Our Top Five Facebook Tips

Everyone has a lot of tips on using Facebook effectively. We've distilled hundreds of tips down to our top five.Engaging fans is more important that accumulating them on Facebook. Facebook is a visual medium, so images, video and infographs attract attention. Make it easy for people to find your Facebook page.

These are just some of the tips bloggers and social media gurus have offered. One blog listed 43 Facebook tips. So we've weeded through blogs to distill our best advice to five good tips. Here they are:

Fan engagement is key

Recruiting new Facebook fans is important, but your number of fans won't matter unless you give them a reason to return. Your fans already know something about your brand, otherwise they wouldn't have become fans. So instead of selling them your product, a better idea is engaging them in who you are and the value you offer. That will help you discover what your fans think of you and what they expect from you, which is invaluable information.

Engagement can include events, promotions and contests that seek fan-generated involvement and content such as pictures, recipes and stories. Brand managers can ask directly for advice about product or service features. And, of course, companies and organizations can share some of their own stories, featuring its support for a cause or an employee who did something outstanding.

Facebook is a visual medium

From its inception, Facebook has been more than a platform for texting. Now with its new Timeline format, Facebook is even more of a visual medium.

Leveraging Facebook's visual potential involves more than a good cover image. It extends to posting items with visual qualities — good pictures, video, infographs, even well-designed charts. Facebook is definitely a place to show me, rather than tell me.

Make it easy to find you on Facebook

This seems like a no-brainer, but many times the button to "like" a Facebook page isn't placed in an easy-to-find location on a website. Smart website designers integrate the Facebook button, along with those of other social media sites, in a prominent place on a landing page.

Don't stop with your website, ask people to come to your Facebook page in other communication channels, whether it is the front door of your fitness gym, a grocery shelf where your product is displayed or your blog.

Have a reason to be on Facebook

It is cool, but that's not reason enough to invest time, energy and creativity in a Facebook page. Have a clear objective — brand awareness, lead generation, customer loyalty or consumer feedback — and develop your content and follow your analytics accordingly.

Facebook, as well as other social media, doesn't exist in a vacuum. Integrate your strategy for Facebook engagement with your overall marketing communications plan. Social media is just another tool in your arsenal, all of which need to be trained on your target audience.

Exploit the possibilities for segmentation

There are lots of ways to slice and dice your followers, for their benefit and yours. Facebook gives you a lot of tools to engage with fans based on geography or interests. Facebook ads are basically a marketer's dream come true for targeting the exact people you want to reach and only paying when you connect with them.

It can be illuminating to find out, for example, how many Facebook users live in one of your key market areas. If it turns out to be a larger number than, say, subscribers to the local newspaper, advertising on Facebook may make a lot of more economic sense.

There is a lot more to Facebook than its deceptively simple appearance reveals. But before you get into the weeds of figuring out every Facebook feature, refer back to our five tips. If you aren't ready to engage, let your left brain flourish or integrate social media with the rest of marketing strategy, then a Facebook page may not be for you.