You've probably heard that success using Facebook is about engaging with your audience, but what does that really mean? Engagement doesn't just mean getting likes and shares. You have to build a relationship with your fans to really engage them.

How can you build a relationship with your fans?
A relationship in real life is all about give and take, so how can we translate that to online relationships between your Facebook page and your fans? It all starts with building a dialogue. There aren't any good relationships that don't have meaningful conversations. You have to ask questions, and want to hear the answers, and then respond to those answers.

Keep in mind, not everyone is going to agree with everything you say. That's another thing about relationships. There are always going to be some points of disagreement. It's how you go about responding to and resolving those problems that will determine whether your relationship with those fans will continue to grow.

Give to your fans
Make sure you're giving your fans something in return for their liking you. Share information with them, and give them your time and attention. Far too many Facebook pages are run by folks who rarely do more than just make posts and then leave. That's just like asking your friend how their day was and then completely ignoring their answer. Most likely, you won't have that friend for very long. You need to engage your fans.
If you can offer a special deal or inside information to your Facebook fans, that's a great way to give something back to them. They will respond with gratitude, and they'll also look forward to seeing your next post or update.

Don't be too promotional
No one likes hanging around with someone who is constantly trying to sell them something. The same is true on social media. Being too promotional can drive people away. Everyone wants to feel they're valuable for more than what they can spend from their wallets. Show appreciation when folks engage with you, when they share your posts, and even when they offer constructive criticism.
Every good relationship is built on a foundation of trust, caring and communication. Be open and clear, and you'll gain trust. Show fans you care about them, and they'll care more about you in return. And always keep the lines of communication open, even when you aren't hearing quite what you want to hear, because that is what a good relationship is all about. There are some people who will hack Facebook likes but they aren’t getting true engagement when they do this.
What tips do you have for increased engagement on your Facebook?
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Karen Barkan is a social media manager and guest blogger on social media topics. Read more and learn how you can improve your Facebook pages. 

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