A Facebook fan page isn't always the best way to use Facebook for your business.
What?! I know, as a social media devotee, maybe it surprise you that I'd say that. Facebook fan pages can be a great tool in your social media strategy. But the truth of the matter is, succeeding on social media is as much about picking your battles as it about fighting them well. And there might be better options on Facebook for your business.
Why a fan page might not be the best way to use Facebook for your business:
(I) It can be a lot of work to grow a fan base on Facebook. (Facebook ads can help with this, but that’s a topic for another post.) Building fan pages with lots of likes are easiest for businesses that already have a large audience to draw on.
(II) Facebook’s algorithm for deciding which posts should show up in your fans’ newsfeeds means your amazing, carefully-crafted content is probably only reaching, on average, about 16% of your fans. (You have to pay for a promoted post if you want to be sure to reach all the people who have opted-in to follow you.) This means if you have a small fan base (say 100), you are potentially spending valuable time creating valuable content that only 16 people might see… [If you want to know a bit more about this algorithm, often called ‘Edgerank’, check out this amazing infographic.]
But, that doesn't mean you should give up on Facebook all together (or that you shouldn't ever setup a fan page–especially once you have an audience to draw on).
Two other options on Facebook:
1. Let people “Follow” you on Facebook. (Used to be called Facebook “Subscribe”.)
By turning on Facebook followers, you allow members of the public to ‘follow’ your public updates on your personal Facebook profile. This means you can have and and use your profile for personal stuff with friends and family but any posts you make public, can also reach (and be commented on) by a wider general audience.
Facebook followers are used by many public figures and journalists on Facebook as a way to connect to their audience through their personal profile. (More on Facebook Follow.) (It’s also a great way to avoid those awkward friend requests from people you don’t really know!)
2. Create a Facebook group
Facebook groups are a great way to bring together like-minded people in a discussion forum setting. And, as opposed to fan pages, every member of a group receives notification of posts in the group (by you or by others) by default. Groups can be an invaluable way to create real connections between you and your audience because it can be much more interactive than just broadcasting updates on a page. (More on Facebook Groups.)
There are three types of groups, and choosing which type is best for you will depend on the purpose of your group:
- Open groups are searchable and join-able by anyone.
- Closed groups are searchable but people must request to join (to you, the group owner) or be added by another group member.
- Secret groups are not searchable, will not appear on members' profiles and people can only be added by you, the group owner.
This range of options presents some great opportunities for you to engage with your clients and potential clients. (And closed or secret groups can be a valuable addition to your paid offerings, either around a specific program or as an bonus resource for your paying clients.)
Take action now
- Follow someone interesting on Facebook /OR/ Join a group run by another business
The best way to get inspiration for your own social media strategy is to check out how other people are using these tools. (To get you started, I love Liz Heron, Social Media Director at The Wall Street Journal, and entrepreneurial writer Alexis Grant has a great group for people working on their business on the side at Rockin’ the Side Gig. But you can find lots of other suggestions by using Facebook’s own search or “the Google”.)
I’d love to hear from you
How are you using Facebook to connect with your community? What’s working best for you right now? What’s your biggest frustration?
Please share your strategy with us in the comments below. (I read & respond to every single one.)
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