Note: This post is originally published on 15th of August, 2011.
Facebook has changed all of our lives. Whether you’ve ever had an account or even visited the website, it’s difficult to ignore the hundreds of Facebook’s “Like” and “Share” badges seen all around the modern web. The blogosphere is constantly buzzing with comments and shares over Facebook.
Knowing the popularity of Facebook, it’s a commonplace to create a fan page for any community or website launch. This provides an outlet for your fans to get together in one place to share ideas, photos, questions, and reviews. This type of marketing works in any corporate or personal situation thus, it’s perfect for businesses and events.
In this particular post, I’ll be going into a few useful tips to put together an amazing fan page. This will help your website, community, or product sales garner a lot of attention! After all, Facebook is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on the Internet. Why wouldn’t you want your brand spread all over there?
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- Benefits of a fan page
- Creating a fan page
- Customizing basic points
- Adding in-page apps
- 10 popular apps
- Increase your fan following
- Include your web profiles
- Keep updated!
- Beautiful Facebook Fan Pages
Benefits of a Fan Page
Before we go into creating a Facebook fan page, first we should explain what exactly a fan page comprises. Unknown to many is the fact that each fan page will be presented in public. While user profiles are generally hidden from search engine crawlers, fan pages can be created and open to everybody. This is by default, their natural state.
Users are able to see your photos, updates, and latest notes published even without a Facebook account. With some newer features, you can even import an RSS feed from your blog or Twitter account. Once you’ve created a fan page, you can set up discussion forums too. This is a great place for people to meet and share opinions about whatever your topic may be.
And the most obvious benefit? It’s 100% free of charge! Doesn’t cost a dime. This type of marketing only costs a little time to set up and configure, thus making it possible for you to invest more time and cost in marketing.
With a fan page, you’re also able to upload photos and video content and store these contents remotely on Facebook’s server while sharing out directly with your fans. The promotional value is huge from any standpoint.
Creating a Fan Page
For the sake of this article, we’re assuming you’ve already signed up on Facebook and have an account yourself. If not, feel free to create one, or sign up under your company name with a fake personality.
If you are logged into the site, scroll towards the very bottom of the page. On the right-hand side of the footer, you’ll find a series of small links, one of which is titled Create a Page. Click and you’re brought right here to choose the type of page you’re looking to create. Facebook styles the pages differently based on your focus. Some examples include an event or charity, entertainment media, celebrities or bands, and local businesses.
You’ll have to fill in a bit of information and agree to Facebook Pages’ terms and conditions. It’s all fairly straightforward information, so you shouldn’t get lost anywhere in the process. However, if you run into an obstacle, you can try to go back to the front page and start again.
If you’ve confirmed your details and everything looks good congratulations! You’ve completed the creation process, and your new fan page is up online. You can now edit settings, upload photos, and invite your friends to join.
Customizing Basic Points
There are some rudimentary steps you’ll want to customize before anything else. After your fan page is online, you’ll certainly want to change your default photo. Often a company or brand logo works best. This is recognized quickly by potential fans and will be displayed across the network on their profile pages.
You’ll find an “Info” tab located on the front of your profile. This should contain information about your cause or event, video game, or whatever you’ve chosen to market. Try generating unique web copy for your Facebook page as this tends to be very important to Google and other search engines. Even if you change up some sentences, this will go a long way in unique branding for your fan page.
You may additionally wish to create albums and upload more public photos. These could be photographs of your team or photographs of your workspace. They could even be screenshots from your movie or favorite video game title. Either way, it’s great to include some extra photos as it’ll add some legitimacy to your page. Viewers also love the extra content, and it’ll rope in some potentially wary group members.
Consider welcoming your visitors and explaining a bit about why you created the page. Or, if you would rather stay out of 1st person, pretend you are not someone creating the page and write from an external source. Explain a bit about your fan page and why people should join. What information will they access? Can you offer any unique video or image not found anywhere else?
Adding In-Page Apps
It’s very unfortunate that Facebook’s app directory has gone, but a better application searching solution is in development. That’s not really a problem for you, as we will showcase some best Facebook apps here! If you find anything interesting, it’s a simple process to include this new app onto your page in just a few minutes.
(Image Source: E-EXPLORERS)
You can access the apps right from your fan page when you’re logged in. It’s worth noting that the content these apps bring will also be open to all visitors, as no information is hidden from a public fan page.
Truly the addition of apps was a brilliant strategy Facebook created. It allows extensible features to be added to any page, at any time, automatically! And these are turned off by default to keep things clean and organized. It’s only you as the administrator who can place additional content onto the page.
Personally I’d also recommend the Extended Info app (included below as well). With this, you can add another portion to your profile, such as favorite food, TV show, life interests, etc. You can edit these to fit specific goals or recommendations. As an example a video game website may write about their favorite reviews or latest launches from 2011. If you own a blog, you may also share your most popular articles or categories.
The process of creating a Facebook application is a bit convoluted, especially for those not grounded in the basics of programming languages and syntax. But for any tech-savvy individuals, you may consider creating a few apps for your personal fan page. The Facebook developer center offers comprehensive documentation and examples. Check out their Getting Started guide for more resources.
10 Popular Apps
It seems in-page apps are the most popular way to gain attention. Pages that are blank and hold no additional content do not stand well in the art of gaining fans. Spend some time browsing these apps and add the one that really helps. Also, Facebook lets you disable and remove apps you don’t like or you don’t need anymore.
Some of these are included in regular Facebook profiles, too, so you may be familiar with the inner workings of the most popular page apps.
1. Blog RSS Feed Reader
The RSS app lets you import any RSS feed and directly output the new content. This includes blog updates and personal website RSS feeds. Businesses and small corporations would benefit most from this functionality to save you time updating an online persona.
The customization options are pretty rich. You may choose to upload a custom photo or logo, include small template changes, and even add multiple RSS feeds. It is truly a must-have application for any aspiring fan page.
Twitter has taken off like a rocket since its initial launching in summer of 2006. Thus it makes sense that Twitter has kept updated with the most successful social networking website in the world. With their official app, you can include tweets from any account you hold.
Additionally, a small box is added to your Facebook page with a small Twitter icon. This is perfect for visitors to check up what profiles you’re attached with. There may be other Twitter apps located on Facebook as well, but I find the 3rd party developers often leave out functionality that the Twitter team never overlooks.
If you’re knowledgeable in HTML development, then you may be surprised to realize Facebook has removed this entirely from fan page. Whereas MySpace initially allowed users to edit their content with custom images and links, Facebook has never even included this option. However with the FBML app you can work with HTML and FBML tags.
You can read more about FBML code right here at their developers’ documentation page. It’s simply a way to include tools and forms within your page without knowing any backend programming.
For those who are less knowledgeable in web page development and HTML, I highly recommend checking out this app. It works similarly as the Static FBML application above, yet the user interface is a lot easier to go through and doesn’t require lengthy HTML knowledge.
This app has been around for a while and has received a lot of positive criticism from users. It’s widely regarded as a great way to customize your profile page with unique forms, tabs, and input fields. Check out Extended Info if you’re just getting started and need some quick customizations done.
The SlideShare application has grown very quickly and is often referenced by techies. It’s a startup community used for sharing live presentations via the Internet. The Facebook app is just another extension of the site’s functionality. With this you may share popular documents and presentations to your entire fan base.
The application includes support for Microsoft PowerPoint and Word documents, along with iWorks and Pages. PDF documents and YouTube videos are also supported. If you’ve already got a SlideShare account with content, it’s a simple process to connect and share your account’s content into Facebook.
Possibly the best way to garner user feedback is through the Reviews app. This app has been given almost 4000 personal reviews by Facebook users. It’s included in many fan pages, ranging from countless categories.
If you are not looking for critiques, then I don’t recommend installing the app. My experience talks: as a user interface designer I am particularly interested with how my users feel about my designs. It’s very important for my users to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. However if you do not feel the same way try the custom contact form instead.
Here, we have some basic polling functionality which is just another way of gaining useful information. If you have a large following on Facebook, this app is a great way to bring in some honest feedback from your visitors.
You may poll about anything and run for as long as you need. The results can be tweeted or shared on your blog directly from the app. This requires the moderator’s status, but it should not be a problem if you’re the page admin.
8. Discussion Boards
Active forums have been running on the web for decades now. These discussion boards are fantastic for sharing opinions and discussing important topics. If you find yourself caught with a large fan base interested in discussing your topic, this app may be perfect for your page.
Users who are logged into Facebook may immediately begin posting or creating topics. Encourage responses by helping the tab stand out, or include a brief link in your page description. If you can, include the app after you have at least 100 or more fans, else your forums will most likely appear as a ghost town and scare off potential fans.
9. Skype Me
Users of the VoIP and IM chat software Skype will redeem this application as a must-have. Chances are you already have a personal account or have created a branded account under your fan page. Either way is fine, Skype offers an organic solution to meet and converse with your fans. You may hold chat sessions or disclose important release information via Skype as well.
This may as well be my personal favorite Facebook application. The Livestream app lets you tie into your account and start streaming your videos live onto Facebook. Streaming has become amazingly popular amongst the tech-savvy individuals running the Internet. You can share information a lot quicker and more directly.
On the installed Livestream tab your visitors will also be presented with a comment box. They may respond to your streams in real time and chat with others viewing your content. A bountiful share button is also included so your fans may push out your page links to the dozens of available networks. A similar app Facebook Live has been launched, however it lacks many features where Livestream excels.
Increase your Fan Following
Ultimately, your fan page will grow once you’ve gained a small group of initial followers. Fans are just people who use Facebook and have “Liked” your page after finding it through some means. As you gain more fans, your profile will gain more exposure, leading to a lot more followers.
Image Source: fourfiveX
If you have a famous Facebook account and know a lot of people then it’s easier to gain more attention. Facebook will include a link for your page once it has been created and activated. Update your status and share this link with all your fellow Facebook friends. You may gain some additional followers through this process, and many friends will “Like” and share your link in their network.
On your personal page or website, it would be wise to include the same fan page’s link. This could be done in your footer area, or possibly via a small Facebook icon somewhere on the page. Ideally, you’ll be pulling the most traffic for your product from the main website.
However if you do not have a website associated with your page that’s okay too, you can try creating a type of promotional media and distributing it throughout your Internet profiles. Perhaps a graphic or digital flyer advertisement that you can share on Flickr or Twitter. Creating a small introductory video and upload to YouTube is another powerful attention-grabbing method.
Include your Web Profiles
If you’re running profiles elsewhere on the web, especially if you’re a personal company or blog, add external links into your sidebar or About section. It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to use multiple networks these days. It seems brands like Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Digg, and others are commonplace by modern-day Internet users.
If you’re on these networks, keep using them as this will increase your marketing potential and surely land a few more loyal followers.
At least creating profiles on some of the more popular networks will bring in more attention. Twitter and Tumblr seem to be growing out of control. I would recommend capitalizing on them if possible, but follow your intuition.
This rings true, especially with the ease of importing RSS feeds. Since both Twitter and Tumblr can be set to auto-publish, it’s a breeze to auto-include blog posts directly into your fan page. You may even reciprocate links back to your Facebook fan page for legitimacy.
The killer of almost all the brands I came across is they have too little activity. Infrequently checking into your project will not move anything. It’s important for you to set aside time and update with unique information you have.
This process could be daily, biweekly, weekly, or even multiple times a week. You may even have enough content, like Mashable, to update multiple times a day! Just keep in mind that you probably have followers of your brand eager to hear about the latest news. Information is the flowing economy of the 21st century, this is true, especially for networks like Facebook, users are hungry for more information.
Be sure to follow some basic guidelines for writing web copy. Don’t repeat updates or share the same information daily. Users tend to lose faith and become discouraged to your brand. Also ensure that each update can provide further links or external sources for more information. The power lies in your control of information flow. Go figure!
Beautiful Facebook Fan Pages
Below, I’ve included a few screenshots for some very popular and professionally designed fan pages to get the inspirational juices flowing. These can be found all around the web with possibly hundreds of thousands of backlinks. It’s important to note many of these fan pages include a counterpart website or blog. This is a great strategy as fans will also visit their official website.
I’ve gathered some very handy links for you to get started on building a Facebook fan page. This is a sort of roundup collection containing provisions to get you started on the right path. Facebook is a big network and it takes some practice to get comfortable with. Whether you’re a newbie or average Facebook user, these links will certainly hold their value.
- Facebook: Tips & Tricks For Your Business’s Fan Page
- Facebook: Create a Page
- Facebook: Pages
- Facebook: Developers
I hope this guide has driven you to set up a unique and trendy Facebook fan page. Following the steps explained above will get you well into the ranks of fan pages listed on the Facebook network. Besides, your account will also likely to be picked up by Google to transfer some great marketing attention onto your branding or event.
Stay focused and hold your intentions strong. Over time the process of creating a product or website can become stale and boring. It’s crucial to keep your head up and never lose sight of your ultimate goal. From what I’ve experienced a Facebook fan page can bring enormous benefits to those willing to spend enough time. Add your own personal touch along the way and have fun with it.