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There is a difference between a Fan Page/Business Page and a Personal Page

Facebook reports that 845 million users worldwide visited its pages in December 2011. With such prevalence as a communications medium, the social networking site offers small business owners a powerful tool to reach customers and help build their brands. Although maintaining an active Facebook fan page for your business requires constant upkeep on your part, many computer-literate business owners are now making fan pages an essential part of their marketing and communications efforts.

The Basics

It’s essential that you treat a Facebook fan page with the same focus you would any other form of marketing. Set up your page so that your company’s logo is prominently displayed as its primary image – which also serves as your avatar when it appears on fans’ newsfeeds. Choose a unique URL so it’s easy to find your fan page, ideally as facebook.com/yourbusiness name. Use the page to offer elementary information about your business, such as its location, hours, services and products and offline contact information and provide a referral to your website. Visitors to your business’ fan page don’t need to be logged onto Facebook to read it, so consider it an additional portal for customers to get all the information they need.

Provide Value

You can use your Facebook page as a hard sell, updating fans on sales or other company information. While this is expected, successful business Facebook pages go beyond mere marketing to deliver something of value to their fans. Tips to serve customers in your niche – interior design tips if you operate a furniture store, for example – help transform your fan page from an advertisement into a service. Some businesses add value to their Facebook pages by offering fans online-only discount codes, weekly giveaways or informational packages, ensuring that fans have a reason to visit their page regularly.

Engage Visitors

Social media are highly interactive, and many businesses seize on that nature to engage their customers. Not only do fan pages allow fans to spout praise about your products or services to other visitors, they allow fans to recommend the page to others. Great Facebook fan pages go beyond word-of-mouth advertising, however, and encourage fans to share on their wall. Whether it’s soliciting videos or photos of your products in use, serving as a sounding board for your customers to share tips and hints about your product and connect with other users. Ideally, your Facebook page would become an active hub where fans communicate directly to one another as much as they receive information about your business.

Use Page Insights Data

As an added benefit to your fan page, Facebook collects demographic information about its visitors. Although this information doesn’t track their likes or other information personally, it provides basic demographic data such as age, sex and location, of your fans, which helps you tailor your content to better engage the most active fans, or to reach the least active visitors, depending upon your marketing goals. You’ll also be able to track how many views each of your posts generates, how many “likes” it creates, and help tailor more successful content using that data.

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