If you’re still holding out on creating a Facebook page for your business, the reasons to reconsider your position are multiplying fast. Here are just two: Nearly 9 million small businesses use Facebook to build consumer awareness for their brands and services, and a whopping 86 percent deem them their most effective tool for engaging with customers.
There’s a strong motivation for these numbers. If your company is trying to market goods and services through a consumer-facing web or e-commerce site, a Facebook page will almost certainly improve your internet search results.
You often see public figures such as journalists, celebrities, and business leaders use their profile pages to communicate with both “real” acquaintances and total strangers who might be fans of their work. They do this by making their profile “public” and allowing subscribers to read what they are posting. But Facebook frowns on using profiles for commercial purposes and reserves the right to remove those that cross the line. That’s where the Page structure comes in, allowing your business to be exposed to the Facebook audience in the way you see fit (and Facebook allows).
Convinced? Here are 10 steps for creating a Facebook page:
- Set up a personal Facebook account (if you don’t already have one). Scrutinize your privacy settings and review your criteria for who you will accept as friends. Chances are, once you start a page for your company, total strangers will send you friend requests. Be careful about the ones you authorize.
- Navigate to the Create a Page link, where you will be presented with six main categories. Pick the one that best describes your organization from these choices: Local Business or Place; Company, Organization, or Institution; Brand or Product; Artist, Band, or Public Figure; Entertainment; and Cause or Community. You can get to this link by clicking on the dedicated Pages section in the left-hand navigation bar on your Facebook profile’s Home page. You can edit the category for your page later, as your business evolves.
- Choose a name for your Facebook page. Once you have selected a category, you will be prompted to pick a name. You might simply echo your official name. I’ll use an example from my hometown, Legends Steakhouse. You might need to alter the name slightly, if a business somewhere else in the Facebook social world has a similar or the same identity. So, you probably should do some soul (and Facebook) searching to see what others are doing. Be careful with picking a name: This choice is irreversible once you have more than 100 page fans. It will also be part of the URL of your Facebook page, which is important for SEO reasons.
- Set up your basic information. Once you have taken this step, you can use the Facebook page dashboard to fill out information such as your company’s mission statement, its physical location, contact details, website, and so forth. You can choose what to make public and what to keep private.
- Choose administrators. Who will be responsible for adding new information, content, and useful links to your page? You can designate certain employees. The role with the broadest control over a Facebook page is Manager, which gives that person the right to send messages, create posts using the page’s identity, create ads, and look at the insights reports (such as new “likes,” the reach of the page, and so forth). Other roles include Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser, and Insights Analyst, which are limited to the functions those names suggest.
- Add your visual identity. Your page’s structure is similar to that of your personal Facebook profile, which means you can add both a profile photo, usually your logo or some other existing business identifier, and a cover photo, which is something that relates to your business. So, for example, if you run a local gym or fitness club, you might want to show off your equipment or present a photo of members using the facility.
- Add events and photos to your Timeline to give your Facebook page more personality. To provide followers or visitors with more background about your company’s history and accomplishments, add memorable dates, such as when the business was founded, reached a certain sales milestone, or earned an award or media attention. You can also add photos that illustrate these things.
- Promote your Facebook page. Once you and your team are happy with what your Facebook page “says” to visitors, it’s time to start building a following. You can start by sending an invitation to existing contacts asking them to visit and “like” your page, so that they see future updates. To do this, click on the Build Audience link at the top of your Facebook page, where Facebook lets you send invitations directly to contacts you have stored in these email services: iCloud, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Comcast. The number of invitations you can send is limited to 5,000 contacts. You can also create a paid advertisement to highlight the page with certain audiences (such as anyone who lives near your location) or to showcase promotions.
- Nurture your creation. Facebook pages thrive through predictable updates, which could include highlighting new products once per week or requesting feedback about new ideas that your team is considering. There are also many steps you can take to personalize your page, via the buttons that show up prominently underneath the Cover photo. For example, you can add a link to an existing YouTube Channel or account that showcases product demonstrations or training videos. Interactivity is key, so make sure to respond to legitimate comments and feedback and to remove those that are off-topic or appear to be spam.
- “Like” other Facebook pages related to your business, industry, or community. Using your Facebook page to connect with related businesses will help get your page in front of potential followers, so spend time researching which connections make sense. One page you should be sure to “like” is Facebook’s own resource for creating Facebook pages, which provides additional tips for Facebook page neophytes.