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Getting involvement on your Facebook fan page

The best way to get involvement on your Facebook fan page is to use the Socratic Method from about 300 B.C. You know, the latest thing!

The Socratic Method of teaching is to avoid lecturing, but instead guide a class along by asking questions and getting involvement. If you are a teacher, you know that. If you think back fondly to a teacher, he or she probably used that technique. Poor teachers just stand up there and lecture, lecture, lecture. Great teachers involve their students. Great Facebook fan pages involve their readers.

If you are fortunate to have someone in your company with a teaching background to help set up your Facebook fan page, it should be Socratic. But be very careful here - it's not easy! If you don't know what you are doing, it can have a very negative backlash effect.

A Facebook fan page should work like a classroom discussion. The teacher steps in only to moderate, the actual content is being shared by peers. This is for an advanced class, which is what your Facebook page is. People who join in on the discussion will create the content. But only if you are treating them with respect. And people can be very, very skittish about this!

Obviously, you want to ask questions that will lead to discussion. But saying something like *Chick peas - they are neither chicks, nor peas, discuss* is just a turn-off. A gentle tone can very quickly turn into a condescending one, so watch out! If you have any doubt about using the Socratic Method, go back to plain lecturing. And if someone starts posting heckling comments, as students do in an actual classroom, you can delete them (the comment, not the student).

So this is how you do it

• Ask questions. But again, be careful here. Asking a question that is obviously looking for an answer you want will offend people, and they will just politely ignore you. For example, don't ask *Why does everyone think our product or service is so great?* The less polite people will throw some snarky comments at you - and you deserve it for that.

• Encourage. Thank people for their comments. And then ask what everyone else thinks? Everyone who has ever posted a comment on a blog, forum, or on Facebook has been nervous that what they said might have been stupid. Give encouragement! There are a thousand different ways to do this - find them!

• Step back. Unless things are getting way out of control, stay out of the discussion. Shut up.

• When the discussion on a particular topic starts to end, start a new one. Repeat.