Lots of people see Facebook as a platform to chat with friends, post holiday snaps and maybe even play games.
You can do all of that on the site of course – but you can also create business profiles, which work separately to a personal profiles. These are known as ‘Facebook pages’.
Building a home for your business on Facebook is free, easy to do and can become a great online marketing channel for exporters.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started.
Step 1 – Set up your page.
This is where you begin the process of creating a page and it’s the first step towards bringing your business to the site. Select the most appropriate category for your business, which is likely to be ‘Company, organisation or institution’ or ‘Brand or product.’
You are then presented with a form to fill in. Select what type of business you are from the dropdown menu, and add your business/product name.
Next, Facebook offers you the opportunity to upload a profile picture. You can upload an image directly, or import a photo from your website. If uploading an image directly, make sure it is 200 pixels wide, as this ensures best fit. When the page is set up, this image will display in the top-left-hand corner and will essentially act as the logo for your business on Facebook.
You will then be prompted to add information about your company/product, as well as a website link. This is where you can tell potential customers about the products or services you export.
Once you have completed the registration process, the Admin Panel (which you can choose to hide or unhide) allows you to invite friends to ‘like’ your page, and to build an audience by importing email contacts and setting up Facebook ads.
Step 2 – Getting going.
Now your page is online, it’s time to look at the different elements you can edit or add content to.
In addition to your profile picture/logo, you can add a cover image to enhance the visual appearance of your page and provide more information on your company/product. The option to add this is located to the right of your main image.
Underneath this is the ‘About’ section, where you can see and edit the information you added during the registration process.
Next comes your ‘Timeline.’ This lists your activity with the most recent at the top and is where you post updates, including news and images.
Once you have 30 subscribers to your page, you can access statistics on your Admin Panel to find out how your page is performing.
Take some time to familiarise yourself with the different sections and see what Facebook allows you to edit. Once you have a number of subscribers, the Admin Panel will be useful to check new ‘likes’ and any messages you receive from customers.
Step 3 – Add your first update.
Adding updates to the timeline is simple – just type what you want to, and publish. There’s also the ability to post a link, upload a photo/video or pose a question.
When you post something here, the update will appear in front of the eyes of people who have liked your page. They don’t need to keep checking your page to see what you are up to – the updates go to them.
Step 4 – More detailed page editing.
Within the Admin Panel, there is an option to ‘Manage’ your page, where you can edit various settings on your page. Here you can stop fans posting their own wall messages on your page, ban users, add new page administrators, select which area of the page you would like new visitors to land on and get access to help articles.
This is also where apps can be edited. Facebook pages can accommodate apps, and there are a lot of different ones out there. For example, there’s a YouTube app that allows you to display YouTube videos on your page.
Get more fans for your page
Promote it: Now your business has a Facebook page, it is vital that you mention it wherever you can online – in your email signature, on your website and maybe forum profiles you have. Don’t forget offline though, on things like printed materials, brochures, invoices and business cards.
Give people a reason to ‘like’ the page: Okay, so you are going to tell people you are on Facebook, but why are you on Facebook?
Do you plan on posting details about special offers and discounts, or perhaps general information about healthcare products, manufacturing in the USA or international education programmes? Do you want to use the platform to provide transparent customer service?
Hints and tips
- Start conversations: Facebook pages offer a great opportunity to chat to customers – so it’s a good idea to work on initiating conversations. And if people contribute to the page with a post or comment, get talking! Begin by finding out who the contributor is and why they are interested in you. Essentially, social media is all about interaction and isn’t limited by borders.
- Check out the stats: An ‘insights’ email is sent out to you every week by Facebook. This reveals which parts of the page are popular, the reach of updates and where links to the page have been posted. You can also check out your stats at any time by clicking the ‘View Insights’ link that sits in the Admin Panel.
- Add images to your posts: Statistics show that people are more likely to click if a post is accompanied by an image.
- You can select a custom URL for your page: At first, when your page is created the URL it is given is long and contains lots of numbers. However, once you have 25 likes, Facebook will allow you to change this, and you can select your company name. That’s good for search engine optimisation, and easier to direct customers to or tell them about.
- Post updates once or twice a day, people will tune out otherwise. As for what to post, think about the content. It might be of interest to you, but will it be of interest to international customers, and does it encourage engagement?