Facebook pages seem to be like an opinion these days – every website / company has one. However, it’s surprising how few can actually make it work for them, in terms of converting the likes to traffic, or creating an engaging page where people comment, discuss and share information. It’s easier said than done.
The purpose of this post is to look into couple points that I have noticed working well for Facebook pages I have been involved with in the past. There are tons of articles in the web about this topic, but it seems like everyone of them are saying the same thing: what to post, when to post and so on: generic best practices. I browsed several of those and found most them of very little use. I mean they are good to get started, if you have no clue, but they will not take you very far. Unless of course, you are willing to spend hours and hours daily for long period of time. I am not saying that I have discovered a magic formula, but there are actions that can greatly boost the basic efforts.
The look of the page – Branding
The look and feel is where it all starts – very basics really. Make it look like your brand (logos, images), basically an extension of your website. Make sure that the short about section that is shown on the page delivers the message and has a link to your website. I will not go in to this too much.
Content part 1
The content varies depending on the purpose of the page. If it’s to drive traffic to your website, you want to post your articles with appealing images. Instead of posting links, you can also post a photo, include a short intro and a link to the article. If your article feature photo is small, you might want to go with this option.
If the purpose of the page is to create discussion, you might want to start 5-10 topics where you and your friends, colleagues and people in your network have posted for comments. The idea is to make the page look active and lively before you start inviting people to like the page.
No matter what the purpose of the page is, post photos. They are the easy content to post, and people in Facebook users tend to engage with photos. It’s easier for the user to click like on a photo, than to read an article and like/comment.
The likes are the core of your Facebook page. They really communicate everything, immediately. Well, think of it: you go to a Facebook page of a website/brand you don’t know before. If there are few likes, you most likely think that they are worth your time. Even if the page was within your interest. However, if a page has tens or hundreds of thousands of likes your immediately interested, even if the topic would be something you normally wouldn’t care so much. It’s all simple psychology of following the crowd, need to belong to something larger.
The obvious starting point is to invite your friends, colleagues and people in your network, which is great if the number is large. They will most likely support you, because they know you. But don’t count too much on that. These days the like invitations see to come from every direction and many just ignore them. You might even want to layer the invitations, so that you first invite those who you think will 100% sure click like, and than the ones who are 80% certainty and so on. By having their friends liking the page you increase the like click probability of the people who are less likely to do so at beginning.
Content part 2
After the initial round of content creation, would be good to have a content plan. You want to be consistent on the posts. People learn. When you post certain things at a certain time they will learn when to return to your page. For example if you have a Friday joke, that engages your fans, they will start coming back every Friday for that joke.
Use images. As mentioned in part 1, they engage people more easily, and are great for getting likes for posts.
Ask questions, raise conversation. This can be tricky sometimes. But make it a habit. You can also invite your friends to post and answer comments in the posts to make them look more alive at the beginning.
Provide value to the fan base. This is the most important part. Give them something worth their time to spend on your page. The idea really is to get enough engaged people that all you have to do is post something and then moderate the conversation.
To promote their ads, Facebook only shows your posts in the newsfeeds of small percentage of the people who liked the page. This can be overcome by subscribing to the page. You might want to communicate this to your fans.
Promoting the page
This is part that I think most of the Facebook pages fail to do: promote their Facebook page. Although the idea is to drive traffic from the Facebook page to your website and not visa versa, think of this: You need people who like you on your Facebook page to make it alive, engaging, appealing and so on. Who would help you to achieve that better than the people, who already come to your website, use your service, buy your products? Exactly. But most of them don’t find it themselves you need to communicate that to them.
There are number of ways to do that. Almost every website these days use the Facebook widget that is easily created at Facebook developers site. Or at least use a link to your Facebook page. If your website is on WordPress there are tons of widgets that help you do that.
One of my favorites (which divides opinions) is a popup box that asks the visitor to like the page. Sometimes these can annoy, but most popups can be set up not to show for a long time if the visitor closes it, and never to show again if the visitor likes the page. Again your conversion will be higher if the visitors friends have liked the page and the popup can display that these of your friends also liked this page.
Besides your website there are tons of ways to make people know about your Facebook page. For example other social media pages. You might have following in Twitter, Linkedin, Google+. Why not plug them in as well? Another way is to include your Facebook page to your email signature, with a call to action such as “like us on Facebook”. It has worked well in many cases.
Don’t think you have to stop there. You can promote your Facebook page offline as well. If you hand out business cards often, print it there as well. We did that and it’s surprising how many people notice it there and it leads into a conversation. You can basically include it into any advertising that you are doing. Creativity is the limit.
Not all, however, do offline advertising. Just to raise awareness for your Facebook page that might be an expensive way. One of the options is advertising offered by Facebook. It’s basically either advertising to get more likes or boosting a post to raise awareness of one post.
Advertising likes can be quite effective and efficient way of getting a large number of likes to your page. I would advise to have at least a 1000 likes on the page organically, which would make the ‘belonging to a group’ factor more effective. Also having 1000+ fans to page usually means there is some level of engagement and conversation in place already. So, it’s really a sum of it all. You need likes to get engagement, but you need engagement to get more likes. Makes sense to grow them all at the same time.
Don’t buy likes that aren’t real. Meaning don’t fall for the thousands of likes for few dollars offers from independent “marketing professionals”. There’s no benefit in that. They will not engage with your page as most of the profiles aren’t real.
Boosting a post can be very effective way to promote a page on your website. We have tested that for some content and found it very useful way to engage people with the post and also to drive traffic through Facebook to a particular page. Again, only boost post that you think your audience would find interesting. It can be a waste of money unless planned carefully.
So, at the end why is it important to grow the number of Facebook likes? You get access to new people who might not find your website / brand otherwise. You can tap them into your other marketing channels easily. Many of them will visit your website.
What’s the benefit for having a page with lots of likes? If you show that on your website, it gives you credibility and trust in the eyes of the reader, and they are more likely to return than to a website with little reader engagement signs.
At the end, it’s hard work and a good page doesn’t create itself.