In order to reach your audience, gain followers, conduct market research, or accomplish any goals at all, you’ll need to establish a presence on Facebook. What sort of presence you create will depend largely on what you hope to accomplish, but the most common first step is usually to create a “page” (often called “fan pages”).
There are several types of pages to create, including
-brand or product
-cause or community
Pages are different from profiles for a few important reasons. Your “Profile” is traditionally meant for connecting with friends and family and not for business. Your “Page”, on the other hand, is geared toward raising brand awareness or promoting your business or cause. With pages, you can run paid advertisements, create special offers, analyze data and reports, gain likes/followers, and much more. Pages should be understood as a social avenue for you to build relationships with prospects, customers, and clients. Finally, business pages are kept completely separate from your personal profile and bear no public connection to you unless you choose to reveal such a connection.
Building Your Pages
When you first start the page creation process (simply go to facebook.com/pages/create), you’ll be prompted to choose one of the page types listed above (artist, public figure, local business, etc). This should be relatively obvious. There is often some disagreement about whether online businesses should choose company/organization or brand/product. In most cases, for online businesses, it’s the latter, but it entirely depends. It won’t make a huge difference in your page functionality, though, so don’t agonize over the decision too much.
Once you’ve chosen a page type, you’ll have a drop-down menu where you’ll need to choose an industry/category. If you’re unsure which category applies best, don’t worry – you can change it later. You’ll be asked to input a business/product name and hit submit. When you first arrive at your new page, it’ll be a little barren, but Facebook has made it very easy to start fleshing it out.
The first thing you’ll want to do is write a short description of what your page is about. Facebook only allows 155 characters, so you’ll want to not only get the main points in just a couple sentences, but you’ll also want to make sure you include any critical keywords that you want to be found for when people do searches. Keep in mind, SEO is still important for Facebook, both for its internal search as well as for your Facebook page ranking in search engines like Google. Consider using Google’s keyword planner tool to determine the best exact keywords to use in your description.
Speaking of being “findable”, you’ll also want to assign a unique “username” to your page. What this does is create an easy-to-remember unique URL for your page so you don’t have a long, impersonal alpha-numeric URL. In the end, you should end up with something along the lines of facebook.com/yourbusinessname, but this will be subject to availability and you may have to use something slightly different from your actual business name if it’s already taken (for example, if “TomsTomatoShack” is already taken you might have to stick a “2” at the end or settle for “TomsTomatoes” or something. Don’t worry about this too much. It’s not like you’re choosing an important domain name or trademark. It’s purely meant to make it slightly easier to put your page URL on a business card or to make links for your page look more friendly.
Next, you’ll want to add your website. From the options on the right-hand side of your page, click “add a website” and enter your main website address (or, depending on your goal, a specific landing page url). After that, it’s a good idea to add a second admin to your page. Even if you are the sole owner and employee in your business, you should still do it. This way if your page or profile get’s hacked (it happens) or you get locked out of your profile, you’ll at least have someone else who can try to access the page and do what needs to be done. This is a security precaution, so it doesn’t matter who it is and they don’t literally need to ever be an actual admin. Heck, this could be your grandma if you want. After that, you’ll want to “like” your own page so you’ll now be following it via your personal profile and you’ll want to make sure you turn on notifications.
Now you’ll want to start visually completing your page. First, you’ll want to add a square profile image. This can be an image of you or of your logo, or whatever you want people to see associated with your brand. In addition to being visible on your page, this will also be the “avatar” image that accompanies your comments and activity on Facebook when you’re posting/commenting as your business. Once that’s done, you’ll want to add a horizontal cover image. If you don’t have a horizontal image to use for your cover, you can either create one for yourself via a tool like Canva or you can pay someone on Fiverr to make it for you.
Finally, you’ll want to add a CTA button to the top of your page. This CTA button can be for booking services, contacting you, purchasing or shopping, downloading something, or even a generic “learn more”. After choosing one of these categories, you’ll have a choice of more specific CTA wordings to select from.
Once your page is ready and looking the way you want it, you’ll have an opportunity to start inviting friends to like the page or to start posting content to the page timeline.
One option for establishing a presence on Facebook is to create a Group. A Facebook group can be either public or private. These groups can be an excellent way to interact with your audience, share content, encourage them to interact with each other, and even start building a “tribe” mentality among your followers. Although groups can eventually take on a life of their own once you’ve got enough members in there conversing, posting, and asking/answering questions, early on it will be important for you to have a content posting routine to keep things fresh and moving. It may also be a good idea to appoint a moderator/admin to handle things on the inside. Be prepared: groups can easily turn into a second customer support channel and can also be a place where people think it’s okay to dump their complaints or criticisms of your brand. Be sure to keep an eye on things in there, try to foster a “positive vibes” environment, have yourself or moderators on hand to delete/censor any comments that might harm your brand, and make it clear to members whether or not it’s okay to handle customer service stuff in the group (it’s totally up to you and, in fact, handling customer service in groups is becoming a bit of a trend lately). If you choose to make your group a “no customer support” zone, just ensure you get that message across kindly and gently and use patience when reminding individual members about it. Remember, your whole tribe can see your and will judge you on how you treat members.
Creating a Group
To create a group, go to your Groups page and click the green “Create Group” button. You’ll first need to name your group. This can be your business name or a spinoff of your business name. For example, if your group is centered around providing special training or advice on using a product, you might call it your product name plus the word “masters”, “experts” or “ninjas” at the end of it. Each group needs to start out with at least one members so you can either add several members right there from the beginning or you can just add yourself for the time being and move on. The final selection is your group’s privacy status: closed, public, or secret (secret means it’s not even searchable or discoverable). You can change this setting later. After you hit submit, you’ll need to choose an Icon for your group. Just pick whatever seems most relevant.
Once your group is created, you can start fleshing it out by adding a cover photo and description. The same guidance for business Page descriptions above applies here more or less. Keep it short, clear, and include important keywords. As for the cover photo, make it horizontal and consider using Canva to create your image or hiring someone on Fiverr to make a nice image.
The final type of presence to have on Facebook is your personal profile. Although it’s true Facebook has terms that prohibit using your personal profile for explicit business purposes, to a certain extent. However, that does not prevent you from leveraging your personal profile in exactly the way social profiles were meant to be used: networking. Make it clear what it is you do and what services you provide. Make yourself findable via search, join relevant groups, contribute to discussions, introduce yourself and rub elbows as much as possible. In this sense, your personal profile can be an incredible resource for marketing and potentially even more powerful than your business page.
So, once you’ve established the sort of presence you’ve determined you need, you’ll want to start posting content. After all, that’s what this whole endeavor has been about. And it’s what we’ll cover in the next article.