Facebook for Business – Getting started with the basics

With over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is almost impossible to ignore as a platform to help market your business, reach new customers, and connect with your community.  To some it’s a necessary evil, to others – the best marketing channel on the planet.  If you’re new to it all, and want some help getting your business up and running, then follow the advice below and you’ll be seeing the benefits of an active Facebook business page in no time.


Profiles Vs Pages

On Facebook, you can only “do business” via a Business Facebook Page.  Not on your own personal profile.  So a “Gary Ennis” profile, which other people can find and “Add Friend” is not for business, while the “NSDesign” business page, which people can “Like” – is where Facebook want me to market my business, and connect with customers etc.  Businesses which accidentally create a personal profile (firstname=ABC, surname=Accountancy), which people can friend request have broken Facebook rules, and often get their profile suspended or shut down.

That said – to create a Business Page, you NEED a personal profile.  Someone (a person) already on Facebook, needs to create the Business Page (that isn’t 100% factually correct, but for lots of reasons, I’m advising you to do it that way).

If you’re not keen on using Facebook personally, then you should still create a personal profile, go into your settings, and maximise all the privacy settings.  You’ll be almost invisible on Facebook, but still active, meaning you can create and manage a Business Page from your own individual login.


Creating the Business Page

Once logged into Facebook (into your personal profile), head over to www.facebook.com/pages and click on “create page” (or click the “Create > Page” link in the blue navigation bar right at the top of the page).  Follow the straight forward process (choosing a name, category, address, uploading profile picture etc) and in just a few steps, you’ve now setup your own Business Page!

Newly Created Facebook Business Page

Top tip – while building your page, you might want to keep it hidden from public view (until you’re ready to reveal it to the world).  Do this in the page settings, and edit the “Page Visibility” – just make sure you remember to turn it all back ON later!

Branding the Page

If you didn’t do it at the setup stage (above), then make sure you properly brand the page with a suitable Cover Image (the big image along the top) and a profile picture (typically your business logo).  Note the sizes and shapes of these images, and ensure your brand is well represented with quality images that look as you expect (top tip – check how the page looks later on the mobile app, as the cover image displays differently on mobile).  If you haven’t already tried it, take a look at Canva.com for help with cover images etc.

Choosing a Username

The right username is vital on Facebook.  It allows you to have a easy to remember facebook URL – www.facebook.com/yourusername as well as allowing people to easily ‘tag’ you via @yourusername

Facebook usernames are ‘first come first served’ so if you’re late to the party, there’s a good chance another company with the same name (anywhere on the planet) already took your preferred username, so be creative, and pick something relevant and memorable.

Choose a Template

Feel free to select a different template to better suit your type of business.  Click on “Settings”, and choose “Templates and Tabs” from the left hand menu.  There are templates for Retailers, Venues, Restaurants, Non-profits, general Businesses and more.  Clicking on “View Details” will explain a little about each of the templates and their specific features, and clicking on “Apply Template” will style your Facebook page accordingly.

Facebook Business Page - choose a template

Add a “Call to Action” Button

Under the cover image, you’ll notice a big blue button.  This is your Call to Action (CTA) button, and you can set this to something suitable for your business by clicking “Add a button”.  If you want more phone calls, select the “Contact You > Call now” option (and ensure your phone number is correct).  If you want people visiting your eBay Shop, choose “Shop with You > Shop Now” (and link to your eBay URL).

Facebook Business Page - Add a Call to Action Button

Complete your Business Info

Click on the “Edit Page Info” link at the top (also found on the “About” page), and complete all the available boxes where relevant.  This information includes a description (255 characters to introduce your business), Phone Number, Web Address, Email, Location, Opening Hours and more.

 Configure Page Settings

At this point, it’s worthwhile you looking over all the “settings” that you can configure to ensure your page runs smoothly (and legally).  There’s loads of options in here including turning on/off the ability for others to post on your page, country restrictions, age restrictions (set to 18 if you’re an alcohol brand in the UK), page moderation and profanity filters (the ability block some nasty swear words) and more.

If you click into the “Messaging” tab (still within the “Settings”) you can setup and control ‘automated responses’ sent to people who contact your business through Facebook messenger.

Facebook Business Page - configure settings


Posting Content

It’s generally a good idea to post some content to the page before trying to encourage an audience to find and “like” it.  The reasoning being that if I land on your page and there’s nothing there, I’ll be thinking – “why would I like this?”…  Having content live on the page will help encourage people to Like it, so they get more of it.

Create Post

Click where it says “Write a post…” and you’ll be presented with the Facebook “Status Update” box.  Write your message, choose an (optional) background colour or funky design (only available if you are posting a “text only” post), click to add a photo (or a video) and click “share now”.  You have now posted an update to your page.  In the future, when people have liked the page, they’ll start getting your updates in their news feed (they won’t need to visit your page).

It’s generally a good idea to post “visual” updates (posts with images/videos achieving a better impact on Facebook), and there are a few different ways to do this by clicking on the “photo/video” button (such as photo albums, carousel and slideshow), but also play with the other features you’ll find under the Status Update box, including the ability add a poll, check in at locations, add emojis and more. You might want to share some good websites, or even share other content found elsewhere on Facebook.  Play and experiment!

Facebook Page - posting content

Share Content

It doesn’t always need to a be a new fresh post created from scratch by you, sometimes finding something to share can be just as valuable for your audience.  When sharing content, make sure you are sharing as the Business Page (and not the personal profile).  Just above the “share” link, you’ll find a drop down menu, allowing you to switch between your personal profile, and your business page(s).  Ensure you’ve picked the right one before clicking share.

What makes good content?

In simple terms – good content is content your audience want to see.  Posts which stand out in their feed and make them laugh, get them to think, or inspires them.  There’s no right or wrong content (it differs for every business and every audience), but the trick is to create for the audience.  What would they want to see.  Here’s a few content ideas to get you started.


Grow your Audience

Now it’s time to grow your audience and find people to “Like” your page.  Unlike the personal side of Facebook, where I can go and find people, ask them to be friends, and hope they say yes, Business Facebook pages are different.  Your page cannot go and pro-actively ask people to like it.  It essentially sits there, hopes people find it, and that they choose to like it, but there are some simple strategies to help make that happen.

Invite your friends

As the “Page Admin”, you are allowed to invite your “personal friends” to like your business page.  This is ideal, as your friends know (and love) you.  They probably already know about your business, so when asked to like it, why wouldn’t they want to help you out, and show some love here too!

At any time you can click the “Invite Friends” button (usually found on the right hand side of the Facebook Page home screen), and choose which friends to invite.

Facebook Business Pages - Invite your friends to like the page

Tell your friends to invite their friends!

Once your own friends have liked the page, encourage them to visit the page, and click on the “Invite your Friends” link (also found on the right had side of the page).  Now they can invite everyone they know to like the page.

Ask (force) your staff to Like it.

Hopefully they’ll want to, but a nudge from the boss encouraging the staff to like the company Facebook page should get your numbers up (assuming you have staff to ask).

Remind the World you’re on Facebook

Include your new Facebook web address in your email footer, your till receipt, your shop window, on the side of your van, your business card, your promotional flyers and company branded t-shirts.  You get the point..  anywhere that you already come into contact with customers and/or the general public – remind them you’re on Facebook and the address (and the @username) they need to find you there.

Slowly but surely your audience numbers will increase, and will keep increasing if you’re posting valuable content regularly to your page.  They’ll start finding you!

Stay on top of your messages

A quick reminder that as your audience numbers increase, so too will the likely communication from them.  Keep an eye on your page “Inbox” and “Notifications” for any messages and alerts, and respond promptly to demonstrate your great customer service.


Learn from the Data

As your usage of your new Facebook business page grows, both in terms of you posting content, and the audience that sees it, you’ll want to start paying attention to your page “Insights” – the data and analytics which will help you understand what content works, and who is actually seeing it.

Post Reach

As an admin, you get to see the “Reach” of every post.  You also get to see the number of “Engagements” (likes, comments, shares, clicks etc).  You’ll find this data under every individual post on your page, or via the “Posts” section of your page Insights.  Top tip – posts that get good engagement, tend to reach a lot more people (this is the basis of Facebook’s Algorithm).

Facebook Business Page for beginners - Post Reach and Engagements

People

Your Insights also give you access to the data which shows WHO is liking your page via the “People” tab.  This includes a demographic breakdown including gender, age and location.  A useful reminder about who you’re actually talking to, helping create good content based on them.  If your stats show that the majority of your audience are Women aged 45-54, and you’re creating content for Men aged 21, then no wonder they’re not engaging with it!  Think like a customer!

Facebook for beginners - Insights People

Pages to Watch

One of the “hidden gems” of the Facebook Page Insights section is “Pages to Watch”.  Found under the Insights overview (scroll down the first page) you’ll find a blue “Add Pages” button.  Click it, and add any Facebook business page that you want to ‘watch’ – ie: keep tabs on, monitor, see what they’re doing, how they’re doing etc.  Add a few pages, and you’ll see how your page compares to them.  As Facebook say – “Pages to Watch helps you compare the performance of your Page and posts with similar Pages on Facebook.”

Facebook Pages for beginners - Pages to watch

One of the best reasons to use the Pages to Watch feature, is the ability to quickly identify the “Top Post of the Week” from each of the businesses you are watching.  Just click on their name, and Facebook shows you their top performing post!  Great for knowing what’s working for your competitors, but also for discovering content from complimentary brands, that your business could simply share.


Other features to consider for your Business Page

Facebook has a range of other great features which your business can take advantage of if relevant.  These include:

Shop

A built in online shop allowing you to list your products and prices.  Note that as yet, people cannot ‘checkout’ on Facebook, so you’ll need to send them to eBay, Etsy, or Paypal etc to make the final payment.

Services

This section gives you a space to list your business services.  If you want, this can be tied in with the “appointments” feature in Facebook, allowing your customers to schedule appointments and book services with you directly in Facebook.

Events

If you run events such as workshops, classes, open days etc – then you’ll want to take advantage of Facebook Events.  If you use ‘Eventbrite’ as your ticketing system, you can tie everything together allowing people to book via your page!

Reviews

Good companies have nothing to fear from online reviews, so ensure you allow your customers to recommend you and tell the world how great you are!

Groups

Consider creating specific groups to allow your customers to get together in smaller more intimate spaces, usually focussed around a particular niche or customer type.  So you might create a “VIP customers” group (only allowing in your best customers), or a “Digital Marketing Study Group” (where only your students on the course are given access).

If you’re not seeing any of the above functionality within your existing Facebook Page tabs, then you likely just need to activate them.  Click into your Page settings, then on “Templates and Tabs”, and see what additional tabs you can add and start taking advantage of.

Facebook - Add new Tabs - Business Pages


Advertising on Facebook

Given this is an introduction to the basics of setting up a Facebook Business Page, we’ll not go into the details of advertising here.  Suffice to say that if you want to increase your audience or reach more customers, then Facebook advertising should be a consideration for you at some point.

Click on “Boost Post” next to any of your existing posts, and you’ll quickly see that for a small amount of money, you can choose to target your content to people in specific locations, ages, interests and more.  Have a play and try Boosting a post with just a few £’s behind it, and see what the impact is.

Boosted posts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Facebook Advertising, with plenty other targeting options and advert types for you consider.


Share the load…

Managing a Facebook Page (as well as managing a busy business) can be a challenge.  Ensuring you have the resource and time to respond to enquiries, reply and thank good reviews, confirm appointments, and of course just post content on a regular basis, is one of the biggest concerns that small business owners raise with us at our Social Media Masterclasses.

One way to make it slightly easier on yourself is to share the load, and allow other staff members (or even trusted friends and family) to manage the page too.

Head back to your Facebook Page Settings and click on “Page Roles”.  Here you grant access to other people on Facebook, giving them various roles.  The 3 most common roles that you’ll likely use are as follows:

Admin

Careful – anyone setup as an “Admin” has full control over the entire page.  They can configure and change settings, and could even remove other admins (you!) if they choose to do so.  Only give admin access to senior people within the business and/or only those you trust 100%.

Editor

Editors can edit the page, post content, reply to comments, create ads etc.  They don’t get access to the essential settings, and so can’t cause too much damage like deleting the page!  Most of your contributors will likely be given Editor status.

Moderator

This role can respond to comments, send messages, and essentially (as the name suggests) help you moderate the page.  They cannot create new content (other than Adverts).

 

Get stuck in…

The best way to get up to speed with Facebook and how your business can take advantage is to get stuck in!  Try out any/all of the features, and test out different types of post.  Don’t be scared – it’s usually easier than you think, and I promise you’ll very rarely “break anything” (and when you do, learning how to fix it will benefit you too!).

Especially at this early stage in your business Facebook journey, you’ll not do anything wrong that offends people, you’ll not hit the headlines with a PR disaster, and you’ll not ‘break the internet’ (I’ll of course deny I said any of that to you later in court).

There’s over 2 billion potential customers out there for you to engage with on Facebook.  Join in, have fun, and if you feel you need a little help – just give us a shout!

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