10 ways to attract and retain Facebook fans

By: Alex Astell

Date: 2 June 2010

If you've set up a Facebook page, you'll probably be wondering how to (a) attract fans and (b) keep the fans you already have interested. You need to focus on the fact that your fans are people like you and me, so this isn't a ‘business to business' transaction. You need to be fun and keep it light.

The idea behind a Facebook page is to create a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users. They're very easy to create bygoing to Facebook, clicking on "Advertising" at the bottom navigation, and then on "Pages".

Here are some top tips on creating an interesting page with updates that people will want to read:

1. Make sure you add an eye-catching profile picture to your page that represents your business.

2. Add pictures, photographs or videos to your page as you would with your personal account. Images of your products, events, services, employees or even the office dog will add interest to your Facebook page and give it a personal feel. Remember to tag your friends!

3. Before you start inviting your friends or business leads to become fans of the page and recommend you to others, try to pre-populate it with relevant and interesting updates. You could even ask friends and colleagues to start up a discussion or wall post that fans can get drawn into.

4. And this is intrinsic to point 3: Make sure your updates appeal to your fans. Bear in mind that your fans could be teenagers, pensioners, builders, bankers or bakers so it's essential that your updates are inclusive, and friendly with a distinct tone of voice.

Let's use a chocolate shop as an example.

BAD status updates:

10am: "Buy our chocolates! They're delicious!"

2pm: "Have you tried our chocolates yet? They're delicious!"

4pm: "Check out our website!"

6pm: "We love chocolate." and so on…..

GOOD status updates:

10am: "If you could invent your very own chocolate, what would it be? The most inventive answer will win a bag of our delicious Pecan Pralines!"

2pm: "Did you know a piece of dark chocolate a day is good for your heart?" (link to a news story)

4pm: "Stop press: New shipment of Willie's Chocolate now in! Get yours before they're snapped up!" (link to relevant page on your website)

6pm: "Order anything in our shop between 1pm and 2pm GMT tomorrow and we'll give you 20% off! Quote ref: FB03" (link to your website)

Hopefully you get the idea. Put yourself in your fans' shoes – if they get inundated with mundane, corporate sales messages they'll soon switch off. But make your updates varied, interesting and interactive, and your updates will be shared, commented on, and recommended to others.

5. Check in to your page regularly and respond to comments from your fans. It'll reinforce your brand and personality as well as proving that you're not just logging in to make updates now and then.

6. Don't neglect your Facebook page. It's all too easy to forget about it when you're busy and you could end up leaving it sad and lonely for a few weeks. In the meantime your fans will have forgotten you exist or they might even "cull" your page if they don't deem it interesting enough. Like a pet, keep your page fed and watered!

7. On the other hand, don't over-do it either. If your fans are getting 30 updates a day clogging up their news feed, they're not going to be impressed. It's all about quality rather than quantity.

8. Have a go at "hacking" your profile picture. You can make so much more of the space available if you have the time to learn to do it. A simple Google search will find plenty of websites that can teach you how to do this.

9. Upload pictures or videos that you can tag your fans in. Unfortunately you can only tag your Facebook friends, but if you're inventive you'll find a way.

For example if our chocolate shop awarded a bag of Pecan Pralines to a fan they were also Facebook friends with, they could post a picture of the bag and tag it with the fan's name and a caption "Congratulations Joe Bloggs! You've won!" Joe Bloggs' various Facebook friends would receive the news in their feed and it could tempt them to also become a fan of your page.

10. Although you'll ideally grow your page and fan base organically, if you want to kick start your Facebook fan attraction campaign, advertise your page by using this link. Make sure your advertisement is eye catching and unique or your investment could be wasted, and above all do some research on your target demographic before you start your ad campaign.

Allie Astell of Manage My Website