How to Encourage Fan Participation and Interaction on Facebook

facebook-interaction

Creating a Facebook account for social media marketing and customer service purposes is all well and good. Simply letting the account exist and becoming active only when prompted by questions and other people’s posts, however, is not enough. Although it may serve short-term goals like answering customer inquiries and announcing upcoming events, you need to have fan interaction on your business page in order to reap long-term benefits.

This is why an SEO company will always endeavor to coax responses and posts from its clients’ Facebook fans. Interaction forms acquaintances, then friendships, and later trust not just among fans but also with your business page itself. Friendships are essential in forming a community, and a community is essential for the success of most, if not all, businesses.

The following are some methods to provoke fans and contacts to participate and interact with others on your Facebook business page.

Use calls-to-action

Each time you want your fans to do something for you (ex: Like or share posts, read your newest blog entry, join a contest, support a cause, sign up for newsletters) include a friendly call-to-action. Create a sense of urgency too so that they will do as you asked immediately, and not wait for later (if they don’t forget about it).

Post relevant, useful, but also fun content

The most effective and ideal way of encouraging interaction and participation is by posting really good content—the type that people just can’t help but comment on after they read it. It could be a link to your blog post, a news report, your Pinterest account—anything that is relevant to your business page.

Use applications that will engage the public

  • Facebook Questions or Poll

Most users can’t resist answering polls, especially if it is in their field of interest. This interaction is indeed limited, but hopefully it will encourage participants to return to your page to find out if their choice also earned the majority’s vote.

facebook poll

A simple Facebook Questions App

What’s great about polls is that they aren’t limited only to your fans. Other people can also give their answers. This activity will also be posted in the news feeds of friends with similar interests. Just think: you can also use this app to gather data for market/product research!

facebook poll 2

A sample poll question. Notice the “Ask Friends” button for sharing purposes. Image source

Of course, you don’t have to use this app every time. You can post a question like a normal post as well. Ask for their opinion about a popular topic, if your question resonates with their interests, it would compel them to interact more with you.

  • My Top Fans or Fan of the Week

Recognizing a weekly fan will prompt others to post compliments as well. This may be a baby step, but it will nevertheless make your fans become familiar with each other. After all, you’d want to find out who are congratulating you, right? You can also gauge how well your fans know each other because there will be some ribbing or other comments from close friends besides the standard, “Congratulations!”

Hopefully this will also encourage other fans to frequent your business fanpage in the hopes of becoming Fan of the Week themselves. It may help to give the winners some incentive too to encourage others to vie for the title.

  • Custom Apps

Notice how some Facebook fanpages have numerous tabs right underneath their banners? When you click on those tabs, you will enter a separate page dedicated for one purpose or another (ex: a Rafflecopter giveaway, notes or blog posts, videos, an e-commerce page). Basically, the fanpage will seem like a website composed of different pages.

facebook tabs

Custom Apps of Romance author Julia London include tabs for a contest and newsletter registration.

Speaking of making your fanpage look like a website with internal pages, you can actually pull in a webpage right into a Facebook business page. You can use Woobox Custom Apps for this.

woobox

Woobox Custom Apps

The directions for installing this are straightforward, so the entire process should be easy to do (it’s mostly allowing the app to access certain page information). When it is done, you’ll end up with this below:

If you don’t like tweaking a lot of technical stuff, just click on the following:

  1. “Enable” Timeline 810px Wide Mode
  2. “Change Tab Image” to upload a photo you customized specifically for this webpage.
  3. Page Source: “URL”
  4. Enter URL of webpage you want to embed.
  5. Leave “Height” as is at 810px. You can adjust this later if you like, though.
  6. Leave “Hide Scrollbars” unchecked so that the entire webpage may be viewed. Again, you may change this later if you wish.

Don’t forget to unclick “Hide Scrollbars” and enable full width for the app so that the entire webpage can be viewed comfortably within the window. You can also create an image to go with the tab and upload it.

By embedding a webpage on Facebook, it will hopefully encourage fans to post their comments on your wall or on the blog page itself (the embedded webpage will still function as is).

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Facebook Poll and Fan of the Week promotes interaction ON your business page, while Woobox Custom Tab may divert activity away from the fanpage wall (as fans have the option to comment directly on the webpage). Think about embedding a call-to-action webpage (ex: Order Form Page, the page where your merchandise for sale are listed) instead.

Hold contests and raffles, and have cool prizes at hand

As consumers, your fans and contacts will surely appreciate free merchandise and some cool swag. Hold contests every now and then to liven things up. You can hold contests, and the first ones to give the correct answers will each win a prize.

Another simple method is to use Rafflecopter and embed it on your blog or website.

Rafflecopter

Sample sweepstakes by Rafflecopte. Image source

What’s great about Rafflecopter is you can set what the entry methods are, how many, and how many points may be earned for each of them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wonderful though it may be, Rafflecopter can also steal fan interaction off your Facebook page and divert them to the blog or website where the widget is found. However, you can solve this by adding at least one entry method requiring participants to leave a comment on your fanpage.

Share some personal information

The point is to make contacts and fans sympathize and relate with you as a person.  I understand that this may be difficult for a business FB account because you’d want to be as professional and formal as possible. Then again, this is social media. The very environment and structure of Facebook promotes casual conversation through brief messages.

It may be a good idea to make your FB moderators introduce himself or herself. For example, when posting a personal greeting to the customers or stating a personal opinion, the administrator can sign his or her name at the end of the post. This way, fans will know they are talking to a person. They may even leave messages for your administrators, commenting on something they are known to like or dislike.

virtual signing with Facebook

A moderator posting for an author’s virtual signing fanpage.

Give them what they want

Sometimes you have to be like a doting parent to get your fans to pay attention and start responding. Be observant. Discover the things they like and post something relevant or pertaining to those likes. For instance, if you notice you get plenty of likes and comments on those witty “Keep Calm” images, then continue posting them. You don’t need to stick to business-related posts all the time.

On the business side, you may want to consider giving your loyal customers a well-deserved reward. For example, if your fanpage is about to reach 10,000 Likes, organize a contest to celebrate the milestone. If your customers are itching for a sale, think about offering a time-limited discount for the first 20 people to respond to your post, for example. This gives fans a reason to frequent your page and share the fun stuff that’s happening there to their friends.

Post regularly (and on peak times)

Take note of the time wherein most of your fans are liking and commenting on your page. Is it early morning? In the afternoon? How about in the evening? It may be different depending on the profiles of your audience.

In general though, the most optimal time to post on Facebook (meaning you can get the highest visibility and most responses) is between 1:00-4:00 pm. Friday to Saturday has the highest rate of user presence and interaction. Don’t bother posting on a Sunday because most people are out with their families or simply taking a break from facing the computer. It’s better to post on Monday morning instead.

Last but not least, reply

It pleases people so much when they get replies, especially if they weren’t stating a question. Getting a special mention is flattering. It makes them feel like their opinions matter and it encourages them to continue posting on your wall. Only those who are extremely popular and with a very large, loyal fan base can just sit back and be confident that their fans will continue to liven things up on their Facebook page even without their frequent posting.

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About 

Emma, aka the "Foxy Lady", writes and promotes Pitstop Media's articles about search engine optimization and social media. She is a fun loving person and likes to help others with good advice. She is also a caring mother of a beautiful daughter.