Many businesses and organizations have realized the benefits of utilizing Facebook to connect with their potential and current customers, clients and members. They’ve jumped on the bandwagon, started a Facebook Fan Page, uploaded some pictures, posted a few status updates and are waiting for the customers to come flooding in their doors.

The problem is, many of those fan pages aren’t working.

Start searching Facebook for local businesses and you’ll find it is littered with unsuccessful, and in some cases abandoned, fan pages. The business owner or marketing director started the page and quickly found it wasn’t the miracle cure they had hoped for.

The reason: they didn’t take the time to figure out how Facebook fit in their marketing plan in advance.

When launching a Facebook Fan Page for your business or organization, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Purpose of your Page: You need to start out by asking yourself how you plan on using your Facebook page. Is it just to post news updates? Will it be mostly relational? What kind of pictures will you post? Some businesses use Facebook as a way to keep current customers up to date with their specials. Others, like Carl Sandburg College, use it as a vehicle to keep people informed about what is going on. Knowing how you will use your page in advance will help you be more successful and focused on connecting with your customers.
  • Who will Maintain Your Page: A Facebook Fan Page takes time to be successful. It requires consistent posting, monitoring for comments and responding to any posts your fans make. It’s best to determine in advance who will be the main facilitator of your page. Others in your business can post and help, but it’s smart to have one go-to person who makes sure posts fit the voice and attitude of your business.
  • Choose a Name for your Page: It seems pretty obvious, but there are a number of pages with misleading or hard to remember names. Keep it simple. Use your business’s or organization’s name. Abbreviate only the less important parts (such as Incorporated). If you have multiple locations or are part of a chain, add your location in your name (for instance: Western Illinois University – Quad Cities). The simpler you go, the easier it is to find your page.
  • Determine your Posting Schedule: Consistency pays off when managing a Facebook fan page, so figure out when you want to post each day and do it. Your best bet is to start posting three times a day – once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the late evening/night time. This will give you a wide range of audience (those who work days and those who work nights) and will help you determine what time of day works best for your posts. Try it for a month and see what time of day works best for your page.
  • Profile Graphic: Just like your personal account, a fan page has a spot for a profile picture or graphic. This is what will show up when you post from your page, what people will see when they search for your business and what will be associated with your business. It pays to have a professional graphic, whether just your logo or a full-fledged graphic like what is found on the Ignite Student Ministries fan page. A cheap looking graphic will deter people from liking your page and send the message that you (1) don’t care, and (2) aren’t professional. Feel free to contact me for a free evaluation of your current graphic or quote on designing a professional graphic for your page.
  • Don’t Start with a Blank Page: Every new fan page starts blank. There are no posts, no pictures, no comments. You’ll have a few notices that the page started and your information section was updated. That’s it. And that’s a horrible way to market your page. Very few people will like a blank page. I recommend taking a week or two and post updates on a regular basis. Invite your family and close friends to like the page, and ask them to comment on or like your posts. Upload some pictures. Add captions. Make it look like there is life on your page before you invite the general public to like it.
  • Spruce it up! There are a number of apps you can add to spruce up your Facebook page. Have a YouTube account? Add the Involver YouTube app and it will create a tab so fans can watch your YouTube videos right in Facebook. Add the Static HTML app so you can develop a landing tab. Visit other Facebook Fan Pages and see what you can incorporate on your page.
  • Set a Unique URL: Once you hit 25 “likes”, Facebook allows you to set a unique URL for your page. It makes it easier to market, so you can add it to business cards, your web site or any other promotional material you have. Again, keep it simple. Use your business name, well known slogan or even part of your web site’s URL. The easier it is to remember, the easier it is for people to type it in.

Launching a successful Facebook Fan Page takes planning and a lot of time. Take the time in advance to walk through some of the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to developing a page that greatly benefits your business.

Stop by next week for step-by-step instructions to set up your Facebook Fan Page.

Ready to launch a Facebook Fan Page?
A Facebook Fan Page can help you connect with customers and grow your brand. If your business is looking to launch a Facebook Fan Page, or improve your current fan page, check out the Social Media Services I offer or feel free to contact me.

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