Facebook has made some changes to the way their pages work recently, and I've done a few things that seem to work, so I wanted to share some insights. This is something that has worked for my jewelry business but I'm certain it could be adapted to work for any kind of online business.
First, what is a "fan" page and why should I have one?
The main reason you should have one is because it keeps your personal stuff separate from your business stuff. This isn't to say they should never intersect, but it's pretty easy to share your page statuses to your personal page if you've got something to share that you want all your friends to see. But this way, if your friends are getting annoyed with all of your promotional posts, they just don't subscribe to your business page, and they don't have to see it unless you share it. You can send all of your friends an invitation to your business page, and then leave it to them whether they want to.
Also, Facebook's recent changes (a blessing and a curse) have made it so that you can see exactly who tracks your posts, and who interacts with it, all in handy graph format so you can see how far your posts are reaching, what people like to see and what you should do more of.
Here's the problem. According to Facebook it has always been this way, but when they went public they started with the admin panel and it became obvious that something like 12% to 35% of your fans - people who took the time to say they did indeed like your page and want to see your updates - are seeing anything you happen to post. Whaaat? That's right, all the work you're putting into posting might not be seen at all, by the majority of your fans. How to fix this?
First, tell your fans to go to your page and hover over the checked "Liked" button and make sure it says "Show in news feed". Then, you and they should go to the home page and in the left column near the bottom you'll see "Interests". Click "add interests" and then you can go through and choose the things you want to see active updates from. You can go any time to "subscriptions" then, and see updates from business and other interest pages. Do most people do this? No. But doing it makes it more likely to show up in your regular news feed.
Okay, now that you've done that (and I suggest doing it again from time to time without becoming obnoxious about it), there are a few ways to go about getting your message out there. You can pay for it… and of course this is what Facebook wants you to do. I haven't tried it, and I probably won't because it irritates me. They need to make some sort of perk for money that doesn't seem to be something we thought we already got. Different rant, though.
According to Facebook execs, your fans are much more likely to see your posts if they interact with your page -- either by liking your posts, visiting your page, commenting, sharing, etc.
So here's what I did. I created an incentive to have people interact with my page in all those ways. I have done a monthly drawing for my Facebook fans for something like a year now trying to entice people at craft shows and friends of friends, customers online, etc. to fan my page because it's a great way to stay in contact with your customers. They're not likely to visit a blog or even a website on a regular basis but they are sure likely to be reading their Facebook news feed. So, every month I give away a piece of jewelry or other item.
At one time every fan had an equal chance of winning that item, but I recently changed over to a point system as follows:
1 point automatically every month for just being a fan
1 point - Liking something from my page
3 points - commenting on something on my page
3 points - mentioning @me (so there's a link) on one of their own FB posts
5 points - becoming a new fan
10 points - sharing any post or picture from my page
25 points - writing a recommendation on my page
You want big points for sharing your pictures and status updates because when someone does that they open your business to their entire friend list (usually hundreds of people) and people can then click, go to your page, and become a fan themselves.
So I have an Excel spreadsheet with my basic fan base, and then I go through the posts and type in names (excel makes that pretty easy) for each point someone gets down the list. I then use a random number generator (google it, they're all over the web) to come up with a number, and whatever name is next to that number on Excel is my winner.
I then go to their page, post a pic of what they've won and congratulate them. I think that I'm also going to start sending winners business cards and ask (not demand) that, if they don't mind, they send me a picture of them wearing their prize.
Do I get people who just go through right before drawing time and click like and post random comments retroactively on everything I posted that month? Yeah. So? They're increasing the likelihood that they see my next post and I'm cool with that. People like free stuff, and when it comes right down to it the cost of my prize item is pretty minimal in anything other than time (obviously, I don't use my most expensive stock for drawings). Plus… it's advertising so you can write the value of that item off on your taxes.
When I started this incentive program I was really frustrated because out of my then 170 fans or so I was reaching 55 people (that includes fans and whoever their posts reach). Within a few days my exposure was up to 1800 people, and my percentage of fans reached is topping 40% a lot of the time. It goes up hugely around drawing time. Use that time wisely to post amazing things they can like and share with their friends and gain points.
This morning I noticed that I have a new fan, someone I have one friend in common with… the friend who won my prize drawing last month. So just having people show your stuff to their friends will send them back to your page.
I hope this helps you increase traffic, exposure and sales to your Facebook business page. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have, and if you don't mind… go like my jewelry page, You've GotMaille. If you have a business page please drop me a recommendation - exchanging page likes is a great way to share fans, especially if you have a similar fan base.
Thanks for reading !