The No. 1 rule in all social media is to create compelling content. Beyond that, there are a number of additional ways to get people to hit the like button for your Facebook page. Here are a dozen. Tell us what works for you.
1. Interact with your fans: Respond to comments. Post questions, contests, humor. Each time someone comments on one of your posts, or hits the “like” button, their friends become aware of your page.
2. Tell them who you are: A big mistake made by many, if not most, law enforcement agencies is not letting fans know who the people behind the posts are. I like to recommend agencies have their members post as themselves with their police photo included. Also, consider adding an addition tab letting people know who runs your page.
3. Create a welcome page: A welcome page takes people who haven’t liked your page yet to a custom welcome page rather than to your wall. While you’re at it, put a welcome video in there from your Chief. Creating a welcome page requires adding a custom tab.
4. Use widgets on your website: There are many free plugins you can use on your website to make it easy for people to like your page. Some will display your current stream. Others will show a selection of your fans, or simply just provide a button to like your page from your website.
5. Status tagging: By using the @ symbol in your updates, followed by a person or business name, you’re sending that post to the page of the person or business. As law enforcement agencies, be careful about how you use this, but it can be very effective at getting more eyeballs to your page.
6. Post pictures: Especially pictures of your K-9s, action shots, helicopters, etc. Fans love to see images of cops doing what they do.
7. Use Facebook ads: Running an ad on Facebook is super easy and inexpensive. You can specify a cap on what you spend down to very low amounts. Facebook allows you to zero in on any demographic via their interests, where they live, age, etc.
8. Maintain consistency: Create a posting schedule to assist you in getting something posted regularly. The main thing is to post on a regular basis to keep reminding people that you’re there and you’re paying attention to your page.
9. E-mail signature: Add your Facebook address (assuming you’ve set a custom name) to the e-mail signature for every member of your department. In fact, all your social media profiles should consistently be distributed this way.
10. Print collateral: Put your Facebook URL, and all your other department social media addresses on every piece of print media you create including brochures, business cards, letterhead, posters and newsletters.
11. Create a poll: Find a free application to post polls for your fans to participate with. People love to vote and see how others voted on controversial or otherwise interesting topics.
12. Link to Twitter: I never suggest sending tweets to Facebook, but sending Facebook posts to your Twitter stream is fine, and it’s an effective way to get Twitter followers to join you on another platform.
What's worked for your agency? Please add your tip in the comments section so we can all learn from your success.
Want to learn more about social media, the Internet and law enforcement? Attend the SMILE Conference, which will be hosted by the Dallas Police Department, Sept. 28-30. One full day will be spent on public order, social activism and the changing relationship with traditional media. To learn more or to register, click here.