Used wisely, an active Facebook page is one of the most effective ways of generating word-of-mouth interest, building a community and keeping your message at the top of your audience's minds. With a single click of the "like" button, visitors will become "fans", allowing your updates to appear on their news feed. In a very real sense, you will become a part of their regular (and very likely daily) routine.
The following guide will help you not only generate valuable"like" clicks, but also maintain viewer interest in the long term.
1. Deliver genuine value
Very few Facebook users will choose to "like" a page if it's purely one-way advertising. You will need to deliver something in return. It can take any number of forms: practical advice, links to your blog posts, links to useful resources, competitions, Facebook-specific deals, a friendly community, or simply a bit of fun. Always remind yourself: you are asking visitors permission to become a regular part of their Facebook experience. Make it worth their while.
2. Bring Facebook to your webpage (and vice versa)
Embed a Facebook Page Badge in a clear and immediately visible place on your website. This is far likelier to attract "impulse clicks", allowing visitors to like your page without even needing to visit Facebook! Make sure your newsletter, Twitter feed and/or LinkedIn profile also promote your Facebook presence.
You can offer a similar convenience to those already following you on Facebook. With a little web design expertise, the Static FBML plugin will allow you to integrate web content into Facebook itself!
3. Engage your community
Encourage reader participation wherever possible. End your posts with a simple "What do you think?" Actively seek your visitors' advice or anecdotes. You will find people far more willing to share their own experiences if asked, especially if it's personal rather than business-oriented.
If appropriate, don't be afraid to be informal. A lightweight attitude on Facebook is generally far more welcome than on a company homepage, and tends to deliver a friendlier experience to your fans.
4. Post dynamic content
Take advantage of Facebook's multimedia capabilities by posting a combination of photos, links and videos. Be inventive. Encourage visitors to contribute their own photos, or even start a caption contest. Embed relevant YouTube videos on your wall, or use this opportunity to make your own clips.
Remember: YouTube videos don't have to be lavish, high-budget productions. Sometimes a free video editing program like Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie, a microphone and a sense of humour are all that's needed. A little creativity can go a long way.
5. Measure your performance
The "Insights" section offers invaluable statistics on viewing figures. Over time, this will give you a very clear idea of the best days and times to update your page.
6. Advertise Wisely
Once you have a strong initial following, paid Facebook ads can be a more targeted way to attract new leads. By choosing the "only show my ad to friends of fans" option, the target audience will see their friends name-dropped. (i.e. Maria Anderson, Sarah Brischetto and Alastair Craig like this page.) Think of it as word-of-mouth promotion without any words exchanged!
7. Use quality over quantity
Don't flood your wall with posts -- this can scare away fans and bury content. One high-quality update every 1-2 days is likelier to generate a response. The more your fans "like" a specific post, the more likely their friends will also be informed.
8. Research and learn by example
As with all social networks, Facebook has its own unwritten rules and etiquette that can be difficult to pick up without actively using it yourself. If you are not a Facebook user, spend some time exploring it first, or look at successful, similarly-themed pages for ideas.
There is no shortage of great advice out there. Follow Sustainable Marketing on Facebook for links to more social media tips!