Is Your Facebook Business Page Targeting the Right People?

Once upon a time Facebook pages were called "Fan Pages."

Fan Pages were originally intended for celebrities, famous groups and artists. Maybe the occasional organization that truly generated fans (like Apple and Starbucks) could have a fan page too.

But over time, more businesses and business people started pages and the word "fan" just seemed too pretentious to keep. Now they are just called pages. And we no longer "fan" these pages, we simply "like" them.

But a lot of page owners still act like they are fan pages, except without the actual "fans" part.

Let's face it "Frank's Plumbing Emporium" is not likely to come with a cadre of pre-existing fans. But every day I see a new page for pest control companies, hardware stores, insurance agencies, etc. that are as far from Steve Jobs' Apple as can be. And they assume that "fans" will flock to them as they post update after update about plumbing, killing roaches, or selling hammers and annuities.

The truth is, they just aren't that into you.

So can businesses that do not already have fans, still make use of Facebook pages? Of course they can, but I think they would do better to take a different approach.

People will not "like" your page if you just talk about yourself, your business, or assume they are as fanatically interested in plumbing or pest control as you are.

But they are interested in their own problems and goals.

Instead of creating a Facebook page that is about you, create one that gives people information they want. Make your page an online magazine devoted to a specific interest.

  • If you are doing business within a specific community, make your page a community magazine that informs about the things going on in your city. Tell about local events and issues. Make it a forum for your community.

  • If your customers are mostly young families with small children, create a page about parenting. Give readers all kinds of information about raising children and activities that can enrich their lives. Address their concerns about childhood safety, traveling with children, helping children do well in school, and fun activities to keep kids busy (and entertained) over summer vacations.

  • If your business targets property managers, create a page/magazine that provides solutions to the problems property managers face. Give your readers actionable tips and ideas they can use to make their jobs easier.

Of course you can also throw in the occasional tidbit about your business or the products you sell, but do so within the context of this magazine approach and make it relevant to the overall theme of your magazine.

The best part about the Facebook-page-as-a-magazine approach is that you may well create fans as a result. In other words, they would never start off as fans of "Frank's Plumbing Emporium" or "Dave's Pest Control," but they may become your fans as a result of the useful information you give to them.

The second best part about the Facebook-page-as-a-magazine approach is that it is easy. You don't have to create all your own content (although you should create some of it on your blog). You can make it a kind of Readers' Digest devoted to your topic. Gather articles, videos, white papers, news articles from the web and post links to them on your Wall.

Within a short time, you will have people looking to your page as a resource of really great information about a topic that interests them.

And they will become fans.

And once you have launched a successful page/magazine devoted to one group of your target customers, you can do it again for another area of interest.

If you are familiar with David Meerman Scott's concept of "buyer personas," you know that your customer base will often consist of a variety of people who want your products or services for a variety of reasons. Not all of your customers do business with you for the same exact reasons, and you will do well to understand their various reasons.

(For more information on how to develop "buyer personas" for the customers you serve, click here).

These various reasons customers may choose to do business with you may translate into various interests you can fulfill with different page/magazines.

Study real magazines (the paper kind as well as the online versions) to see how they do it. Successful magazines really know their readers. They understand what information they want to read and what problems they seek solutions for. You will seldom see a magazine talking about itself. It puts the focus on what its targeted audience.

Particularly, you will want to study magazines that target the same people you will be targeting. If there is already a magazine devoted to your local community, or to the young families you want to reach? If so, make it your textbook.

Study the people it interviews, check out the editorial content, look at what needs it addresses for its readers. Read the articles, the Letter From the Editor, and even the ads.

The more you focus on your readers, the more likely they will become fans. Not because your business is sexy, but because you are giving them content they really want and need.

And fans will soon become your customers.

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