Using Facebook to promote your business
This article was first published on TalkingWeb.co.uk in March 2012.
The current way of promoting your business on Facebook is with a Facebook Fan Page.
These evolved from Groups, where people would become a member of a group to show their appreciation or support of a cause. (Update: Groups have since made a ressurgance, but are different to Pages.) However, people were then creating groups for pop stars and companies, and the terminology of “xxx became a member of the group The Stereophonics” didn’t quite make sense! And so Fan Pages were created – and you could “become a fan of The Stereophonics”.
This is a good example of a site having to adapt as it grows and has to change to suit it’s user’s needs. Unfortunately there were hassles and complaints at the time by group admins as people had spent time building up large groups of supporters, just to have to ask them to become a fan of their page – invevitably meaning numbers were lost along the way. The latest upheavel was when Facebook rolled out the timeline format – which of course lots of people didn’t like at first.
So now, you create a Facebook Fan Page for your business. If you’ve got Facebook Account, then view any fan page and find the link at the bottom left to create your own page.
If you haven’t got a Facebook account – and don’t want one – then when you visit www.facebook.com click on the link to create a fan page.
Normal Facebook accounts are for people – real life individuals with first names, last names and dates of birth. Facebook doesn’t like you creating a personal account for a business – that’s not how it’s designed. Therefore you should make a Fan Page and get people to “like” your page, rather than create a personal account, use it for your business, and ask people to become your friend.
Personally, I think it tends to be easier to create a page once you’ve got a personal account. If you think you’re only going to use Facebook for business then you don’t need to do anything with your personal account – it’s just that I’ve seen people get a bit confused with some of the Facebook options if they only have a fan page account; the ability to create a page without a personal account is a fairly recent addition to Facebook so perhaps isn’t yet as flawless a process as it could be.
When you update your Fan Page, people who “like” your page will see your update in their news feed (unless they’ve specifically chosen not to). This is why it’s important that your updates are interesting, and you don’t just bombard your fans with sales spiel; people go on Facebook for leisure, not to be sold to, so you need to get the balance right otherwise they’ll “unlike” you and you’ll lose your numbers.
Facebook is very often in the news for privacy issues, but don’t be scared off – just use the site wisely, don’t put anything on there (photos or opinions) that you wouldn’t be happy for the world to see, and make sure your Facebook security settings, are how you want them to be. You can choose what people you aren’t friends with can and can’t see, and you can even create lists of friends and let different lists see different things, so you could have, for example, a list of close family, a list of friends, and a list of people you know through work. However, even though you can lock down who can see what, Facebook changes all the time, and sometimes without notice, so it’s still best not to put anything online that if the worst came to the worst you wouldn’t be happy for the world to see.
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