Facebook: Building a Following



By a ?following,? I mean the people that you need to be networking and actively communicating with in order to for your presence on Facebook to be effective and worthwhile.

Last time, you learned how to set up a Facebook Page for your trade show. This time we will focus on how to use your Page and its features to expand your network of followers and engage them in valuable dialogue.

Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get to it.

"Like" me

Everybody wants to be liked. In no place is this more important than on Facebook. Facebook Pages are viewable to the public by way of any search engine on the Web. When people search for your company's name, your Page will appear in the results and those interested will be able to preview your company's basic info, as well as the profile picture that you have provided.

In order for people to "Like" you, however, they must first have a Facebook account. Users can find your Page through several different methods. Maybe they stumble across your Page on a friend's profile or in a News Feed story. By clicking on it, they will automatically be directed to your Page and can explore it for themselves. Or perhaps they are searching for a relevant term in the search bar. They can filter the results by clicking the Pages button on the left side of the screen so that only Pages will appear in their findings. They can also utilize the Pages Directory to sort through all the Pages on Facebook. Think of this as a phone book of sorts, except for Pages. Searches are narrowed down and categorized by related products, services, and special interests.

Once visitors learn what you?re all about, they can choose to ?Like? your Page. From then on, all of your updates and recent news will appear on their News Feed.

Suggest to friends

Facebook has recently added a feature that allows you to ?suggest? your Page to friends. By clicking the ?Suggest to Friends? link underneath your Page?s profile picture, you can select which friends you would like to become a part of your Page?s networking circle. In turn, they can then ?suggest? your page to their friends, who can then ?suggest? your Page to their friends, and so on. This is will broaden your Page?s reach, promote traffic, and, if all goes well, spark new interest in your company and your show.

Promote your Page on your website

Add a Facebook Like Box to your company's site. This will link everybody who visits your site to your Facebook Page and make it easier for people to keep track of any news or upcoming events that you may post. From your site, they will be able to see how many people already Like your Page, and which ones they might know. People are always more likely to become a part of something if their friends are interested in too.

Once someone Likes your Page, they will have full access to its content and will start receiving your updates the next time they sign on Facebook. However, clicking the Like button does not automatically redirect them to your Page. This allows them to remain on your company?s site and visit your Page at their convenience.

Integrate with Twitter

Social media platforms have begun to socialize not only with their followers, but with each other, as well. As a part of this intermingling of social media, Facebook now allows users to link their Facebook Pages directly with their Twitter accounts. Any status updates, notes, photos, or events that your Page posts will automatically be shared with your Twitter followers -- all from the comfort of your own Facebook page.

There are a variety of options on how to do this. One option is to link any and all Facebook stories with your Twitter account. This will publish a live-stream of your Facebook Page?s activity to your company?s Twitter feed, as well. You can also be more selective. If there are only certain things you want share with your Twitter followers, you can pick and choose what type of Facebook stories you wish to link with your Twitter account. For example, if you only want to notify your Twitter followers about events that your page has created, such as upcoming shows, then you can just select the Event Creations box. If you only want to post your Page?s photos and status updates on your Twitter feed, you can do that, too. In-depth instructions are provided upon creating your page.

Create an Event

Events are effective and engaging ways to connect with your fan base and directly promote your trade show. Not only does this reach out to your existing followers, but the more people who RSVP to an event, the more prominent your event will be on the Facebook social scene. If multiple people RSVP, their attendance will likely show up on their friends? News Feeds and on the News Feeds of others in the industry. Therefore, invite everybody you think has ever possibly had an inkling of interest in your company or industry to the event. Even if they don?t attend, the more people you invite, the more exposure you get. The goal is to grab the attention of those who may not have otherwise heard of your company and drive them back to your Page (and hopefully to your show!).

To create an event, all you have to do is click on the ?Events? tab at the top of your Page. You will then see a button inviting you to ?Create an Event.? From there, you can choose when the event will take place, where it will be held, and what attendees can expect to get out of it. This might include information about any seminars or special attractions that might serve as incentives for attendees. You might also want to provide helpful tips on transportation and nearby lodging.

First press the Event tab.

Next, press the 'Create Event' button to get started.

Advertise

Facebook Ads allow users to see your company?s name and connect with its Page without ever having to stop what they are doing. When users see your company?s Ad on the side of their screen, they can choose to ?Become a Fan? of it, instantly giving you free name exposure on their wall and, depending on privacy settings, on the News Feeds of their friends. Without ever migrating from the page that they?re on, they automatically become a part of your interactive fan base and will start receiving your Page?s updates on their News Feed. This provides a more complete and enjoyable experience for the user and offers higher visibility for your company?s name and easier access to its Page.

For more on how to create an Ad for your Page, click here.

You didn?t think it was that easy, did you?

Well actually, it is. Sort of. You can create an event for every day of the year and advertise to every computer-owning person in the world, however, if your Page doesn?t interest visitors, they will click off of it faster than you can say ?trade show.? Your content must be useful and entertaining, capturing the interest of new visitors and maintaining the loyalty of existing ones.

Take advantage of the Facebook Application Directory, where you can find all of the available social applications offered by Facebook and other external websites. Here you can read reviews of different applications and learn what has worked and what hasn?t worked for other users. By integrating applications into your Page, you are becoming more than just a passive source of information. You are a dynamic entity with which visitors can engage, interact, and exchange ideas. You don?t want your Page to just be seen; you want it to be experienced.

These are only six of the vast amount of ways to use your Facebook Page to generate new clients and strengthen bonds with returning ones. I urge you to explore all the doors of opportunity that the creation of a Page opens for your company. The more time and effort you put into maintaining and updating your Page, keeping up with trends and interacting with your followers, the more hype your Page (and show) will undoubtedly receive.

Do you have more tips on how to gain a following on Facebook? Let us know in the comment box below.

Next week?s blog will be for both you and your exhibitors. We will be discussing how to take the connections you build through your Page and turn them into exhibitors and attendees to your show.