Facebook is a great place to do business.
In case you need a little convincing, there are more than 30 million business pages on Facebook and more than 890 million active users every day.
Most likely, your customers are already on Facebook. And there is a huge pool of potential customers here waiting to discover you.
But before you jump in, you need to have the right expectations.
Facebook isn’t a quick fix for your business. You won’t get swamped with new customers just because you show up.
You need a strategy for reaching out to strangers and what you are going to say to them. I’ll talk more about how to do these things later in this series.
First, things first.
Pages vs. Profiles
You need a Facebook business page. This is different from your personal profile in Facebook.
Many people who are solopreneurs and some professionals with jobs start using their personal Facebook profile to talk about their business or career.
It’s an easy mistake to make.
Even though many people do this, it is against the Facebook rules.
If you are using a personal profile to represent something other than yourself, for example, to represent your business, you could permanently lose access to your account. That means you have to start over from scratch with everyone. Even your friends.
Instead of using your personal profile, Facebook wants you to use a business page.
It’s not just against the rules. There are also an important practical reason why you shouldn’t talk business on your personal page.
Your friends and family don’t plan to become your customers. They love you, but they don’t want to talk with you about your business and your offerings.
You need to keep your personal conversations with friends and family, and have business conversation with customers and potential customers.
That means having both a personal profile and a business page and having the appropriate conversations on each one.
Page Features & Benefits
There are several reasons why people are reluctant to set up a business page.
You don’t want to start over. When you have a lot of friends, you don’t want to start over with 0 (zero) likes on your business page. This is very real. But the truth is that most of your friends are not your customers. So your high friend count isn’t really the number of people who like your business.
You don’t know anything about business pages or how they work. A lot of what you know from having a personal profile carries over to your business page. But there are new things you need to learn. And in this article series, I’m going to help you learn what you need.
The great news here is that Facebook understands what businesses need. They have given business pages an amazing range of features and services that you don’t get with a personal profile.
• You get reports on how many people like and comment on each post.
• You can see statistics which posts get the most attention.
• You can see what time of day is the best to post to reach the people who like your page.
• You can set up ads targeted to reach your ideal customers.
Facebook knows that many small businesses have made this mistake. So they created a procedure to change your personal profile into a business page. This is a great option for some people but there are limitations. Read what Facebook has to say before you decide to take this route.
In general, I recommend people set up a separate Facebook business page and leave their personal profile in place.
In this series, I’ll give you a strategy for moving people from your personal profile to your new business page.
Before You Set Up Your Page
It’s easy to set up a Facebook business page. To make the process even easier, do these things before you go to the computer.
Decisions you need to make before you start your page:
• Who is the page about? Do you want to promote yourself as a professional individual (Susan Smith, Realtor®)? Or, do you want to promote your business (Smith Realty Company)? This is a judgment call. And the good news is that you can change your mind later and adjust the page without starting over.
• Will you use a headshot or a logo as your profile image? In general, I recommend using a headshot instead of a logo, even if you are promoting your business instead of yourself as a professional individual. A headshot makes you seem friendlier and helps you pull in potential customers.
• What name do you want for your business page? With so many existing business pages, you may not be able to get your first choice. Make a list of potential names in the order you would like them. Keep your Facebook business page is similar to your business name and other social media account names to avoid confusion.
• What business category is best for your business? The category you choose determines the features available for your business page. Facebook provides this helpful table so you can see the options.
The Companies & Organizations, Local Businesses, and People categories fit most small businesses. Within each category, you can choose a subcategory that lets you get even more specific.
Things you need to prepare in advance:
• Your profile image file. Locate either your headshot or company logo file on your computer and have it ready to go.
• Your profile image must be square. If you have a rectangle image for your headshot or logo, you must adjust them first to make them a square. You may need to hire a graphic designer or someone with strong graphic editing skills to help you.
Tip: Don’t use a rectangle logo in a square space. Facebook converts your rectangle to a square by cutting off part of it. You want your business to be visible, and that means having a profile image people can see and read.
• Do you have a physical place of business that is open to the public? If so, you need to include your business location address in your Facebook profile. Facebook allows people to check in at your business and review it.
Tip: If you work from a home office, you don’t want to put your home address on Facebook.
• Write a brief description of your business. You can take this from your existing marketing materials. Focus on the benefits you deliver to your customers rather than the features of your products and services.
Tip: The business category you select determines the exact business information you need for your business page profile.
Create Your Facebook Page
With these things prepared, you are ready to create your business page.
The Facebook page creation wizard walks you through the process of creating your business page. At each step, it asks you questions that fill out your business page profile and set its features.
If the wizard asks you a question you can’t answer, or if you want more time to think about something, you can either pause in the process or skip the step and come back to it later.
There’s no rush to filling out your page. You want everything to be accurate and complete, and to make a great first impression on your visitors. Invest the time it takes to do this well.
Plan For A Great First Impression
There is one thing I don’t like about the wizard.
Facebook will keep suggesting that you share your new page with the world before it is finished. I strongly recommend that you do not do this.
You only get one chance to make a first impression with your page. Wait until you have your page set up, your profile complete, and have at least 6 posts made before you tell anyone about your page.
Here’s why I recommend this. If people stop by and see an incomplete page with no postings, they won’t like what they see and likely won’t like your page or return.
You need to be patient so your business can make a strong impression with people.
New Page Checklist
Before you share your new business page with the world, I recommend you complete this checklist.
• Completely fill out your business page profile information. If you find that the profile form contains a lot of bits of information that doesn’t apply to your business, perhaps you have chosen the wrong category or subcategory. Consider changing this now before you spend any more time on your page.
• Upload your business page profile image. Make sure it looks great in the square format.
• Create and upload your first Facebook cover image. Add an image description so people can learn more about your business by clicking on your cover image. Learn more about your profile and cover image details.
• Set up a customized web address for your business page. Facebook calls this your page username and it looks like this: facebook.com/BestBuy. But be careful. After you set your username, you can only change it once. Here’s how to get a customized username.
• On your personal profile, fill out your employment information so it links to your new business page. That way, people can see you have a business with a business page, and they can click to view it. This helps when clients and potential clients look you up on Facebook.
• Add someone you trust to be a second page administrator. This person doesn’t need to do anything. But if something ever happens to your Facebook account, you know there’s someone who can still access your business page.
• Create at least 6 posts before you tell the world about your new business page. This is about making a great first impression. If you haven’t posted anything, how can people decide if they want to like your business?
Switch Between Your Profile and Page
There’s one important skill you must have to use your new business page successfully.
You need to know how to switch between using Facebook as you (your personal profile) and your business (your business page).
You have to let Facebook know who is taking action at all times. It’s not as obvious as it could be! But its easy when you know how to do it.
Locate the triangle to the right of the globe in the upper right corner of the page (in the navy blue bar).
Click on it. You’ll see a list of the pages where you are set up as the page administrator. As you can see, I’m a page administrator for a lot of pages. You may only see the name of your business page here.
Click on the name of your page.
It might seem like a small action, but then entire Facebook universe just shifted for you.
You are now using Facebook as your business page. That means that everything you do now, you do as your page and not as you!
Here’s a quick way to tell if you are using Facebook as you or your business page.
Check the top right corner of your screen in the navy blue bar.
• Do you see your name? Then you are using Facebook as you.
• Do you see your business page name? Then you are using Facebook as your business page.
You can use Facebook as you or your business. When you use Facebook as your business, you keep using Facebook as your business until you change to use Facebook as you.
Tip: Always check to see how you are using Facebook before you take any actions to avoid mistakes.
This is a good thing! Because as your business page, you can:
• Like other business pages.
• Review your business page news feed.
• Like, comment and share things you find in your business page news feed on your business page.
In the next article in my Facebook for Business series, I’ll talk about how to move customers from being friends with your personal profile to liking your business page.
Where are you in your Facebook business journey? What did you learn when you set up your business page that surprised you? Share your experiences and insights here.