fan pages are great. No doubt about that. They give you a great way of engaging with your customers, readers or friends on a daily basis and having the ability to push your content in to lots of people's streams is the main reason why everybody from brands to local businesses are investing so much time and money on improving their Facebook presence.You'll find that most brands and businesses have some sort of presence on Facebook these days or are at least figuring out how they should get on there as fast as possible and with that in mind I wanted to look at some of the content that works and gets users engaged. I see way too many Facebook pages (often with brands using adverts to drive users to the page) that are just static lifeless dull pages that are actually doing more harm than good and the main reason for having the page seems to be "because everybody else is doing it and we need one". I used our own Simply Zesty Facebook page as an example of what does and doesn't work...
Anything That Causes A Debate
Lauren posted the simple message yesterday that you can see below and lots of people jumped in to the debate and got involved and wanted to have their say. If you can pose some sort of question or have a topic that splits people you can be sure that they will jump in and comment. It wasn't Laurens intention to engage fans and she was surprised at how the conversation kicked off but it is amazing how one little comment that took about 30 seconds to write can create some engagement on your page and have people constantly checking back to see what has been said.
Ask For Feedback
Something that always makes users feel involved is when you ask for feedback. It could be around design of your website, color scheme or just about their favorite movie. Not only will your fans engage with you on the Facebook page but you can also get some of the best suggestions and advice you could ever imagine and nearly always for free. You need to get in to the way of thinking that the people who choose to be your fans probably like what you are doing and will be willing to help you out in anyway so getting them involved and creating dialogue is essential.
Photos Always Work
I don't know what it is but people always engage with photos. They don't have to be professionally shot super high quality pictures either and to be honest the stuff we take with our iPhones and is informal and off the cuff always works. A simple picture of what you are having for lunch or something cool that just arrived in the office always gets people liking and commenting on the photos. The great thing about smart phones and cameras is that you can take a picture in a couple of seconds and having something very real and tangible up on Facebook.
People Love Video
Building an audience for video can be tough but not when you have a Facebook fan page. The beauty of video is that it will play in line (you don't need to go off to YouTube or anything) and most people will click a video when they see it in their stream. I like asking simple little questions in videos that are recorded straight from the web cam and they always seem to get people engaged and having a conversation back with you.
Always Avoid Automation
I see so many brands and businesses spending money to acquire new fans on their page yet they insist on adding automated feeds to their pages. Automated feeds are the laziest form of pushing content out to your fans and they can smell it a mile off and very rarely interact with it. Having an automated feed of blog posts, videos or other content is just an easy cop out and your fans are not stupid. Take the time and offer them something of real value.
Have Personality Behind Your Page
This is the hardest trick of the lot and is going to need you to work on it yourself a little. Nobody wants to be a fan of a logo or have a corporation talking at them. Facebook is all about personal connections and wherever possible you need to try and make it feel as if your page has a person behind it and not a company. A great example of this is La Cucina (although note that it is a profile not a page but same principles). You need to try and talk to your fans as you would real friends, so informal, chatty and having a bit of banter instead of blasting content out at them. If people are taking the time to comment on your page and interact with your content then you need to make sure you are talking back to them and engaging in a meaningful conversation.
Give Stuff Away
People love getting stuff for free and Facebook is a great way to share your free stuff. It might be as simple as an E Book like we did or could be something more creative like a day of your companies time, free webinars, free products etc. At the end of the day these people are fans of your company and you shouldn't just take them for granted and you should instead be rewarding them as often as possible with something free in return for showing commitment to you or your brand.