If you’re looking to launch a presence on Facebook the question invariably comes up: should we build up our fans or first populate our page with great content? My answer to that question is simple: yes.
Let me explain. Take scenario 1 — You have no real content, but decide to run a contest telling users that every person who “Likes” your page will be entered for a chance to win an iPad 2. Awesome, they say to themselves, “all I have to do to win an iPad 2 is press a stupid button, no problem!” Your fan count shoots up in a matter of weeks, the contest ends, and all of sudden your fans start to abandon you faster than Apple is actually selling iPad 2s because there’s no short or long-term value to being your friend.
Now let’s look at scenario 2 — You or your staff spend a few hours, days, weeks, writing or creating meticulously crafted polls, infographics, blog posts, open-ended questions on Facebook that your 10 fans see (2 of those fans being your parents). That was a lot of effort and time to waste if no one is going to see or read your awesome content.
So what to do? You know that you get fans with great content, but if you don’t have any fans to share that content, how do you grow your fan base?
The answer is actually pretty straightforward: you need to do both at the same time. Take some time and put together a few good Facebook posts, promote these to your friends and colleagues, and then run a contest (a giveaway of some sort is the most popular) to grow your fan base quickly. Just make sure that as the contest runs you continue to provide great content, and most importantly, afterwards, put together a specific message that tells all your new fans what they can expect now that the contest is over. Being a fan of a business needs to provide long-term value to the user, and if it doesn’t there’s no chance they are going to stay a fan, or engage with your products or services.
Building a fan base from scratch can be tedious work, but it’s worth it in the long run. What did you wish you knew as a business just starting out on Facebook?