How to Create a Facebook Fan Page Editorial Guide

social media how toFacebook Fan Pages are popping up in record numbers.  Now businesses have another space to connect with their clients or customers and a great opportunity to add value.

However, one thing I hear repeatedly is that Fan Page owners are frustrated with their lack of fans and low engagement levels. They work hard to create the page, add the bells and whistles, but no-one comes.

One reason for this is a lack of purpose and planning. The words purpose and planning might not get you all that excited.  However, the payoff is big and worth the time.  Once you put a plan of action in place (in the form of an editorial guide), the rest starts to fall into place. The result:  growing fans and increasing engagement will not feel like work, but actually be an enjoyable experience.  Imagine that!

Below I outline how to create an editorial guide to ensure your Fan Page success.

First, Define Your Purpose

To define the purpose of your Fan Page, here are three questions to consider:

#1: Why Do You Want a Fan Page?

If the answer is, “Because everyone else has one,” you might want to rethink your direction.  What can a Fan Page do for your company that you’re not already experiencing now? What do you hope to achieve by creating this new platform?

#2: How Will Your Fan Page Differ From Your Website?

Think about what you can offer on your Fan Page that’s different from your website. Consider the factors that will keep your clients and potential clients coming back for more.  Often, the more interactive a page, the greater the success.  If all you do is create a static mini-website, you might get people to become fans, but it is unlikely they will visit often.

#3: What is Your “It” Factor?

Think about what makes your company and its employees unique.  Figure out what you bring to the table that’s different from your competitors and build on that within your Fan Page strategy.

Once you’re clear on why you want to create a Fan Page, you’re ready to create a plan of action.  You don’t just want to wing it. The Fan Page is part of your business strategy and you should approach it just as you would any other business endeavor. (But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!)

Creating Your Editorial Guide

Here’s what to include in your editorial guide:

#1: Posting Strategy:  Decide on the Consistency of Your Posts

For the Social Media Examiner Fan Page, although we jump in and engage with our fans at all times throughout the day, we’ve designed time chunks for specific content.  In the morning we always post the most recent Social Media Examiner article.  In the afternoon we post a link to a great third-party article that we know our fans will find valuable.  And a few times a week, in the late afternoon, we post questions.  Although most questions focus on social media topics, not all of them do.

Here’s an example of a morning post of an SME blog article:

Here’s an example of a “question” post that added a little fun:

#2: Content Strategy: Decide What Type of Content You’ll Be Posting

By defining this from the start, your team will have a much easier time finding appropriate content for your page.  At Social Media Examiner, we’ve identified about 20 websites that we use regularly to find the latest and greatest in social media marketing.  Of course you can branch out and test new waters, but if you have your list of tried and true sites for great content, you’ll never be at a loss for adding value.

#3: Formatting: Define What a Post Should Look Like

Although it may seem like a no-brainer to you, it’s important to clearly define how you want your team to craft the posts.  Some Fan Page posts are conversational and relaxed; others are more informative and read like newspaper headlines to grab readers’ attention.

Define your style and document it. In addition, if you have multiple people posting, you might want to try what we do on our Fan Page. Because we have three people posting, we always end our posts with our names to allow our readers to know with whom they are talking. It makes things more friendly and personal.  Here’s an example:

#4: Engagement: How Will You Approach Fan Comments?

On the Social Media Examiner Fan Page, we make it a goal to reach out to everyone who comments on our page. We want our fans to know we are listening and interested in what they have to say.  Fans are more inclined to come back if they feel there is an even exchange of information.

Here is an example of fan engagement:

#5: Prepare For Negative or Promotional Posts

It’s common for some fans to post promotional details about their products and services to your wall. This tends to clutter the page and deters from the conversations that are happening. Define which posts are not acceptable on your page and how you will address them in advance so your team will be ready to handle any situation that comes your way.

There’s one caveat to all of this:  Your editorial guide is just that—a guide. It’s not written in stone and should be tweaked until it works for your team.  The goal is to get your Fan Page running like a well-oiled machine, while continuing to go with the flow and enjoy the constant interactions and conversations with your fans.  Your Fan Page community is sure to thrive if you spend a little time planning up front.

Now it’s your turn!  Have you already created an editorial guide for your Fan Page?  If so, how is it working for you? And if you haven’t yet, do you see the value of planning out your strategy ahead of time?  Let us know your thoughts below.

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About the Author, Amy Porterfield

Amy is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-In One for Dummies and a social media trainer and speaker. Check out her latest webinar, 7 Simple Strategies to Profit From Facebook. check. Other posts by »




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  • http://trinidarlin.blogspot.com/ Avi H

    very very useful post. thank you.

  • http://www.ann-sense.com/ Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR

    I love how Social Media Examiner keeps it simple! Everything is common sense, but folks often needs to see it written to have the “duh”" moment. I know it works for me that way sometimes. Thanks for great posts.

  • http://www.about.me/kennethtrueman Kenneth Trueman

    I agree. Excellent post and right to the point. My company started a FB page without thinking a lot of these things through. Working to change that now that it is part of my purview.

  • http://www.reclaimedspaces.com/ Cindy Vanhoff

    Love the information you have here. Easy to understand – and to implement.

  • http://twitter.com/conschneider Con Schneider

    Hey Amy,

    You just pushed Mashable away and got their spot in my RSS list.

    Cheers and keep it up.
    Constantin

  • karenmacnab

    Love your posts and it’s perfect timing as I am getting ready to create one! I’ve just found an application that can customize my Fan Page! Woohoo….how great social media is. Keep the good information coming.

    Karen

  • http://www.ladyumbrella.com/ LadyUmbrella

    Another good post and I agree that “mixing it up” is an important thing to do. Keep your fans curious as to what you might post about next like the tarantula/scorpion post – it keeps things interesting for you and your fans..

  • http://twitter.com/writeword Shirley Mott

    I agree with Ann Marie, a lot of your information is common sense, but reminders are definitely a plus.

    I generally find at least one tip to take away from Social Media Examiner posts, so keep reminding! We’ll find the hidden jewels we hadn’t thought about. (Now to implement them all…)

    Shirley

  • courtneydirks

    Funny, I never thought to have an editorial guide for our fan page, but I think that is great suggestion since we are so used to having one for our blog. Thanks for the great tips, keep them coming!

  • http://www.qoroart.com/ Kathy Griffith

    Fan Page info provided is all good and well but “How do you find the Fans”. They don’t just appear. You can’t just willy nilly contact people on FB as they don’t know us so why would they want to be a fan or a client. It isn’t “if you build it, they will come” type of thing. We need new clients and fans. Ones that will look at our gallery site, comment and hopefully order. Maybe I am just confused as to the meaning of a fan page.

  • http://dejon97.com dejon97

    You nailed it Amy. Unfortunately when it comes to social media marketing, a lot of businesses operate in “Field of Dreams” mode – if we build it, they we come. I guess the thought is we need a fan page because our competitors have pages or because it is the “in” thing. Businesses need to focus on crafting a SM marketing strategy that enhances/support a business objective or exposes/exploits new opportunities that this new media offers.

  • http://addicted2positivechange.com/ Tek2master

    Thank you Amy, great post. I’m currently setting up 3 facebook pages. Admittedly, i was sorta feeling it out as I went along. Your advice about “creating an editorial guide” is timely and an invaluable source of information. Thanks again.

  • DebbieZachry

    Amy – Awesome post, very informative and packed full of great advice. I’ve been working with several clients on getting their fan pages up and having a guide to work from is so important to the success of their page. Thanks Amy~

  • http://www.agingabundantly.com/ Dorothy Sander

    Great info. It may be common sense but some of us need it stated in a clear, orderly fashion! I started my fan page, like I do everything, without much forethought. I hoped to connect and get people interested in my blog and website, but interact too. I was drawn by this article because I realize now I really have to hone in on my true focus. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what that is! But your tips help. Thanks.

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Hi, Avi! Thanks for the compliment and thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend…

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    I agree–it’s simple, but with so much going on in social media marketing, it can be overwhelming. So keeping it simple is key! Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    You are not alone! I have worked with some big name companies that are in the same boat. The great news is that it can be fixed. Good luck as you move toward a more strategic Fan Page :-)

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Thanks, Cindy! Glad you found it useful :-)

  • http://www.haywoodmarcom.com/ Leilani Haywood

    Hi Amy, I manage 6 Facebook fan pages with fan bases that range from 62 to almost 10,000. I do most of what you recommend already although I don’t post as often and didn’t think of identifying sites to pull content from. That was a great takeaway from this article. I usually create a plan with goals that dictates content. My clients have seen fans turn into clients which makes it worthwhile to invest the time and effort into crafting strategy. Thanks for the great post!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Con! Wow–you just made my day. What a great post to see! Thanks for putting your trust in us and we promise to keep delivering great stuff! Many, many thanks.

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    LOVE IT! Make sure to check back and let us know how your page comes together. Much luck!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Some clients tell me they struggle with mixing it up. One solution is to create a content calendar with all of your ideas actually written down on the dates you are going to post them. This takes some of the stress out of it. Thanks for stopping by, LadyUmbrella!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    The “implementation” is usually the biggest challenge! So much to do, so little time :-) Thanks for posting, Shirley. Have a great weekend!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    The great news is that it sounds like you have one for your blog. To me, that means you are ahead of the game!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Kathy–I don’t think you are confused. Your concern is shared with many others for sure. I would love to offer some suggestions. Can you give me the URL for your Fan Page?

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    3 Pages! Wow! That’s a lot of work. I hope all goes smoothly. So glad the post was valuable. Let us know how the pages turn out :-)

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Hi, friend! So happy to see your familiar face here :-) Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is well in your world.

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Hi, Leilani. I bet you have some great tips to add to this if you are managing 6 pages for clients. Do you do anything specific that you think is extremely valuable in turning a fan into a client? I would love to hear your insight too.

  • http://twitter.com/kellyrorick Kelly Rorick

    Thank you for posting this Amy. Very useful information for anyone starting out on FB!

  • http://healthdesigner.blogspot.com/ Marti

    Loved the post. Everything you all put out is so easy to understand and simply put. Thanks for all of the wonderful information. I have two questions. 1. How do a fan page and a blog differ? 2. How would one address unacceptable posts to their fan page?

  • http://twitter.com/Saidbyjane Saidbyjane

    I really enjoy the efforts that you guys put into the articles. Very helpful and engaging.

  • Jenni Wright

    Very helpful. Going back to my fan page and doing some work! he he

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks so much Amy!

  • http://www.vacationer.transatholidays.com/finalists.php?video_id=IhYzBrqI-Yk Sam

    Great post. The only thing that I don’t totally agree with is the random question of the day… granted every business is different and should try different tactics but I find too often businesses miss the point of social media. Simply creating conversation doesn’t make your business interesting and relevant to your customers.

    Whereas helpful engaging interaction with regards to the industry your in or the product your offering will go a lot further in converting customers.

    Agree/Disagree?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Kathy – We have a future post on finding fans coming… Stay tuned :) – Mike

  • http://www.melissadavis.com.au/ Melissa Davis

    Amy this was a great post and a great guide to help me get my act together with my page. It’s been a case of all the right ingredients, but feeling my way and needing a clear focus and direction. Onward and upward, thanks so much for the inspiration. :-)

  • debbiehemley

    Nice post! Love the content here.

    Definitely see value in planning out a strategy and I like how you break this out. Can’t say I’m always as disciplined in adhering to a particular formula but one thing I try to pay attention to is mixing it up with videos and things which are more fun where I can.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • Genie

    Can anyone talk about “how” you set everything up. I have done alot of study on how to engage and all the things in this thread but how are all of you setting it up? Do you spend hours figuring it all out? Do you hire someone to get you up and running and go from there? I’m taking about the “technical aspects of doing this.
    Thanks.

  • manyphet

    Hi friend

  • blossompads

    Great ideas! This is exactly what I was looking for as I set up my FB page. Thanks!

  • Carrie Yutzy

    I agree with everything you said, Amy, but would add one thing: Be yourself & let your personality shine through! Adding personality to a brand is one of the main reasons companies participate in social media. And as soon as documentation (like an editorial guide) exists, people get more shy about being themselves because they feel like they’re being watched. It’s not that an editorial guide shouldn’t exist–it should–but it should also remind those abiding by it that they should be having fun!

  • ChiefBlogger

    Amy, nice post! Thanks. I find that planning is usually the big piece missing, second is the implementation. Enjoyed your tips.

  • florabrown

    Amy,

    Thanks for this very valuable and timely post. I’m off to create my editorial guide right now.

  • http://www.MyIISense.com/ Michael Stagg

    Awesome article and VERY helpful. Thank you!

  • http://www.webyogi.co.uk/ webyogi

    Hi Amy – Thanks so much very useful. I have been pulling together a facebook set up guide, editorial calendar and training guide recently. It can get overwhelming! I like what you say on on business strategy it’s so important to integrate brand, voice and personaility into any social network. Working from an integrated marketing plan helps! Your post helps to create a simple template that can be used for any social network. Thanks!

  • http://www.praveensms.com/ praveensms

    Thanks for the nice post. I am looking articles for Fan page creation of businesses. I also agree with Sam ( above comment )”different business should have different tactics” …….

  • KimBarone

    Yes, very good info!

  • http://twitter.com/bonniekirk Bonnie Kirk

    Mike – I have assumed responsibility for my church’s social media presence. An ex-staff member previously created a Facebook group. Commenting was allowed for awhile, then turned off.

    I’m creating a page, and will be looking for ways to attract people away from the group to become fans of the page. I want the page to be the official FB presence, not the group as it was formerly. We won’t be offering contests, sales promotions, etc. So far I plan to post photos of recent events and tag as many people as I can identify. I’ll post a message to everyone in the group, and change the photo from the church’s logo.

    Any other suggestions will be appreciated.

  • http://www.ghostqueen.com/ MarVeena

    I have had a hard time getting interaction with my fan page. Will try some of these ideas. Thank you!

  • Angel

    Thank you, this was wonderful. Writing the guide started to give me a clearer picture on how I will incorporate all the social media tools I plan to use and package as sellable marketing plans!

  • craigrussell

    Amy can you share some of those ideas with uas, I want to start a fan page for oue home business, well it is a little more than that and have no idea where to start.

  • Arpit

    Fan-tastic post, Amy. Definitely helpful for my existing pages. Thanks!

  • http://TampaBandPhotos.com Tampa Band Photos

    Thanks for a great article. I’m a pro photographer, so fortunately I always have a steady stream of new material to share with fans. But I do try to mix it up with off-the wall posts as well….they usually get some pretty interesting reactions. Anyway, thanks again for the guide!

  • Kim Johnston

    In regard to #3 “Define your style…multiple people posting” example. Do you know of a way to differentiate Amy from Social Media Examiner so she does not have to sign -Amy? I am finding that when you create a fan page FB remembers your email and every time you log into FB and want to write as yourself (Amy) within the Social Media Examiner you are still speaking under Social Media Examiner. I hope this makes sense, any suggestions?

  • http://www.pandltranslations.com/ Janine Libbey

    We have had a FB page for a while and have been struggling to get more fans as some of the other commentors note. I think creating the editorial guide may help us more than many of the suggestions I have seen (ask followers on Twitter, include it in your LinkedIn profile, etc.). Many thanks!

    http://www.facebook.com/PandLTranslations

  • Sophie Emertziadou

    I am a new social media person, and i liked your tutorial very much.
    The #1: Post strategy was that make me say “Yes i can do that…” but i am afraid of the 0 answers!

    I totaly agree with your directions.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Kim,

    In order for Amy to be associated with our brand and for our fans to know she indeed represents our brand, our brand’s icon and name must show up when Amy comment’s or posts. If that were not the case then none of her posts would be seen in the feed by our fans. So the only way currently to do that is to have her sign her name to posts.

  • Maxiosearch

    Amy, your articles are so practical, thanks for that! I love articles showing clear examples and how to´s.
    Mastering fan pages is essential for today´s business. I have recently read an article here showing that just the 24% of small businesses have an active presence there.

    I recommend startups to join conversations and place their own questions on Startups.com Q&A

  • andreafoy

    This was food info, I have a fan page for my book Hire Power but not much actions, I will join the social media page for more ideas.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Raaawb Raaawb

    I think the biggest problem presented by fan pages for anyone is — calling them “fan pages.” I let a few slip by when they first came out as it seemed “cute” — I added Sean Lennon and Lisa Loeb — but then I realized, hey, “who I am a fan of” makes its own little STATEMENT ABOUT ME.

    People study Facebook too much. I once realized I hadn’t entered a “status” so I did, and soon enough someone was taunting me, “Ooh, you’re SINGLE now, ooh la la!” Imagine if I wanted to keep abreast of, say, Justin Bieber’s goings-on — well, imagine all the towels I’d be snapped with in the locker room after that.

    One of the bigger issues, I think, is that quite a large percentage of the entertainment community make up social media — and most there would rather die than declare themselves a “fan” of ANYTHING. It’s just not done. Yes, they’re all fans of everything until they MAKE IT — then that part of them has to die. I’ll admit to being slightly infected by this phobia. But when you’re a “fan” of something — to most people that bespeaks a more-than-average interest. I might like some young singer/performer/what-have-you — but I’m not going to bow down before them and declare allegiance by “fandom.” I’ll reserve that for the Beatles, Elvis, and Denise Milani (hey, I’m single! Rrrowr! Tchk tchk!), but ALL they need to do for those of us who become itchy about making such a declaration….

    Just call them “Official Pages,” for goshsakes. THEN people might start seeing more “engagement” — at least the local “Sit and Sew” shop might get a little more traction from joiners who aren’t quite “fans.”

  • http://writingjobresource.com Ann Olson

    Super post. I really had no idea how to deal with my fan page until now – hopefully this will encourage more fans to comment.

  • http://www.smartlifestore.com Rich

    Nice post Amy. I just fired my SEO company and I’m ready to rock it myself with Social Media Marketing.

  • knowledgenotebook

    I’m wondering if there’s a way to AUGMENT fans with other complimentary busiensses, hence, for instance 300 x n, say, 4, = 1200, huge INCREASE instantly. Anyone follow me?

  • http://www.gmig.co.uk/ Jason Rudland

    I would add to the post that you must give people a reason to become a fan. A great way of doing this is with a fan-only download. i.e. you can only download it once you have become a fan. Check out my Facebook and social media blogs to see what I mean.

  • Carol

    What application did you use?

  • http://facebook.com/muzeumerotyzmu Muzeum Erotyzmu

    Great article, Amy. Imagine I’m writing from Poland :)
    Rob, seems that the problem of becoming a fan is out – now we all just like persons, ideas & organisations :)

  • http://lovesagame.com/ Eddie Corbano

    Thank you, very useful article.

    I am currently building my own fan page, so I can use all the help I can get.

  • http://lovesagame.com/ Eddie Corbano

    Thank you, very useful article.

    I am currently building my own fan page, so I can use all the help I can get.

  • https://plus.google.com/+AnaHoffman/ Ana Hoffman

    Nicely done, Amy.

    I have no idea why it never occurred to me to ask my fans questions – related to my topic or not.

    Such a simple engagement idea… Thanks, Amy!

    Ana Hoffman

    PS I just started a new fan page a couple of days ago; I would love your suggestions when you have a minute, Amy!
    http://www.facebook.com/TrafficGenerationCafe

  • http://www.best-wedding-anniversary-gift-ideas.com/ Renee Michaels

    Love your down to earth tips, thank you so much! I’ve been saving all the SME newsletters until I finally began a fan page & I’m so happy I did. How do you suggest dealing with fans who post promo links to other sites? Do you make your editorial policy public? Is there a way to remove their links? This is a touchy topic…don’t want to alienate folks, but do want to avoid the inevitable spam.

  • Priya Unger

    Thank you for your tips! We have a great Facebook fanpage community – we have carefully built them up over the last few months and we are very proud of the level of interaction we have been able to achieve. Lately though, I have been picking up a lot of self promotion by our fans. My feeling is that these self promotions should be removed because they clutter up the page & our fans are subjected to content they did not ‘sign up’ for but how do you handle this type of situation? Do you delete the comment? Do you flag it, do you send them a personal msg?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Priya

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ovais-Mirza/1663635233 Ovais Mirza

    Above article is great.. and i do agree with the post that creating a professional facebook fan page plays key role in getting traffic as well as sales to your business.. you can even buy facebook fans from http://fansbuilder.com/

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  • Support

    What about this facebook fan page? I Think it`s very cool & great inspirational article!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/V4-Book/151671231553127?v=app_4949752878

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  • http://twitter.com/PlatinumRM ResponseMagic

    The best way to double your fan conversion is to set up a facebook “reveal” fan page…here’s a video on how to do it in 3mins with no hosting and no designer.
    http://www.responsemagic.com/facebook.php

  • http://twitter.com/PlatinumRM ResponseMagic

    very interesting information :-) You can also check out mine on  The best way to double your fan conversion is to set up a facebook “reveal” fan page…here’s a video on how to do it in 3mins with no hosting and no designer.
    http://www.responsemagic.com/facebook.php

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