Stop for a moment to consider this – a Facebook ‘Like’ for a business or brand is now estimated to be worth approximately £110 in cold, hard cash – or to be ‘exact’ $174.17USD. The days of passing off Facebook as ‘one for the kids to play with’ or ‘just an endless feed of cute (or weird) cat pictures are long gone and consumer-facing businesses which aren’t harnessing its power are now, at best missing a large opportunity and, at worst, at risk of being completely left behind.

In order to reach this mythical figure, a US-based social intelligence company Syncapse studied more than 2,000 Facebook users who had ‘Liked’ a brand and took into account factors such as product spending, loyalty, propensity to recommend, media value acquisition cost and brand affinity.

Word-of-mouth recommendations for products or services have, for marketers, always been the holy grail and an endorsement of a product or service via a friend’s Facebook like is exactly that. We trust and respect far more easily those our friends do and when we trust, we then buy.

So, assuming a business has already done the work to set up a Facebook page, what are the tricks to increasing customer engagement and getting people ‘Like’- ing?

  1.  Be Clear

Businesses will commonly already interact with their customers in a multitude of ways; through their main company website to magazine articles or company adverts, show/exhibition stands, twitter and You Tube accounts, staff email signatures and even company business cards. Adding obvious references to the businesses Facebook fan page in and on all of these existing interactions can very simply and effectively build awareness and drive increased traffic.

  1.  Be Generous

From providing selective discounts, first-look new product demos or ‘fan’ exclusive content, making people feel that they are part of the chosen few and being treated in a special way will go a long way to ensuring their ‘Like’ and their loyalty. Commonly these types of mutually beneficial interactions can lead to users sharing valuable content with their networks which further increases visibility and reach.

  1.  Be Likeable

However tempting it might be, businesses must resist the urge to consistently blurt out the well-worn company sales pitch over the Facebook page. Consumers spend their lives being marketed to and social media is their play time. If a business’s Facebook page resembles nothing more than a thinly veiled advert, fans will steer clear and/or disappear faster than you can double click. Look to provide engaging, helpful, relevant, amusing, thought provoking, insightful and/or valuable information at all times. By becoming recognised as a lot more than just another bland, faceless corporation, you will not only gain new followers but existing fans will far more readily spread your news.

  1.  Be Clever

By using Facebook Insights businesses can analyse information gathered about how users are engaging with their published content. Are fans consuming content at work, on a mobile device or only responding to video? Are they reacting better to one or two posts per day, etc? By building up an understanding of what is having the most positive impact on users, activity can be tailored and streamlined to engage most effectively and have content shared most rapidly.

  1.  Be Creative

Like any other marketing strategy, one of the keys to success on Facebook is through consistent and positive visibility. Asking questions of existing fans is a great way to encourage comments and keep your post visible. Research shows that employing the words ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘would’ and ‘should’ increases engagement. Posts that include ‘would’ consistently see the greatest interaction because they allow fans to respond through a simple ‘Like’ rather than having to write a comment. Posed questions which enable users to display positive elements of their personality and broadcast these to their friends, proving their insight, thoughtfulness or intelligence can lead to high levels of interaction and therefore visibility.