Successful Facebook pages all have the same eight characteristics according to a study just released by the Alimeter Group, but about half  of the major brands on Facebook fail to make the most of all Facebook’s available social features to maximise their page’s impact.

The report is based on input from 34 vendors, agencies, brands and individual experts as well as published blog posts, case studies and examples.  The eight key criteria for brands to find success on Facebook include:

  1. Set community expectations: clearly articulate the ground rules for interaction on your page so individuals will know what to expect from the community.
  2. Provide cohesive branding: create a familiar experience that is distinct for fans using Facebook’s customisable features and augment this with customised applications and tabs that resonate with the brand’s values.
  3. Be up to date: add fresh, new content frequently. That’s what people like about using Facebook.  And keep to the 80/20 rule.  Eighty percent of the content should be educational or entertaining and only 20% should be product and sales information.
  4. Be authentic: people expect to socialise with people on Facebook.  Write in the first person and use a conversational tone within all content.  Let page administrators engage with users personabley.
  5. Participate in dialogue: Two-way dialogue spurs interaction, trust and the spread of information.
  6. Enable P2P interaction: Harnessing the energy of the community helps reduce costs and improves the experience for all individuals.
  7. Foster advocacy: people trust the opinions of customers more than they do those of the brand, so promoting advocacy is essential to Facebook success.
  8. Solicit a call to action: invite fans to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Facebook content.  Ask them to sign up to receive newsletters. Encourage them click on product related tabs. The use of a conversational tone is key here;  pushy or salesy messages could impact negatively.