Facebook

Creating an engaging Facebook community from scratch in 10 steps

Facebook

A Facebook page can be powerful! There are millions of global active Facebook users checking their accounts daily, which gives you great reach as a marketer. A Facebook Page can help build closer relationships with your audience, engage prospects, create sales leads, build awareness for your cause and brand/product.

Before deciding to create a page, establish who your target audience is and whether or not they actually use Facebook, a great resource to research this is socialbakers.com

You’ll also need to determine what your objectives or goals for the page are and how you’ll measure results – there are some useful metrics in step 10.

Ultimately you want to create a community i.e target a specific group of people with similar interests and give them a platform to discuss ideas and to engage with you and each other.

Now, how do you go about creating an engaging community and gaining fans from scratch?

1) Information, cover image and profile picture

Your page’s profile picture appears on your followers’ news feeds and in sponsored stories, so use an official logo or another image, perhaps one of you, that instantly connects to your brand. Your cover image is also key “real estate” and communicates about your brand/cause, use it for that purpose. Fans will check the cover image and the “About section” when considering liking a page, so make it compelling and give people a chance to learn about your page quickly.

2) Publicise

An owner of a page and admins can share the page with personal contacts; go to “Build audience” and invite email contacts, “friends” or share your page on your personal profile.

Ideally you want to invite relevant fans only, i.e. people who will find your content valuable and share your common interest and engage with your page, aim for quality rather than quantity, although ultimately you do need a large enough number of fans to have a community and to reach your goals of awareness.

Promote your page on other social networking sites that are relevant to your target audience like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and link to your page from your personal or company blog and website.

Adding your Facebook address to your email signature is also a way to grow targeted fans as well as offline collateral, like event material. You can use QR codes on your business cards to promote your page, however, it’s also a good idea to promote the page name/ url as QR codes aren’t popular with everyone.

Alternatively, if you have obtained opt in email addresses through your blog, marketing events, website etc. email targeted contacts asking them to join your page.

Another idea is to cross promote your page with page managers who have similar interests who can mutually benefit from promoting your page and vice versa.

3) Understand your fans, really get to know them

Once you start to get fans, do as much as you can to understand them and what content they like to engage with, the best way to do this is to ask questions and encourage conversation. You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to answer questions, respond to polls and engage. Facebook is a two-way channel, don’t only use it to broadcast.

4) Content is king!

Be real – go beyond your corporate goals. Share stuff that engages your audience, don’t just use your page to promote your campaigns or promotions in a sporadic manner, that’s BORING! Form relationships, just as you would with your personal profile. Don’t forget people who use Facebook are human and are looking for relevant but engaging, fun, compelling, informative content, exclusive benefits and interaction, not just to be sold to.

Be original and use a natural tone of voice also have some policies in place, i.e. no political updates, swearing etc.

Editorial calendar – Be consistent,  To  organise content and to create a schedule for posts create an  editorial calendar.  Fans will begin to know what to expect and it means you wont be shouting and sending out random messages.

When people share your posts, comment on them or like content, your brand/ page name is shared with fan’s friends and who may also find your content relevant and share or like your page. Therefore the more relevant and compelling the content you provide, the more it gets shared and spread across the social network.

Get visual. Using imagery is a powerful way to communicate, so use powerful, engaging, ORIGINAL, relevant or funny images – and ensure they’re high quality.

If customers or prospects attend one of your offline events take photos of them and share them on your page, this gets people more engaged, again if they share their pictures on their profiles your page name or brand follows.

Experiment with your posts, test out different content and media, including video, review which posts get the highest interaction “engagement” and improve your “talking bout this score”.

A lot of page owners run competitions using third-party apps to engage followers, this is an idea you can try out to increase engagement and fans.

Facebook has recently introduced the use of #Hashtags. Hashtags turn text into clickable links in your posts. This helps people, who aren’t necessarily fans, to find posts about topics they’re interested in, similar to how it works on Twitter, look for hashtags related to your topic and use them in posts e.g I’ll use #FaceBookMarketing #FaceBookTips.

Research has shown that people like positive stories on Facebook and so the old adage that “bad news sells” isn’t necessarily true with Facebook. Keep it positive!

5) Find complementary Facebook Pages

Find complementary Facebook pages and like them as your Page, then watch your page home feed and comment thoughtfully on the posts and share valuable content on your page, providing it’s not competitor information, again this gets your brand or page name out there and can get you relevant followers.

6) Incite comments and listen

Ask your fans questions, use polls, again engaging, thought-provoking posts can get you those comments. This will impact your “Edge Rank” score; Edge Rank is Facebook’s “algorithm” and determines whether or not your posts appear in fans’ newsfeeds. You should spend some time learning about Edge Rank and you should spend a lot of time listening to your fans i.e. reading what they write about on your own and competitors’ pages. Social media is an interactive channel, learn!

7) Paid Ads and sponsored stories

You can advertise your page targeting people based on interests, location, gender, age, education, language and more, if you chose to use “sponsored stories” when advertising, which I highly recommend, friends of people interacting with your page, because of these ads, will get to see these interactions.

8) Be Consistent, post frequently

Don’t let your page die, so many page owners do. Keep content fresh, relevant and updated. This is an effort, either hire someone who’s passionate, or be passionate, remember you could potentially be reaching thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in your target audience for a low-cost.

Some proponents advise to post between 1-5 times per day. You don’t want to inundate followers with posts and so it’s advisable to start with perhaps one to two posts a day, reviewing interaction and feedback and taking it from there. This doesn’t mean you need to waste endless hours in front of Facebook; you can schedule posts in advance, which Facebook allows you to do, or use a tool like HootSuite to schedule posts. You should also take the time to respond to fans in real-time and to post in real-time, remembering your fans are human and that you should be aiming to form relationships.

Know the best time to post and when the best “traffic window” is available, this depends on your time zone/s and target audience. Again, this will determine whether or not fans see your posts, you can check this out with “Facebook insights”.

9) Link to your website/blog/ e-commerce site

Link to your website, landing pages, with special offers and use Facebook for commercial purposes once in a while if that’s the purpose of your page. Your blog may be the “hub” of all of your social media efforts, or to your company website or sales landing page. Don’t sell too often; that’s not why fans interact with your page.

10) Monitor and measure

Get familiar with “Facebook Insights”, Insights provide measurements on your page’s performance; demographic information about your audience and shows how people are discovering and responding to your posts.

At the start of this article I stated you should have goals. If you’re measuring awareness, review the number of fans you have and growth, if you’re aiming to improve brand consideration, you really want to work on interaction and comments, likewise for market research. Ultimately, if you’re looking for sales, you should measure traffic to your website, enquiries or conversions made through your Facebook page and via the contact number or email.

Although I’ve been consulting for various Facebook brand pages for a while and follow over a hundred pages (not all of which have updates that appear in my news feed), I’ve just started my own personal/consultantcy Facebook page, if you like what you’ve just read, please join my page for more content and posts like this and feel free to share the page.

Categories: Facebook, Social Media | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: