First, let’s cover a couple of old rules that remain the same, only because we see some otherwise-savvy businesses missing them:
1. You want a PAGE for your business, not a PROFILE.
A Profile has “friends,” a Page has “likes.” “Friends” require mutual acceptance, the Page assumes anyone who “likes” it is welcome until an administrator says otherwise. Pages provide analytics and allow for custom tabs; profiles do not. If you’re a business, you should demand analytics and…we’ll talk about custom tabs later in this series.
The easiest way I’ve found to explain how to build a Page is: Go to the very bottom of any Facebook Web page and click, “Advertising.” On the ensuing page, click, “Pages (it’s on your left),” and then on the ensuing Page click, “Create Page (top right).”
2. You want a custom, or “vanity,” Web address for your Facebook Page.
Once you’ve launched your Page, you need to acquire 25 “likes.” Surely among all your employees, relatives, colleagues, customers, friends, family members, people who owe you a solid, the guy who sold you your iPhone, etc., you can scare up 25 people to take a few seconds to “like” your new Facebook Page. If not, you need to get out more. There, I said it.
As soon as you hit this milestone, go to www.Facebook.com/Username and name your Page after your business. Triple-check your spelling. Don’t get cute–the point of having a memorable Web address is that it’s memorable. Think ahead to business cards, email autosignatures, elevator pitches and blog posts. Example: You can connect with our company at Facebook.com/Webolutions, on Twitter at Twitter.com/Webolutions and on our Website, Webolutions.com. See there? I gave you three things and you only have to remember one.
Even if your executives don’t see how Facebook fits your business equation immediately, taking ownership of your brand name in this space is a good idea, to say the least. It’s easy. So is doing it wrong.
Do I love or hate the new Facebook Page?
You love it. First of all, I can’t help but notice Facebook changes stuff frequently without asking us, so if we decide to embrace the changes, we’ll spend more time smiling about them. If we don’t, we’ll just be a bunch of grumps sitting by ourselves in the break room and later we’ll come around to realizing just how silly it was to get grumpy about Facebook instead of all the really good reasons life provides for grumpiness AND we’ll still have to figure out how to leverage the changes to our benefit.
Three Reasons You Love the New Facebook Page Functionality
1. You can take on the identity of the Page.
Now, the Page can act as a person on Facebook. It can have its own personality and make comments on other Pages leaving its own thumbnail. Is there a business with which your business would like to interact? Go to your business’s Page, on the top right, click, “Use Facebook as (your page name),” and start acting like you’ve been here before. Have you ever dropped off your kid at school and minutes later been in a business meeting? How about hanging up with your personal financial adviser to take a sales call? Right, so it might be a little weird at first but it’ll be a pretty shallow learning curve. Your Page has its own Profile, with its own messages, updates, etc., etc. Just like you do.
2. The ownership issue is resolved.
Once upon a time, somebody at your company started a Facebook Page but she doesn’t work there anymore and nobody knows exactly what the password is and she didn’t make anyone else an administrator before she left. Or, an agency set up your Page and you’ve decided not to continue with that agency. Or, you created an email address just for the Page and the more you think about that the less sense it makes…Never encounter this scenario, or anything similar, again with the upgraded Facebook Page! We still recommend multiple administrators including at least two from the client company, but that has changed from a fundamental requirement to a best practice for backup.
3. The Page has its own news feed.
Your Page can now “like” other Pages, meaning the status updates that come from those businesses make up the news feed on your Page’s Profile. Ever heard this story? Dad hires son, son is not working out. Dad calls son into his office. Dad is wearing a hat labeled, “CEO.” Dad tells son, “I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to let you go.” Dad removes “CEO” hat, puts on another hat labeled, “Dad.” Dad now says, “Son, your mother and I feel terrible that you lost your job and want you to know we love you and we want to help.” This type of separation is enabled in Facebook. Consume and share items of personal interest from your personal profile, then click over to your Page and do the same thing from your company’s brand identity.
The Business Opportunity
Brand identity and the development and proliferation thereof. Ownership of your assets. Separation of personal and professional.
First, let’s define the term: “News feed” is the chronological list of posts from your friend and Pages you “like.” It’s the stream of information you see when you log into Facebook. Anymore, this works (links) the same when you’re using Facebook as yourself or as your business Page.
Just like Google and other search engines, Facebook uses an algorithm–Facebook’s is called EdgeRank–to determine what “news” it “feeds” you. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (and even if it isn’t) then the way to your human audience is through that algorithm. So: What shall we feed the algorithm?
If you’ve ever posted anything on a Page you administer, you’ve seen the “quality score” for that post. Every single post on Facebook gets a quality score. The higher the quality score, the more likely it is that more people see that post.
The factors influencing the quality score are:
(Of course, if you have 100 “likes” on your page, the total available market for your message is 100 people. That’s beyond the scope of this post but it is worth contemplating.)
Based on these criteria and and observed consumer behavior, you can assume that self-promotion posts will receive low engagement a low quality score and therefore be seen by fewer people. People are most likely to interact with business page posts based on promotional offers.
The Business Opportunity
In social media, quality counts. To get more of the right people to “opt in” to your message on Facebook, your objective must be to generate conversations on your Page in a timely manner. Understanding the rules of the game provides quantitative metrics against which goals and your ROI can be set and success measured.
Not all social networks are the same. When I speak to groups, I talk about this in the context of “culture.” In this post, we’ll focus on the practical, matter-of-fact stuff, but it still makes sense to address, briefly, the nature of how people use the network.
Constants in the Equation
Very few of us interact on Facebook with a primary goal of selling something, and those who project that are broadcasting to an empty channel. We use Facebook for entertainment and keeping in touch, and we make time for this on weekends. We’ve seen recent data that says messages on Facebook are most likely to be consumed on Saturdays and Sundays and Tuesday through Friday before the work day starts, but we haven’t seen that data broken out to the granular degree we would like and we suspect that Facebook is consumed with less discipline and efficiency than, say, email is today.
Webolutions’ clients, for whom the audience is consumers, start on a schedule of Saturday morning, Tuesday evening and Thursday evening. As the brand grows more social, the results from A/B testing are collected and interpreted and the audience preferences become more clearly identified over time, the schedule adjusts. The next test we run is to change from Tuesday and Thursday evenings to mornings before work on those days, and A/B testing continues from there until we find the sweet spot.
Your audience should get what they expect, when they expect it. I’m a Simpsons geek. Every Sunday, 7:00 pm, this cartoon comes on. Bart is going to say something irreverent, Homer will do something stupid and the rest of the characters will enable by way of filling in the slow spots. If the show hits the air at 7:04 some Saturdays or 6:53 some Thursdays and every once in a while throws in a live action cameo from Eleanor Clift recounting her experiences as a McLaughlin Group panelist…well, I’ll have better places to be. A schedule, an Editorial Calendar, provides structure to your internal processes and frames the expectations for your audience.
It bears mentioning that tools exist to help you schedule your output and manage your time. For scheduling output ahead of time and monitoring multiple social media channels in real time, my favorite is HootSuite.
There’s no easy answer, but start with every other day, outside of work hours. Use what you know about your customer and their tendencies to implement the next step. Collect and analyze data, and do it again. And again.
The Business Opportunity
We’ve suggested where to start. Your challenge will be to find the point at which the timing and frequency of your output appeals to the audience. When your most engaged members become your brand evangelists by sharing your content, smile. You can’t stop analyzing and improving, but you can enjoy a small victory.
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Consumers are most frustrated with inconsistent brand messaging.