By |December 7th, 2011|Social Media|

In society today, we love checking things off our lists. We love projects, because projects have an end point. We love finding new work to bring on our desks, then promptly and efficiently moving them off our desks.

I think that’s one of the challenges with social media, and Facebook in particular. We love setting up a Facebook page. Adding the picture, putting in our address, inviting all our friends… it’s a very satisfying thing to check off our lists.

But the problem is, social media is not a project, it is a process. Successful online outreach involves not creating but maintaining and improving over time.

So what does it take to build a successful Facebook page? Here are three things PR firms, communications professionals, and other organizers can do to make their presence on Facebook worthwhile:

1. Content

Without content, your Facebook page will wither. We see it over and over – organizations post content religiously for days or weeks. Their audience responds and their metrics jump. Then they quit. They let it slide. And the audience withers. The metrics crash.

People like Facebook pages from brands for the offer. If the page is for a retailer or consumer-facing organization, they want specials. That could be deals or special access (for bands or politicians). If this is a B2B presence, the offer is inside information. What’s the scope? What new and interesting information do you have to share that they can’t find anywhere else?

More content and media-oriented organizations can build a Facebook page by simply bringing the content from their site onto Facebook. Look at the success of social sharing apps like the Washington Post and Yahoo.

2. Community

Once you have a baseline of content streaming onto your page, engage the community. Ask questions, engage in debates, make it personal. Highlight members of your community (especially when they create great content). Facebook pages are the perfect example of the new model of two-way communications. It is not enough to produce outbound communications, you must foster and engage inbound communications as well. Facebook pages are the perfect place to create these forums for engagement. Because not only is your audience on Facebook, but Facebook’s Insights make it exceptionally easy to get a snapshot of what your audience looks like and how you are reaching them.

3. Promotion

If a tree falls in the woods…. you know the saying. Most social media experts will tell you that it’s not about the number of likes you have, it’s about the quality of engagement. True.

But if you don’t have any Likes, you won’t have any engagement. So you need to build traffic to the page, and there’s a couple of good ways to promote your Facebook page.

First, use your other media channels to promote it. Send email blasts or put links on your website and employee email signatures. Email clients and supporters, encouraging them to participate. Add your personal friends, and encourage other stakeholders to do the same. This should be a product you’re proud of, so tell the world.

Second, use Facebook advertising. It is easy and it is affordable. You can target down to the ZIP code even. In order to reach people who might be interested in your brand, and especially to engage them on Facebook, there’s no better way than to do so with Facebook’s own advertising tools.

Promote your site to new audiences. Convert them to fans with fresh, original content. Engage them in community. Repeat.

It may not result in the same satisfaction as checking tasks off a list, but it will bring long-term benefit to your brand or your client’s brand.

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