10 Secrets of a Winning Facebook Fan Page

The rapid popularity of Facebook fan pages isn’t surprising considering the failure of many websites’ to accommodate conversations with customers. As a result of the inflexibility of many corporate sites, some brands have even begun pushing their Facebook pages over their own website.

But now that everyone’s on the Facebook fan page bandwagon, how can you ensure your page stands apart from the fluff? Here’s 10 must-do’s for your Facebook fan page.

#1 – Give People a Reason to Fan You

People won’t fan you just because you have a page. (who doesn’t by now?!) Smart businesses tell fans exactly what they’ll get. Walgreens does a nice job of this with a teaser landing page. Give your visitors a preview of what your updates look like. Will they get discounts, exclusive news or content? Be specific so you set expectations appropriately.

#2 – Offer Fans Exclusives

If you’re using your page to regurgitate news and content from other company channels, think again. Your fans will see through this sham. Make it a priority to break news or offer exclusive promotions only to your Facebookers. They’ll show their appreciation by eagerly staying tuned to future updates.

#3 – Optimize your Profile Picture

Facebook doesn’t allow for much customizable real estate, so the space allowed for your profile image should be fully utilized. Unlike regular profiles, fan pages allow you to utilize much more vertical space. (see Threadless’ skyscraper style image for a great example.) Make sure to get the most of this real estate by including branding or a call to action.

#4 – Respond to Every Single Comment

That’s right, every single one. When companies ignore their wall, or worse yet, deny fans the ability to comment altogether, they’re openly declaring their only interested in a one-way conversation, which couldn’t be more opposed to the nature of Facebook. Fans feel honoured when someone takes the time to respond. Why short yourself on such an easy way to build brand loyalty?

#5 – Strategically Time your Updates

Some evidence suggests updates get more eyeballs earlier in the week, but this will vary based on your users. Regardless, keep a close eye on the insights info that appears below each update, showing you what percentage of fans who engaged in a post. Time your updates when fans seem to be most active.

#6 – Cross Pollinate from Other Channels

Growing a fan page only through Facebook is nearly impossible since fans will rarely go looking for you. If you really want to kick-start your growth, you’ll need to funnel traffic from other sources. A tiny Facebook icon buried in your website footer isn’t enough. Go all out and promote your page in prime real-estate, including on the homepage, in emails, and even in-store.

#7 – Leverage your Fans to Attract More Fans

Your existing fans are the key to acquiring new fans. Every time someone becomes a fan, their action shows up in the news feeds of their friends. So the more fans you get, the more fans you get. Here’s a tactic I’ve used with much success: Try asking your fans to click “Suggest to Friends” link on your page. Set a goal for reaching a certain number of fans by a certain day, and get everyone involved in helping. Offer a significant, one-time coupon as a reward if you hit the goal.

#8 – Relish Negative Feedback

Many companies claim they have great service. Here’s a way to actually prove it. How else can you show off your awesome service than by publicly responding to detractors on your fan page? In addition, you’ll likely find that your fans will jump in to defend you. (There’s a reason they call it a “fan” page!)

#9 – Make your Updates Conversational:

When doing updates to fans, speak in a human, open-ended manner. Don’t let your copy come from that press release your PR firm just pushed down the wire. For example, suppose you just launched a new product line. Instead of writing an impersonal update such as “Newly released widget at Company.com”, try something like, “Just released a new widget and would love your feedback. Leave a comment with your opinion!”

#10 – Customize your Profile

Out of the box, Facebook fan pages don’t come with too many bells and whistles. But as the saying goes for another popular gadget, “there’s an app for that.” Customizing your page doesn’t require a lot of programming experience either. The popular Static FBML app allows you to easily add boxes or tabs to your profile that contain regular HTML and images. If you’re willing to invest a bit more time, custom apps open another world of possibilities. Best buy created an easy to use app that lets fans get advice from their network of friends on a purchase. It’s viral marketing and product research all in one.