Since I hinted at this in a previous post about social media, I decided to expand the thought a bit and give you some good information on the process of setting up a Facebook page for your business. More to the point, I want to show you how you can make it successful.
Let me start off with a little disclaimer: if you clicked to read this post looking for a mechanical “how-to” guide that walks you through the process of setting up a Facebook page, that’s not the point of this piece.
The problem with that kind of post is that Facebook, as a platform, is in a constant state of evolution wherein subtle changes are always being made. Quite often, those changes are rolled out without any warning.
Things change so fast over there that sometimes, in fact, it could be mere hours after I create a post that something new gets rolled out, but I’m holding out hope that the below link will still be live and contain accurate information at the time that you are reading this.
I’m going to refer you right to the source when it comes to the “click here” and “type this” kind of stuff. That link will give you a thorough walk-through of the mechanics. The quality of the content? That’s up to you (and it’s what I want to tackle for you next).
DISCLAIMER: If you are reading this months or longer since it was published and you find yourself following a broken or outdated link, I apologize. Simply plug “creating a Facebook business page” into Google (without the quotes) and click the first link you see from Facebook itself. Typically, that is where you will find the most up-to-date information.
To give you the Reader’s Digest version of the setup process, though, you should have all of the following information ready when you start:
- A name for your page (typically the name of your business)
- An engaging image for your profile picture
- An equally engaging cover image
- A working knowledge of the role you want your page to play
That last item has to do with the type of engagement you are hoping to generate with your page. Facebook gives you a number of choices that you can then customize to best suit the needs of, first, your audience, and, second, your business objectives.
I would also like to mention something about the visuals before I forget: Your Facebook page is likely to be many users’ first contact with your brand. Given that very real probability, you want the things people see to create the best possible first impression of your business.
Remember first and foremost that this is a business. You want your visuals to be engaging, not annoying. You also don’t want them to be too “salesy.”
To those who have interacted with you in the past, you want the content of your Facebook page to be congruent with your overall brand message and be recognizable as such at a first glance. You can’t afford to have a different face (no pun intended) online than the one you wear within the community.
Visual media is, in many instances, the most important element to most content strategies, so choose yours well. Despite how well we know we shouldn’t, we still judge books by their covers; it’s just human nature. With that in mind, give visitors a reason to judge positively enough to still be interested in interacting with your brand once they find you on Facebook.
Avoid the urge to try coming across as “cool” or “hip” because you’ve been given the impression that modern media demands a modern flair. The things that most audiences demand these days are built into the platform already, hence the incredible and enduring success of the platform in general.
The thing about social media is that people are looking for an element of realism. They don’t want to do business with brands that hide behind flash. People don’t want to buy a product; they want to interact with a brand. Social media is about relationships. Your job is to use your brand to create meaningful ones that ultimately lead to conversions.
In short, commit to keeping it real. That goes for your visuals, the rest of your page content, and what you do with your page after you launch it. I’ll give some advice on that last bit a little later.
QUICK NOTE: If you don’t already have a personal Facebook page, you will need to establish one to create a business page.
Creating a Personal Page
Don’t worry about your lack of interaction on your personal page if you are creating one right now from scratch. While the information regarding your personal page is accessible via your business page(s), it isn’t obvious how to find it, and most people will never take the time to follow the trail back unless they know you or really want to contact you directly.
On the off chance that a few do, you can also use your personal space to advertise your business. Start by making all your updates on your personal page “friends only,” save for one that you keep public. In that one, you can direct people to your business page so your real friends can interact with you on a more personal level while the rest of the world gets directed back to the business.
If you decide to do that, make sure that the visuals and messaging that you use are also congruent with your brand message. Consistency is key to developing trust with new followers and maintaining good relations with followers and customers.
Populating Your Page
Now it’s time to think a little less about the mechanics and a little more about the quality of the content you present on your business page.
First, let’s have a look at your “About” section.
This one section is crucial to your ability to attract a local audience, but you only have limited space to accomplish this and keep people who find your page engaged.
You will be able to add other critical information (like your business address, phone number, etc.) as you build the page. However, you will get more organic search traffic if your “About” section is handled more like a webpage meta description than a social media bio.
Effective meta descriptions help nurture local SEO and make specific pages rank higher on Google. Facebook uses an algorithm that does basically the same thing but keeps the search results within its own platform. The more good info you have in your “About” section, the easier it will be for people to find you.
Here’s the kicker, though: You have to do this in 2-3 sentences. You don’t want a long-winded description of your business and its history here. Save that for your website. For your Facebook page, focus on the basic details but use a few emotional words to give it a personal touch.
Here is an example: “Situated outside the hustle and bustle of downtown, our artisan coffee bar at 219 S. Union St. in Springfield offers a retreat from the harried pace of the big city. Stop in for a cuppa this afternoon or join us on our live webcam at http://coffeespringfield.com.”
Not bad for two sentences, right? It’s descriptive, it’s succinct, and it paints a real, relatable picture of your business. It also has all the necessary meta data to allow local searchers to find you, and it links back to your main site!
Extra bonus: It keeps the focus on interaction and engagement, too.
The possibilities here expand even further. Over time, you might decide to use this space in different ways. Some businesses like to use the “About” section to showcase a particularly complimentary testimonial.
Some will even use the space in this section to throw in a call to action. You can direct the reader to your action button and have them “shop now” (or perform any of the other growing list of functions you can assign here). You can direct them to visit your website, as in the example above, and provide the link right there, or encourage to follow your page for instance.
Now, let’s talk branding.
I’ve made my statement about congruity with your brand message already, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Don’t skimp on content. Make sure it’s good, make sure it’s engaging, and make sure it stays fresh.
If your page ever starts looking dated or if you don’t keep delivering content that keeps your page in people’s feeds, you’re wasting your time. Even if you boost your posts or create ads from them, inconsistent, low-quality content will not engage anybody. It will also send the exact opposite message of the one you wish to communicate about your brand.
Oh, and about that content…
Know what your limitations are and open up the wallet just a bit to get some help with both quality and consistency. There are numerous agencies that can offer content creation and management services at reasonable rates.
Don’t think you can go the cheap route and have Daisy from HR in charge of your copywriting while Barry in Accounts Payable plays social media manager. Let your people do their jobs and find experts to help with social media.
At a minimum, I would have someone who makes his or her living managing social media give your page a once-over, but, ideally, you will go further by having a pro build and maintain it for you.
Facebook does an excellent job of guiding you through the mechanics of building your page, but it falls short of providing you with the tools and advice you need to maintain a successful one.
Choose visuals that mirror the attitude and atmosphere of your business. Do not try to put on a persona for your online audience. There is a reason why your business is successful, and that reason should be evident in the consistency of message you send between your real-life community interactions and what you present online.
Take care to ensure that you are conveying quality information about your business in every section of your page and that you are doing it in a way that makes it easy for people to find you.
Finally, if you feel like you’re in over your head, seek help from a company or individual with a proven record of success developing and managing social media accounts. All of the above make up the recipe for a successful Facebook business page.
Having said this, if you still feel unsure about how to proceed with your Facebook page, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or join our closed Facebook group for further discussions. 😉