The main reason they are great is because so many people are on Facebook, and when they become a “Fan” of your page, people will receive updates in their feed all about you, your blog, or your product.
While it is important to design your Facebook page right, it is also important to make your Facebook page a sub-community in and of itself by importing your RSS feed into your Facebook page, enabling video, photo and discussion posts, and, most importantly, changing your wall so that it defaults to posts by you and your fans.
The latter point is key, as Facebook defaults to hiding your fan posts, which discourages interaction, and creates a far more divided community (or, really, none at all).
It is changed by clicking on the “Options” button under the “Share” box, then “Settings”, then changing the first drop down option to “Posts by Page and Fans”.
Here are three common reasons why bloggers don’t want to embrace the community features of a Facebook fan page, and why I think they should get over it:
1. I don’t want spammers muddying up my Facebook page.
Most people use their real names on Facebook, and in many ways put their reputation on the line. Unlike YouTube or MySpace, this website is populated with real people with real reputations to uphold. It is possible to make a fake Facebook account, but this is a pretty big hassle. Really, if people hate you so much that they go through all the hassle of setting up a fake account just to “Fan” your page and write nasty comments or upload offensive photos, you should feel honoured to be so noticed!
Even if a spammer does go through this hassle, or some drunken idiot otherwise stumbles upon your page, you hold all the cards. Just delete the offending comment, photograph or video and move on with your life. You can also kick the person out as a fan (by bringing up the list of fans and clicking that little “X” on the right side).
On the very, very off chance this happens, delete it right away. Spammers rarely return, especially when they discover they had so little value from their efforts. (It’s like covering up a spray-painting job the very next day – no spray-painter worth their palette will want to go back any time soon, just to have their “work” covered up right away.)
2. I don’t want to lose traffic.
This is a ridiculous argument, and is getting more ridiculous daily.
The fact is that Facebook is the number one destination for a large and growing group of people. I’m pretty sure some teenagers think it’s the only website on the Internet. If anything, you will gain traffic from promotion on Facebook, not lose it.
In fact, you should even promote your Facebook fan page (and your Twitter account) on your website. The more your existing readers fan your Facebook page, the more likely others will find your page, and may, in turn, discover your website.
3. My blog is supposed to be the community, I don’t want to draw attention away from it.
I used to whimper a little when somebody commented on my post in Facebook instead of directly on my blog. After wiping up the tears one day, I realized that in almost every case the commenter wouldn’t have found my post at all if it hadn’t been for Facebook.
Similarly, I’ve had posts where quite a bit of dialog occurred on both Facebook and directly on my blog. I’d chime in occasionally on both, and include a short link to the blog comments for the Facebook commenters. This had a mushroom effect on the comments directly on my blog – something that would not have happened if I didn’t set up and promote the Facebook page effectively.
For many reasons, your blog should be the primary community for itself. Make sure you encourage an active comment stream on every post and page, encourage RSS subscription, and maybe even delve into other interactive features like discussion forums, but don’t underestimate the value of Facebook as a sub-community for your blog.
And don’t fear it, either. Facebook can be your friend!