Getting Started in Social Media Series, Part Three: Facebook
Many of the clients we work with are just getting started on Social Media. If they have used Facebook or other Social Media platforms at all, it has been only for limited personal use. In order to help small business owners get started, we are launching a series of posts, each of which will outline how to quickly get up and running on a specific social network. Businesses can go through these posts one at a time or pick and choose which networks they want to start with. With each post we will review how to set up your account and cover some of the basics for posting and participating on that network.
Our first part in this series talked about how to set up a Twitter account and then we talked about getting up and running with LinkedIn. This week, we're going to review Facebook. In particular, we're going to cover how to create your Facebook Page and ways you should be using it to promote your business.
Part Three: Facebook
Facebook is actually not too hard to get started on, and we are going to outline step-by-step what you need to do, but first, let's back up a bit.
What is Facebook?
If you're not among the 1 billion people who have already signed up for a Facebook account, then a brief introduction may be in order. Facebook is the world's largest social network. Started in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, it has grown from an exclusive network for college students to one that's used all over the planet.
In an earlier article, we examined how Facebook is used and noted that the average user has 130 friends (connections), and that these users spend, on average, over 20 minutes a day on the site! 57% of the users are female, while over 46% are over 45 years old. While there has been a lot of discussion regarding the creation of fake Facebook accounts, the fact remains, it's an enormous network of users and potential fans for your business. So, let's get started on your new Facebook presence!
Create Your Account
Just like LinkedIn, Facebook requires that you create a personal account before you will be able to create your Facebook Page (though these restrictions have been relaxed recently, and some kinds of Pages can be created without a personal account). Even if you have your Facebook Page professionally done, you should still have your own Facebook account. You will need that account in order to maintain ownership and control over your Page. Additionally, you must keep in mind that Facebook is a Social Network. The entire idea is that you connect with others and forge relationships. Business owners should be quick to sign up and begin connecting with people you know so that networking can take place.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/ and complete the sign up form on the home page. You will then be prompted to find other users you may already know by checking your email address books, which I strongly recommend you do. You will also be able to do this later if you wish.
Next, Facebook will ask you for more profile information. Again, we recommend completing your profile as much as you can, as it will help other people you know find you, and new connections will be able to more easily get to know you. Of course, you should give careful consideration to how you think you may use Facebook, and keep any aspects of your life private and undisclosed if necessary.
You will be prompted to upload a profile image, and we recommend using the same, professional image on all of your personal profiles for consistent branding and recognition.
Once you've confirmed your email account, your Facebook initial setup will be complete. You can begin to create friendships with other users. Once you do, their status updates will appear in your News feed, just as your updates will appear in theirs.
Create Your Facebook Page
At the bottom of each Facebook page is a link to Create Page. Click it and you will be prompted to select the kind of Page you wish to create. The choices include:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
For Local Business or Place, you will be prompted to choose a category and then fill in your physical address so that Facebook can locate your business and make it available to Facebook Nearby users. For all other Page types, you will initially only have to choose a category, though you will be able to edit address information later if you wish.
Next is an opportunity for you to upload a profile image, and complete your About section. These are critical steps that, while you can come back later and edit, need to be filled out as soon as possible. Your profile image should be your logo for brand recognition, and your About section should be filled with great text about what you do, utilizing your targeted keyword phrases, as your Facebook Page will be indexed by Google and other search engines.
If you wish to take advantage of Facebook's internal advertising to better promote your Facebook Page and business, you will be prompted to enter a funding source. We will be sharing more in other articles about how to better use Facebook's ad platform, and you should speak with a social media professional before proceeding with an ad campaign so as not to waste your investment.
Once you complete the initial setup, you will see an Admin Panel that will show you recent activity, traffic charts, messages, new Likes, and a Tips section that may prompt you to invite friends or other suggestions.
Keep in mind that when you're looking at your Facebook Page, you will be "using" Facebook as your Page. If you create a post, it will be as though your Page authored it. The top menu will allow you to switch back and forth between your personal account and your business page as needed.
Create User Interest and Engagement
And that's it! Your initial Facebook Page is now up and running. Before you begin to worry about Likes and trying to increase your number of followers, it's important that you take the time to add some value to your Page. Share links to articles you've written, as well as links to articles from other sources that you think your followers would find interesting.
Use Facebook's Timeline feature to fill in some of your company's important dates. You can start with when you were founded, and then add important milestones in your history.
Share great photographs from your business, particularly those of you and other employees, customers, and work you've done.
It's important to make sure that when someone does end up on your Facebook Page, they are greeted with information and images that entertain, educate and engage them.
Promote Your Facebook Page
Once you have some great initial content on your Page, it's time to start promoting it! While we don't want you to obsess over the number of Likes your Page has, it's definitely important that you take steps to add followers so that people will see your future updates.
First, make sure that you have links to your Facebook Page on your website and other social network profiles. Make sure that no matter where someone may be reading about you, they have an easy way to get to your Facebook Page and Like it if they're so inclined. If it will look OK on your website, the "Find us on Facebook" widget like the one we have to the right is extremely effective at encouraging Likes.
Include a link or icon that is linked in your email signature.
You can use the Invite tool to invite your personal Facebook friends and connections, if appropriate.
If your business or organization can find creative ways to use promotions that fit with the overall image of the business, contests can be a great way to increase followers and engagement. Here are 4 ways to boost your Facebook engagement with promotions, from Social Media Examiner.
Going Forward with Facebook
Frankly, setting up your initial Facebook Page is the easy part. Coming up with creative ways to use Facebook to promote and grow your business successfully is what can be challenging. Unless your business is already an established brand, you will likely be starting from scratch and will have to work hard for every Like and Comment.
Remember that the quality of your Likes is far more important than the number of your Likes. If you try to synthetically increase your number of Likes by purchasing fans, all you've done is increase a number on the Page. Few, if any, of your new "fans" will actually see or be engaged by your posts. Instead, focus on sharing great content and allow your fan base to grow naturally, and you'll see greater responsiveness.
Be sure to read our various articles on Facebook for tips and guides on how to use your Page. Pay close attention to EdgeRank and future developments as it's an important factor in understanding how you can get your updates in front of more fans.
And remember, Facebook is all about being social! It's critical that you do not try to use your Facebook Page as a marketing platform. Instead, your goals should be to increase brand awareness, create connections with individuals, and foster those relationships by providing value and information. If your Facebook Page is correctly positioned within your Content Marketing plan, it will yield great results over time.