Perhaps you have a Facebook Fan Page and even some fans. But now what? How can you encourage your fans to act and interact?
In my prior post I covered the various sources and types of content you can post on your Facebook fan page. I also talked about the importance of consistent updates.
However, just like the “Field of Dreams” – if you build a fantastic fan page with plenty of quality content, will they come and will they stay?
They will come and they will stay if you give your fans good reason to engage.
Given that over half of Facebook’s 400 million active users log in daily and spend an average of 55 minutes per day on the site, you can get your target audience to spend some of that time getting to know you, your brand, your products and services.
The secret is to create a fan page with the right blend of ingredients that resonates most with your ideal fans. And to ensure they’re made to feel a strong part of your online community.
As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve found there are essentially two components to Facebook fan page engagement: 1) Sharing quality, relevant content and 2) inciting comments. So, here in Part 2, we’ll talk about just how vital comments (and likes, wall posts and @ tags) are to the success of your fan page.
Now that you have a wide variety of regular, quality, relevant content posting on your fan page, here are some ways to get your fans to interact:
1. Ask questions
For status updates, try ending with a question. In the example below, Best Buy generated 274 responses so far to their question about what feature your can’t live without on your phone.
And, in this example, Skype got 147 comments to their question about meeting your partner via Skype!
2. Use the words “you” or “your”
Use the word “you” often – “What are your thoughts?” “What do you think about xyz?” Here, the Hard Rock Cafe is giving out a coupon code with the words “Our gift to you because you rock…”
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3. Keep it short
The easier it is for your fans to read, the more likely they are to respond. Keep your status updates short and simple with one topic. You have up to 420 characters per update, but I recommend about half that for an ideal size. For longer updates, use the Notes app – or write a blog post and update.
4. Post in high-traffic windows
Get to know when your fans are most responsive. Depending on in which part of the world the majority of your fans are, you might want to post between 9:00am and 2:00pm in your timezone.
5. Respond promptly
Do your best to respond to fan questions (as wall posts) as promptly as possible. If you find you can’t keep up with the volume of questions, offer a free teleseminar or webinar where you answer the top questions for your fans. You can do this in the traditional way of having people opt-in to get the phone number so you’ll build your email list at the same time.
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6. Address fans by name
Come back and reply often to your fans’ comments – Facebook currently doesn’t have threaded commenting, so I suggest addressing specific fans in your comments as @name. See my comment at the bottom of the screenshot below:
7. Comment yourself
Add your own comment as needed to get the ball rolling. However, don’t step in too soon. I often find that the comments come more freely when you allow your fans to run by themselves initially.
8. Thank your fans
Acknowledge your fans often with simple thanks. Genuine recognition goes a *long* way!
9. Surprise your fans
Don’t be afraid to stray “off topic” from time to time and surprise your fans. In other words, your content doesn’t always have to be directly related to your product or service. You might share an inspirational quote and add your own thoughts, for example.
If you happen to know a fan’s Twitter ID, send a tweet thanking her/him for the comment on your fan page. With a link of course. 🙂
10. Use @ tagging
You can tag other fan pages that you’re a fan of and your own friends (along with Groups you belong to and Events you’ve RSVPed for). When appropriate, and used sparingly, @ tags can be a very powerful way to have your post show up on others’ walls, which gives you more exposure and brings more fans or potential fans back to engage.
11. Use the Discussion Board
Give your fans a place to network with one another. Plus, often fans want to do self-promotion. You can encourage these types of activities on a specific discussion thread. Also, when you first launch your fan page, be sure to start 3 to 5 discussion topics so it’s not a blank tab.
In this example, the most popular discussion thread on Chick-fil-A’s fan page is asking their fans where they’d most like to see a Chick-fil-A next. Topics are always listed in order of the most recently commented on.
12. Send updates to fans
Each tab on your fan page and each discussion thread topic has its own unique URL. To bring fans back to your page to contribute to a discussion and get them more engaged, send out an update with a call to action and specific link. (To find the Update feature, click Edit Page under your image then look for Send Update to Fans on the right of your Admin page.)
13. Monitor insights
If you’re a perfectionist, the goal is to get 5 stars and a perfect 10 score! Facebook uses algorithms to calculate your Post Quality as determined by the percentage of your fans who engage when you post content, calculated on a rolling seven-day basis. The number of stars depends on how your Post Quality compares to similar pages (for example, pages that have a similar number of fans).
The more activity your fan page posts generate, the longer you’ll show up in the News Feed of your fans!
As you build up your fan base, consistently add quality, relevant content and engage your fans. You’ll start to see results that translate into an increase in brand awareness and positive brand sentiment, email and blog subscribers, and of course, sales and paying customers.
Editors note: Check out Social Media Examiner's new Facebook fan page by clicking here.
How are you engaging your fans? What did I miss? I’d love to hear from you. Add your ideas in the comments below. And do ask any clarifying questions as I’d be happy to answer you.
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