Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make the Most of Your Facebook Fan Page: Think Like a Fan

So you set up a Facebook fan page. Now what do you do with it? I've seen bloggers set up fan pages and promptly forget about them. No feed, no updates, nothing. What a waste! Fan pages can add dimension and value to your blog if you know what to put on them. Here's how to create a dynamic fan page that gets "liked" rather than hidden:

What do fan pages offer bloggers, anyway? Your Facebook fan page is another way to get your brand (your blog's name, your logo, etc.) in front of readers or potential readers. It's a way to remind distractable readers that your blog is valuable and relevant to their lives.

More importantly, though, is what fan pages offer their fans. Consider why you "friend" people on FB:
  • To see what they're up to.
  • To communicate with them.
Why do you become a fan of someone's FB Fan page? For the same reasons. To create a wicked fan page, you have to think like a fan.

Forget about what your fan page looks like to you when you visit it to add an update. Consider instead how your updates show up for your fans within their Facebook streams. Your updates show up on their turf, after all.

As a Facebook user, what do you like to see show up in your home stream? What prompts you to click "Like" vs. "Hide"? Updates full of relevance and value, that's what. I want the pages I "fan" to offer me something that the blog doesn't, whether it's additional commentary, personal tidbits from the author or something else. If a fan page provides value, it stays in my stream. If it doesn't, I hide it. By enriching the FB user's experience, you're adding value to your brand and building brand loyalty.

Content ideas for your fan page:
  • Your blog's feed or hand-posted links to posts on your blog. I actually prefer to hand-post links to select articles I post rather than simply to pull the feed from my blog. That way, I can write a little note to go with each link that tells fans what they article has to offer. If you post frequently, beware of flooding your fans' streams with your chatter.
  • Interesting, fun links to articles related to your blog's niche
  • Questions for your fans. Invite conversation. Ask them about their experiences with issues or products you mention on your blog. Respond when they write on your wall. Keep it light. Make it personal
  • Notes about the blogger (that's YOU!) that might not make it onto the blog
  • Additional thoughts or follow up about a post you wrote. Ask fans what they thought of your post
  • Photos or videos related to your posts. Or how about a photo of you hard at work on your blog?
  • A vlog, perhaps?
  • Contests that can only be entered on FB
For more ideas, study fan pages you think are doing it right. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Papa Johns: Sometimes they offer free pizza to their fans! Lots of interaction on this page. I can tell the company invests time in it. Lots of photos. Good use of tabs.
  • U2: Listen to music, watch videos. Site includes a calendar of upcoming concert dates and appearances.
  • Perpetual Kid: Site has a friendly feel. Owner posts videos, links, photos of the products they review in action, and more.
  • Parenting.com: Big magazine interacts with readers in a way they can't in print. Friendly, informal tone. Lots of "tips" and invitations for fans to participate in contests, polls, etc.
A hint on tracking the effectiveness of links you put on your fan page: Track clickthroughs on links with bit.ly to find out what works and what doesn't (more on that here).

Readers, what are your favorite Facebook fan pages?

Related reading:
5 Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page @ Mashable
5 Tips for Optimizing Your Brand’s Facebook Presence @ Mashable

Hey, why not join BlogCoach's fan page? I promise to take my own advice!

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