The latest stats on Facebook are staggering: more than 500 million active members and 500,000 interactive applications. The site says members are spending over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
For business owners, it's clear you need some type of presence on the world's number one social networking site. However, once you sign up, what's the next step?
First, you should create a Facebook "like" page (formerly called "fan" pages). It's fairly simple. Just create your page, edit your information, and push it live. The real challenge with your page is to get people joining, and coming back for more. I've had an AmberMac like page for many months, but it wasn't until this year that I truly understood how to make the most of my presence there.
Early this spring I sat down with a friend on Facebook's strategy team. I asked him to spend an hour with me to demystify the page experience, and give me some insider tips for Facebook success. I learned a lot within these sixty minutes that changed the way that I approach my own Facebook Page and learned what other businesses need to start doing now.
1. Fill the wall.
Many companies spend time prettying up their pages, diving into the Info, Photos, and Notes tabs, but the truth is that very few people actually venture out to spend time on your page and within these tabs. In fact, approximately 90 percent of people communicating with your Facebook page are doing so from their own personal news feeds. In other words, only 10 percent of people are leaving the comfort of their Facebook home pages to check out your presence.
Since most users are interacting with you via your updates, focus your Facebook strategy on writing compelling messages on your Wall. Facebook pushes these status notes to your users' feeds (unlike other tab updates, which simply sit in one place). Ideally, you want to write something that encourages your friends to comment, like, or share your messages. This is how your Facebook page will become more popular.
2. Use rich media.
While writing compelling messages is key to getting your feed into the hearts and minds of your online community, a picture is worth a thousand clicks. You don't need to post a professional picture every time, but regularly attaching cellphone photos to your messages and trying to make your posts more visual is a must. Aside from photos, videos are also heating up on Facebook. The site is now one of the top five video viewing destinations online, so make it a habit of attaching YouTube videos to your messages to get more traction.
3. Get inside Insights.
Facebook page owners can get free analytics with Insights, a tool that sits within your account. This information is an important part of your Facebook success since it will help you to understand who is using your page which includes demographic info such as gender and age (allowing you to post appropriate messages).
Within this area you can also get details on how much people are interacting with your content in order to learn what type of content is getting the most clicks. One note: many users have found that they first need to authenticate their Facebook page before accessing Insights.
In addition to these three recommendations, ensure that you update your Facebook page with at least one new piece of content every weekday. While you want to make sure that you keep pushing out interesting updates, don’t forget the Cardinal Rules of online success: Share information from your community and not just information about what you are doing. In other words, visit the online profiles of your Facebook friends and make sure to “like,” comment on, and spread interesting posts from them. Social media is, after all, a two-way street.
Amber MacArthur is a social media consultant, speaker, and author of Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmberMac).