It’s no secret that Facebook has become the social networking darling of the Internet. The site claims to have more than 350 million active users, with the average user becoming a fan of two pages (businesses, groups, organizations, nonprofits, etc.) per month.
Having a Facebook fan page is a great opportunity to reach thousands, if not millions, of people within your target audience. Here’s a complete startup guide to creating a great fan page for your business.
- In order to begin, and if you’re new to Facebook, you’ll need to create an account on the site’s home page. When you’re finished filling in the required fields, you’ll be directed to your account. It’s important to note that this is your personal account, not a fan page (Facebook requires all users to have a personal account so “fake” users can’t overrun the system with fake pages). Your personal page should be about you and not your business. Fill out the personal page to your liking and start fishing around for people you know to become your “friends” — later, you can ask these people in your personal network to become fans of your business’s page.
- Once your personal page is built, there’s a link in the bottom-left corner of your screen that says, “Create a Fan Page for My Business.” Click on this link and you’ll be directed to a page asking a few questions about the type of business you’re in. (Also note that there’s a question that asks if you would like to publish the page. It’s a good rule of thumb to work on it first and then go back and publish when you’re all finished.)
Creating Your Fan Page
- Now that you’re ready to go, it’s time to pick your “vanity” name. This, of course, should be the name of your business. There’s a possibility that your name may be taken, but there are alternatives. You can contact Facebook and ask that a name be taken down if it’s infringing on your trademark, or you can simply use a variation of your name.
- Select a picture that shows off what your business is about with either your logo or something that represents what you do. For instance, if you’re in real estate, you may want to show a picture of a house with a sale sign in the front. Make sure your picture is a JPG, GIF, or PNG file and is cropped and scaled to 198 pixels by 126 pixels.
- Next it’s time to add substance to your fan page. You’ll see that there are a number of tabs across the top of your main page. Click on each one and do the following.
Wall: This is a place where you can update your fans with whatever’s going on that day. Place video, links, and other information pertaining to your business on your wall. For instance, you may have come across a video on YouTube that you found interesting and feel is a good example of what’s happening in your professional life. Stay away from personal beliefs and political views.
Info: Describe your business as simply and precisely as possible. Include phone and fax numbers, an e-mail address, hours of operation, products you sell, a company overview, and anything else that’s pertinent.
Photos: One of the more important areas of your fan page is your photo gallery, especially if your business sells products. Photos may be accompanied by captions and links to your Web site. If you don’t have any photos and want something professional, there are a number of royalty-free photo sites that you can use to fill in some blanks.
Links: Your links page is a very important area that should include a direct link to your Web site and any other pages or Web sites that a fan could benefit from visiting. Although your links tab is bundled with your other tabs, you can easily move it to the left-hand side of your page and into the “boxed” sections. To do so, run your cursor over “Settings” in the top-right corner. A menu will drop down. Select “Application Settings.” Find “Links” and click “Edit Settings.” Now click “Add” next to the “Box” prompt. Now you’ll have a links box on the left-hand side of your page that will give your fans quick access to the pages you want them to visit.
Facebook allows a number of extras and third-party additions that you can incorporate into your page. Here are a few popular applications that many fan pages utilize to keep their public clicking.
- Link to your Twitter account or other social media sites. Linking to your Twitter account is easy. First type “Twitter” in the search field — many other applications can be added and found this way, like YouTube, blogging sites, and more. Select the Twitter application, click “Add Application,” and select your preferences. Next log in to your Twitter account and choose to have Twitter update your Facebook status by allowing Twitter to do so. That’s it! Now your Twitter account will automatically update your Facebook wall.
- Create an interactive sidebar. For a more advanced look and feel for your fans — and to keep them coming back — you can add a sidebar that’s sure to engage everyone. With this interactive sidebar, fans can now find links to your YouTube videos, photo albums, and a number of other pages within your Facebook page. Blip.tv has a great tutorial.