Community Management, Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools, Brand Communities, Social Media Marketing

Does Your Facebook Page Have a Pulse?

Is your Facebook fan page dead or alive?

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It’s terrific that more and more companies are using fan pages as a social media outpost – and in some cases, even as their social media hub.

But, your Facebook fan page needs to be a thriving, growing, active center of engagement between your company and its best customers. Too often today, fan pages are lifeless Yellow Pages ads, with a couple of photos and a stale wall that’s updated twice monthly.

What does that say to the brand advocates that have taken the time to check in with you on Facebook? Why even bother?

Here’s 3 ideas for upping the effectiveness of your fan page.

1. Have a plan

Why do you have a fan page? Seriously. How does it fit into your social media strategy? How does it fit into your business objectives? If you don’t know, figure it out today. “Interacting with customers on Facebook” is not a strategy, either. You can do better than that. Make it meaningful, and make it measurable.

2. Make a funnel

Whatever your fan page strategy is, you need to create a behavior funnel. What precisely do you want your customers to do on Facebook on your behalf? And perhaps its not even on Facebook, but maybe you want to engage first on Facebook, and then direct them to your blog or elsewhere (the classic Outpost & Hub approach).

One of the best ways to start this conversion funnel process is to set a custom landing page. I want to scream (and sometimes do, when I’m feeling frisky) every time I go to a Facebook fan page via URL entry or search, and get the Wall as the landing page. Arrghhh. This is what you want the initial experience to be with your brand? A bunch of tiny, often semi-random updates from you and your customers? Weak.

Set a custom landing page, and fill it with calls to action. Look at what Flowtown is doing. Or Mint. When you go to their pages, you are automatically directed to these pages first, imploring you to become a fan now. That starts the conversion ball rolling.

This is an easy change. Just log-in to a Facebook fan page where you are an administrator, and clicks “Settings” underneath the status update box. Then, change the pull-down called “Default Landing Page for Everyone Else” to be whatever tab you prefer.

3. Get Active

We’re going to see an absolute explosion in relatively inexpensive, highly engaging Facebook tools, games, and contests from companies like Bulbstorm (owned by Bart Steiner, a brilliant college pal in Phoenix).

Bulbstorm just rolled out a comprehensive new contest/promotions app called Idea Challenges. It’s a turnkey program that’s better than anything else I’ve seen on Facebook, with the possible exception of uber-costly custom work.

Idea Challenges gives companies (and agencies) the opportunity to create multi-faceted contests and events without programming expertise. The core package includes the ability for your fans to upload content, rate content, and comment on content. The game mechanics are very strong, as participants are awarded points for doing so, which can then be exchanged for virtual or real goods in your own Prize Vault. (It’s kind of like a cool version of the ¬†original, awesome Wheel of Fortune when you could go shopping for a hideous lamp with your winnings during the show).

A recent Idea Challenges launched by El Monterey Mexican Food (makers of quite delicious Tornados frozen taquitos) showed eye-popping results in the first 72 hours:

  • 550 user content submissions
  • 18,000 ratings and comments on those submissions
  • Average engagement of longer than 4 minutes

Wow. And with all due respect to Tornados, they aren’t exactly Mountain Dew.

What could you do by activating your customers on Facebook, instead of just collecting them like baseball cards?

(photo by Rennett Stowe