July 20th, 2010
Well it’s about time I got round to writing a tutorial about Facebook as I’ve promised so many people that I would. I joined Facebook in April and have written a few posts about it since, mostly offering promotions for my fans etc, but never really disclosed that much information about how to set up a page for your business and how to manage it.
Please bear in mind that I’m no expert and I’ve kind of made this up as I went a long and I’ve made a lot of [sometimes irreversible] mistakes along the way, so this is by no means a Facebook Bible to follow word for word, but hopefully it will helps some folk out along their Facebook journey. I won’t go into the details of setting up a page for your business as there are lots of resources online that can help you with this. All I will say is that if you want to be able to interact with fans of your page and become a fan of other pages etc, you do need to have a personal profile in order to do this. I made the mistake when I first joined Facebook of just setting up a business page without a profile and this meant all I could do was post on my own page. I couldn’t search Facebook or become a fan of anyone and it was quite frustrating. So I created a personal profile and started again with a new page.
Googling about Facebook can be quite confusing as there is so much conflicting information out there. Some articles said I didn’t need a personal profile, some said I did. I found the following very useful:
Techipedia by Tamar Weinberg
All the posts about Facebook can be found here – http://www.techipedia.com/tag/facebook/
The Facebook help section about pages – http://www.facebook.com/#!/help/?page=175
Have a good read through these and you’ll be armed with enough info to create a really great Facebook presence. I’ve still got tons of stuff I want to do to my page, I’ve just not got round to it.
Create a good Avatar
I think it’s imperative to create a good Avatar, for your personal profile and also for your business page. As I don’t use Facebook on a personal level and only for business, I decided that both my avatars would be Milomade related. So on my personal profile I’ve created an avatar that is a medley of Milomade goodies. This image is 200px by 600px and takes up the maximum space available. I tried a similar thing on my Milomade page just now and it looked great, but what I hadn’t taken into consideration was how Facebook crops the image and makes a tiny version of it to place next to any comment you write, so I changed it back to be just my button icon. I’ve been a bit clever and incorporated the Facebook page background as I thought that a white square looked a bit ugly.
Connect to Twitter and your Blog
I installed the Twitter application on my Facebook page so that any updates I add to my Facebook page automatically get added to my Twitter feed. If you follow this link – http://www.facebook.com/twitter/ – you can do the same. Another thing you can do is connect your blog to Facebook via the RSS feed and this means that each time you write a blog post it will appear on your Facebook wall. Both these solutions mean that you have less work to do to get your information out there. Initially I was writing a blog post, then posting a link to this on Twitter and then visiting my Facebook page and doing the same there. Now, all I need to do is write the blog post and the other two actions are automated. To connect my blog to Facebook I use RSS Graffiti.
Utilise FBML to create a Welcome Tab
FBML is another great application you should install. It enables you to create a personalised tab and direct people to this when they visit your page, rather than taking them to your Wall. If you visit my Milomade page you’ll be taken to my Welcome tab. As you can see I’ve created a tab and styled it with my own content and this is all possible via FBML – Facebook’s own version of HTML I guess. There’s a great tutorial here – this is what I followed to get started with this application. It will help to know some basic HTML in order to add the content, but you can get loads of info online on how to do this, or simply send me a message on Facebook explaining what you want to do and I’d be happy to help you out.
Personalise Your Facebook URL
This has been a tricky thing for me to sort out as I initially tried using the Memorable URL application and failed miserably. I thought if I named my personal profile as Milomade that this meant I could leave comments on people’s pages as Milomade – I was wrong as this just relates to the URL of the profile or page. So this meant that I couldn’t use the same name for my Milomade page. I uninstalled the application and reinstalled it, tried to delete/change the name and nothing I did worked. Today I decided to search through the Help files on Facebook to find a better way of dealing with this and found this bit of info about your Facebook username and was able to set my personal profile username and my page username very easily without having to install an application.
Spread a little (or a lot) of Facebook Love
One way of growing your fan base of Facebook is by spreading a little Link Love. If you set up a discussion on your discussion tab and call it Link Love, they will come… Post all your links there and invite others to do the same. Basically me and my fans can go through the Link Love discussion and check out the different fan pages listed. If you become a fan of a page, check if they have a Link Love discussion going and if they do leave your links and then post a comment on the page wall to say you are now a fan. This gives your page a lot of exposure and connects you with other users on Facebook. The more you spread the link love, the more fans you’ll get! I’ve managed to accumulate over 600 in only 4 months! So, start spreading the link love! You can start from my fan page if you like.
Create a Facbook Badge for your site or blog
Another way to spread the word about your Facebook page and to grow a bigger fan base is to use Facebook Badges on your site / blog / shop etc. Visit this page and select which kind of badge you’d like to use, make it, then copy the code and paste this into your blog, or your own website or shop. I’ve got a badge on this blog in the sidebar on the right, on my website here, as well as in my Zibbet shop. You used to be able to choose to show random pictures of all your fans, but I think Facebook has recently changed it’s rules about this and the new badges don’t allow you to do this. If you want a badge that incorporates images of your fans, then get in touch and I can probably give you the code that I use and you’d just have to change which page it links to.
Do Promotions and Giveaways
One way of increasing your fan base is to run promotions and giveaways on your Facebook page. I’ve done a few of these since April. My first 100 fan names got bunged into a hat and one lucky winner got a % off coupon for my shop. I’ve also given out packs of badges as well as a whole bundle of stationery when I reached 500 fans. It’s a fun way to interact with the people who follow your page and a great way to keep them interested. It’s also a great way to get your products out there and be seen and this can increase interest for your website / shop / blog but also increase your sales. Ok so you’re giving something away for free, so be selective with your prizes so you’re not out of pocket as it’s definitely worth it, plus it’s lots of fun!
Let your fans know what you’re up to and advertise the fact that you’ll be at an up and coming craft fair or sale by creating an Event on your Facebook page. By doing so an Events tab gets added to your wall and all the events you want to advertise get listed here for all your fans to see – not only does this give publicity to the event on Facebook it will also allow people to spread the word about it easily too. You can add details of the dates, the times, the locations, maybe even add images (I’m not sure about that) and even send out invites so people can let you know if they are going to be able to attend or not. You can find lots of useful information on how to use the Events feature within the Facebook help pages here.
Promote Events and Stuff
One great thing about Facebook pages is that you can mass mail all your fans or a select group of fans about Events and Promotions you are doing. When I did a craft fair recently I mass mailed out information to all my UK based fans to let them know about it and a lot of them came to the fair and said hello and it was lovely to meet them and chat with them. If you’re doing a promotion or giveaway you can let all your fans know about it and hopefully they will spread the word about it too. To send out an message to all your fans, visit your Facebook page, click on Edit page, then in the right hand column you will see a link that says ‘Send an update’. Click on this and follow the instructions and promote away about your news, events and promotions.
One Last Tip
I just thought of something else I should share that will save you a lot of time and bother. If you’re going to get into the Link Love thing and start spreading some love about on Facebook, then I advise you to set up a text file on your computer that has all the info in it. This way you can simply copy and past the links from the text file into the Link Love discussions quickly and easily without having to type it all out every time. I have a block of text that is the info I use for Link Love. I also have a sentence and link that says that I’m your latest fan, that I use to post on people’s walls, so that even though I’m posting as Evie Milo, they get a link to my Milomade page. I’ve also got a sentence that says ‘Thanks for fanning Milomade’. It does make life a lot easier!
And that’s all I can think of at the moment – maybe there’s more, but my mind has gone blank. I hope that helps you get more out of Facebook. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions and I’ll try and answer them as best I can and help you out – bear in mind that I’m still playing and learning. If you have any advice or tips that you would like to share, then post a comment below and share your knowledge…
Now go an have lots of Facebook fun – that’s an order!
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