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“Want to turn “lurkers” into active participants on your Facebook page? Learn what it takes to really connect with your Facebook visitors.”

Getting more “active” fans on Facebook isn’t all that complicated, but it does depend upon your definition of “active.” For me, “active” means people who visit and read the content there, whether that be informational, thought leadership, event-related content or conversation.

What most business owners don’t realize is that those who simply visit and read—aka, the lurkers—are the ones who are really important to scale. While they might not participate directly, they do so vicariously through the visitors who do participate and via the content they come to see.

Attracting Attention

To get people to visit your Facebook page more often, you have to give them a reason to be there by adding value in one form or another, by interacting and engaging with those who visit, and by building relationships. Empower your employees to help you scale your content and conversation, and for heaven’s sake, make it a requirement for, or incentivize, as many employees as possible, especially those in the marketing department, to visit the pages of your fans, get inside their heads a bit, and report back about what they’re talking about and what’s of interest to them. Do this with your competitors as well.

Have employees link to your Facebook page in the “About” section of their own Facebook profiles. Seek out groups that fit your company niche and encourage employees to join. You’re doing this not to spam others with your messaging but to find ways to contribute, answer questions, share expertise and learn.

I’ve been asked by a lot of people how they can be more successful in building relationships on social channels and on Facebook in particular. And the one thing that keeps coming to the surface is the importance of being “present” when you’re being “social.”

You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their device—basically looking anywhere except at you? Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.

The same principles apply to online social relationships, so I’m a big proponent of doing what I call “looking people in the eye digitally.” To get the most out of Facebook requires the same personal attention as the human touch and eye contact in a physical relationship.

So participate by actively engaging on your followers’ pages, not just on yours, and show real interest. Look your audience in the eye digitally, and let them know you’re interested.

Photo: iStockphoto

Originally posted AUGUST 5, 2014 American Express Open Forum blog

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