Facebook offers two ways for you to interact with your online visitors -- Facebook Groups and Facebook Fans. The site is constantly evolving but we currently recommend using Fan pages to engage and interact with your community.
Why would you want to have a Fan page?
- Fan pages allow you to promote and interact with an engaged community already using Facebook (over 20 million people visit the site each month).
- Fan pages allow you to send messages to “Fans” of your organization. (Facebook Groups limit this activity.) You don’t want to spam your fans though. So reserve sending mass messages for special events or big announcements.
- Fan pages are SEO (search engine optimization) friendly. In other words, if you add content to your fan page, it very likely will get picked up by Google and the other major search engines. This will drive traffic to your fan page, as well as to your station or program’s Web site. (Again, this is different from Facebook Groups, which most search engines don’t see.)
- When someone becomes a fan, a link to your fan page is inserted into their news feed, further spreading your brand across the social network. In addition, when they interact with content on your fan page that also gets inserted into their news feed.
How do you create a fan page?
- If you don’t already have a personal Facebook account, go ahead and create one. Otherwise, just log in as you normally would.
- Now visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and select what type of fan page you want to create. (For example you might choose “TV Show” or “TV personality”)
- On the next screen give your fan page a name and upload a logo or image.
- That’s it! Now it’s time to begin adding content. At the time of this writing, for a fan page you can add: text, images, videos, events, notes, discussion boards, or Facebook Applications as you would a personal profile. Each of these present an additional opportunity to spread your content virally across the Facebook network.
Ok, you created a fan page, now what?
- When you first create a page, it’s going to look pretty empty. Spruce it up with images from programs your viewers enjoy and photos of community events you’ve held. Seed the discussions with questions and ideas for ways the public can interact with your brand.
- Making the decision to become a “fan” signifies a certain affinity and trust the Web visitor has with that brand. A blank page with a couple photos and some promotional text isn’t going to reward that commitment. And it won’t entice visitors to join and spread your message. Users are unlikely to return to your page unless you give them a reason to like a steady stream of new content they’ll enjoy and pass around. You don’t have to post every day, but try to post at least once a week.
- Like all social media efforts, you have to use a personal voice and speak directly to the public. Avoid marketing or PR language at all costs.
- To start attracting fans, be sure to let people in your own social groups know that your brand now has a Facebook presence. Get coworkers, family, and friends to help spread the word by becoming fans to get things rolling.