9 Steps for Getting Started with a Facebook Page for Your Business
Not too long ago the question might have been should you create a Facebook page for your business. I think it’s fair to say that as social media marketing has evolved and become more widely accepted, the question moved to if not now, then when? If you’ve been one of the businesses that has put off the decision, you’ve probably gathered enough good reasons for developing a presence on Facebook. And you can feel okay about the decision. After all, you don’t want to be too cavalier about Facebook, since creating a page takes a lot of forethought, and maintaining a page requires substantial commitment.
Facebook updates appear in a user’s news feeds 24/7 so with Facebook you now have an extremely cost-effective and powerful tool for being in front of your audience on a daily basis. You want to make the most out of those opportunities and not squander them away needlessly. Here are 9 steps to help you get started:
1. Plan & Conceptualize
As obvious as it may sound, planning and conceptualizing your business Facebook page is the first step businesses should take for creating a page for their business, and often one that’s sorely overlooked. While Facebook is free and relatively easy to set-up, perhaps the most time consuming part of the process is the planning stage. You’ll see here in this post that we’re actually going to spend more time on step 1 on the planning and conceptualizing then all the other steps in the process! The purpose of Facebook is to interact and engage with users but before you get to that step you need to do your homework to make it happen as seamlessly as possible.
When you go to create your business page you’ll need to make a few decisions upfront in terms of the business category and the page name. I would suggest you map out this list below before getting too click happy. For example, once the page’s business category has been established it can’t be changed. So, if you decided you didn’t make the right choice first time around, you’d need to recreate the page. So grab a pen or sit down at your keyboard and go through these one at a time. It’ll help the planning.
Categorize your Facebook page by either 1) local business or place 2) company, organization or institution 3) brand or product 4) artist, band or public figure 5) entertainment, 5) cause or topic. Learn more about the choices.
b. Availability of page name
Make sure the name you’d like to use for your page is available, and if you need to truncate it that it will make sense to your users and that your company name will still come up in Google searches.
c. Page Components
Look at other pages within your industry and do an analysis of your competitor’s pages. What are some of the features you like that people are using? Take a look at the tabs. Some are dependent upon the type of category you selected and others are from Facebook applications. Get an idea beforehand of what you’d like to add. For example, do you want to link your Twitter account with your Facebook page? Do you want to import your blog’s RSS feed into Facebook? Do you want to have a tab for your YouTube videos? The more you know in advance, the better.
Gather your assets (company info, description, photos, videos, links)
Put together the content that you’d like to add, e.g. the company description, url’s, decide what you’d like showcase in the info box. Some company’s put a brief description. Some may use a tagline. Use strong keywords wherever possible.
Gather the photos you’d like to add. Decide how you’d like to organize them into photo albums by topics e.g. our team, product pictures, conference photos. Decide which photo will be the album cover.
e. Types of Status Updates
Determine the types of status updates you’ll be making. Will you add a link to your content and someone else’s? Will you be bringing in a video, or photos? Think too about what you plan to be communicating. Is it learning resources for your fans? Event info? News related to your industry?
f. Landing Page
Do you want to have a custom landing page? New visitors coming to a Facebook page can be directed to a customized page where you can have a video, attractive image with specific calls-to-action e.g. like our page, download our whitepaper, sign up now. Or will you have your new visitors land on the Facebook wall, info tab, photos, etc. This is an example of a a well-know brand’s Landing Page. One of my favorites!
g. Reporting Tools
Decide upfront too if you’d like to use a third-party listening tool such as Social Mention or Hootsuite. And who on your team will review the Facebook Insights, the built-in analytics reporting data? What will they do with the information e.g. share it with team members in a weekly meeting, email it to a manager, etc.
h. Frequency of Status Updates
Determine frequency for updates and who will be your page administrator(s). You can make a number of people on your team administrators and while it’s recommended that you post daily or a few times per week, you can then assign post days so you can share amongst your team. Always keep in your mind: is this the type of content my fans will want to know about? Is it a good representation of my business? Does it mesh well with the other company messaging we do on our website, email newsletters? While the Facebook tone and voice can be more casual and friendly than content on a web page you want to make sure it serves your company well. You can bet that even one tasteless comment or inappropriate reference will not go unnoticed!
Now that you have taken time to plan ahead and gather your assets you’ll know how to to proceed with creating your page. Make sure the page is off-line and not live until you’re ready to make it live. Facebook pages show up in search results (although it will take a few days for it to be crawled) you want to make sure it’s ready for public viewing. Plug in the information you’ve gathered and allow enough time to do this, check for accuracy and typo’s.
Add 5-7 status updates to your new page. Use a mixture of content. Links to videos, photos, blog posts. Research has shown that users tend to like videos and photos so be sure to have a good mix. This is also the time to think about what Facebook social plugins you’d like to have on your company website and be ready to activate the link when the page is published.
Once your satisfied that everything looks the way you want it to, publish the page.
5. Soft Launch
The purpose here is to get enough people to like your page before going public with it so send the link to your team, your friends and family and ask them to “like” it. This will help give the page the credibility you’re looking for before you do a more widespread public launch. It’ll also help get you the the magic 25, which is the number you’ll need to get your vanity Facebook URL, instead of the long string of characters which is the default created for a new page.
6. Public Launch
Here’s where all your upfront work paid off, you are launching a complete looking page. It’s an important part of your corporate identity since you don’t want the page to look empty or unprofessional in any way. Email your clients and prospects about your new page and ask them to “like” the page to. Send out an email newsletter and make a formal announcement.
Make sure your plug-in links on your website work, put the Facebook page URL in your email signature, on business cards, on brick and mortar signage, etc. Everywhere you promote your business and web URL add your Facebook page.
8. Page Updates
Now that your page is live, update it on a frequent basis. Decide whether you’re posting Monday-Friday, and the approximate time of day you intend to post. Updates do better when people are more likely to be online. You may experiment too. If users are more inclined to be on Facebook after work hours when they’ll see your posts then post a few for later in the day and be prepared to compare how days and times vary in terms of engagement.
9. Monitor & Be Active
Look at your Facebook Page Insights on a regular basis. You’ll receive a weekly email from Facebook but it’s always a good idea to go into the Insights reports more frequently to keep a finger on the pulse of your page. You want to know which updates are doing better than others in terms of likes, comments, unsubscribes. What have you learned? What can you plan to repeat? What are the demographics of your users?
Log into your listening tools too if you decide to use one or two on a regular basis, see what additional information you can glean about your page. Eyeball the page daily and be on hand to comment if someone asks a question. Or, thank someone for taking the time to comment. It’s also good to know when and if someone has voiced a complaint so you can put out any fires. Respond to comments, negative and positive in a timely way.
Once you do the upfront set-up work and conceptualizing about the messages to best promote your business, the Facebook upkeep will be relatively easy and straightforward. It’s a truly dynamic way to be out there conversing with clients and prospects.
Are you ready to take the plunge and get started with a Facebook page for your business? Share your comments below.