Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence, Network-Style

Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: strategy & tacticsFacebook Pages and Groups are rapidly becoming like websites or phone numbers—overwhelmingly banal. Last year, it was still novel for many companies and governments to launch Pages or Groups, but 2010-2011 is proving to be the inflection point: people merely expect Facebook presence because every organization has one. In step with this, the competition for Fans’ (now “Likes”) attention on Facebook is high and will continue to get higher. That said, as difficult as it is, launching and growing a powerful Facebook presence is eminently doable with the right strategy and execution. Here I will share some of my notes with a current engagement for how to grow a quality Fan base by building and leveraging a network around your presence. By the Way, Pages and Groups share similarities but they are distinct in their functionality. This post will focus mostly on Pages, but many of its techniques will work with Groups as well.

One: Think Outside Your Page/Group

Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: common thinking

Legacy/Common Thinking

Most Facebook efforts are focused on building the owner’s Fan/Like base by sharing “compelling” content. This rarely works as a technique by itself since everyone is swimming in rich content. In general, what many people want most is relationship, communication and connection, they want to know that someone is listening to their concerns and thoughts about something that’s important to them. Appropriate interaction.

There are many ways to get Fans, but, depending on your business goals, you probably want to attract Fans that have a high affinity with some aspect of your business or government agency. When you attract high-affinity Fans, they will usually bring more people with high affinity to your presence, especially when the content you share and discussions you encourage reinforce that affinity through your content strategy. Too many Page/Group owners think about their relationship with the audience in isolation.

Two: Build a Network

Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: network thinking

Network Thinking

You will gain far more by leveraging Facebook the network. The fastest way to build a relevant Fan/Like base is to network with other Pages and Groups that are talking about things that the Fans you want will find complementary to what you talk about on your Page. For example, if you are a fitness equipment etailer, you probably want to encourage interaction about smart ways for people to achieve their fitness goals via workouts that are relevant to your best equipment. Your product mix brings optimal value to people in certain scenarios. You want to focus on people and situations in which you add the most value. Of course, you do not focus on your company or equipment, but people and situations.

To build a network, look for other Pages or Groups (let’s call them “Outreach Pages”) that are addressing similar people in similar situations but from complementary viewpoints to yours. Build relationships with them. For example, personal trainers, software or gadgets, or geographically-based groups that talk about the kind of workouts that are relevant to your equipment.

Three: Support Your Outreach Pages

Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: promote outreach pages

Promote Outreach Pages on Your Page

Observe your Outreach Pages’ activity, “like” them and begin posting helpful (but not self-serving) comments or links to their Walls that you think their Fans would like. Do this slowly, and note their Fans’ and admins’ reactions. On your Page, start talking about your Outreach Pages’ complementary happenings, people and activities, including links to them. Encourage Your Fans to visit your Outreach Pages. If you have done your homework, you maintain focus on people/situations, and you observe that your Outreach Pages are also focused on similar Fans, you are in a position to add significant value to their Pages. They will appreciate this, especially when you are consistent (but don’t overdo it) and show that you have their best interest in mind.

Four: Show Your Gratitude When They Reciprocate

Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: show gratitude

Show Gratitude & Increase Interaction

If you’ve observed properly and are thinking of their wellbeing, Outreach Pages will begin reciprocating by “liking” your Page, posting links to your Page or otherwise talking up your Page. In step with this, increase your interactivity with them. As the relationship continues to grow, add their Page to your Page’s favorite Pages. The Fans/Likes will begin cross-pollinating, benefitting both of your Pages and, more importantly, your Fans. When you select Outreach Pages that are also focused on people in similar situations to yours, you complement each other and add more value to your Fans and theirs. You develop a powerful network around your presence.

Parting Shots

  • All Fans/Likes are not created equal. When you launch a presence, it is critical to attract the people whose affinity is most aligned with your goals because they will naturally generate the kind of enthusiasm you want, and they will help you attract other people who share their passion and affinity with you.

    Four Steps to Building Facebook Presence Network-Style: grow fans fast

    Grow a High-Quality Fan Base Fast

  • Using a network-centric approach, you can quickly grow a high-quality, relevant Fan base and add far more value for your Fans quickly. In addition, you will likely discover numerous synergies to grow your collaboration off-Facebook and offline.
  • The secret is having vision and focus on the people/situations, and assembling a network around your presence that will add more value to them.

What are your experiences with collaborating with other Facebook Pages?

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