BekiWinchel Beki Winchel is a social media PR consultant and freelance writer currently working on The SMC Matrix. Learn more about her – and follow her – at

1.15 billion users. More than 50 million pages. 699 million daily users. 4.5 billion daily “likes.”

The Facebook (or just Facebook, since it’s cleaner) has become a huge part of our lives. As a brand, you know the necessity of having a Facebook Page. But how can you get past just a page with some “likes” and build a thriving community on the social network?

1. Create and execute a strategy.

You’ll never be able to meet your business goals – or measure them – without a proper strategy, including good analytics. A good strategy will save you time and make your community growing efforts far more effective. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What goals will your community help you accomplish?
  • When do these goals need to be reached?
  • Who are the people in your community?
  • What information do you need to get to them in order to accomplish your goals?

Once you have a solid strategy in place, sharing content, reaching out to potential community members and engaging with those in your community all comes together.

2. Listen to and know your audience.

In order to really reach and motivate those in your Facebook community, you have to know them. One of my favorite quotes was passed down to me through a few friends:

“Love people. Get to know them and love what they love. Then they’ll love you.”

The only way you can do this is to listen. Ask questions! Show interest in your fan’s comments and concerns. Share pictures that they send you or answer an FAQ in a post so your community can see you care about them and what they think. Facebook’s new page analytics also helps by breaking down each post so you can see what resonated and what did not. Whatever they like, share more – and include a call to action (such as a question or request to share it.)

FBCommunitySelfPromote 3. Stop the self-promoting nightmare.

While it’s a good thing to share sales and other business news, you have to give your Facebook community something valuable outside of discounts and announcements. It’s not all about you!

If you’re stumped at how to share things that aren’t directly related to your brand, ask yourself (again) what your community members want. Is your business a restaurant that promotes sustainability? Share some organic news, tips for gardening and other infographics. Are you a sports team? Not only can you share information and updates about individual players, but sharing posts about fan favorites, tips for game day and other information makes your community valuable for more than what you can find on your website.

4. Use tools wisely.

Community management is a full-time job. And by full-time, I mean around-the-clock effort. There are some great tools out there that will help you schedule posts, build contests and measure Facebook analytics. Some tools – such as Hootsuite, BundlePost or SproutSocial – are cross-platform tools, while others – such as LikeAlyzer or Social Candy – focus exclusively on Facebook.

While opinions on how to manage Facebook communities differ widely, it’s a good idea to have a content manager (including a scheduler) as well as an analytics tool to track your progress. You may choose to use an outside analytics platform or use Facebook’s own insights and scheduling features. No matter what you choose, please remember the following:

  • Automate carefully. You’re not building a car, you’re building a community.
  • Don’t spray and pray. This is a horrible marketing strategy and it works even less on social media. Don’t publish all of your Twitter updates to Facebook, and vice-versa. Instead, ask yourself if the post is something your fans on Facebook want to hear about, and then write the post for them (remember, Facebook is highly visual.)
  • Keep your ear to the ground. Don’t just post and walk away. Stay to interact with community members who have something to say. If you schedule posts, check back throughout the day to see who is talking to you – or about you.

What other things have worked in building your Facebook community?