fortune 500 clients. It may be not be as succinct as Jason’s article above, but perhaps it may be of help for businesses in general. The eBook can be found at Comments appreciated!

  • Great post Jason, some useful info, thanks for putting together. cheers Ted.

  • Don’t forget to send updates to fans about promotions, events, contests, etc. using the handy “Send update” feature for your page. You can even target these ads: all for free using your existing fan base.

  • Nice post keeps on posting this type of interesting and informative stuff.