According to a new study by Sysomos , a social media monitoring and analytics firm, 77 percent of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 fans. As I write this post, the BurrellesLuce fan page is hovering on the cusp of the top 33 percent, with 962 fans as of this posting. We’ve more than doubled our fan base in the past six weeks, and I had a great discussion with Johna Burke, our senior vice president of marketing, regarding how organizations make the most of the opportunity Facebook offers.
- Have a clear understanding on why you want a presence on Facebook. At BurrellesLuce, our surveys demonstrated that our stakeholders are active participants in Facebook. Is your audience currently interacting on Facebook? Is the makeup of your Facebook audience different than those you are reaching out to through other forms of media?
- Remember Facebook is not a strategy. Rather Facebook is one tactic in our overall communications plan. It provides us with an opportunity to connect with key stakeholders, to listen, and to share information. Our Facebook page incorporates our blog posts, the events we sponsor, and other marketing efforts. Be sure your activities on Facebook are consistent with your overarching communications strategy.
- Set realistic expectations and goals. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply. Facebook may boast over 300,000,000 active users, but what does that mean for your brand? Consider the demographics of Facebook in comparison to your target audience and the category of your brand. Will fans want to engage with you? Some categories are inevitably more appealing than others, so although the most popular category on Facebook is “nonprofits”; “celebrities”, “music”, and “products” are the most popular categories among pages with more than one million fans. In the business category, where BurrellesLuce falls, users often struggle with the issue of personal brand, versus professional brand.
- Give your fans a reason to engage. The Sysomos study noted that on an average Facebook page, the administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. As BurrellesLuce sought to grow our Facebook presence, administrators increased activity, posting between 3 and 5 times a week. Along with sharing posts from Fresh Ideas, we have done campaigns exclusively for Facebook fans, such as a drawing done at the PRSA International conference or a current raffle to give fans a chance to join us at the PRNews How-To Conference (December 2 in D.C.) for free. Not surprisingly, as the number of fans increase, fan generated content will increase; those pages with more than one million fans have nearly 60 times as much fan generated content as the average Facebook page.
- Stay true to the medium Facebook is not your corporate website. Understand that Facebook is a forum for more informal conversation.
How is your organization using Facebook? What are the challenges you find in developing and engaging a community of Facebook?