Facebook is so popular that business owners can simply no longer consider it a site only appropriate for socializing and game playing. In fact, in September 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in regards to the amount of time users spent on their site. Facebook states that users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook!With 500 million active users, Facebook is the new behemoth on the Web. With its popularity across diverse age groups, integrated email application, and new Bing search integration, a Facebook user may simply no longer need to visit Google for Web searches or log off to use an email application. They may be able to experience the Web fully all from inside Facebook. With more than 50% of the active users logging into Facebook every day, according to Facebook, Facebook is now so important to your potential customers’ lives that it make sense for you as a business owner to have a presence where your prospects are hanging out on a daily basis.Let’s clear up a few things that have confused business owners about Facebook. First, a Business Page is not to be confused with a personal profile. They are two separate entities and offer different options and ways to interact with friends and colleagues.Are Facebook Busines Pages also called Fan Pages?Many of you that have been using Facebook for a while will remember that Facebook used to call Business Pages – Fan Pages. Additionally, it used to be that someone “fanned you”. Now they “like you”. Don’t get confused in thinking that a Fan Page is a different product than a Business Page they are one in the same.All Facebook Pages start with the set up of a personal Facebook profile. That’s right, a personal profile! You can’t just jump to Page set up. The email address and name you use for your personal profile must be one tied to a person and not a catchall email like info. Remember, that if you have an employee set up the personal profile portion for your Page, that you don’t want them to tie the new account to an email that you will not have access to if they leave the company. If they do so and leave your employ, you could lose access to your Facebook Page, all of your accumulated fans, and information without recourse.For set up I typically recommend that one of company owners create a new email address specifically for Facebook set up. Once you have set up the personal Facebook profile, you are ready to get started. But, don’t take time to add information like education other details in this special account unless you plan on using it for your own personal use. You are just setting up this account to have a platform to launch and access your new Facebook Page. While logged in to your new personal account, visit the Facebook Business Page Link. It will take you to the Facebook Business Page creation tool to actually create your new page.On the right side of the creation page select under the heading the “Official Page” and mark “Create a Page for a:” and then finally select “local business”. Enter your page name and then tick the box next to the statement that says you are a legal company representative and allowed to own the page. It is important to understand that the name you choose for the title of your Facebook Page will appear at the top of your finished page.I recommend using proper spelling and no use of hyphens or underscores in your selected name. It used to be we had to enter hyphens or the spaces would show as non-HTML characters in the page name and URL, but Facebook has grown beyond that need now. For example, enter in “My Comapny Name” (note the proper use of spacing and capitalization), not “My-Company-Name”. This name will appear in your new Page URL as well. Once you click create, the next page you see will be your brand new Facebook Page. It is that simple. Later after you’ve had 25 people “Like” your page you will be able to select a vanity URL, but we’ll talk about that later.Do my personal updates show on my Business Page?After you have set up your Facebook Page, you can “lock down” your personal profile that was used to launch your Page. To do so, just you alter the privacy settings in the personal account to not show your personal information to others who are not “approved” friends.When Facebook was first created many business owners including myself, started with a Facebook personal profile for their business. Now that Facebook has created Pages, you can easily change the privacy settings on your old personal profile to funnel your business traffic to your new Facebook Page keeping your old personal profile now just for family and close friends.When you change the privacy settings on the personal profile attached to your Business Page, it does not impact who can view information about your Business Page. Just as equally, if you post pictures of your kids on your Facebook personal profile that is the launch pad for your Business Page, and you have your personal profile limited to “friends only”, your kids’ photos will not appear on the wall of your Business Page.Why exactly would a business owner want a Business Page and not just use a personal profile?Several reasons to have a Facebook Business Page are: the ability to contact all people who “Like” or who “Fan” you with newsletter type notes with one click, interact with discussion questions like a forum, set up events and invite fans to attend, and even create specialized welcome and shopping pages. Your Business Page can almost be a mini website!Creating your Business Page vanity URLOnce you have 25 people that have clicked that they “Like” your Business Page, you can select a short easy to remember name to use to promote it on your website and business card. You can have vanity URLs for both your personal account and Business Page.It is very important to understand that once you have selected your vanity URL you will not be able to change the name, so select carefully. Best practice tips for keeping your new Facebook Business Page updated.No one wants to be spammed, but sometimes new Business Page owners get excited and post what seems like a constant flow of information on their wall. It is important to understand that what you post on your wall is posted on the wall of the people who have clicked “Like” on your page. We encourage our clients, when they are doing status updates themselves, to be courteous and post about twice a day. Facebook is not Twitter and so 5 to 10 status updates a day could get you blocked or hidden by fans when they feel you have inundated their wall with your daily or hourly updates.ConclusionI hope that this white paper has helped to introduce you to Facebook Business Pages in a way that helps you to feel that you can easily set on up and have fun doing it. If you haven’t set up your own Facebook Business Page, now’s the time to consider setting one up. Facebook is only getting more popular and is actively seeking to woo the business community into their portal with demographic based pay per click advertising and the new integrating search with Bing.com.If you feel that you need professional help in setting up your page or maintaining your updates and to interact with Fans, we ask you to consider our Facebook service offerings. I know that you will find us responsive and affordably priced.
You’ve been trying to boost business with a Facebook Page, but you haven’t seen results. I’ve got some bad news for ya: Facebook’s grouping of related content may end up hiding some of your posts. Combine that with general anxiety about social media, a touch of cynicism because you aren’t quite convinced thisSocial Media thing is here to stay, and you’ve got some stale-as-a-saltine pages that are in need of a little TLC. I’m sorry to say I’ve seen way too many small business owners make the same mistakes over and over. They just need some design pizzazz and some strategy to give them a total mind and body makeover.But how many more articles do I have to read telling me how to improve Facebook traffic? I agree. I read A LOTof articles about social media and every time I’m about to click a link, I think, “Am I actually going to learn anything new?…Please don’t let it be the same, brainless crap I’ve read over and over!” I’m usually disappointed about half the time and pleasantly surprised the other half. So, my hope is to actually teach you something new and insightful that you can use to increase your likes and traffic. Believe me, these tips really work. But, you can’t expect to just sit back and wait for the magic. You have to become active in your social media strategy and make it a part of your business routine: Not something that you are addicted to and can’t go minutes without checking your Insights (It’s all too easy to get to that level), but not something that you can “set and forget” (wasn’t that from an infomercial?).And so, now, I present: 8 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Facebook Business Page.
It’s all about ME. This is one of the most prevalent mistakes. And understandably so. It’s easy to rattle off things about yourself or your business. We’ve been trained that is what social media is about. It’s more than just a big billboard for your business, it’s a way to help your customers and provide them something of value. Yet, we continue to blast everything about events and specials we have coming up. Those are fine to tell your customers about, but a rule of thumb is only post about yourself once in every ten posts. So what else is there to post about?
Once you make the transition in mindset from posting about yourself to being a source of information and helping customers, it’s amazing how many ideas you can come up with! Here are some to get you started:
Relevant quotes from relevant people. Throw in some humorous ones that reflect your personality from time-to-time.
Photos and videos of your business. Take a tour of your facility, show your process and procedures, make a video greeting for a holiday – it doesn’t have to be professionally-made.
Ask a question. Not just any question – something that will make people answer. We’re all self-obsessed, right? Speak to people’s egos by asking a question about themselves or their loved ones. Get them to tell you what they like or dislike about your industry and you’re not only getting conversation, but some good insight into your customer’s thoughts and feelings.
Be a wealth of knowledge. Post links to articles you find interesting. Don’t forget to add your comments to help people connect with you. Re-purpose material you’ve already created by making edits and present in a new way. Become a resource for your clients about your product, your brand, and your industry.
Facebook Houdini. We’ve seen these pages. The most recent post was from 2 months ago. Seeing this can’t make me click away fast enough. I know all the reasons people say they don’t update…I’ve been too busy, I don’t know what to say, Nobody reads what I post…there are hundreds of excuses, but the bottom line is: In order to do social media well, you mustpost frequently. Otherwise, you’ll lose loyalty.
The best way to post with the right amount of frequency and always have something to say is to use a calendar. For example, I have a spreadsheet where I indicate each day, what type of post (new, recycled, sharing others’, promotion) to be sure I am paying attention to that 1 in 10 ratio. I have a topic assigned to each week. Then, I put the exact text into the day it will appear, so that all I have to do is copy and paste the post. Since I know what topic I need to fill the calendar, I keep separate lists of quotes to use, and ideas for questions or articles to share. A good rule of thumb for frequency on Facebook is to post about once per day or once every other day. Now, there’s no more writer’s block when it comes time to post.
The annoying Page. You don’t want to be thatpage. You know, the one that posts fifteen times one day and fills your feed with content you really don’t care about. Those are also the pages that post the same content over and over. How convinced are you that the 20% off sale is really a desperate cry for sales when it’s been posted for the thirtieth time in the last three weeks? People like to learn about sales, but don’t go overboard. Remember: 1 in 10 ratio.
The planning calendar is also helpful to prevent yourself from being annoying. That way you’re sure your posts are scheduled in a good pattern and frequency to always keep your business at the top of your customers’ minds.
Leaving your Page on a stranded island. It’s easy to forget to link to Facebook from the outside world. Run through every point of contact with your customer. Do you have a link and instruction for them to like your page? It’s amazing how well this works. Make sure it’s included:
On your website on every page
On your business card
In your email signature
On your product packaging
In your email newsletter
On your front door
On your car
On your blog posts and articles
On receipts and invoices
People need to be led by the hand sometimes. No one wants to go search for you on Facebook and they don’t even remember to do it. Make it easy and right in front of them. Your likes will soar.
Being anti-social. One of the most important keys to mastering social media is to remember that it is social. Be sure to respond to EVERY comment that is made on your page. People like to be acknowledged, so be sure you show them recognition that you saw their post and they’ll likely post again, interact with your brand, and are more likely to buy from you. Don’t be a wallflower. Start conversations, be friendly, and make sure you acknowledge every attempt others make to be social with you.
Committing a Fashion Faux-Pas.This is my personal pet-peeve. Your image is the first opportunity you have to make a good impression about your business. But often, this is where business owners skimp and DIY. This is a big mistake. Your page needs to match your company branding and you need to keep your image consistent with the rest of your materials. Hiring a professional to design your profile says that you take your business seriously and gives you credibility. There are plenty of free tools out there that help you design your page, however, you get what you pay for. Good design is never free (read between the lines – free design is usually not good!). Think about cutting your hair. You trust and value your hair stylist has an eye for what she does and has a specialized talent. Would you ever attempt to cut your own hair? Or, have the friend of a friend who is thinking about going into cosmetology? You probably wouldn’t let yourself or anyone else near you with a pair of scissors who hasn’t had at least a few years’ experience cutting hair. So, why would you try to design your own graphics or take a shortcut in having someone inexperienced design them? Isn’t your image worth investing in?
If you need a resource for getting your page designed, Ekcetera offers a fantastic package for Facebook Page Design. It’s affordable, stylish and smart. It comes with a free E-Book of the 10 ways to increase your Facebook traffic. What better way to help out your page?
Being too professional. Most people who go into a business have a certain amount of fear in what they’re doing. We often feel like we have to act professional and that by doing so, it will hide some of the fear we have about our business. Unfortunately, this approach to social media makes you appear inaccessible. Social Media is all about tearing down barriers and stepping out of the professional cover. Let your personality shine. Don’ t worry about trying to sound so professional. People can be turned off by posts and profiles that sound dry and stuffy. They want to know the personality behind the posts. Yes, do mind what you say – if you wouldn’t want it plastered on a billboard with your photo next to it, then don’t say it – but you can laugh a little, have fun, and let people know who you really are. Make sure you include nice photos of actual people – they encourage people to interact with you. You won’t be judged by your photo or considered vein. It’s time to step out from behind your computer!
Your timing is off. Finally, the timing of your posts does make a difference. This, of course, depends on your audience. Generally speaking, if your audience is general consumers, early evenings and weekends are good times to post. They may not have access to Facebook during work. However, if your audience is entrepreneurs who are self-employed, you might get better traffic during working hours. It’s best to study your industry and use a tool like Crowdbooster, which tells you the best time to post based on past performance.
On the other hand, you might find success in posting during off-peak hours when there’s less traffic. Your posts are more likely to be seen if they are jumbled in with so many other posts. Doing a little research and testing is your best bet when determining the right times for your posting.
Work to eliminate these mistakes in your Facebook strategy and you’ll see dramatic results. Take away some of the hype about social media. Just treat it like you treat the real people behind the computer screens and you’re well on your way to becoming a social media master!