Nearly every business today, large or small, has a presence on Facebook. And while the platform is easy to use, small business operators sometimes don't take full advantage of the real estate that a Facebook Business page offers. Before you lock your sights on generating great content for Facebook visitors, it's important to nail down the essentials.
Get the Facebook Business Page Foundation Right
Among the first items to check off your list is establishing a unique URL for your new Facebook. Emily Taffel, founder and CEO of public relations firm Mugsy PR, says that her team chose Facebook.com/mugsypr as their company's Facebook page URL.
"It should be whatever your company name is," she explains. A lot of businesses don't even realize they have some control over that URL. It's handled on the Settings page, where you can follow the prompts to claim your unique address. "Obviously, you want to snag your branded business name," Taffel says, adding, "but once you create it you can't change it again."
Now head over to the Category settings and spend the time working on how to label your business. "Depending on which category you pick, it changes which aspects of Facebook you can access," Taffel says. "For instance, if you say that you're a product-based business, then you have certain sections that pop up in your 'about' section; you have more ecommerce options, and you have different options than if you identify your business as a nonprofit." Getting that category right is important, so be thoughtful about this step and it will pay off down the road.
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That About section forms another foundational piece of every good small business Facebook page. Mike Koehler, president of marketing company Smirk New Media, likens the About space to a digital version of an elevator speech. It's a place where companies can explain what their business is and what it does. But beware: you don't get a lot of room for text.
"You should really refine each word you put there," Koehler says. That means not just boiling down your mission to a brief statement, but making every word and phrase count. "It's an opportunity to explain the business with the right keywords," Koehler says. Many small businesses focus on keywords in their post content, but the keywords in your About section are instrumental in driving the right visitors to your page.
Give Your Facebook Business Page Recognizable Spin
During this initial setup phase, give your Facebook Business page a presence that matches the rest of your brand. As you set up each area, add your business's personality into the mix.
"If [your Facebook page is] the only place that a person interacts with you and your brand, they should get all the information they would get on your regular website and in your physical location," Koehler says.
Don't just make it a placeholder, assuming that visitors will look elsewhere for additional details about why they should do business with you. "Many businesses don't realize that a lot of consumers out there begin and end their research inside of Facebook," says Koehler.
You should reflect part of that personality and brand presence through the images you use to identify your page. "As a business, your profile picture should always be your logo or something very recognizable for your brand," Taffel says. This doesn't mean you can't be whimsical or timely later—you can play around with the cover photo to your heart's content.
"You can change that every single day if you want to," Taffel says. But your profile picture should be something visitors can quickly identify as tied to your business. "That way people automatically recognize your logo and your posts, and it's branded for your company every time."
Connect Your Facebook Business Page
Before you consider your Facebook page ready for prime time, you need to be sure you've made it a primary piece of your overall online presence with connections out to your website, blog, and any other social media channels you use.
"We always say that Facebook is kind of a hub, but from there visitors should be able to link directly over to your Twitter, your Instagram, your Pinterest or whatever," says Taffel. Facebook includes a mechanism to create tabs for each one of those channels, and small business operators should take advantage of those tools.
"You can actually link to anything through Facebook with their widgets," Taffel explains. In the Facebook search engine, just type in the link you want—Twitter, WordPress, etc.—and add "for pages." Taffel often recommends Woobox to her clients as one of the better platforms for Facebook linking.
When you're ready to start driving visitors to your new Facebook Business page, Koehler recommends that you leverage the data you've previously gathered. "Take all of the existing contacts you already have from tyour business—and usually that's a good spreadsheet or a good email list—and invite those people to that page as the first kickoff."
Many small business owners just launch a Facebook page and sit back and wonder why no one's stopping by. "If you haven't invited all the people you already have an existing relationship with, you're not going to get those people who already have an ingrained connection with you," Koehler says. "That's one of the first things people ought to do, but they don't often do it."
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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