Nov 2 2009
by Geoff Livingston
Facebook fan pages have become immensely popular for companies and organizations. They love using pages to communicate with their stakeholders. The following eight suggestions will optimize your fan page to create the most vibrant community possible (for more tips also be sure to check out Facebook’s best practices page, too):
1) I differ with Facebook right away on function. Don’t split the conversation stream between the organization and “just fans.” You want fans to see each other communicating online. It’s about fostering a community. To split your updates from fans signals that:
2) Compelling conversations matter! That means doing more than just dropping a post, a link or a picture periodically on the page. Comment on fan posts, add value to those posts with additional information, and encourage more. Make sure people know that humans update the page, and not corporate stiffs.
3) Intelligently integrate other web properties and Facebook applications (including your own Facebook app). The tabs on top of the page should be intelligently selected with one goal in mind: Enabling your fans to do more and spread the word. No matter how much the organization thinks it’s own pushing will drive “the message,” in reality, fans need to carry the baton.
Make badges on the columns and tabs that are obvious, make sense and inviting. Ensure these tabs connect easily to applications and to your blog, twitter, MySpace and other accounts and sites. Make sure you don’t over-clutter with every app on earth. Be selective. See Mashable’s top five features of Facebook fan page for more.
4) Pay attention to the statistics: Insights allows you to understand which posts are truly motivating your fans to interact. If they are like Ning users, they love photos and videos! Whatever is working, give them what they want! And while you’re at it cater to your demographics, too.
5) Make your fans feel special. Reward fans for participating, let them know you are watching and foster further engagement. Make a fan of the week, allow fans to badge their page and site with something that clearly marks them as an extended member of the brand family. Do things that are unique to your Facebook fan page only, and make sure the fans now that such contests, brick and mortar events, etc. are specially designed for them.
6) Use outside properties to promote the page: So many times people build it and wonder why they don’t come. Use all of your communications properties to build up the Facebook application page, and use the Facebook application page to promote the other properties (as well as opportunities to donate and/or buy product), but be smart. If you place promo in front of conversation on the Facebook fan page, expect a dormant community.
7) Don’t assume your Twitter audience is your Facebook group, too. It’s not. Yes, you’ll have a healthy minority who are on twitter, but the community that participates on Facebook tends to be different than the voiceiferous on twitter.
8) Did I mention that Ning users love photos and videos? So do Facebook users! Tagging your fans from event photos and videos is just a simple, obvious way to make them feel like they are part of the community. In fact, you should be encouraging them to upload their own photos and videos.
What tips would you add?