If you run a business or organisation, of course you’ve got a website.  But increasingly the customers and supporters you want to reach are going to want ways to talk and interact with you socially, and you really need to have a Facebook Page presence as well.  And if you already have a Page, it is going to be undergoing some big changes this month with the rollout of the ‘Timeline’ for all.

Facebook Pages are to represent unique and authentic names, of things that are not people – people get a personal profile, but any Facebook member can set up as many Pages as they like.  For example, say Fred Bloggs is the manager of the famous rock group The Costarockers.  Once Fred is a member of Facebook he can set up the official page of ‘The Costarockers’, and if anyone else were to set up a page passing off as them he could complain to Facebook and sort it out… but anyone can set up any number of groups about them, for ‘Costarockers Fan Chat’, ‘Costarockers memorabilia exchange’, ‘Costarockers tour meet-ups’ and so on.

Pages are a bit more serious than Groups, which is appropriate – as they can be the public face of major brands.  You want to set things up right from the start.  It’s free and anyone can do it (provided you are not passing-off or breaching copyright), but have a think first about what your aim is in setting up a Facebook Page… what kind of content will you post there, can you keep it moderated and people responded to effectively, can you make it look professional?  If in doubt please talk to us at Casslar.com, because that’s what we do, incidentally!

But if you want to do it yourself you certainly can.  Think about your branding and choose the right name first – once you reach 100 members you cannot change this.

To create your Page, select Pages in your left column menu, which will show you a list of any pages you already Like, then at the top ‘create a page’.  You’ll need to decide straight away what kind of page you are setting up, and the 6 options displayed give you a good idea of where you fit and whether a Page is right for you.  You want your Page to be found, so fill in all the information it asks for, and get it set up right from the start.  Get your ‘About’ text right in particular, as with the new layout it has a prominent position right below your cover photo.

Once your Page is created, you can customise it in a similar way to the Groups we look at last week.  Facebook will encourage you to invite people you know to look at your page, by all means tick off any of your friends for whom it might be interesting and relevant – they get to choose whether to ‘like’ you or not.  You can also send a message directly to any friends who might be interested in supporting you.  The Timeline layout allows you to add milestones – such as your charity’s date of founding, or the date your company relocated to new premises.

The biggest visible change with the Timelining of pages is in the photos you can add; just as with personal profiles you will want to include a big ‘cover photo’ at the top of your Page.  This can be up to 851 x 315 pixels wide, but must not include any promotional text – you can read a summary of the rules (and other important changes introduced with Timeline) at www.casslar.com.  Choose something that really represents you visually – have a look at some of your favourite brands for inspiration!  You will also need a smaller square ‘profile picture’ to represent you around the site.

Start posting content, and remember that you will post to your Page as your Page not yourself/your profile: so make sure you are speaking in professional and organisational terms, rather than personal ones – you might use ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ for example depending on the tone and audience of your Page.

Of course you need to get found by your existing supporters and fans, Facebook make it easy for you to do that – you can add buttons to your existing website, get a badge for your newsletter, or a big plug-in that shows how many people already love you.  Your Page becomes most valuable when people know you are there, and know you can be reached through it – browse some of your favourite brands/products/personalities/charities on Facebook to see what can be done, you will see some have literally millions of fans.

A useful change with Timeline is to make all your analytics visible in one admin panel you can show or hide at the top – see who’s following you, track comments and messages, see how your content is getting talked about and shared.  And the call to your followers to ‘message’ you (rather that write on your wall) is now stronger than it was – hopefully meaning customer service enquiries and suchlike get resolved more privately than before. As ever, engaging in meaningful conversation and adding value to dialogues will get you the most positive and useful kind of responses, on your wall and via messages.

Some pages that might be interesting to check out for Brits in Spaininterest include one of mine, https://www.facebook.com/SuccessinSpain, and https://www.facebook.com/CostaWomen.. – note the nice clean web addresses, no messy code!  And different ways to use the big cover picture to good effect.

As with the Groups page, I am compiling a list of Facebook Pages relevant for Costa Connected, and if you’d like to check that out and send me your Page name, please do so via @casslar, or info@costaconnected.com  Likewise if you need any help or advice in moving existing Pages successfully to the new Timeline layout – the change will happen at the end of March, ready or not!

Published in Costa Blanca News, 16th March 2012

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