Facebook fan pages are a great way to promote a business, and an important part of any social media marketing plan. Creating a basic page isn’t that complicated, but creating a page that fans will like, share, and engage with is a bit trickier.
Below, we’ll cover how to set up your fan page, finding great apps to use, creating custom content, and more, followed by a roundup of some great fan pages created by some leading companies.
By the way, it’s been 3 months since InstantShift’s Facebook fan page launched. Just like on twitter, We have worked hard to providing advance notice of events and giveaways, special freebies, and useful tips not found anywhere else to make the fan page more appealing and engaging.
I don’t think it’s going too far to say that virtually every business out there should have a Facebook fan page. Everyone from multi-national conglomerates to local businesses with almost no online presence can benefit from a Facebook fan page. And businesses with a large online presence already can definitely benefit from the added exposure and contact point with customers and fans.
Others who should consider a fan page include freelancers, artists, authors, and bloggers. Just because you’re not a “corporate” business doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from fan pages. In fact, individuals often have an easier time with fan pages, and less chance of coming across as a purely promotional tool, rather than a communication tool.
That’s one thing to remember about fan pages: they’re not purely for promotion. Fan pages that don’t engage their followers, and only send out promotional messages, are missing out on a golden opportunity. By using fan pages for customer relations and customer service, you can improve the image of your brand and make your customers a lot happier. And because Facebook makes it so easy to share or recommend a page (or post), that opportunity can be further amplified by your satisfied followers.
The first step in setting up a successful Facebook fan page is to create a plan. Take some time looking around at pages of businesses similar to your own, and see what information they’re including on their fan page. Look at the tabs they’ve included, which tab you land on when you first visit their page, and any apps they’re using.
It’s a good idea, too, to see how often they post updates. If the popular pages in your niche are post updates on a daily basis, then you should probably consider doing the same. If they’re only posting every few days, than that may be the expected norm from their fans. Posting too often, especially if the posts are entirely self-serving and self-promotional, can come across as spam to your fans.
Make a list of the things you think your page should have, based on your own ideas and what others are doing. Make a note of any apps that other pages are using for things like polls, Twitter feeds, and other content. There are thousands of apps out there, of varying quality, so seeing what others are using can make choosing which ones to use a lot easier.
Building your actual page is fairly straightforward. Finding the actual place to create a new page is the trickiest part (here’s the link, you can also access it from Facebook’s help pages). Select the appropriate type of page you want to create and then name your page. When you click on the type of page, you’ll be given a dropdown menu to further categorize your page.
As soon as you’ve set up your new page, you’ll want to go in and set the permissions so that only admins can see the page until you’re finished building it. Do this under the “Manage Permissions” page after you’ve clicked on “Edit Page”. This way you can feel free to play around with how your page looks and works without worrying about fans seeing it.
Fill in the Basic Information form (which varies depending on what type of page you’ve created) with as much information as you want to share. Don’t forget to add your website and email address. Add a profile picture, too. Generally, this picture should be either your logo or product image, or a headshot if the page is for a freelancer or artist.
Once the basic information is filled out for your page, it’s time to take a look at your apps. Click on the “Apps” link and you should see a number of apps already loaded (Events, Photos, Video, Links, Notes, and Discussion Boards). If you know that you won’t want to use any of these apps, go ahead and remove them now. It’s better to remove them if you aren’t going to include any content, as it makes your page look less finished if you have empty tabs.
You can also browse more apps from this page (the link is at the bottom). This takes you to the apps directory, where you can browse by category or search for specific apps. Refer to the list you made when planning your page and track down the apps you want to use. This is easiest to do using the search function.
Here’s a partial list of commonly used apps on fan pages:
Custom tabs are a great way to add your own content to your fan pages. There’s only so much you can do with the pre-defined tabs Facebook pages come with. But Facebook’s FBML app lets you add virtually any custom content you want.
There are a couple of options for creating custom tabs. You can hand-code FBML tabs yourself (not a big deal if you know basic HTML and CSS), or you can use one of the many services out there that let you build pages visually (or create them from templates). The Welcome Tab apps mentioned above are two such services. But there’s also FaceItPages, SplashTab, Hubze, and Pagemodo. Many of these services are paid (some are fairly expensive), so weigh the pros and cons of each against your specific needs before making a decision.
Once you’ve finished customizing your page and all your content, don’t forget to reset your permissions so that anyone can see your page. Facebook should be showing you a warning message at the top of your page that says it’s not yet published, and giving you the option to do so. Otherwise, go back to the “Manage Permissions” page to make your page public.
Once you have your Facebook page set up, you’ll want to start getting some fans. The first thing to do is to share your page with your own contacts. Use the “Suggest to Friends” button to send out a message to the friends you have that might be interested. You can also import contacts from your email account to let customers and contacts know about your new page, regardless of whether you’re friends with them on Facebook.
While it can be tempted to send out new suggestions on a daily or weekly basis, resist the urge. Suggesting your page once or maybe twice to your friends is fine, but anything more than that is going to come across as spam.
Make sure you also include a “Like” button on your website and blog, to make it easy for those who visit either to fan you on Facebook. You might send out an occasional Tweet about your new page, too.
Another way to get fans is to make sure that you consistently post interesting content to your page, not just promotional messages. Running a contest or giveaway is another great way to get new fans. The key is to be engaging, and make it a fun experience for all involved.
Don’t let your page grow static. Send out regular status updates, to start with. Encourage fans to post photos or videos of your product or something related to your company. Run contests and giveaways to keep your current fans engaged.
You also need to monitor the activity on your page. If you allow fans to post to your wall, make sure you monitor those posts for spam, and delete any inappropriate messages. The same goes for your discussion boards, if you have them. It’s important to maintain a professional image on your fan page, and that sometimes requires you to delete comments or block people who consistently post inappropriate or inflammatory things. It’s a good idea to include something about your policy for deleting content posted by others on your info page or elsewhere, to prevent misunderstandings.
Here are a couple dozen examples of really great Facebook Pages.
You’ll notice that all of the pages above reinforce the brand of their respective companies. Keep your website design and branding goals in mind when designing your fan page, as it’s an important part of your overall brand strategy. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with it, too, as many of the brands above have done.
Be sure to check out and Like the new InstantShift’s Facebook fan page, too. We’ll be providing advance notice of events and giveaways, special freebies, and daily tips not found anywhere else. There’ll be soon a discussion board for discussing our content and related topics with other fans!
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great “Facebook fan page” pages and related tips. Feel free to share it with us.