What Your Fan Page Numbers Say About Your Business

Fan Engagement

Are you a business owner who set up a Facebook fan page and attracted visitors but are seeing very little results? Facebook has been proven to be an excellent resource to build a loyal customer base, so it is important not to give up on your fan page!

Although most businesses focus on the number of Likes their page has, one of the most important numbers you can look at on your Facebook fan page is the “Talking About” number. This is the number of unique Facebook users who have interacted with your fan page in the last seven days. If this number is lower than what you would expect or want, this could be a clue to why you may be feeling like your fan page is a virtual ghost town despite the number of likes. So what can you do about it?

  • Regularly Update Your Fan Page. Many businesses feel that updating their page once or twice a month is sufficient. In truth, to get your fans to see your posts, it is essential that you post at least four times a week. More preferable is daily and optimal is several times a day.
  • Share a Variety of Types of Content. I am always surprised when I land on a business’ fan page only to find the same “Come See Us Today” message posted week after week. If you struggle about what to post, try posting interesting pictures, fun facts or quotes. Your fans will enjoy your posts and will be looking for them when they are on Facebook.
  • Engage your fans by asking questions and asking for their input. Statements such as “Like if you agree” or “What caption would you put to this picture?” is a good way to get fans to engage with your content and ultimately share what you are posting with others.

Just because you are a business does not mean you should just post about the 9-5 happenings at YOUR business. Remember that Facebook is a social platform. If your business is mainly local, posting about happenings in the community is a good way to get engagement and provide information that your customers and potential customers will find useful. It also allows your personality to shine through.

Sharing information about your industry is another way to help others see you as the ‘go to’ person in your field. For example, a chiropractor might post about stretching exercises, or a plumber might post about how to keep pipes from freezing during the cold winter months.

Your fan page is also an excellent place to list specials of the week, coupons and other information that DOES directly relate to your business. If you post a “special of the week” every Monday, your fans will soon look forward to seeing what you are offering come Monday morning. They will check in and engage with your page.

Useful, interesting and fun content is more likely to be shared and will increase your “Talking About” number drastically. It will also help ensure that your posts WILL be seen by your fans.

Who’s Got the Time?

Often when I am talking to businesses about this, the most common response is, “I’m running a business. I do not have time to post regularly.” It can be difficult to wear so many hats. Look at your current staff and see if there is someone already onboard that could pick up this role. If not, consider outsourcing. If you would like help with this task, contact me and my team would be happy to help. We can post interesting, engaging content for you on a regular basis, increasing engagement and potentially business.

The bottom line is that Facebook can provide you an excellent way to reach out to your customers, providing them with such good information that they wouldn’t even consider going anywhere else when they need what you have to offer. Once they feel that way, they are more apt to recommend you to their friends. It is also an easy way to reach out to your customers for their feedback, enabling you to improve  your product or service.

Taking the time to nurture this network is a must for growing your business. So go and get folks “Talking About” your fan page and your business!

How Small Businesses Can Use Groupon-like Sites to Their Best Advantage

FB Apps for Small BusinessesMillions of small businesses use Groupon-like sites to drive customers to their doors. While the surge in business can be good for a business, there are also pitfalls to this approach.It is not uncommon for these sites to sell hundreds or even thousands of discounted coupons. If a business is not staffed adequately when the onslaught of customers arrive, they will lose business over the long term due to the poor experience the visitors received.

Economically, it may not make sense for many small businesses to use a daily deal site. Most deals are 50% off and then the Groupon-like site takes 25% of the deal price. So if the original product was worth $100, the business owner is only receiving $25. The only way the business owner can win is if the patron spends more than the coupon amount during his visit, or if he doesn’t redeem the deal. Of course, if he doesn’t redeem it, then there is no chance of getting repeat business, which is the main attraction of partnering with daily deal sites.

The biggest pitfall, in my opinion, is that Groupon-like sites do not provide the business owner with any data on who purchased the coupon. For these deals to truly work for business owners, they need to be able to retain the customers that they receive. The best way to do this is to have a follow-up process in place.

Groupon-like sites are considered “affordable” advertising for businesses since there is no fee to have the deal promoted. Yet, due to the problems listed above, these sites may cost more than small businesses have bargained for. So the question is, how can a small business utilize this service without losing their shirt?

The two most important factors are to ensure that you have the proper amount of staff to handle the potential swarm of visitors and to have in place a system whereby you can capture your customers’ email addresses when they visit so you can continue your business relationship. Not only will this enable you to send out future coupon deals without having to give the Groupon-like site their cut, but you can also ask for customer feedback in order to improve your product or service.

I have created a system whereby email addresses can be received in exchange for a coupon or a contest entry within Facebook. Using Facebook apps on a fan page, businesses can promote deals or host contests. They can then reach out to their customers regularly, providing additional value and enhancing their opportunity to acquire a customer for life.

For businesses that already have a strong Facebook presence, they can bypass Groupon-like sites altogether. Others may want to use these daily deal sites to bring in customers initially and then encourage the coupon-holder to visit their Facebook fan page where they can sign up for additional coupons and specials.

If you are wondering why not just post the discounts on the Facebook fan page? Why capture email addresses at all? The short answer is because not every visitor to a fan page returns and not every post written to a a wall will be viewed by every person who “liked” the page. You can read more about this issue in my post, How to Use Facebook Apps to Stay Connected to Your Customers. Additionally, if Facebook were to go away, or terminate  your account for any reason, you would no longer have access to your fans. An email list is an asset that would belong to you.

To see an example fan page app that captures email addresses, visit the fan page, APPcreationSmallBusiness.  Unlike most Facebook apps, these are mobile responsive so even those who visit the fan page from their smart phone will be able to view these apps through a “smart phone” link. Feel free to “like” APPCreationSmallBusiness and message me if you would like to discuss how a similar app could be used for your business.

Using Facebook Apps to Stay Connected to Your Customers

Facebook Apps for Small BusinessesMany small businesses use Facebook fan pages to showcase their products and services, drawing in hundreds and sometimes thousands and tens of thousands of fans. Yet, due to Facebook’s edgerank algorithm, which determines what is displayed and how high on a person’s news feed, many posts go unseen by the vast majority of fans. (For an excellent product on how to increase edgerank, check out Jason Fladlien’s product, EdgeRule).

The key for small businesses is to have a way to consistently reach the majority of fans that land on their page. I have found that this can be done through Facebook apps. Many fan page owners use apps to showcase their events and products. There are two problems that they run up against, however.

The first is that Facebook apps are not mobile responsive. Since about half of Facebook users are now accessing the internet through their smart phones, this means that they cannot access the information contained in these apps.

The second problem with the way Facebook apps are used traditionally is that they only serve to provide information to the customer or client. It is likely that a visitor may land on a fan page once, and never return.

How can small businesses use these apps to reach out to customers over time? They can use these them to give away discounts or to run contests in exchange for an email address.

I create responsive Facebook apps for small businesses that gather visitor’s email addresses in return for a chance to win a prize or for a discount on a product or service. In this way, businesses can provide immediate value to their customers and continue to reach them over time. Of course the customer can opt out of the email at any time they wish, but if the business owner is providing them with valuable information, discounts and specials, the customer is likely to look forward to receiving the emails.

Since the apps are responsive through a “smart phone” hot link, everyone who lands on the fan page will be able to view what the business has to offer regardless if they are on a desktop computer or a smart phone.  Additionally the owner can take the URL of the app and place it on his website or place it in a Google+ post for even further reach.

With changes coming later this month to how Facebook presents fan pages, this smart phone link will be even more important. It appears that fan page apps will no longer be seen and accessible right under the page’s cover, but will be hidden and listed under a “More” link. With the business owner’s ability to place the smart phone fan page app link directly into a post, fans will not have to search for the fan page apps.

The fan page APPCreationSmallBusinesses has examples of these responsive apps. Feel free to “like” the page and message me to discuss how these apps can help your business.