Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Idiot Guide to Facebook Business Pages


For a long time team members have been asking for an idiot guide to facebook pages. Since I manage a few of them I thought I would wave my hand in the air and volunteer. Firstly....

Why bother setting up a page?
They are a fantastic social networking tool, since I set mine up about a year ago my online and real life sales have increased exponetially . People are on facebook anyway and business pages are like an ad that they have agreed to sign up to. You can let you 'followers' know about new products, events or even how many cups of coffee you already drank today. It's a way of getting the word out there to new people about your business but also putting a personal face to it too. But you only get out of it what you put in, if you only update once a week and are not creative with your output then you are not going to see much return from it.



The difference between Business Pages and a personal account?
All businesses should set up a Page rather than a personal account for their business. I know a lot of people don't do this, but it's against facebook rules and also it annoys people who are any way facebook savvy. It's harder to build up followers with a business page, but there are reasons for doing it the right way. Being a 'friend' allows people to see the personal information of all those who are friends with you, ie access to photos, status updates, etc etc. I know I don't want any business having access to that, especially if I have things like my email address in my personal info. Whereas with a business page a person just 'likes' the pages, meaning they can see the pages updates, pics etc, but not visa versa, the business does not have access to the 'likers' info. As people are getting more and more clued into personal security online they will be less likely to be 'friends' with a business.

Do I need a personal account to set up a business page?
Yes you do. I would recommend joining facebook with your own personal name, and spend at least a week getting familiar with the site. Become friends with everyone you know as this will help you down the line when you are setting up your business page. I know lots of people who set up their personal account and their business page in the same day and they are totally confused by the whole thing. It's a bit alien at first but figure out how to use the status updates, uploading photos, and sharing links. If you get stuck go to the help section, most things are answered there.



Getting Started.....
When you feel comfortable with the site and you want to set up a page go to any existing business page, here is one, and look to the bottom left hand side and you will see 'Create a Page', click this and it will bring you to a list of choices that would best suit your business, browse through them and choose. Underneath is a text box where you type the name you want for your business page, ie. Nice Day Designs. You will then be brought through the steps of uploading a picture, sharing with friends, etc etc, all of this is fairly self explanatory. But the end of this process you will have a bare page with a profile picture. Now it's time to get crackin'!



Spreading the word:
At this initial stage you will need to depend on all those friends that you built up on your personal account. Do not be shy with your friends, request your neighbours, aquaintances, old school friends, BUT NOT STRANGERS! The more people you are friends with, the more people you will probably have liking your page, and then some of their friends etc etc. You can not request that just anyone like your page, like with a personal account, you can only 'suggest' it to the people that you are already friends with 'suggest to friends' button, this is on the right hand side. After you have suggested this to your sister, neighbour, granny and cat, you will start to see the numbers go up over a few days. (please note this function might only be available after you have gotten 25 'likers') With people who know you well you could send them a message asking them to help you network your page, by posting it on their status update. Facebook are finding
new and horrible ways to make running a business page more difficult, 'suggest to friends' used to be open to everyone but now they seem to have locked that down (which I only discovered while writing this tutorial). A way around this would be to add another administrator to your page. You can find this by going to edit page, and manage admins, then you can add anyone you are friends with. They can now control your business page and also suggest to friends. This is helpful for things like a group page like the Etsy Ireland one where it's easier to run with a few people.

Updates-Be professional but personal:
Now that you have a page and some followers you have to keep them interested and engaged or there will be no point in going through all that effort. In all the research I've done on this, they say the best approach is to be business like but with a human face. For example don't just talk about the same thing all the time, giving links to your new listings or you will soon lose all your followers. People are being nice enough to subscribe to this form of advertising from you, they don't want to be spammed. So the trick is to be personal, but not in an 'over-sharing' way, it's like talking to your posh auntie about work, ie you aren't going to talk about politics, religion or sex, and you're not going to curse, you will be pleasant instead,your best food forward. You can put a personal face to your business by talking about having to rush out to post orders, or that you're car broke down, or that you are taking a break from crafting with a coffee and cake. These kind of updates mixed in with links to treasuries
, blog post, and listings will give people a picture of what you do. Post daily if you can, about 1-4 post max. but spread them out if you are online over the day as you will hit different demographics. Also linking to other crafty arty things of interest will help with the community spirit but will also make your readers interested in what you have to say. If you are on your way to an exhibition then post a link to the event if
their is one. Or link to other etsy shops, if they have an interesting blog post, most of the time this gesture of good nature will be reciprocated.

Photos:
People love photos on facebook. Take pictures of items you've just made, supplies you just bought or your favourite shops to go supplies shopping. Also upload albums of images from your etsy shop, in the photo description copy some of you etsy description and then give a link to the item in your shop. I did this last week and I got a few sales about an hour later. Also you can include pictures of sold items and custom orders so people have some idea of what can be ordered off you. Lots of people include scanne
d in images of any press they have gotten, this helps to make you look impressive and famous!

Links:
Facebook pages really come into their own when you have everything linked together. I wrote this helpful article last year about linking your blog to your page, and also to your twitter account. I don't really go onto my twitter account that often but I have regular updates and therefore lots of views on the items in my shop because I have it linked from my page. Also don't forgot to link up your etsy shop to your page, this can be done from etsy and there will be a step by step guide. It all about making things easy for people, they don't want to have to search for your stuff, if everything is linked to each other you will have much higher visibility and hopefully traffic. Also another way to help with linking pages together is link to another page in your status updates. Have you ever noticed when the text of someones name is blue and is a link to them? Well you can do this once you are friends with them or like their page. All you do is type the @ symbol with no space and then start typing their name, you will see a drop down menu appear and just click it to choose the link. This means the update will appear on their 'wall' too, letting them know you are talking about them (in a good way!).


Promotion:
When you've gotten yourself established but you feel like you've hit a wall with new followers there are things you can do to help the profile of your page. You can host a giveaway, which we all saw was very successful on the team facebook page. It's very easy, just pick a prize, a deadline, and ask people to comment on your page, and give extra entry tickets for those that share the competition. Someone can only comment on your page if they like it, which means your numbers of followers will increase. Also try to encourage interaction on your page, ask for feedback on new products, reply to comments. Comments on other peoples pages, this is even easier since facebook recently allowed pages to comment on other business pages with their own business name rather than their personal account.

In the end I feel like I could talk about this forever, it's a big area and takes a while to figure it out. You'll get there in the end, it's taken me a year but now I have a steady following and the other day I just gave my first paid lesson in setting up a page! Without fail every week I have new customers at my stall who say they found me through facebook, so I know it's really helped my business. I hope this helps some of you out and if you have any questions just leave them in the comments section.

15 comments:

  1. Great advice, really helpful. I think I've hit my wall .... time for a giveaway I think!

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  2. Great article, I too have been there & back with setting up a business page. The one thing that helped me increase 'fans' (and ultimately sales) was advertising my page. you know those ads that appear down the right side of your page? They can seem costly but when I 'hit the wall' with fan numbers I put up an ad (directing people to my FB page) and the results were dramatic. I then got a couple of overseas orders that would pay for the ad twenty times over. I run the ad every couple of months to 'freshen up' the fan base.
    1954 fans and counting..Happy Facebooking!

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    1. Hi Jack, great info. 3 questions. Just wondering what your website is called. Also how much the fb ad was (or does it depend on how many you target?) Finally have you a sample of the ad you ran.

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  3. Are those companies that contact you wanting to set up an ad for 99 sterling genuine?

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  4. Rosaleen-I can only assume they are not, if you want to set up an ad do the official facebook one.

    Jack-I'm delighted to hear you had such good success! I tried it once, I paid €18 and only got 3 new likes. I'd say I didn't word my ad correctly.

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  5. Fantastic Ruth. I have been meaning to set aside time to work this all out for so long now. A lot of useful info there thanks so much!

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  6. There were loads of little things that I always wondered about like linking to people when I mention them so this is really useful, thanks a million :)

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  7. Wow Ruth, I'll be studying this :) Thanks so much for this excellent article - I never paid that much attention to Facebook, but surely will now!

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  8. Brilliant article - thanks for sharing the info - I've got a bit of work to do to increase my numbers!

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  9. OK - I've noticed a slightly strange thing with my Facebook page... not sure if anyone else has experienced this or can shed any light on the problem... I have a few friends out there who have 'liked' The Crafty Cailín on Facebook but they aren't showing up on the list of people who like the page. Yet when I go into their page and look at their likes I can see they like The Crafty Cailín... anyone know why or how this may be happening? Or what I can do to correct it?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. That's a problem with me too :( They must have liked you as a page, not as their personal account. Page likes do not count and you have to be lucky to get the notification for their activity on your page, most of the time no notification at all, you find their comments by chance, or can never find :(
      I'm Canan from Zembil

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  10. Good information for me. You done in it in very good manner. Keep it up. I really loved this article.

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  11. Loved this! So informative and helpful:o) Wish i had read it 2 weeks ago though when i got a 15 day suspension from commenting on other peoples pages. I was liking strangers and i got my hand slapped:o( WON'T be doing that again!

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  12. A realistic and good face book application developement which guide me a lot.Great !!!
    regards,
    Facebook for business
    Facebook app development
    Facebook ecommerce

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  13. “…if you only update once a week and are not creative with your output then you are not going to see much return from it.” You’re totally right with that! If you have a business Facebook page, you need to invest time there just as you invested time in your business. If you invest a small amount of your effort, you’ll get a small amount of return as well. If you want bigger returns, you’ll have to invest more time too.

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