The role of Facebook in online business can be summed up in two words: community building. It’s really all about exploiting the two-way link that the internet allows between you and your readers. But that’s a lot more easily said than done, especially when you look at the number of businesses that flood users’ news feeds with by-the-minute updates. How many of your “fans” are actually engaged in what goes on in your page? You might be surprised at the numbers.
Building a real community starts with good content. It’s the only reason people will come back to your page: to get useful, entertaining, or relevant information. Whether it’s just a “Photo of the Day” or a quick update on one of your top products, you need to offer something that’s worth people’s time. Often, this means a good deal of planning and research. A single well thought-out article can be worth more in community activity than a dozen spur-of-the-moment updates.
Content isn’t just good writing and interesting images, at least not where Facebook marketing is concerned. Make use of any other feature on offer, from apps to video boxes. These will get your fans to use your page, rather than just visit it and passively receive information. That’s where involvement starts, and where the community begins to take hold.
If you’re not the writing type, RSS feeds can be a good alternative. This basically involves syndicating content from other sources (relevant to your business, of course) and publishing them onto your site. The danger with this is that the feeds might end up crowding your page, so make sure to keep the content coming in under control.
Perhaps the most underrated Facebook feature for marketers is Social Ads. These ads link back to your fan page, rather than Facebook itself, so the traffic is more targeted. Many experts agree that it’s one of the strongest sources for marketers. What’s different about it is that it relies on customer trust rather than sheer traffic, which takes you back to the community-building theme.
Finally, make sure there’s always an exchange going on. You can do this by regularly posting discussion questions, soliciting opinions, and generally engaging your readers in conversation. Once in a while, call out to a user who made some good fan art, or share a photo from someone featuring your product. These little gestures make people feel like part of the group, and help create customer loyalty over time.