Setting up a new Facebook fan page is easy. Creating a fan page that draws in new prospects and keeps ‘em coming back takes a few extra steps. And now, Facebook is making things interesting by forcing you to migrate from the current page design to the timeline layout.
Normally, I would break up a post of this length into a two-parter. But since Facebook is forcing you to migrate to the new fan page layout on March 30, I figured we would give you all of the details you need to know so you can get your updates done in time.
I want to set some appropriate expectations. Realize that what I’m going to recommend here are proven practices, not cheap tactics to manipulating the active users into liking your page. Yes, one of the goals with these changes is to help you improve your number of likes. But getting more likes shouldn’t be your only goal.
There are three things you need to keep in mind before you move forward:
• Keep your fan page consistent with your brand,
• Keep your posts conversational and professional,
• And implement these next six steps …
1. Masthead Image
As your fan page transitions from the profile pictures on the left to the 851px x 315px masthead image, you will need to take a different approach. In the older version, you could create a custom image that included your logo, your personal pic, images of your products and services. The new masthead image, however, is a little different. You get the bonus of having a billboard splashed across the top of your page. However, unlike billboards, this image cannot be promotional in nature, meaning you can’t display your latest discount. My recommendation is to use a pic that resonates with the personality of your audience, and then alter your picture every one to three months to keep it fresh.
2. Info Sections
When you enter in information into the various sections on the Basic Information page, there are some basic rules to follow:
• Write keyword-rich content
• Be concise
• Include active hyperlinks
It’s important that you know your target keywords before you write your content. When choosing your keywords, start with the keywords on your branding site. If you don’t have a list of phrases, you can use Google’s free keyword tool to help decide. Look for keyword phrases that you believe your target audience would use to find the products and services you offer.
When you write your copy for these sections, make sure it flows for your audience. Don’t write copy that simply satisfies the search bar with a high keyword count if it doesn’t connect with the people you want to “like” your page and get active on your Wall. Keep your content concise. The people visiting your page don’t want to read a book. Most people will only spend 10 – 15 seconds tops skimming your page. You need to get your message across and convey the benefits you provide. Using bullet points help. Plus, always remember to include active hyperlinks (include the http:// at the front of your URLs) out to your branding site. This helps with your SEO and it makes it easy for visitors of your fan page to get to your branding site.
Both the concise rule and hyperlink rule are critical when you write your copy for your About section. You need to quickly convey who you are and provide a hyperlink to your branding site so it shows on your new Facebook fan page without visitors having to click on the “more” link to see everything you’re written here … because most won’t.
3. Claim Your Custom URL
Part of your brand is your URL. You want to protect it; you want to own it. Plus, this can help your SEO. It amazes me how many businesses don’t take advantage of this feature.
If people on Facebook are trying to find your fan page, many will simply try typing in your company’s name following after Facebook.com/. If you haven’t claimed your URL and there are other fan pages with similar names to yours, Facebook will redirect them to another page. This will confuse your audience and they may assume you don’t have a page.
Plus, think about when you want to include your fan page URL into other marketing collateral. Do you want a long, non-descriptive address or one that fits neatly into your marketing materials and is easy for your target audience to remember? The answer is obvious.
Previously, Facebook has a requirement that you have at least 25 fans first; not anymore. Here is the Facebook page where you can claim your custom URL.
4. Custom Tabs
Think of these custom tabs as landing pages where you can target the different niches you serve or display your various products and services individually for better conversion. For example, if you are a nonprofit organization, you could create one custom tab explaining in greater detail your mission and a second tab for collecting donations.
There are some special requirements for setting these pages up. You need to know how to use the iframes apps. If your pages are text only, your content will be hosted for you. However, if you want to add in any images, video, or custom forms to the page, you need to host them on a secure server, otherwise people visiting the page won’t be able to view it.
If you don’t have a secure server, or if you aren’t sure if you have one, ask your hosting company. Your hosting company can supply a SSL certificate for you. They may charge you and additional $5 month; it’s worth it.
With the new Facebook fan pages, you have a couple of bonuses with tabs. First, Facebook made the tabs wider at 780px. Second, now you can create your own custom images for these pages instead of the previous text only links that ran down the left side of your page as navigation below your profile pic. These new thumbnail images will go horizontally below your masthead. You can have multiple tabs and arrange them how you want. If you have more than 4 tabs, an arrow will appear to the right for visitors to see “More”.
5. Wall Posts
The strategies for Wall posts on the new Facebook fan page are very similar to the current Wall:
• Post on a regular schedule
• Keep the content consistent to the likes of your target audience and your brand
• Use videos and images when possible
• Link out / share content from other sites you are following
• Don’t try to sell with every post
• Reply to comments
However, you’ll notice some differences between the previous single-column wall and the new side-by-side layout of the new timeline design. I liked the previous layout better because it was easier to follow the chronological order of the conversation. With that being said, the new format does have one new feature that you can put to good use; if you click on the “Edit or Remove” icon in the upper right corner of a post, you can select “Pin to Top”. Selecting this option will keep your post at the top of your timeline wall for up to seven days. Consider using this feature if you have a promotion or other popular posts that you want new visitors to see first when they land on your wall.
Don’t forget that with the new Facebook fan page, your Wall becomes your default landing page. You can’t set a custom tab as your landing page like in the old layout. So pinning a post to the top of your Wall makes sense when you want to make a good first impression.
There aren’t any shortages of apps for Facebook. Why wouldn’t a developer want to get their name in front of 845+ million people? While there may be some niche specific apps for your market, here are the primary apps I recommend:
• Networked Blogs
These two apps automate postings to your Wall from your branding site’s blog and your YouTube channel. Both are great to get in front of your market. Plus, since you can automate them, it will help cut down on the amount of time you spend on social media. Just a quick word of caution with both of these apps … if you upload more than one blog post to your branding site a day, you may not want to automate this. And with the YouTube app, you may not want to use the automated feature since you won’t be able to control your call to action that comes with each video. Automating these apps may save time, but they can give your fans the feeling that your page is run by a robot and not real people.
Some people may suggest you include the Twitter app to your list. I’m not sold on it because you may have the conversations about the same content on Twitter and Facebook and it does help create links between your social media profiles, but how you have those conversations is different on these two platforms. You’ll have to decide if using this app is right for your market.
If you’re wondering how to set up apps, here are Facebook’s instructions.
I hope that you found this post helpful. I know there seems to be a lot of work here to get your new Facebook fan page in order. It really depends on your level of confidence for jumping in and handling it on your own. If you’re comfortable updating your fan page and you have some other ideas of how people / businesses can improve their page, leave your ideas in the comments below. Why not show off and get some credit for it?
If, however, you’re a little lost by all of this, contact SmallBizMedia.tv for some social media love. We’ll make sure your fan page has a solid foundation for helping you connect with your fans.
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide