Facebook Pages Local marketers are engaging with Facebook like never before according to small-business social network MerchantCircle. Their new research states that 70% of small businesses now use Facebook to reach consumers. This is up from 50% a year ago and is more than the 66% of them that say they currently use Google search advertising. So what this means is that Facebook now ranks as the most popular marketing tool among local businesses.

Creating your Facebook Fan Page is only the start. To make it successful you need engagement, interest and constant connection to keep your fans coming back. Here are four strategic tips to help you have a successful Facebook Fan Page.

1) Create a Facebook/Social Media Editorial Calendar

Regular interactions like daily status updates and weekly promotions are important but so too are seasonal marketing opportunities like holidays, events. For my blog I annually write about the Super Bowl the weeks before and the week after the game. I cover marketing campaigns associated with the holidays, back-to-school, big theatrical movie releases as well as cause-related campaigns such as Pink February. There are all sorts of days throughout the year that provide opportunities to engage your fan bases. Therefore, I recommend creating a calendar of all the holidays and events that fit with your business and market around them throughout the year.

2) Keep Users Engaged Between Campaigns and Events

Also consider a weekly editorial calendar which will help you to update your page consistently, at least several times a week, with interesting content. Decide if you will post daily or three times a week and what your focus will be. For example, Mondays you post headline news, Wednesday is an offer or interesting news on your products or services, and Fridays it's a fun, personal post.

Content you link to doesn’t necessarily need to be specifically about your own brand, in fact, recent studies have shown that Facebook dominates sharing in general, with 44% of all sharing volume occurring through Facebook. For example, if you’re a gym or a spa you could provide health and wellness tips. If you’re a hotel why not message fans about great events happening in your region? 

Another excellent way to encourage interaction and sharing among your social media fans is to reward them for committing to “Like” your brand! For example, exclusive access to special deals and discounts is certainly a great reward for a fan’s commitment.

As for what types of offers you can create, consider running promotions like contests, coupons, sweepstakes and giveaways. These tend to be the #1 reason that people "Like" a Facebook page and they are very important for successful fan growth and engagement while also being a great way to tie into holidays and events.

3) Start Measuring and Optimizing Your Brand Presence

To have success with social media marketing you’ve got to measure your activities against your overall goals in order to learn what is working and what is not. There are various tools that you can use to measure your performance. Within Facebook itself, you can use the “Insights” tool to see all sorts of metrics about your Brand Page interactions including your post popularity, its reach and the amount of impressions it generated.

You also need to keep an eye of what our competitors are doing on the social network. To help us do that Wildfire, which is a social media platform application I utilize to run sweepstakes and contest promotions, recently released a free Monitor tool that enables companies to evaluate how their business is doing compared to their competition on Facebook as well as Twitter. A user can create a report by first selecting their Facebook page and than those of their competitors. Users can evaluate performance in terms of fan and follower growth and then sign up for weekly email updates to easily keep track of performance trends over time for the social objects they've compared. Therefore, if you see one of your competitors has gained many new fans within the past week you can visit their page and see what they have done to accomplish this.

SocialMediaMonitor

4) Ongoing Interaction is Key

Small, regular campaigns are also a great way to keep fans coming back. Pick a day of the week to have a special giveway or make it a sharing day. For example run a sweepstakes every Wednesday to give away one of your own products or service or, make Fridays the day fans can upload a photo to share on a specific topic of the week.

You could also have specials and give out coupon codes or 2-for-1 offers. No matter what your brand does, you should be able to find a way to engage your users in a consistent interaction with your brand, using fun and relevant social initiatives.

On the news front, On the news front, Facebook just announced its new brand page design which will automatically go into effect for all pages on March 10. Some pages have already transitioned to the new design. This is something I'm keeping an eye on and will discuss next. So for now we've got the engagement strategies covered and we'll focus next on what has changed in the Facebook functionality.