Since exploding into the world’s biggest social networking site, Facebook has become an ideal platform for all kinds of social and commercial groups. From knitting circles and book clubs to fan groups for multi-million-dollar companies, Facebook offers the opportunity to build a “community” around any goal or interest.
Tech-savvy businesses are finding that customers flock to Facebook “fan” and “community” groups for the chance to voice their opinions, give praise and feedback, and share their passion for a product, service, or brand.
If you’re interested in creating a Facebook community for your company, the following tips and tricks are a great place to start:
- Research Your Brand: Think you already know everything there is to know about your company and your branding? Think again! Facebook is a great place to start by researching what people are already saying about you. You can begin by reading comments related to your brand, and then move to advanced tools that monitor comments and even survey your readers to find out your customers’ likes and dislikes.
- Create Interest: Soak in whatever your fans and loyal customers are saying and then take it one step further. People connect online through shared interests and passions, so find a niche where fans are already engaged and build upon it. You can bring people to your Facebook community by offering incentives, points, and free/discounted product bonuses, as well as by mentioning your page in print ads, online advertising, and on your own website.
- Maintain Interest: It’s not enough to simply get people to your Facebook page—you need to keep their interest so they’ll stick around or return. Keep your fans engaged with interesting information, contests, challenges, and dialogue. Encourage user-driven content and provide recognition and product prizes to those who drive more members or make the community more interactive.
- Keep It Safe: No matter how wonderful the majority of your clients may be, every Internet community eventually attracts spam and trolls. It’s important to set a system in place before you need it to filter out useless posts and keep a lid on any conflict or bullying that might occur. The best way to build trust and maintain the integrity of your community is to post a comment policy, and then closely monitor all posts to ensure consistency with your terms and conditions.
- Keep Moving: Once your Facebook community is active, you can monitor your success with advanced tracking tools and analytics. These stats can later be used to improve upon your current usage and engage even more users.
Whether you’re new to Facebook or already a social dynamo, this kind of networking can create a massive impact for almost any business—if you take the time to learn how to use the available tools wisely.