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5 Ways to Build An Awesome Facebook Community #fbss11

Facebook is a tough nut to crack.

You think you’ve got it figured out and then they change it up again.

For many of you who have Facebook pages for business, you’ve probably wondered how to increase engagement and build a thriving community of fans around your brand.

Building Facebook communities 5 Ways to Build An Awesome Facebook Community #fbss11

Who doesn’t want that, right?

But with all the changes that are constantly taking place you’re probably sick and tired of Facebook, and on the verge of giving up.

Don’t.

There are some excellent, and super-easy ways to build an awesome Facebook community. During her session at Facebook Success Summit 2011, Andrea Vahl of Social Media Examiner shared some of them:

Be a resource

Provide valuable content through your blog. If you don’t have a blog (yet), you can share other people’s content as long as it is relevant to your brand. Facebook makes it easy to do this with the ‘Share’ button.

Another thing you can do is to provide short, interesting snippets of information about your industry. Content such as ‘Did you know?’ or being the first to comment on breaking news in your industry also makes you resourceful.

Also make sure that you answer all questions asked by your fans. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to direct them to another source. It’s more important to show them that you’re listening than to have the right answer.

Respond and engage

Answer questions in a timely fashion – when people take the time to write on your Wall or to leave some feedback, be sure to respond quickly. It shows that you respect their time and opinion.

If you think you might forget to check, turn on your email notifications to get alerts whenever someone posts on your Wall.

Finally, be helpful and don’t worry too much about negative comments (unless they are offensive, racist, or profane). It’s better to use negative feedback as an opportunity to turn the situation around and win over the person, rather than to delete their comments. Knowing how to handle criticism can greatly benefit your online reputation.

Moderate

Craft an engagement policy and display it either on your Info Tab or on a separate tab altogether. It allows others to know what you permit and what you do not permit on your page. Here’s a fantastic article that teaches you how to create a Social Media Policy for your business page.

Another area you want to check diligently is your spam folder (or Hidden Posts). Sometimes Facebook marks as spam posts that shouldn’t be designated as such. If posts are indeed spam, then delete them altogether and keep your spam folder empty.

Connect

Connecting with others is the primary purpose of being on Facebook. As a business brand, there are several ways to connect with fans and other businesses.

With your fans, consider starting a ‘Fan of the Week’ contest where the most supportive and engaged fan receives a mention of appreciation and gratitude. You may also consider crowd-sourcing – where you ask for your fans’ input before launching a new idea, project or product line.

With regards to the business community, you want to hold conversations with other brands that could be potential clients. The first thing to do is to identify those business pages and ‘Like’ them “As Your Page” (not as your-self).

Thereafter, keep an eye on your page’s Newsfeed and be ready to jump into conversations with other business pages. You will notice that these pages will reciprocate by leaving feedback on your page as well.

These are simple ways to foster good will and good neighborliness with your Facebook community.

Measure

It’s important to measure the ROI of your Facebook efforts. You want to be able to know what’s working and what’s not so that you can make appropriate adjustments and improve your strategy.

Facebook provides ‘Insights‘ that help you to assess the health of your community. It is wise to check your Insights at least once a week. Having said that, there are 7 specific insights that you want to keep an eye on:

  • Post feedback/Post virality (New feature)
  • Likes/Unlikes
  • Page Activity/People talking about this (New feature)
  • Demographics
  • Like Sources
  • Facebook Shares
  • Edgerank

The key to Facebook Insights is to see what is working and apply it more aggressively, and to observe what resonates with your fans. We don’t have time to talk about all the insights on this post, but I think that Edgerank is worth mentioning.

Edgerank is the measure of visibility of your brand’s content. To increase your visibility on Facebook here are some important tips to apply:

  • Post directly on Facebook instead of using third-party apps (e.g. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Networkedblogs etc.)
  • Ask short interesting questions that are likely to generate conversation
  • From time to time initiate non-business conversations on your page to draw out those ‘lurkers’ who may not be interested in ‘biz-talk’. You’ll be surprised to see who is ‘hanging around’ waiting for an opportunity to engage with you.
  • Finally check out edgerankchecker.com to see how your page scores on Edgerank

Question: What else have you found to be important in building your Facebook community?

Hat tip to Shashi Bellamkonda for the photo.

button print blu20 5 Ways to Build An Awesome Facebook Community #fbss11