Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Facebook fan pages are fun, easy to create and they provide another marketing venue for your business. This article will walk you through the steps to creating a Facebook fan page for your small or home business.
Getting Started: When you log in to Facebook, you will find an icon (currently on the left column of your home page) that says "ads and pages". You can also start a fan page from a link on other fan pages - there is a link at the bottom of the left column of all fan pages that says "create a page for my business". Once you click, you are redirected to the page where you build your own page.
The first thing you do is select the type of business you have. There are three options; choose the one that best fits what you do. Then, title your page, which should be the title or name of your business. Just under the name section is an option to not publish your page right now. Select this option while you are building the page. Once you are finished, you'll see an option for "publishing" it so that it goes live. (This will be at the top of your page and will stay there until you publish it.)
Next, you certify that you have the right to create this page. If it is your business, you do have that right. This option is to prohibit people from creating pages based on other people's businesses. For instance, you cannot create a fan page for Disney or Coca-Cola or FedEx. Then, you are taken to your page. It looks pretty blank right now, so you want to start editing the information, uploading pictures and posting content.
Settings and Applications You will see a big question mark (which is where your logo or company picture will go) and under that is a link to "edit page". Click this and you will be taken to a page where you can edit all sorts of information. Explore the links here and choose what you want to appear on your page. You will set permissions for various types of posts and applications. If you never have events, you may wish to remove the events application, for instance. You can always go back and change your settings, by the way.
Edit Page Information Go back to your page (view page). Under the "edit information", there is a link to "add this page to my favorites". Check that so that your page is in your favorites. If you use Facebook on your phone, you'll need this selected so you can post or read your page from your phone. Plus, it shows up on your profile as a "favorite" which is added exposure.
Under there, you will see a box which invites you to write something about your business. This is a short "elevator speech" area to let visitors know what your page (and your business) is about.
Editing Tabs The tabs on your page will vary depending on the applications you selected when editing the information for your page, but we will review the three main ones here:
Wall: This is usually the main interactive page for your site. It's where you and your fans post content. That content can be videos, web links, status updates, shout-outs, events, and more. The wall is your advertising billboard but also your connection to your fans. Your wall posts show up live in your fans news feeds. This is great but do be careful not to alienate your fans. If you overpost or post inappropriate content, you risk losing fans, or even worse, having fans actually "hide" your posts. These "tolerance" thresholds vary greatly and its up to you as to how much you post, but keep in mind that you are interacting with fans, not devoted worshippers. Unless of course your fans are devoted worshippers.
Info: The next tab is "Info" and that is where you can load in all sorts of information about your business. (You have to click "edit information" -- which will be in the upper right corner after you click the Info box). Basic info is for your address and hours, and detailed info is for website and other info like how to get to your business. If you are a storefront business, be as complete as possible here! If you are a virtual business, you can skip the hours and directions parts.
Photos: You can create multiple photo albums and remember "a picture is worth a thousand words". All photos are categorized into albums. You can have one album or numerous albums. The first photo you upload should be of your logo or your storefront, something that identifies your business visually. There is a shortcut to do this without creating an album. Just hover your mouse in the question mark box & a "change picture" link will appear. Click there & you can just upload your picture. One common mistake I see repeatedly with Facebook fan pages is that the logo does not properly fit and the thumbnail (which is what appears in the news feed) is just part of a logo. There is an easy way to fix this--simply go into a photo editing program (even the basic "paint" program will work) and center your logo into a bigger white space, like a face is centered in a picture.
And, now you have a Facebook Fan page for your business. Here's one I created for this site as I was writing this article: SOHO Fan Page. Please check it out and if you like, become a fan and say hello. I'll post article links there as well as other pertinent info on starting and running a small or home-based business.