Failure to Launch – A Tale of Facebook Frustration

If you have started a Facebook Fan Page, congratulations! Fan Pages can be a great platforms for interacting with your audience. Fan Pages can be wonderful tools to find new fans and potential customers. A Fan Page can be an occasional activity for your marketing person, or a daily obsession for your entire staff and “tribe” of fans.

Fan Pages can be launched with a bare minimum of information and engaging content.

DO NOT DO THAT. Seriously, don’t.

I have received four invitations to “LIKE” new fan pages in the last three days. One of them had only started a few days ago, but the description fields in the “About” section were all filled out, and numerous updates about recent activities had been posted.

It was ready.

It had plenty of answers to my questions: What is this organization? How long have they been around? How would I get in touch with them?

The other three all looked very much like my example image, which was actually taken from a page to which I was invited. The names have been omitted to protect the offending parties.

Your page is not ready!

Your Page Is Not Ready.

I imagine that the 38 people who have clicked “LIKE” on this page already know the business and the people behind it, and just can’t wait to see the valuable content and entertaining photos and videos that they will post at some point in the undetermined future.

Click this image. It will open a new window, where you can see it actual size. Please follow the big red arrow and note that under “Recent Activity”, the only thing they have to report is that this group or company just joined Facebook. I grabbed this image almost 24 hours after receiving the invitation to become a fan. I have no idea how long it has existed on Facebook in this condition. One might call this “failure to launch”.

You may be able to guess some of the helpful advice that I am about to offer. Please keep in mind that these are my opinions as a die-hard Internet junkie for the last 18 years, as a marketing professional, as an administrator for eight Facebook fan pages, and as a contributor to that many more.

FILL OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE! When you are setting up your page, Facebook offers 16 blanks, with prompts, for a great deal of useful information about your business or organization. Great stuff like your business category, a short description, a long description, your phone number, e-mail, and website. Did I mention that you should FILL OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE? Why on Earth would you omit this valuable information? These are facts that your members or potential customers will absolutely need to interact with you or make a purchase.

UPLOAD A PROFILE PICTURE AND COVER PHOTO. The profile picture (small square on the left of the top section) is a great place for your business logo or a professionally-shot photo of YOU. The cover image is the perfect “billboard” for you to communicate what you’re all about to your audience. Shoot something yourself, have a pro create it, or you can even select a very affordable image from an on-line stock photo house that will blow away your audience!

POST. Write some updates about the things that have been going on, or are about to happen, in your business or industry. Included photos with them if you like – they help to capture the attention of folks (once they are your fans). As they scroll down through their news feed, they will see one of your posts, click to read it on your page, interact with you or the person you’ve designated to post your updates, and perhaps even become a customer!

DELAY the public unveiling of your page, including inviting all your friends and colleagues, until you complete these important aspects of your Fan Page. Just wait to click “publish page” until it’s ready.

Initiating a Facebook Fan Page can be a great thing for your business, but it will be an exercise in frustration for visitors if you have little or nothing there when they click on that invitation to join. You know how you feel when you can’t find what you need on a website. You feel like your time was wasted, and you probably don’t go back.

They will feel the same way.

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