Facebook is expected to surpass 1 billion users worldwide before the end of this year. According to Alexa.com, Facebook is the second-most popular website on the Internet, after Google itself. Although most businesses know how popular Facebook is, very few know how to use it to promote their business. Most simply throw up a fanpage haphazardly and hope that will be enough to attract likes.
Although a Facebook fanpage can be a powerful marketing tool, it isn't enough just to create one and hope people will like it. That's about as effective as making a website and hoping people will visit it without you promoting it.
Here are some tips to ensure you create a fanpage that actually goes viral:
* Start with a sleek design. You need to design a large, eye-catching banner to make your fanpage stand out. Most businesses simply upload their logo as the banner for their fanpage, but that often ends up looking small and unnoticeable. If you want to catch the interest of Facebook users, you need to start with a visual BANG.
* Create a custom page for your fanpage, which is known as a "fangate page," and set it as the default landing page for your fanpage. Fangating works like this: You offer a coupon or some other type of discount for your product or service, and in order to get it, the user must first "like" your fanpage. This will reveal the coupon to them. It's like having visitors to your website subscribe to your newsletter to get coupons and discounts, except for fanpages.
* Create an ad on Facebook promoting your fanpage. Advertising on Facebook is a very broad subject and there are a lot of pitfalls to watch out for. I strongly recommend researching this subject in depth before you attempt any kind of ad campaign.
* Be sure you engage your users in conversations on a regular basis. This increases customer loyalty and helps spread the word about your fanpage at the same time. Status updates with pictures tend to get a good response.
* Take a look at the fanpages of the leaders in your industry and emulate them. This is really one of the best ways you can gain ideas and insights into what works and what doesn't work for fanpages in your niche.
* Encourage your offline customers to like you on Facebook in exchange for a coupon or discount for the next time they visit your business. This is a great way of getting the ball rolling for new fanpages.
* Embed a "like box" on your website. This will embed your fanpage directly into your website, so your website's visitors can see your status updates and "like" your fanpage without ever leaving your website.
Of course, fanpages are only the beginning. There are many other ways you can promote your business on Facebook, such as apps and integrating Facebook comments onto your website. It just takes a little bit of creativity.
Joshua Rigley is an online business consultant living in Layton. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.