I've Set Up My Facebook Fan Page - What Now?
By Mark O'Neill
In my last article, I showed you the benefits of starting your own Facebook fan page, where you can immediately take full advantage of the millions of Facebook users who can possibly be converted into customers to your online store.
But as with everything else in life, it's not just a case of "build it and they will come." You don't just set the page up, instantly forget about it, and hope that Facebook will do the rest. No, you will need to put as much, if not more, work into your Facebook page, than your actual online business. But if you do, and the stars are properly aligned, then the potential pay-out at the end will be well worth it.
In this article, I want to outline some of the things that you can do to customize your Facebook page and get users to want to "like" your page. With the millions of pages already in existence, why should they come to your page? What makes your page better than everyone else's?
The first and main thing you need to ensure is that you can be easily found on Facebook. If users have to concentrate really hard to remember your name, or if they have to keep it written down, then your business won't be the first one that comes to mind when they are looking to spend some money.
If you were the customer, which page address would you more easily remember? This?
I think you would agree that the second one is much better and much easier to remember. However, with pages, you need a minimum of 25 fans before you can claim your custom URL. I would imagine it's to stop spammers from squatting on all the really valuable names. This isn't really a big obstacle to serious business owners. With many people having personal Facebook accounts of 200+ friends, asking 25 of them to do you a favor and fan your page isn't too difficult a task.
Once you have them, go here and see if your desired username is available.
Type in your desired username, and choose the page you want to allocate it to (if you have more than one fan page set up). Then click "check availability" to see what is currently available. Before accepting anything however, be very careful that you have typed your desired name correctly. Facebook doesn't allow you to change the name afterwards, and having a misspelled URL can be deeply embarrassing.
Facebook-Only Special Offers and Features
As the administrator of a business fan page, I quite often entice people with special offers and features they won't find anywhere else. This encourages people to become fans to take advantage of the special offers and, provided we continue to offer good value, they are not inclined to leave the page later. This is why the fan page is now at 40,000 fans and rising. Everyone loves a good free offer, whoever and wherever they are. Facebook users are no exception.
Features like this will spread the word among Facebook users that they should check out your page. "Did you know that Joe's Auctions is offering his Facebook fans 10% off?" It won't take long for news like that to spread through the social networking grapevine and for people to start joining your page in anticipation. You can also give away free gifts to fans of your Facebook page. For example, the CBS Action page has a contest where they are giving away free Star Trek T-shirts to 30 of their Facebook fans (I am hopeful that I will be one of the 30!).
Install A Welcome Tab
Facebook recently stopped allowing people with personal accounts to install tabs on their account page. But you can still install tabs on fan pages and people are using them to full effect.
A good tab to install is the Welcome tab, which allows you to - yes, that's right - install a welcome tab on your page. You can use it to make a customized page for new visitors to your Facebook page. Some pages have made imaginative welcome pages such as this one from Techcrunch.
You can add tabs to your page by using Static FBML (Facebook Markup Language), a subset of HTML. Hyperarts explains how you can install Static FBML on your page and then use it to create tabs.
Pagemodo then shows you how to easily set the default landing page to your Welcome Tab. The purpose of the Welcome Tab is to encourage visitors to Like your page. Once they do, they'll be taken right to your Page's Wall the next time they visit your page, since there is no need to "welcome" them again.
Begin A Conversation
The key to getting people to join your page and stay there is to start building a sense of community. Start some topics that people can start responding to, topics that are relevant to your business. Establish yourself as an authority in your given subject, and the next time a customer needs something from your area of expertise, you will be the first person they will think of!
In the next article, I will be showing you the merits of Twitter and how you can also use this social network to expand your business brand, as well as use it to monitor customer satisfaction. But if there are any other Facebook topics you would like me to cover, please let me know by emailing Ina or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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