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Make Your Facebook Fan Page a Party

This guest post is by Caz Makepeace of y Travel Blog.

Facebook Fan pages are swiftly becoming a standard extension to blogs’ brands and messages. This is a highly effective form of engaging with your target market and building a community around your brand.

If you focus on making your Fan page your homepage for the social web, you can create a page that serves as your mini-hub. Then use it as your platform to connect on a deeper level.

Today’s currency is engagement

People like to socialize with, and ultimately do business with, people they like and trust. So it’s very important that you’re actively engaging with your followers and they are engaging with you—hence the word “social”. That’s how you build strong and rewarding relationships.

From personal experience, by building an engaged and interactive community through our own travel blog’s fan page, our community member numbers grow every day. And although ours may not have as many fans as some other Fan pages, it does have a great deal more engagement, which is not only important to us, but important to Facebook.

Facebook rewards you for building relationships. The degree to which you engage with your fans, and how much they interact with you, determines whether your status updates show in your fans’ news feeds.

Strive for social success first, not marketing success

There are five critical errors most people make when they start using social media for business.

The secret to our success has been very simple. We made the intention for our Fan page to build an engaged community and start conversations. We wanted to create a place where those within our travel community can meet for some socializing and fun, not just get travel tips and information. Our intention is not to use our Fan page purely as a marketing tool.

Although we know it’s a highly effective tool, we do not build our fan page community based on this. If your intention is just to use your page as a tool to promote your products, that will clearly come through, and your success with Facebook will be limited.

Think of those who are most successful in your niche. I bet most of them began blogging by building their brand and a community first, and any monetization came later. First, build a passionate community based around social interaction and sharing. Any monetary rewards will come naturally later on.

Make your Fan page a party

We approach our Fan page strategy as if we were hosting guests at a party. For us to remove all thoughts of the page being a marketing tool, we had to think of it as the type of place we’d like to hang out. So our intention was to make our fan page more like a party. We love to socialize, and have never been shy in hosting parties in real life in any of the countries we’ve lived in. After all, isn’t that what the “social” part of social media is all about?

We invite and welcome

First of all, we invite and we welcome visitors. No one will come to your party if you don’t first invite them. We have clear invitations set up on our blog and all our other online platforms. And when our new guests arrive, we warmly welcome them in. We tag and give a shout out by video to every 100th guest. And we also have a “Fan of the Month,” which is the person who has contributed the most to the community in that time.

We interact and respond

This is our biggest recommendation for keeping social media “social.” How long would your party last if you didn’t talk to your guests? Or worse still, if they spoke to you and you ignored them? We do not ignore our guests. We respond to every comment left on our Fan page. Yes, it takes work, but we value our community members and suggest you value yours. Fostering a community involves a strong leader who supports, encourages, recognizes, and inspires.

Managing fan comments has become much easier since we started using a great free app called Hyper Alerts.

We ask questions and share

To be interesting, you must be interested. The best way to get to know new people is to ask questions. Remember, people like to talk about themselves, so let them. Don’t make the conversation all about you, what you’re doing, and your opinion.

Ask questions as a way to get your fans to share, to stimulate conversation, and to give advice. A lot of people won’t open up initially if they don’t feel like someone wants to listen or will respond. Be the listener and when your guests do answer the question and share, be the responder. Continue to ask questions throughout the conversation to encourage a more in-depth discussion.

At least once a month, we have a status update that runs something like this:

“Go ahead and introduce yourself:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. Where are you currently?
  3. What is your favorite travel destination?
  4. Can we help you with anything?”

This gets people to open up and feel welcomed. Sharing helps others to make new connections and form bonds. Simply through this particular update, community members become aware of others’ geographical locations and special interests, and can connect more directly. Sharing also shows that you are interested in and care about your fans. We also make an effort to share other people’s articles, videos, and blog sites through our Fan page.

Every Friday we have “Post Your URL Day,” when we encourage other travel bloggers to post their URLs and a three-line description under their status updates. From the URLs posted, we randomly choose a winner to do a featured interview on.

We say it with photos

Pictures really do tell a thousand words. Being in the travel industry, we find there’s no better way to inspire others and stir emotion than through travel photos. So we post a daily travel photo of a destination we have personally visited.

We also post random photos from our day-to-day lives. That way, our community members get a behind-the-scenes look into our life that creates a deeper connection.

People love to look at others’ personal photos, and Facebook is great for that. And did you know that using photos to stand out in the Facebook news feed carries more weight than text updates when it comes to your Facebook EdgeRank Score?

We play games

Everybody loves a good game—especially if they’re at a party and there are a few beers involved! There won’t be beers at your Fan page party, but you can still have a good time. We run a “Where in the World” game, where we upload a travel photo from somewhere in the world, and our fans have to guess the location. This stirs interaction and creates a fun vibe.

We also have “Happy Hour” once a week, where we encourage our fans to post a link to their favorite blog, website, or resource on the Web. Take some time to think of games you can play on your Fan page that relate to your niche and encourage participation.

We run competitions

Once you have enough fans engaged and interacting at your party, consider introducing competitions with prizes to let them know you appreciate them. We run photo contests every second month with a different photo theme which relates in some way to our prize. Last month’s prize was a backpack sponsored by Kelty, and the photo theme was National Parks. Fans get to vote on the best photo, and the top five are then sent to the sponsoring company, which selects the ultimate winner. Competitions like this are a win-win for you and your sponsor, who gets exposure to a new audience.

New ideas for a fantastic fan page party

Keep thinking of new ways to make your Fan page—and party—better. Don’t initially approach Facebook asking, “How am I going to use this as a monetization tool?” Instead, ask “How am I going to make this the fun place to hang out?” That’s the way to create an engaged community.

Don’t just create a Fan page, create an experience. Get this right, and the rest will naturally follow.

How much of a community are you building around your brand on Facebook?

Caz Makepeace has been travelling and living around the world since 1997. Along with her husband Craig they are the founders of y Travel Blog. You can visit her Facebook Fan Page or sign up for herRSS Feed.

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Comments

  1. Excellent words of wisdom for anyone wanting to succeed in social media. So true that we need to remember to be social and create value through engagement. Jeffrey Gittomer says, “You can make a sale and earn a commission or you can make a friend and earn a fortune.”
    I have been able to build the largest LinkedIn networking group based in the State of Michigan over the past couple of years by focusing on discussions and events that build trusted business relationships. Yes, it takes time and effort, but we have a solid group of over 6,000 members as a result.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks. Yeah so many people forget the “social” aspect in social media. Building friendships and trust online is no different than offline. You have to engage with people and ask questions. People won’t open up if you don’t show an interest, and once you do people love to talk about themselves and discuss topics. We always go by the mantra, to be interesting, be interested.

      Sure it can take time, but you are better off in the long run by building deeper relationships.

    • That’s awesome, Michael!

      Any tips you might lend us in terms of what you did specifically when you first started out – perhaps participating in other groups?

      I’m not that active on LinkedIn, but I’d like to get started.

  2. Awesome tips guys, really appreciate it. Will take away a lot of these to improve my fan page.

  3. Mathew Day says:

    Good post. It really gave me a lot of great ideas and made me realize my fan page is well, just another boring fan page. It makes a lot of sense to make it fun and have a party atmosphere so people will want to come back and tell others.

    • Hey Mathew,

      Yeah we didn’t want our fan page to be just another marketing avenue where we simply upload our blog posts. People are on Facebook because they love to interact and see what’s going on. They love to answer fun questions, look at photos and videos, and know they are going to feel good about the experience.

      Good luck with incorporating some new ideas!

  4. Mike Lopez says:

    Great tips. I never thought of using a fanpage this way! Thanks.

  5. Melanie says:

    Great post. Asking questions to engage people is a wonderful idea. It’s hard to add new content consistently but I guess it pays off! Thanks for the tips – now to check out your fanpage!

    • Hey Melanie,

      Absolutely. Coming up with a new blog post daily is challenging and time consuming. However, asking questions is quick and easy and engages the audience. And the questions don’t have to be related to the overall topic of your site. Quite often our random questions about blah get the best responses. Being serious and on topic all the time gets boring, and people like to have a bit of fun along the way…

  6. pepper_mel says:

    These are very informative and I just can’t wait to go to my fan page and apply your great tips. Thanks a lot!

  7. Cam says:

    I follow Craig and Caz daily and have to agree that they have taken the FB fanpage to the next level. Check em out if you haven’t already.

  8. Luke Martin says:

    This is a good title, I’m going to test putting this on reddit.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/fqknr/make_your_facebook_fan_page_a_party/

  9. Amanda says:

    Wow! This is a great post, has give me loads to think about and I just love the “party” analogy. I know that I get a lot of traffic from my Facebook page – so now I have some tools to make it even more productive and interesting.
    Thanks so much, Caz.

  10. Hi Amanda,

    Glad you like the analogy and it’s given you some thoughts. Facebook is a serious part of our traffic and building our brand, and it’s been a result of our intentions with our fan page. I encourage you to “be yourself” and let your personality shine through. People follow people, not a website or a blog, and the personable you can make it the better.

    We are always looking for creative ways to encourage interaction and sharing, and fan pages provide a great platform for that. Have fun with it…

  11. You just opened my eyes with this post. I have been trying everything to get my FB page more interactive but all I hear are the crickets!

    Definitely taking this advice. Thank you

  12. These really are good tips. I would implement some of them, but I would prefer to have some questions I could use to get the community interacting. My blog has many different elements, so I guess it’s a matter of what type of online personality I want to take on, or I suppose I could just mix it up.

  13. I’m so glad to see someone putting emphasis on “social success” and not just success in terms of dollars brought in. Too many people put all of their efforts into making money and end up driving people away. I’m a firm believer in doing what feels right. It always translates into dollar signs.

    • Seems some of the most financially successful people online had just about everything on their mind but financial success. A lot of people in this niche can learn a thing or two from them.

      Gotta let passion drive you.

    • Hey Dave,

      Thanks for the compliment. We are totally focused on building a passionate and engaged community based around social interaction and sharing. First and foremost we are travelers before we are travel bloggers. And as travelers, we have always been about asking questions to learn about places and resources, and then sharing what we learn. This is the same mindset we are taking with our fan page and our travel blog. If we get this right, then the rewards will come naturally later on.

  14. This was an excellent post on Facebook interaction and fan pages. I am going to start using the idea for fan page games really quick. I think you hit the right analogy when it comes to the fan page. Facebook is about people and such you need to act like someone that people want to hang out with. Sure, you can be that guy who endlessly talks about himself and what he can do, but how many people is listening to him? No, you want to be the individual who knows how to create conversation, make you smile and just have a good time. This really is the key.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your kind words. Yes it’s very important to NOT make your fan page all about you, and more about your community. It’s like that old saying, get somebody else to toot your horn and the sound will travel twice as far.

  15. This is great information! Caz & Craig’s yTravelblog Facebook Fan Page is always fun and interesting. I’m hoping to someday have as many followers too!

  16. I would absolutely love if Facebook included the chat feature with pages, just as it does with groups. That would certainly add another level of interaction, and even customer service for business owners, for all to enjoy.

  17. Guy Lawrence says:

    Great post… I like the idea of being able to welcome some one new to your fan page. Is it possible to write a welcome on their wall??? Haven’t figured it out.

    • Hi Guy,

      The strategy we use is we welcome every 100th new fan by @tagging them onto OUR fan page wall. You can do this more often, even with every new member, it’s up to you.

      The way to see who your most recent fan is by going to the area down the left of your page where it says “how many People Like this”, click on the “See All” link, a new window will open and whoever is at the top of that list is your most recent fan.

      To tag a person you first have to be friends with them. And to tag another fan page you have to “LIKE” that page. Not everyone of your fans may want to become your friend, but we ask every 100th fan by simply sending a friend request and adding a personal message e.g. “Hi Guy, welcome to our yTravel Blog community as our 1500th fan. It would be great to connect some more as friends. Cheers!”

      Then, to tag that person once you become friends onto your fan page, in the status update field (publisher), type the “@” symbol then begin typing the name of the person/page etc. that you wish to tag. You’ll see a selection of choices in a dropdown menu – click on the person/page that you want to tag. The person/page instantly pops into your post, highlighted in gray. Once you publish the post, the name of the person/page turns into a hyperlink.

      You can only have up to six @ tags in a status update — or when posting a photo, link or video — anywhere the publisher appears on Facebook. The publisher is the box where you write a status update or select a photo/link/video)

      What you can @ tag:

      * Friends
      * Fan Pages (that you’ve liked)
      * Community Pages (that you’ve liked)
      * Place Pages (that you’ve liked)
      * App Pages (that you’ve liked)
      * Events for which you’ve RSVP’d

      Some reasons we use @tagging are:

      * To acknowledge and give credit.
      * To provide attribution for content you share.
      * To show appreciation.
      * To help promote other fan pages.

      Hope this helps?

      • Guy Lawrence says:

        Caz… You are a legend! (And I am now a fan :))

        I really appreciate the time out you’ve taken to answer…

        Face book has been one of those things (like everything else with the internet) that I’ve been trying to get my head around to use for my business, but in a community sharing way… not in an annoying way as you can imagine. Your post has been gold!

        You’ve also given me the travel bug again!

  18. So far, I’ve usually treated facebook as a platform that I use only if I have extra time on my hands (which is never, if I don’t set aside the time). When you transform your fan page into more of a social engagement with friends, I think it gives an entire new feel to the page, the feel facebook is supposed to be used for. Thanks for these great tips, I will for sure start to put these interacting principles into practice.

    • Hey Migrationology,

      Yeah it’s the social engagement and friendly feel we are after. And you’re right, that’s what Facebook is for. Hope you find these tips useful.

  19. Great tips guys. I treat my facebook page as a separate but related blog. It serves a very different purpose than my normal travel blog as interaction is quicker and you can connect others easily. Plus people are almost always on facebook, they are not always on my blog. In someways I think that Facebook is replacing newsletters as a means to communicate more personal details of your life “behind the blog”

    • Hey Todd,

      That’s the perfect way to look at it. Almost every time we walk past someone on a computer, be it in a library, a hostel/hotel, or on their phone, guess what site they are on?….Facebook.

      We are very conscious of opening up our life “behind the blog” as it builds a deeper connection and trust with people. Just like with our blog, you cannot hide behind the internet, people want to know your real name, what you look like, and where you come from. Facebook is the perfect platform to share on a more personal level in a fun way!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  20. Treacle says:

    This article is brilliant. I’ve bookmarked and plan to refer to it constantly over the next few weeks as I get into the habit of implementing these strategies regularly. Thank you so much for talking about Facebook in a way that vibes with how I want to use the service.

    • Hi Treacle,

      That’s great. We do hope you’ve gained something useful and you are able to implement into your own fan page strategy. The vibe, it’s all about creating the right vibe, lol.

      Cheers!

  21. robin says:

    A lot for me to get my head around here – as ubiquitous as it is, FB is a bit of a mystery to me. Thanks for the post!

  22. Kristy says:

    Caz, I really love what you do on Facebook. Your methods of reaching out to your core group is envious. Now, it is just finding enough hours in the day! Cheers though and keep it up!

    • Hey Kristy,

      Thanks. We all have the “not enough hours in the day” challenge and have to prioritize our tasks, which still needs work but we now have a general schedule for facebook as far as what we post when, e.g. status update, question, photo, blog post, shared content, etc and it’s working well.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  23. Interesting article. Paying more attention to our facebook page has been on the agenda of late and it’s good to hear this from the “Travel blog” perspective (which is where we are too).

  24. Fantastic read. I will implement a lot of the ides here. Thanks for pointing out some things that I did not know. Social sites are the way forward in SEO today.

    • Hi Free Runescape Memberships,

      Absolutely! SEO just wrecks our head and is no fun. We make sure we implement the core basics of SEO, but our main focus moving forward will be on Facebook and social media. Our travel blog is just as much a “personality blog” as a “content blog” so social media is key for us in building our brand and sharing with others!

  25. I recently wrote a review about a leading Internet marketer named Chris Farrell who had no following and and making no money from Internet marketing as late as 2008. He said that Facebook has been his leading source of traffic. Specifically, he has used video and posted them on his Wall to get attention and gain “Friends”…

    • Hey Lee,

      Great to hear! Yes video and photos carry a lot of “Weight” as far as your ‘EdgeRank” goes on what shoes up in you fans news feed.

  26. Ginny Blair says:

    I have been trying to wrap myself around the idea of marketing my local business on facebook for sometime now and now i have some good ideas. thanks

  27. haha! This is a funny view to see the social network. Some friends than have a enterprise are very boring in his facebook page, they only whan sell with all his post. Their costumers gone from a suck place.

  28. Excellent article.

    Have a doubt. I wonder if I can just use a Facebook account for two sites in that niche. Can I?

  29. Laura says:

    These are some really great ideas! I know I am not doing this well with my FB fan page, but I wasn’t sure how to start engaging my fans. I love the analogy of treating it like a party! This stuff sees logical, but it can be hard to implement. Thanks so much for the new ideas and motivation!

    • Hey Laura,

      It takes time but ask lots of questions, both on topic and off. As mentioned previously, my off-topic fun questions usually get the biggest response. But not sure what industry you are in?

  30. Caz, I absolutely love your post. Can I “hire” you to whip up my fans? I ask questions, post pictures, and videos, and very little response. I wonder sometimes why they are fans? Think of it like going to a party and no one laughs at your jokes.

    I was just on someone else’s fan page and asked a question and got 12 responses. But then again, they have 10X the fans that I do. I feel better since I was beginning to get a complex.

    I am going to try some of your ideas. It couldn’t hurt. *sign*

    • Hey Anna,

      Stick with it and slowly they will engage with you. Mix it up through adding value through your blog posts, asking questions, and posting photos etc. As mentioned, ask fun and lighthearted questions as well, otherwise you can become too serious! Facebook is meant to be fun too!

  31. Grace says:

    Love this post and very impressed with your page following. My facebook page is totally new…any tips or advice on getting to that first 100 followers? What is your main strategy for promoting it? Thanks!

  32. Simon Turner says:

    Caz, thanks for this post. It really stood out on my Netvibes page. The word party always grabs lol.

    I think your philosophy of social interaction first is critical. There is no point being on Facebook unless you want to have relationships with people – not potential customers.

    The problem is my Facebook page. It is no party. More like a graveyard. 34 people signed up (which is not too bad in my opinion at this stage) but there is nothing going on. I have tried to stir up some enthusiasm but cannot quite crack the nut.

    So when I read your suggestions about what to do to get things going. I have taken note and will be making the effort – this time in the right direction.

    Thanks

    • Hey Simon,

      Like everything worth doing, it takes time. Just like in the offline world it takes time to build relationships and trust. Stick with it. Just continue to ask questions, both on topic and off topic, and provide value. And don’t be afraid to open up and let your personality come through. Glad we could help with a new direction…

  33. Hello,
    I’m Vietnamese blogger. but not professional, because my English not very good, after reading this article. I found a lot of help for me. thank you very much

  34. Michael says:

    I just started my first facebook fan page now. I’m not really sold on it, yet, but we’ll see.

  35. What great ideas! We always search for new and fun ways to show Fan appreciation so thank you for additional ideas to implement :) We recently had a FanPage Virtual Open House that was great fun for ALL!

  36. Madonna says:

    Caz

    Quick question-

    How do you figure out your “Fan of the Month”? Do you use tracking of some sort or do you just go back through and count it?

  37. deb says:

    I was at a loss on how to really make a facebook fan page work…now I know!
    thanks!

  38. Kevin Warhus says:

    Great tips. I think that today more than ever is it important to make your Facebook fan page captivating. Using things like customized welcome pages, contests/polls/giveaways, and engaging content on your page is key to surviving in the digital age and growing your page to be something people are interested in following.

  39. Jerrick Yeoh says:

    That right, what we can find out that some fans page of business that do sell hard on their product but forget about what the purpose of social network. Of course you need to social with your fans. Not only the product and service you going to sell. Need be share with their living style. As we can see that most of the post you can share some video, entertainment video as well for sometime, share some open ended question , do some contest for them , provide some game. Make them feel that it happy to stay as your fans. Party Rock in your facebook fanspage.

  40. Tonya Crockett says:

    Wow….this is really exciting. I have been searching for days on how to create more likes to my fan page. I have ready numerous post and it was not until I read your post that I am now sitting on the edge of my bed in excitement ready to redo my page. I never thought of making it fun and now will put your plan into action for my page. Wonderful tips!!! And loving your fan page!