The creation of a Facebook page is only the first step in a long process to building an engaged following and community around a product, service or brand.
Maybe it’s the simplicity of the process. Or the fact that it doesn’t ‘cost’ anything to set up. But it seems many people are tempted into creating a Facebook page without first having a clear idea of why they need one, who it’s aimed at and how it will be managed.
The result: a half empty page with few followers and even fewer reasons to visit and ‘Like’.
Why do you need a Facebook page?
Before you set up a Facebook page, ask yourself: “why do I need a Facebook page”?
There are many good reasons to create a page. But the key is to know why you need one and how you’re going to use it.
Every Facebook page should have a raison d’etre – a reason for its existence – otherwise people will think “what’s the point?”.
Your Facebook page should be used to support your overall business mission and objectives. Creating one just because ‘everyone else has’ is a near certain guarantee that the page will end up becoming a social media ghost town.
What are your goals (and what does ‘success’ look like?)
As soon as you’ve got a clear understanding of why you need a Facebook page, think about your goals.
For example, is the page going to be used for building brand awareness? Generating sales? Customer support? Community engagement?
The goals for your Facebook page should align with the reason why you started the page in the first place, as well as the mission and objectives for your business.
If your Facebook page is for brand awareness, then the number of Likes, shares and mentions you generate are a good foundation on which to measure the success of your page.
Alternatively, if your Facebook page has been designed as a customer support channel, the number of positive postings and comments in regards to problems or complaints would be better metrics compared to the number of Likes you’ve accumulated.
Why should people visit – and ‘Like’ – your page?
Once you’ve figured out why you need a Facebook page and what it will be used for, consider how you’re going to use it.
At this stage you should have a clear picture of who your audience is and what is likely to motivate them to visit and (even more importantly) ‘Like’ your page.
Facebook may have nearly 700 million users but this doesn’t mean that your page will automatically attract even a fraction of them. As with anything in marketing, a little thought is needed if you want to attract the right kind of people to your page.
The key is to offer value.
When somebody ‘Likes’ your Facebook page, they’re effectively giving you permission to post content into their News Feeds. You are competing for that person’s attention (from friends, family and other brand pages) so unless you can offer something meaningful, you’re unlikely to get a ‘Like’.
In other words, simply re-posting bit.ly links to your blog posts onto your Facebook page wall isn’t going to cut it.
Consider the type of content your audience engages with most as well as how Facebook’s EdgeRank determines what content is most likely to show up in fans’ News Feeds.
Don’t sacrifice time and investment in your own website
As Chris Brogan says:
“Your blog is your own real estate. Blogging inside anyone else’s platform is like renting a hotel room, putting up posters, and thinking it’s your place”.
By all means create a Facebook page. Just don’t put all your efforts into it.
Any traffic or engagement on Facebook doesn’t really belong to you. Because you don’t own the space there will always be limitations as to what you can do with the data.
Unlike a site of your own, you will not have access to detailed analytics over who those visitors are, where they came from and what they’re looking at.
Stand out and be counted
If you’re intending to set up a presence on Facebook, consider why – and then make sure you have a plan.
Take inspiration from Facebook pages that have really made a difference and offer your fans something special, something different.