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1Creating the page

The technical side of creating a page is as simple as pointing your browser to the Facebook "create page" applications (http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php), choosing an industry, entering your business name and clicking "create page." The page will automatically appear, ready to be populated. That is only the first step in building a successful page, however.

2Tell everyone

Once the page is created, don’t keep it a secret. Tell everyone you know about your new Facebook fan page. The first fans will likely be friends, family members and employees, but soon your regular customers will start appearing, followed by others who find your page because they need your services.

3Post interesting content

Although the page’s purpose is to act as a marketing vehicle for your business, the average person is tired of being given the hard sell pitch. Post content of interest to the type of customer you have and want to attract, whether it’s links to articles or your company’s blog (you have one, right?), helpful technology tips or useful facts.

4Establish a rapport

Social media marketing is all about being part of a community and engaging with others. Don’t broadcast just company promotions. Discuss issues, offer solutions to problems and interact. A good Facebook fan page has a lot of interaction, said Susan Payton, managing partner of Egg Marketing & Public Relations.

5Post well, post often

Facebook has more than 400 million users. Many of them visit the site every single day, and they’ll see updates on their news feeds. Post content of interest, but do it often. John Neely, owner of South Shore Computer Repair, recommends posting at least twice a day early on. Increase that if you can.

6Connect your Twitter account

If you have a Twitter account, updating your Facebook fan page is even easier. Link your Twitter and Facebook accounts so every time you tweet, your Facebook page is updated, as well. Don’t forget to tweet often.

7Keep it professional

Facebook may be a social networking site, but you need to look and act in a professional manner. Don’t post anything that you feel could be detrimental to your business. Put your best foot forward.

8Add some personality

People like people, and they want to do business with people they like. Injecting your company’s personality into the fan page will make you seem more human and less like a faceless corporation. Have some fun with it.

9Put up some photos

The written word can add some personality to a fan page, but a photo is worth 1,000 words. Whether it’s photos of yourself, your staff, your office or storefront, or of your booth at a trade show, pictures will add more personality and likeability to your fan page, said Laura Lake, a marketing consultant and author of Consumer Behavior for Dummies.

10Dont be phony

Trying too hard can be as harmful as not trying hard enough. People can spot a phony pretty quickly, so don’t come across as the stereotypical used car salesman.

11Track your success

Facebook is one of the top three referrers of web traffic, and that traffic can (and should be) tracked, Payton said. Many companies neglect to use tools such as Google Analytics to track the success of their Facebook fan page. Find out how many people are being driven from your fan page to your website.

12Have some patience

Success won’t come overnight. Building the relationships on Facebook to generate new business will take three to six months, and the big gains may be even further out. Keep focused and be consistent, and eventually someone (or many someone’s) will be in touch, mentioning how they saw your Facebook fan page and want to use your services.