Social media has made the power of word-of-mouth marketing exponentially greater, thanks to the nature of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social fans who interact with brand content display that activity to their networks, helping the content spread.

For companies, this is a huge opportunity; 64% of consumers in the US told Edison Research last year they are influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions. Close to half (47%) of survey respondents said Facebook had the greatest impact on their purchasing behavior.

In an earlier post, my colleague Mourin Nizam shared tips from Facebook on influencing friends of fans, particularly through Sponsored Stories and other types of advertisements. However, it is possible to accomplish this feat using organic content posted to your Facebook Page.

Use these tips and tactics to better engage your fans and influence people in their social networks on Facebook with your brand content.

1. Encourage people to check-in at your location.

Encourage Facebook check-ins for more engagement

Check-ins are a fantastic social endorsement for local businesses, as they tell the friends of the person visiting that they are actually in the store. Not only does this check-in show on the visitor’s profile, but it appears in the newsfeeds of their contacts.

2. Use Facebook Events and invite fans to join.

Create Facebook Events for your page around real-world or virtual business events. This is a strategy that should be used sparingly; fans will stop responding if they are receiving invitations every week. Similarly, there has to be a value-add in exchange for their participation if you want this to be an ongoing part of your strategy. Events are effective, though, as fan participation shows in the newsfeed and each can invite friends of their own to join.

3. Ask questions to encourage engagement.

Likeable Media has found that questions posted to Facebook can get up to 6 times the engagement. Ask simple questions that require a Yes or No answer, or create fill-in-the-blank questions to keep it short and sweet for fans.

4. Post photos and videos for Likes, Comments and Shares.

Facebook research has shown that posts with a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 200% more engagement, respectively. As people engage with this content, the activity appears in the newsfeeds of their friends, who may then engage as well.

5. Share insider information and deals people will want to share.

Give people content they actually want to share amongst their friends. This means something they can’t get anywhere else, or something so enticing they want their friends to experience it as well.

Expanding the reach outside of the Company Facebook Page following helps companies acquire new followers, build their social presence and connect with new prospects. Share your tips on building your Facebook presence in the comments!