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There's no doubt that Facebook has become a cultural phenomenon; spawning movies, custom apps, books, and even a phone with a built-in Facebook share button. While there have been plenty of blog posts written about how and why people use Facebook, we're more interested in how businesses can use the service.
Facebook offers the power to craft your brands image and reach out to the people who use (or will use) your product. When you think about it, a community of 800 million active users is a pretty good place to start fine-tuning your message, seeing what people are interested in, and getting some much-needed feedback around your product or service. Check out these “first step” tips below.
Making a Brand Page:
You can also do this to an existing Facebook Brand Page. Just click “Edit Page” and go to your “Basic Information.” From there you can also fill in all of the info that makes your business unique. Enter your address, hours, about, description, general information, mission statement, and more.
You’re also going to want to control your wall posting preference. Do you want everyone and their mother to post to your timeline, or will it be strictly a sounding off board for your company? Just click the "Manage Permissions" tab, and then select “posts by page only."
Another cool feature that Facebook Brand Pages offers is the ability to set a vanity URL. When you first signup to Facebook your URL will be full of letters, numbers, and zero brand recognition. This doesn’t make it easy for users to find your page. Instead, look into creating a vanity URL. For SureTech.com, we made our URL www.facebook.com/kickITtotheCloud. Not only is it easy to remember, but it mirrors our tagline and offers instant brand recognition. There are plenty of tools out there to see what URL’s are available, but the easiest is a website called Name Vine - it’s free, easy to use, and very powerful.
Facebook’s new Timeline feature now gives businesses a space to make their page truly unique called the “cover image”. This resides above your profile picture and serves as a way to streamline branding and connect with fans. According to a recent study, people spend more time looking at the cover photo than any other section of the brand page – so be sure to make it catchy, unique, and colorful. The dimensions for this image are 851px by 315px.
Switching up the cover photo is a good idea and some even make it a point to change it every day. You can create one cover image, one hundred, or one for every day of the year - just make sure you use the space wisely. You’ll also want to make sure you follow Facebook’s Guidelines regarding what you can and cannot include in the image. For some ideas on how to spruce up your cover image, check out Mashable’s 10 Innovative Uses of Facebook Timeline for Brands.
When was your business founded? When did you make your first sale? What about your first hire? Facebook Brand Pages now gives you the ability to highlight important dates, events, product launches, and any other achievement you can think of. To do this, click “Event, Milestone +” in the sharing bar at the top of your page (where you post your updates).
Once you’ve created your page you can populate it with content that will engage the visitor. The easiest way to do this would be to share business-related links, blog posts, and other posts that will get your visitors talking. One article from SocialMediaExaminer.com points out some other great ways that content can fuel your brand page fire, like including some how-to articles, expert interviews, case studies, breaking news, and contests.
One thing to keep in mind – don’t forget the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be focused on providing value to your customers, while 20% of your content should be sales-related and centered around your business. This shows your followers that you’re more interested in providing them with valuable insight while humbly promoting yourself at the same time.
Sometimes the easiest way to gain followers is by simply reminding them you’re on Facebook! Don’t forget to add links to your Facebook page on your website, blog, newsletter, e-mail signature, or any other point of contact between you and your customers/clients. You’ll be surprised what a little self-promotion can do.
Let’s say you have some content that you want to share on your Facebook page, twitter, and LinkedIn. You could go through the monotonous work of copying and pasting each article, reformatting, and keeping track or analytics – but who the heck has the time for all of that?
With social media dashboards you can tweet, post, and comment in a fraction of the time. These third party platforms are great once you get a handle on how they operate, but the learning curve can be a bit of a pain. HootSuite, Seesmic, and TweetDeck are some of the more popular sites that come to mind. SureTech uses Hootsuite because of its clean interface, built-in analytics, smartphone app, and message scheduling – but there’s always more than one way to skin a cat. Give these tools a shot and let us know which ones you like.
Since we’ve only scratched the surface of what Facebook can offer your business I’ve gone ahead and found some of the best online resources for getting the most out of your businesses page. Check them out and let me know what you think!