Facebook is now home to more than 750 million active users, and each month those users share more than 30 billion pieces of content, including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, and photo albums. But while most brands understand the value in establishing a presence on Facebook, the question we hear more and more is, “I know I need to be there, but now that I am, what do I say?”

In honor of Social Media Week, which starts today, here are five guiding principles for developing a Facebook editorial calendar aimed at building your fan base and increasing engagement:

  1. Invite your fans to participate in something bigger than themselves. Provide your fans with insider access and help them feel like they’re a part of something special. Ask their opinions, poll them, and use their responses to inform a business decision. For example, if you’re a retail company, ask for help naming a new product. If you’re a nonprofit, use Facebook to mobilize fundraising.
  2. Provide exclusive content that fans can't find on your site. Strengthen your personal connection to your fans by giving them “behind the scenes” photos, videos, or updates that aren’t available elsewhere.
  3. Feature your community and fans. Give members bragging rights. Do your fans or followers write about you? Syndicate one of their articles and thank them publicly. If you’re a retailer, choose a "customer of the week," or invite fans to take pictures with your products and add them to a community photo gallery.
  4. Shill sparingly, but give Facebook fans the inside scoop on new shipments, contests, or coupons. Your fans should be the first to know about new arrivals and deals. Provide photos when possible, and always include the related direct link to your site.
  5. Offer relevant and seasonal news updates. Set up a Google Reader so you can keep track of related industry or local news, then use Facebook to talk about it. If your company hosts a function, participates in a speaking event, or is covered in the news, be sure to post links and photos.

Just remember—once your brand is on Facebook, commit to it. Post frequently so fans know what they can expect, and establish a consistent tone and point of view that closely align with your brand identity.

Want to learn more? We’d like to invite you to get social with us. Table XI will be hosting a free “Social Media Best Practices” lunch-and-learn next month, where we’ll discuss best practices, moderation, and measurement of social media. If you’re interested in joining us at the Table, please Contact us, so we can send you details.

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