I remember the moment I decided to set up a Facebook page for Tutor2u - lounging by a swimming pool in Turkey, musing on the next steps for our educational website. I knew that as an online brand Tutor2u needed to engage more actively with the huge Facebook community. My co-founder and twin brother Geoff was convinced that a dedicated Facebook page was the way to go. He was right.
Setting up the page is simple. Once you've logged in to Facebook, scroll to the bottom and click on Advertising. Then click Pages and Create a Page. Select the type of business and fill in all the details. Easy!
Much harder is working out how to direct relevant Facebook users to the page and, more importantly, getting them to like it. We've taken advice on this from many sources in recent weeks and tried lots of suggestions. Here's what worked best for us in those first 100 days.
First, let everyone who comes into contact with your brand know about your Facebook page. Ours is located here: www.facebook.com/tutor2u - come visit us right now and don't forget to click the "like" button! We'd love to have you and your friends as a Tutor2u Fan.
Did you see what I did there?
Lesson No. 1 - don't be shy about letting people know your business is on Facebook. If you don't ask…
Put the URL in the footer of every email, newsletter, blog entry, invoice, brochure or promotional material. Stick it on the side of the van or the packaging materials you use. Tell all your existing Facebook friends and ask them to pass it on. Promote the page in exactly the same way you do your website address.
Facebook itself has some great social media plugins which provide the code you need to promote the page on your website. Momentum is everything. Getting the first 250 fans is crucial.
We then set about creating loads of reasons for our Fans to visit the page and to recommend it to their own friends. For Tutor2u, those reasons were all based on blog content.
In recent years we've recruited almost 100 teachers from around the world who contribute to our subject blogs. Their regular contributions are now added to the Facebook page using a cool application called RSS Graffiti. Each time a new blog entry is written on our main site it is "automagically" added to our Facebook page wall too! Like Google, Facebook loves new content so it displays it on the newsfeed of our Facebook fans who can then comment, share or "like" the new resources. It's a great way of letting existing customers know about your business news as well as encouraging word-of-mouth promotion.
So, lesson No. 2 - populate your Facebook page with loads of compelling, fresh content.
I use the word "content" advisedly. Your Facebook fan page wall shouldn't be filled with aggressive selling messages or promotional offers repeated ad nauseam. Facebook communication with fans should be about engaging with them. Don't expect people to recommend your page if you persist with a hard sell.
Third, and finally, we've focused on encouraging our website users to connect their use of Tutor2u with Facebook (along with other social media networks).
One application which has really helped is a social media toolbar called Wibiya which now sits at the foot of each web page, blog entry or other resource on the main Tutor2u website.
If a Tutor2u user finds a resource that he/she likes and wants to bookmark or share on Facebook, the toolbar makes the process straightforward. There is no need to leave our site to log in to Facebook. A couple of clicks from the toolbar interface and the resource is posted to a Facebook wall, shared on Twitter or added to Digg or Linkedin. We've traced hundreds of new Facebook fans to this toolbar alone.
Lesson No. 3? Encourage your website visitors to share your site on Facebook and use applications that make the process simple.
Back in the summer of 2010 I set myself a target of getting 1,000 Facebook page fans by Christmas. So we're delighted to have gone well beyond that and, hopefully, you are now a fan too. Now its your turn…