Today, as this article is being written, Facebook is home to over 750 million active users. According to their website, users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the popular social networking site. Your customers, professional network, and undoubtedly your competition are all on Facebook—why aren’t you?
Like most business owners, you probably have little time to learn the ins-and-outs of a potentially complex web program. The good news is, you don’t have to know everything—it only takes a handful of steps to create a polished, professional page for your business. It’s a completely free way to bring your business to a vast online audience, so why not get started?
Create your Page
To create a page, you must have a personal Facebook page. If you don’t have one, go to Facebook and sign up—you won’t need to customize your personal page if you don’t want to, but you will need it to get started.
Once logged in to your personal page, go to the footer of the page and click “Create a Page.” This takes you to a screen with 6 options for the type of page you want to create. More than likely, you will be choosing one of the top 3:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization, or Institution
- Brand or Product
What difference does it make which option you choose? It changes the type of information displayed in the Info section on your page. For instance, a small business will have the option to display pertinent information like location, hours, and parking information, whereas a product page will display products, mission, and other information that is more applicable to a product. Select the option that makes the most sense for your business.
Once you select an option, fill in the form that appears. It’s a good idea to review the Facebook Pages Terms—they are relatively short, and they go over the basic requirements of any business page (for example, only an official representative of the business is allowed to create the page). Check the box saying you agree to the Facebook Pages Terms and click Get Started.
Personalize your Page
The first thing you will see after creating your page is a window showing several steps to get started personalizing your page. While it can be an easy route to go, you can’t get all of the options you may need so I recommend skipping those steps and going straight to your page.
Once on your main page, it will look something like this:
As a default, your page will include several instructions for getting started. Again, for the best functionality, it is best to skip this and go directly for the Account Settings. This is found under the Edit Page button in the upper right hand corner.
First, you need to be aware that when you make a post on your Page, it will post as the name of your business (in my case, Divine Chocolate Shoppe). It’s best to keep this checked, as unchecking it will make you unable to create new posts. Also, decide whether you want Facebook to send you email notifications when people post or comment on your page.
This tab allows you to customize who can see your page and what they can post. If you want your page to be invisible to others while you are building it, check the “only admins can see this page” box. Just be sure to uncheck it when you decide to make the page public. Most business choose to allow fans to post comments and pictures. If you want to set it so they cannot, uncheck the appropriate box next to Posting Ability.
Other features you should check out are the Moderation Blocklist and Profanity Blocklist. These allow you to block certain words or phrases from being used on your page. Click the small question mark next to these items to learn more about how they moderate content on your page.
One of the most important tabs to pay attention to is the Basic Information tab. Here, you can fill out information that customers may need to know about your business, such as your description and contact info. Use plenty of keywords as Facebook picks up on these while performing a search.
As the “storefront” of your page, your Profile Picture should appear professional and appealing. Images can be 180 pixels wide and up to 540 pixels tall, but keep in mind that taller images will push down the important tabs you want your fans to use. Also keep in mind that the thumbnail image that is shown next to everything you post is only 50 pixels by 50 pixels, so the important information like your business name should fit in that square.
Accepted image formats are JPEG, GIF, and PNG, and the file size can be no larger than 4 MB. After uploading your image, click “Edit Thumbnail” underneath your picture to center your logo or business name in the thumbnail.
If you don’t plan on keeping up your fan page alone (if you don’t have a lot of time, you probably should share some of the load!) then click the Manage Admins tab and add a new admin. This person will need to be your friend on Facebook, and you will need to type your Facebook password to confirm that this person can be an Admin. This person can do all of the same things you can (there is no way to restrict what another admin can do), and no matter which admin posts a comment, it always shows up as just the company name. As a default, users of the page will not see who the Admins are.
Add Content to your Page
Your page is in business! The final step to setting up your Page is to begin adding content. Under your picture, select Wall to see your wall and post a comment. You can add an album of photos by selecting the Photos button, and a random selection of them will appear on your page whenever users come to it. There are many ways to add to your page, and as they say; build and they will come! Don’t forget to advertise your new Facebook page on your website, business cards, and other advertising materials. With all social media, attention is viral. That means the more people who “Like” your page, the more their friends will see the page and check out your business as well. By taking your business where the people are (on Facebook!), and posting relevant, interesting information and specials, your business is bound to reap the rewards from your small time investment in setting up a Facebook page.