Deb Hall of Zur Designs has written this extremely useful article about Facebook. (We met on Twitter - proving that, as a networking tool, Twitter works)!
"The overall goal of a Facebook Fan Page should be to provide added value to your fans. Not only will this ensure that existing fans are active and engaged, it also gives prospective fans a reason for joining your page at a good level of involvement. The level of fan interaction enhances the overall viral nature of your page and ultimately increases your validity as a Facebook user (sometimes defined as social proof). Facebook gives the handmade indie artisan/business owner a chance to be up close and personal to those people interested in their work and to attract new customers as well…it’s word of mouth at the speed of light!
"There are many ways to provide added value for your fans. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Offer discounts specifically for Facebook Fans only use the “Send An Update to Fans” feature to broadcast your specials
Set up questions under Discussion Tab for instance, I have places where people can post their Etsy shop URL, their blog web address, their Twitter Channel, and the Facebook Fan Page. It helps fans that are also handmade artisans gain fans and followers and it helps potential customers find a group of very fine merchants to buy quality handmade products
Post your blog entries to your Facebook Fan Page I do this automatically with an application within Facebook called Networked Blogs. This application syncs with my blog and automatically posts to my Facebook Fan Page each time I write a blog post. It’s a real time-saver!
Cross-promote your Facebook Fans who are fellow artisans by either sharing something from your page to your Facebook Profile Wall or sending a favorite item from Etsy to Facebook. Commenting on their posts and clicking the “like” link also helps and makes their fan pages more interactive as well
When you post a new item or make any kind of post to your fan page, try to put it in a form of a question such as “This is a new design I listed today on Etsy, how do you like the color or photo or name of the item?”
"Facebook offers you an unparalleled opportunity to connect with your fans and
consumers. By maintaining a Facebook Fan Page and using all the available features, you can interact with consumers the same way they interact with friends and colleagues. Maybe some of your friends have already told a couple of their friends about your business but with Facebook they can tell all their friends instantaneously and those friends tell their friends…hence the phrase viral marketing.
"Keys to Successfully Using Your Facebook Fan Page
Personalize Your Business People ordinarily use Facebook to share personal information with friends. The more you accentuate the personal aspects of your business, your products or your designs and the person behind them, the stronger impact they will have on those who view it.
Update Your Fan Page Frequently Facebook is designed around providing new information and updates. So the more frequently you post fresh content, the more often people will return to your fan page.
Utilize the Dynamic Features of the Wall Tab The News Feed on the Wall notifies users what their friends are up to. When someone joins your fan page, News Feed informs their friends and invites them to become fans as well. This is key to spreading the message of your business virally. Additionally, there is a new flexibility on the Wall Tab to show a variety of information on your Wall. You can choose between News Feed and Live Feed Additionally, on the far left of the Wall there is a series of choices: News Feed, Status Updates, Pages, Photos, etc. By clicking the link “More” you can move any of these choices to the top and change the view of your Wall to view any one of these categories. This is a really neat feature!
Enhance Your Page With Applications There are thousands of applications designed by Facebook that you can add to your Page in order to tailor it to your business and industry. For instance if you have an Etsy Shop, you can add the Etsy Shop application. Just click on the button that says “Go To Application”. For those people who use ArtFire, there is a Fan Page that leads you to the application in the same way. Once you become accustomed to Facebook and the applications available, you will find all sorts of fun things you can add to your page! If you have expertise as a developer, you can even create your own!
Consider Using Facebook Ads To Target Your Audience These ads can be targeted to reach the exact audience you want and can be socialized so that users interactions with what they see can be seen by their friends and become as viral as the rest of the elements of the Facebook page. The key to Facebook ads is that you need to be willing to experiment a bit and rely on a solid base of users to give you feedback to formulate your advertising strategy.
One of the greatest reasons to have a Facebook Fan Page is that it is searchable by Facebook and non-Facebook users, much like a traditional website. Personal profiles are not (mainly for your own privacy). Other great reasons are: you can have an unlimited number of fans, it can increase your visibility, and help with branding your business. And let’s face it…in the end it’s all about getting your work seen and your page will be an integral part of your strategy to drive traffic to your site to see your handmade products.
If you are still unsure of how to get started created a fan page, here is a list of some resources that may help you in the process:
Rants and Raves of a New Age Chick
My Facebook Fan Page is: Zur Designs…when yours is up and running and personalized in your own very special way…stop by my page and tell me about it! Good luck! "