Literally in every GovLoop live chat, online training, or speech I give, I always get two questions "What are tips to having a large and successful Facebook page?" and "What is a good example of a government Facebook page?"
*****This is draft 3 with comments incorporated (thanks everyone) - leave comments for me and I'll incorporate and hopefully we'll have an awesome starting article for everyone in gov't starting a government facebook page.****
Here's my basics on getting set-up
1) Technical set-up:
Profile Pic and Name
It's suggested to not use the official agency seal but a compelling picture. See City of Reno's picture to the left.
It's also been suggested to do the same with names. People identify more with Coventry City than Coventry City Council
In your Managing permissions for your Facebook page, it looks like this
-Make default landing on your wall not information tab. People want to see the content right away
Make sure default view on wall is to show posts just from the Page not everyone. If you include everyone you'll get a lot of garbage. See facebook.com/usagov picture on left (**Note - for less popular pages, it may be okay to show posts from everyone to be more engaging-depends on quality and quantity of comments**)
As Kristy at Reno suggested,
the "Info" tab on FB now has a General Information box, where you can also post comment policy
The biggest key to a successful Facebook page is to have regular and compelling content
The White House has a great Facebook page and uses all types of content from pure text (the top update) to photo to videos (at bottom)
People often wonder how often you should post a day/week - People from NASA to CDC to White House seem to post approximately 1 to 4X/day.
Here's an example from CDC posting 3X in one day
3) Promote/promote -
People often miss this super key piece. Just cause you have a FB page doesn't mean anyone will subscribe. You have to promote it a lot.
You have to make it prominent on your home page. See CDC.gov below
You have to push it in other channels. For example, in the bottom of every email, you should have a "friend us on Facebook" like below
Another way you can get more people to join your Fan page is if you simply put posters or a big sign in your lobby encouraging people to join your Fan page and giving them the URL and list the benefits of why they should join. An example of a sticker is to the left
4) Measure -
It automatically sets up and you can see it in your manage permissions. But also should send you a monthly update.
They look like the picture on left
For many federal agencies and state/local government, they need to archive Facebook posts and comments for record retention laws. Some people use companies like Backupify.com or GovVault to achieve this. Bellingham, WA created a script to achieve this that people can download - http://www.cob.org/data/facebook/index.aspx.
If you really want to take it to the next level and increase followers, you can use Facebook's awesome advertising tool
You can target in a lot of different ways.
You can target by an interest - such as environment for EPA.
You can target by location if you are a city looking for fans.
You can target users who are friends with members of your page already (more likely to join).