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Tapping into the massive audience on Facebook is a huge opportunity for any company--which is why thousands of businesses have created fan pages.

Unfortunately, not all of them appear to know what to do with them.

Developing a Facebook fan base and keeping those fans engaged can be a vital part of a small business' social media campaign; here are some concepts that can help you do just that.

  1. Appeal to your target audience
    Facebook fans are clearly willing to endorse you, since they're linking your company to their personal profile. The more appealing your page is to your target demographic, the more those individuals will want to join in and be a part of the community.

    The Adidas fan page is a good example: their visually appealing and constantly changing page is a natural extension of their brand: laid-back, cool, and edgy. Therefore, Adidas fans feel comfortable being associated with the Adidas Facebook page.
  2. Trigger debate
    Spark a discussion on a hot topic, somehow tying it to your business. Everyone has something to say and wants to be heard, so why not give them the platform to engage? And when people participate in an online debate, they have a tendency to return and check on the other responses.
  3. Ask for feedback
    Fans feel more connected with a company when asked for their feedback. You can ask fans for input on things like a product, a service, or your website layout. This is also a great forum for you to get personal feedback in real-time.

    Red Bull's fan page is a good example of a company that uses fan input to create a dynamic page that stands out from other company pages.
  4. Update with photos, videos, and original content
    Original, interesting content will keep your users coming back to find out what's new, so update and refresh often. And of course, a picture is worth a thousand words--especially online. Facebook users appreciate eye candy that offers a moment's distraction from the day's tasks.
  5. Create incentive
    People flock to fan pages that give them a reason to go there: a sale, free products or services, and contests. Word of mouth is powerful on Facebook. If you offer something exclusive that people are curious about, they will want to access to it.

    A great example: Adidas partnered with MTV to create an exclusive Facebook contest where the winning fan received an all-expense-paid house party. Not surprisingly, the response was staggering. In this case, Adidas wisely teamed up with a brand that is popular with one of their target demographics (and also one of the biggest demographics on Facebook) and offered a prize that specific demographic would value. Further, it promoted the contest on its fan page heavily, both before and afterwards. It incorporated fresh blog posts, photos, and video throughout the contest, then it had the winner contribute to the page to keep the dialogue going. This strategy made people more aware of what the brand offers is about and how it takes care of its fans.

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