Facebook can be a powerful tool to help you grow your business and build an active community of raving fans and customers. But how do you get from 5 Likes on your Page and no interaction with your fans to hundreds or even thousands of fans and lots of comments and engagement with the content you’re putting out there?
While it won’t happen overnight, there are some key pieces that you can start putting into place today to start building your community on Facebook. You can attract your ideal customers and turn them into raving fans.
1. Ask Questions to Engage Your Facebook Fans
One of the best ways to engage your Facebook fans is to ask them questions about what they think, what’s going on in their lives, what they are struggling with. If you do this from a place of being genuinely interested in them, then that will show and they’ll be more likely to respond.
If you only have a few fans at this point, then you might not see any response to your questions right away. But don’t let that stop you. Keep asking! Build it into your regular Facebook updates and ask a question every few days or once a week. This will get your fans familiar with the questions you ask and sooner or later they will start to respond and engage with you.
Try out different types of questions and see which ones your fans respond to. For example, if you ask them to share a personal experience are they more likely to respond than if you ask their opinion on a topic? Play around with different wording, questions and topics to find out which ones are the most interesting to your community.
2. Share Interesting Videos & Photos
Photos and videos get the most engagement on Facebook, so be sure to share these whenever possible. You can share pictures of your products, you working with a client, your storefront (if you have one), your home office. Or what about pictures from an event you attended, a workshop you taught, or the beautiful new signage you had done for your vehicle?
If you are a creative service provider, share pictures of your portfolio and recent projects you’ve completed. If you have a restaurant, share pictures of some of your most popular dishes.
For videos, think about doing interviews with other people in your industry, testimonial videos from clients, or a video of you teaching your fans something or sharing some exciting news or announcement.
Whatever your business is, you can find ways to use photos and videos on your Facebook Page. And using these different types of media will invite more engagement from your fans.
3. Build an Active Community by Replying to Comments Quickly
Always, always reply to comments as quickly as you can. This doesn’t mean you have to sit right at your computer with your Facebook Page open waiting for a comment so you can reply immediately. It just means that you check in with your Page maybe once a day to see if there is any new activity that you need to respond to.
Facebook will send you email notifications for any new activity on your Page, as well, so you don’t even necessarily have to physically go to your Page. Just check those notifications to see if there is anything you need to respond to. I do recommend that you still login to your Facebook Page just to make sure that nothing has been missed, but this can be done really quickly for 5 or 10 minutes at the end of the day, or whenever you would like to do it.
When you respond to comments right away, it lets your fans know that you are listening and that you want to hear from them. If you leave those comments for days or weeks and reply then or don’t reply at all, it sends the message that you don’t really care if people respond to you or not and you’re not interested in connecting.
You can also reply to comments in a way that invites that fan to continue the conversation. Ask them a question about something they said, or about what they think about something. Invite them to have a dialogue with you. Other fans will see this, as well, and be more likely to jump in and add their thoughts.
4. Invite Questions
Finding out your fans’ questions is one of the best ways to provide great content for them, let them know you’re listening and want to help, and get them engaged with your Page.
I recommend that you have an “open door policy” and invite any question at any time. Let your fans know that they can ask you anything whenever they want and make it easy for them to do so. Invite them to post it on your Wall or send you an email.
You can post updates asking for questions, or send out an email inviting them.
You can also make an event out of question & answers. Set aside a certain time one day per week when you will be available for questions and let your fans know that you’ll be there, ready to answer their questions immediately. You can do this right on your Facebook Wall and you don’t even need any kind of fancy chat feature. This would work better if you have a lot of fans who are likely to ask you a question, but you can start with a smaller fan base, too.
If you need to get the questions started, you can always ask a client, friend or fan ahead of time to be there and ask a question or two. Or get a few people to help you out this way. Just make sure they are people who are your ideal fans, the type of people you want hanging out on your Facebook Page. And it helps if they genuinely have questions or are familiar enough with what you do to be able to ask good questions that other people will be wanting the answers to.
5. Be Genuinely Helpful
This is the most important part of engaging your Facebook fans and building an active community. You absolutely must be helpful and be sharing information that your fans actually want and can use. You can use the other four strategies to find out what is useful and helpful to them, then build your marketing strategy around that content.
When you invite questions from your fans, you can then write articles, make videos or share pictures that help to answer that question and even give them more info on the topic. Pay attention to what your fans are saying to see what they are interested in and what is likely to be helpful for them.
The more you can provide useful, interesting and helpful information and resources, the more your fans will love you and want to be part of what you’re up to.
Remember, it’s not about you. It’s NEVER about you. Your fans don’t care about you. They care about what’s in it for them, how you can help them, and whether or not you’re providing something that is worth them spending time and attention on. When you make your content focused on helping them, they’ll want to hang around and engage with you.
Which of these strategies are you going to use? Are there other strategies to engage your Facebook fans that you have seen work that you’d like to add to the list?
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