We love the Starbucks fan page. Firing on all cylinders!
We challenged our Facebook fans to ask us the social media question they’d been holding back, and a couple of our favorite conference participants responded with this: “What are the top five elements of a successful fan page?”
Being a fan of the immediate nature of social media, I wanted to respond immediately, but I realized that this would take a little more than an off-the-cuff response of Facebook applications and tools. And I didn’t want to refer our fans to the library of articles written about this either. So, here’s what we think the most important elements of a successful Facebook fan page are.
It has a goal – and it accomplishes it.
What ultimately determines whether or not a Facebook fan page (or any other social media effort, for that matter) is successful is whether or not it accomplishes what you want it to. That assumes, of course, that you had a goal when you created it. Too often we see businesses with a Facebook “presence” by having a fan page, but they aren’t really sure why they have it. “Everybody else has one” seems to be the answer. They know they need to be participating in social media, but they aren’t sure why.
So, what is the goal of your fan page? Do you want to bring in more foot traffic to your store front? Do you want more visitors to your website? Do you want to simply get more people to know that you exist? Your goal will determine how you use your fan page.
If you’re trying to increase brand awareness, then you need a lot of fans and a lot of content. If you’re trying to bring in more foot traffic to a physical location, you need to show lots of pictures of your products and push out information about specials and sales. If you want more website traffic, you need to include links to your site and entice people to click.
These are oversimplified and of the most basic strategies, but you get the idea: have a goal, build your fan page around that goal. Don’t waste your time with social media; use it to build your business.
It combines automation and interaction.
There are lots of great applications out there that will let you post to your fan page automatically, without ever stepping a digital foot onto Facebook. Lots of our clients love this. No one wants to post a blog, then go to Facebook and post it there, then go to Twitter and post it there, then… etc. We preach efficiency as a company – as small business owners ourselves we know how important time is.
At the same time, nothing gets my goat more than posting something on a fan page and getting absolutely no response from the administrator or business owner, etc. Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media effort is defined to the end user as a social place – a place where they expect (and demand) interaction from the business, organization or brand. That’s why they are on your fan page in the first place. Never forget that.
It’s not a dead end.
Your Facebook fan page might very well be your only “website.” And that’s fine. Major brands are beginning to go out on a limb and make social sites their corporate websites. But it cannot be the end. What’s the point if the fan (i.e., potential customer) doesn’t move on to your store front, the phone, an email, or your website?
Remember your goal: Based on your goal in having the fan page, what is the next step you want the fan to take? Be sure to provide the information for taking that step prominently. Make sure the info tab is completely filled out. Post maps, directions, phone numbers, and website information. Kendra and I include our personal cell phone numbers. We want your call.
It has personality.
The fun of social media is getting to show that your organization, business, or brand has a human side. No one wants to read ad copy. No one wants to read lifeless, monotone sentences. Think about where you are: Your fan page updates are smack in the middle of someone’s news feed. You’re sandwiched between the photos of someone’s nieces and an event invitation to a holiday party. And you think some ad copy is going to win you their notice?
Our clients sometimes have problems with this. They are used to writing that way. They don’t know where to start. We tell them to get a cup of coffee, grab an understanding (and patient) friend, and talk to them. Or at least imagine that’s what you’re doing. Now, write that down. Your fans don’t want to hear your sales pitch, nor do they need it to purchase. In social media, the conversation is the sell.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king.” Well, in this day and age in social media, I’m of the mind that consistency is king. In traditional advertising, it’s called frequency. In branding, it’s called top of mind awareness. In social media, it’s consistency. And it is so critical to social media success, that we won’t take a client who can’t commit to consistency. Because we know it can’t succeed.
Consistency trains your fans to expect certain things from you: a blog post three times a week, a Facebook posting every morning at 9 a.m. when they’re getting to work, a daily special tweeted at that critical lunch decision hour. And if you stop, they’ll be angry. Or worse – they’ll forget about you.
Consistency breeds loyalty, and loyalty breeds true fans. There’s not an app for that.
Mashable has written the preeminent article on what makes a fan page successful. We urge you to check it out.