Yesterday I was reviewing some Facebook presences for a company. They had built some Facebook Pages which had some decent buzz, yet these Pages weren’t engaging much conversation or converting into the sales they were hoping for.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. You’ve put a lot of thought into the Facebook Page. You’re enthusiastic. You tell all your Facebook friends it’s there. And then you wait for something to happen. *insert crickets*
The problem may be a lack of focus.
In order for someone to Like your Page, they have to understand that:
- Your Page is designed for someone like them. They’ll find people with similar interests on your Page.
- They will gain some value from participation on your Page.
Ask yourself these questions when setting up your Page:
- What is my goal for the Page? What is the main conversion that I’m looking for? (A sale? A recruit? A subscription?)
- Who is the main person I’m trying to reach with my Page, and what problem will I solve for them?
- How will I communicate the benefits of “Like-ing” my Page when that person comes to my Page for the first time?
Just putting up a Page and hoping that people will participate leads to failure. It takes concerted community management efforts to truly grow an effective Facebook Page where people choose to participate.
Your other challenge is that businesses use Facebook Pages differently, and so the end consumer of your Page may not realize that you’re trying to create a community. They may simply be waiting for discounts or contests.
So what do you do? How do you create a Facebook Page where people participate and share? Here are a few ideas:
- Start with the conversion you’re looking for. If it’s a sale, how will you direct people to a place they can purchase? If it’s a recruit, how can they join? You may not go directly from Page to conversion, but your Page needs to provide the first step along that path, and some way to get where you want them to go. Perhaps it’s a way to sign up for a newsletter or special report. Perhaps it’s a link to a special web page specifically designed for your Facebook fans, where they can sign up for something or purchase at a special discount. But always start from the point of conversion. That’s why you’re doing this, after all.
- Identify who the main community member for your Page is. What problems do they have that you can help solve? What’s important to them? How do they self-identify?
- A custom welcome page is crucial. That welcome page should clearly state who your Page is for, and what benefit they’ll gain from clicking the “Like” button. Give them an idea of what to expect.
- Be a face. I think too often we try to hide behind a logo. But successful communities are about people. People need to know who your community manager is (it may be you.) They need to see your face, and know who it is that’s answering their questions and solving their problems. We don’t bond at a deep level with logos. We only do that with people. If you’re stuck with a logo as your avatar, be sure to use the new “Featured Admins” feature of Facebook Pages, and your community managers should sign their posts.
- Keep your end of the bargain. If you promise to be a community where people can ask questions, be sure you answer them. Share value. Solve problems.
- Be interesting and targeted. Your Page needs to be noticed among the sea of other posts in the News Feed stream. So make sure your posts sport compelling images, videos, and more, and that they’re targeted to the problems your Page is helping to solve for your target community. Since the majority of interactions with your Page will happen from the News Feed, you have to be interesting to compete.
- Ask a lot of questions. If you’re just talking about yourself and what you have to offer, you’ll never grow conversation. So master the art of the conversation, which involves soliciting opinions and asking questions. Get into the heads of the people you’re trying to reach, and bring up the issues they’re currently thinking about (and talking about.) Ask them what they think. Ask them to share their expertise. Ask them to click the “Like” link if they agree. Think about what you would do to start a conversation in real life, and do the same thing on your Facebook Page.
- Build a COMMUNITY, not a sales channel. This can be done through fundraisers or campaigns you work towards together, predictions on outcomes of pop culture (i.e. Will Watson or the humans win Jeopardy?), etc. Host chats at certain times for the community, let them share what they’re passionate about, invite them to self-promote, feature active members…the list goes on. The point is to promote and celebrate the members of your community, and build a community rather than just a Page where you sell stuff. It’s really not about you at that point. It’s about them. BUT. That engaged community becomes loyal to your brand, and they become your biggest evangelists.
- Ask them to share. Once you begin to engage a core group, energize them to become evangelists. Remind them that if they are finding value, it would be great if they shared. You may even find that your community comes to you and asks how they can help you, since you’ve helped them so much. Always remind them that the best way to help you is to spread the word about the community.
There are far too many Facebook Pages out there that are being treated as sales channels. But they’re really not. If you want your Page to stand out, it must become a community that people care about.
What will you change about your Page to make it a more vibrant community that people care about? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.
image credit: Jay Cameron