Facebook is arguably the greatest networking opportunity currently available for small businesses (especially those targeting consumers) to grab hold of. Of all the social networking sites on the Web, Facebook is the best-settled and fastest-growing. Although many people are familiar with the site through personal use, approaching it as a business can still be daunting. But fear not: a Facebook business page is free, easy to set up, and can connect you to literally millions of people.
Before creating a page, you will need to have a Facebook account. This can be your personal account or, if you don’t already have a personal account, feel free to create a new account using your business email address. Either way, no personal details will be divulged to the public. A business page is all about the business.
When you go to create your page, you will be presented with six classifications to choose from:
• Local Business or Place
• Company, Organization or Institution
• Brand or Product
• Artist, Band or Public Figure
• Cause or Community
You will likely fall into one of the first three.
Select what best suits you, and then choose your category (e.g., Book Store, Real Estate) from the drop-down menu. Fill in the rest of the information (e.g., location, phone number). Keep in mind that the category and name of your page cannot be changed once it is created, so type carefully.
Next you will complete the basic information. Upload an image that will represent your business—your business’ “profile picture.” Ideally, this will be your logo. After doing this, you will be prompted to invite your friends to like the page. Hold off on this by unchecking “share this page on my wall” and “like this page.” You want to have a chance to polish your page before if starts showing up in news feeds.
The “who, what, where” of your business is next. You will fill in basics such as Website URL and a short “About” section. What you choose to focus on in the latter is up to you—business model, strategy, or product are all commonly found.
That’s the last of the prompts. To continue building your page, click on “Edit Info” and finish adding the necessary details. If you’re a local business, it’s especially important to add things like hours of operation. It’s also wise to add a description. A description should be more in-depth than your “About” section. Be sure to provide and email address, and take advantage of the photo tab—pictures will inspire confidence and connection in potential clients.
Now that your page has been built to your liking, you can take advantage of the various networking features Facebook offers. Click the “Get Started” button under your default image to display various options. They will all help you make the most of your Facebook presence. Here are six especially helpful features:
• Invite your friends.
• Tell your fans (current customers).
• Post status updates.
• Promote this page on your Website.
• Set up on your mobile phone.
You have now created and shared a Facebook business page that accurately reflects your business, and opens door to a whole new world of advertising. The best way to keep your page fresh and functional is to familiarize yourself with the site and stay on top of any new features. The social Internet will only continue to grow, and establishing a presence now is sure to help you as you continue to grow your business.