Facebook is arguably the most effective social media resource for businesses and brands. Twitter has a lot of buzz, but Facebook has a whopping 500 million users, so here are some tips on how to attract some of those users to follow your updates on the world’s biggest social network.

Haven’t started a Facebook Page yet? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

1. Engage With Comments

Whenever someone comments on one of your posts, respond promptly with a helpful and friendly comment of your own, addressing them personally and reacting to what they had to say. Your goal is to keep them engaged and happy with what you’re putting out there, but there’s another advantage too.

Each time someone who has Liked your Facebook Page comments on it, that will show up in the update feed on his or her profile, potentially exposing your Page and your business or brand to hundreds of curious people.

To succeed, you’ll have to take every available opportunity to get your brand out there in front of new people.

2. Post Highly Shareable Updates

Don’t just broadcast marketing copy for your business on Facebook; that stuff won’t get shared by your existing fans. Every time someone who’s currently following your updates broadcasts something new, his or her friends see the update and have an opportunity to Like your Page and see your updates henceforth.

So share things that fit your business, but that you also believe your fans will share with their own friends — like links to interesting videos and articles, and cleverly-written updates.

3. Build Relationships With Other Pages

 

 

 

In February of 2011, Facebook updated Pages with the ability to Like and comment on other Pages. Like Pages that would be attractive to the sort of people you’re trying to reach, and interact with those Pages by posting fun and insightful comments on their updates.

Doing so will expose your Page to the fans of the target Page and you’re bound to get a few new followers out of it provided you’re going about it the right way.

Don’t post ad-like comments on other Pages — that’s a big no-no. Just keep it personal, simple, and helpful, and curious Facebook users will wander your way before long.

4. Advertise

Facebook allows you to buy ads that link directly to your Page, so you can attract new fans from all over the social network, even if they’re not directly linked to you through shared social contacts. The costs of these ads varies quite a bit; you can figure it out as you go through the process at Facebook’s ad creation page.

Facebook goes to great lengths to make sure an ad is not a total shot in the dark. Ads are displayed to users who have already Liked similar things on the social network, so they’re more likely to click through and explore what you have to offer than people who have no interest.

Note that Facebook fans acquired this way are unlikely to stick and engage as much as those who found their way through a shared social contact or focused curiosity and interest. Ads are a good way to boost your numbers, and there’s a chance that they’ll boost your business too, but they’re no replacement for the good Facebook practices we just covered.

That wraps up our four tips. Do you have any questions or tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.

[Image credit: Denis Dervisevic]