Once you've accumulated a number of Facebook likes, what can you do to keep your fans entertained? More importantly, what can you do to keep your brand visible in their news feeds and at the front of their minds?
Increasing the number of people who like you on Facebook isn't easy. Most companies achieve it quickly and expensively, by paying for Facebook advertising, or gradually, through campaigns elsewhere.
There are a number of ways to accumulate fans and none of them are easy. But let's look at how you entertain those fans once you've built them up.
What Do You Want to Do With Your Fans?
Part of the problem with social media marketing is that many companies don't really understand why they do it.
They build up thousands of fans and then wonder why they have invested such time and energy.
You need to make some use of these fans. One way to make the investment worthwhile is simply to maintain regular communication with them.
Regularly interacting with customers allows you to build loyalty and brand awareness. Then, when they come to make a purchase, your specific brand is at the front of their minds.
If you've built a good relationship, then you can use Facebook to drive sales by posting links to discounts and special offers. You can even use your fans for market research.
Walking the Line
But marketing through social platforms is a tricky business. Try to sell too much and you won't keep your fans. Likewise, intrude too often on their news feeds and they will soon ditch you.
So, you need to interact in a non-intrusive way. The best way to do that is to offer value each and every time you post.
Does that sound easy? Clearly not. Adding value isn't an easy business, especially if you're trying to pursue a commercial interest.
So here are some ideas for entertaining your fans in order to gain that important brand interaction without irritating them.
Discounts and Special Offers
Your Facebook fans have shown your brand considerable loyalty and their friends can see their affiliation to your brand.
Reward that loyalty. Offer them better discounts than they would otherwise get to show that you value them.
That isn't intrusive. It's helpful. But don't pelt them with offers that don't come up to scratch; that's poorly disguised selling.
People enjoy entering a competition, making them a fun and appropriately social way to interact with your fans.
But be aware that Facebook has some fairly strict rules about competitions -- you can't just run them on your wall.
You need to run them using an application through the Facebook platform, although you can limit that to fans if you want.
Read the rules before you set anything up or risk Facebook removing your content.
Facebook fan pages are a great opportunity to promote your content which is likely to be of interest to your fans.
The kind of content that works well on Twitter also works well on Facebook. So, 'The Top 10 X' or 'How to Y' are both good article formats that work well. Plus make sure that you use images because they attract a significantly higher amount of attention on Facebook.
Have a think about your audience, and what kind of content and tone suits them. Usually, the Facebook audience want chatty, fun, and informal articles, but this may not be the case for your specific fanbase.
Keep an eye on your impression and feedback insight stats to get a clearer idea about the type of content that works best for your audience.
Use Question Polls and Start Conversations
Try to get your customers to interact with each other via your wall. They won't feel that the brand is being pushy if they're chatting to each other.
Post relevant, interesting questions on your wall using the new question poll options and encourage some discussion and debate. Big consumer-facing brands can even get away with irrelevant questions, like who should win on a popular reality show, or what fans think of a popular TV show or event.
Then you get the brand exposure without your fans really thinking about it -- which is the way to keep people liking you.
Depending on the service or product you sell, you might be able to offer expert advice to your Facebook fans. That's very helpful and so is less likely to be seen as pushy interaction.
So, a makeup company could ask if anyone needs advice on designing a new look, or a cat food company could get a vet to post some responses to animal health questions. This isn't suitable for every sector or company but it can work wonders for some.
It also makes you look more informed, which enhances your customers' impression of your brand.
You need to have quite a few fans in order for this to work. It won't look good to offer help only to be met with silence.