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HOW TO: Create a Facebook Fan Page--and attract fans!

This post originally appeared on StyleSampleMag.com, but I thought it might be helpful to FIN members as well:

With over 300 million active users, most people have some sort of presence on Facebook. It’s one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, and can be used for everything from keeping up with your best friend from kindergarten to making business contacts.

Most of us have a personal Profile, but if you want to take promoting your blog a step further, you may also want to create a Fan Page for your site. Before you do that, though, think about the purpose of your page: Would it be to drive readers back to your blog? A place to post extra content? A way to reach friends/family who may not visit your blog regularly?

Setting up a fan page means you’ll need to regularly post content there in addition to your blog/MySpace/Twitter account/wherever else you may be, so think about what works best for you. If you’ve considered the pros and cons and are ready for a fan page, here’s what to do:

Set up Your Page
Log into Facebook and click on Advertising at the bottom of the page. Go to Pages> Create a Page, and start adding your information. Most blogs will fall under the category “Brand, Product, or Organization.”
Add Content

Add some applications: the most useful ones integrate your blog’s RSS feed and your Twitter feed into your page, like SocialRSS. It’s a good idea to link your online presences in order to cross-promote. Try adding extra tabs with Involver.

Now, based on the purpose of your page (which you determined above), add some introductory content so people will have something to look at when you invite them to become fans. Don’t send folks to a blank page!

Here are some ideas:

* Post your best photos or images and links to popular blog posts

* Post a summary of the comments on one of your blog posts if you’ve got a really juicy discussion going on. Encourage your fans to respond on Facebook or your blog.

* Create a contest where the winner will be determined based on a comment posted on your Page, or post a link to a contest taking place on your blog.

* Post some “behind-the-scenes” information or images from your blog. You know the pictures you like but didn’t have room for on the blog? Put ‘em here!

* Post a link to an interview or guest post on another site, or another blog/brand/item you like. Promoting others is good karma!

Try to add something to your Facebook page at least once per week.

Promote Your Page
Invite your personal contacts to be fans of your page. Since they already know you, they’re likely to become your first fans. Try to get some activity going on your page before inviting the general public. Then, you can:

* Embed a “Join our Facebook Page” widget in your sidebar

* Include a link to your Fan Page in your email signature

* Invite your Twitter followers to become Fans

Make sure people know what’s in it for them: Additional content, regular updates, special contests, whatever your purpose. Continue to promote your page to new contacts, readers, and followers on a regular basis to build your fan base.

Interact!
Encourage discussion by asking questions or sponsoring contests that require a comment. Remember, not everything has to be strictly business or blog-related all the time.

Note that setting up a Fan page requires additional work and may not be for everyone, so consider your needs and limitations before taking the plunge. However, it can be a great way to reach your readers where they are!

Of course, you can find more tips on style and blogging at StyleSampleMag.com!

~T

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