what happens after the facebook like?So, you click the “like” button. Now what? What does it really mean to “like” a Facebook page? Does it mean you really like the page? The brand? The product?  Or are you just curious? Or might you even be guilty of lurking?

What did or would you have liked to see after you click like? Are you wanting to be inspired? What will inspire you to read a post? Click a link or a tab? Will you ever engage with the brand, or owner of the page you “like”?  Do you remember the name of the product, service or brand?

The biggest question of all is, will you ever come back? Yes or No?

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a big button that asked “will you be back, yes or now”? My guess is a high percentage of the people who click “yes, I'll be back” in reality won't.

There is so much focus on Facebook “likes.”  Be our fan, like our page and the list goes on.  Many business leaders think they are making progress in social media if they add a Facebook logo to a print ad with the words “fan us”.  However, you visit their page and they have the courtesy 150 “likers” and little to no engagement.  How is that helping your bottom line revenue? How is it delivering an ROI?

A Facebook “like” is the beginning, not the end of a relationship.

Inspiring your audience is not an option, but a requirement.   Inspiring your audience to action, post “like” is the only way you will see a positive return on your investment.

A “Like” is not the end, it's not a check mark on your list of social media accomplishments.  A like is the beginning.  It is the first step the visitor has made in engaging with your brand.  It's up to you what happens next.

Will you pass the “after like” test? Will they ever come back? Who cares if you have 3,000 likes if they only visit your page one time? I'd rather have 200 that are engaged, commenting and telling their friends and family how great my products are than 3,000 deadbeats who never came back for a visit after the first “like”.

15 Tips for Post-Like Success

1.  Accept a “like” is just the beginning. Don't see this as negative.  It's positive.  A Facebook like is the start of a new relationship.  Treat it as such.

2.  Develop a plan. Just like with any other business, marketing or social media activity, develop a plan.  Social media is not a band-aid for a broken business, nor is Facebook.  Despite what the new intern you hired may have told you, Facebook will not magically help you become popular overnight. The best way to produce a positive return on your investment is to set realistic goals and objectives with a plan to get there! As Granny says, “plan yer work and work yer plan!”  Avoid random acts of  marketing (RAMs) and social media at all costs!

3. Develop an editorial calendar. This may sound difficult, but it's not.  No need to over complicate it.  If you're a beginner to social media, keep it short and simple. What are you going to talk about and to who? Avoid random acts of Facebook if possible.  At minimum create a calendar each week with key topic ideas.  This will help you stay organized.  Leverage a variety of different types of content to engage your audience. The editorial calendar and content should obviously support your plan inclusive of goals and objectives.

4. Know your audience. This is pretty straight forward and in reality common sense, marketing 101! Know who you are targeting and why. The more you know and understand your community the better.  Leverage Google analytics if you already have a blog to see what content is most popular. Check out the Facebook Insights on your Facebook page weekly at minimum.  Don't just read the reports.  Understand the data and how you can use it to better connect and engage your audience.

5. Focus on value. What can you offer your community that is unique, relevant and will help them professionally or personally.  Focus on being different but in a good way.  What can you offer them that nobody else can offer them? How can you connect with them personally and professionally?

facebook like6. Respect your “likers”. Just because someone clicks the like button, it doesn't give you authority to spam them. It doesn't mean they are in love with your brand or anything you have to say for that matter. The biggest turn off for me when I click like a new Facebook page is if the page is filled with self gloating and spam.  If this is what I see on first visit, I usually immediately “unlike” and never return.

7.  You have one chance to make a first impression. Do not launch your Facebook page and announce to large numbers of people until it's ready. It's best to wait until you have at least a plan and a foundation for which to build a community.  If you invite everyone you know and you have no plan ready to execute for engagement and community building then it's a wasted opportunity.

8. Engage early and often. You need to engage your audience right away!  Have readily available educational content, email opt-ins, videos, links to relevant content and sites etc.  Don't be shy in asking for engagement via appropriate invitations via polls, contests, video, graphics, RSS feeds etc.  Respond to people who comment daily if possible.

9. Brand yourself and your page. Would you create a website that looked and smelled like all of your competitors? I hope not! Your Facebook page should not be any different!  It should do more than speak the same boring language and host the same boring standard graphics as every other Facebook page out there. Be bold. Be different. Integrate your brand into the badge photo on the left hand side, into the tabs and anywhere you can. If you don't have graphic and design skills in-house then hire an agency to create a custom Facebook page for you.  They are not expensive and you will see positive return in short order if executed by a team with experience.

10. Create a custom Facebook welcome tab. With Facebook official pages you can select a tab as a default landing tab for people who have never been to your page and clicked “like” before.  Maximize this tab. Include a video, information on who you are and what you can do for your audience.  Include an email opt-in.

11. Create an experience. You want the visitor to think “wow, this page is really cool, I should bookmark this and make sure I come back”!

12. One size does not fit all. A “like” is going to mean different things to different folks.  You probably have some “likers” who truly like or love you. You'll have some who are on the border line of decision and some who aren't quite sure yet.  They will be visiting at all different times of day, in different moods and seeking different content and connection.  Include a variety of different content and information.  Do more than post links. Some people may need inspired with a quote. Others may be attracted to video, contests or polls.  Most all visitors will want to be educated so don't forget to include real business nuggets that educate and help people grow professionally and personally.  By varying the types of content you post, you will increase your chances of engagement and action by your audience.

13.  Make it fun! Bottom line, people want to be inspired. They want to be entertained. They want to be educated. Give them something they will remember. Don't consistently post boring business links with no commentary or boring business speak commentary.  Throw a dash of personality in and content that is out of the box.

14.  Be professional. Remember, although you may be tightly connected with a good majority of your audience don't forget you are still conducting business. I have seen some Facebook pages lately filled with immature content.  In extreme cases I've seen some posts I wouldn't want my mama' to see. Use the mama' test.  If you wouldn't want your mama' to see a video or other content, then by all means do not post it on your Facebook business page wall!

15.  Do not put the page on auto pilot. The worst thing you could do is put the page on auto pilot filled with nothing more than RSS feeds, auto Twitter tweets and Networked blog posts.  Keep a close eye on the tools you integrate and setup for auto posting to your page.  It's easy to get ahead of yourself and wind up with a page filled with nothing but auto posts that often times begin to look like spam to a user who doesn't know you.

16. Don't be shy about inviting them into your community. Invite them to subscribe to the RSS feed for your blog.  Do not hesitate to make it easy for them to join you on Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social network where you actively engage for business.  Give them a reason to join you on another platform.  For example start a discussion on Facebook, continue it on LinkedIn question and answer section. I have met some amazing people doing such.

17.  Facebook is not the only social network. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket.  Do your research and determine what other social networks will best provide a positive return on your investment.  Focus on one or two others such as Twitter and LinkedIn.  Leverage the relationships you build on Facebook to grow them further or connect in different ways on other platforms. Every social network offers a different tone, and different ways that people engage.  Some people are more comfortable commenting on a post on your blog or LinkedIn.  While others may prefer to Tweet with you and communicate via Facebook.

18. If at first you don't succeed, try again, then get help! If the goin' gets tough in the beginning, don't give up! Many people struggle with gaining momentum with a new Facebook page.  Communicate with your audience. Ask them what they want and need.  Try new and different content, strategies and tactics to obtain their interest and engagement.  If you are consistent, you'll eventually figure it out.  If you see early on, it's simply not working then don't hesitate to hire an outside social media marketing agency or consultant.  When doing such, make sure you look past the pretty pictures and are hiring someone that can help you drive engagement and real action aligned with your business goals. At minimum they should already have conquered and fled past the 150 courtesy likes on their own Facebook page.  If they can't get their own audience to engage how are they going to help you?

19.  Set your page up according to Facebook Terms and Conditions. I am in shock how many social media consultants are still suggesting their clients setup two personal profiles and run one as a business profile.  This is in direct conflict with Facebook Terms and Conditions.  Facebook has the right and has been known to delete accounts setup in such a way.   The easiest way to tell if a business is breaking the terms is if they ask you to be a “friend”.  Businesses should only be able to have “likers”, not “friends”.  This is important and presents privacy risks if not managed correctly.  Remember this also when you accept friend requests from a business breaking such rules.  Do you really know who is behind the Facebook wheel of a local business? It could be a neighbor, intern or son or daughter. Use common sense. When you accept a friend request from a business who is not adhering to Facebook Terms, you are opening up your personal data to the new friended business based upon the your Facebook privacy settings.

20. Be real! There is only one you. Be that person.  Don't pretend to be something that you aren't.

Your Turn

What type of results are you seeing with your Facebook page? Have you been able to get past the 100-150 courtesy likes from your warm market of family and friends? Is your audience engaging? Or are you stuck? Do you have tips for success you can share and help others?