Why should my small business create a Facebook Page?

One common question clients ask me is whether they should create a personal account (Profile) or a Page on Facebook.

I often suggest both.

Friends and family members can connect with you through your Profile. You can share photos and videos with them as well as update everyone on what’s going on in your life.

But if you have your own business or your healthcare organization wants an additional way to leverage social media, a Page is the way to go.

I recently helped the Pittsburgh chapter of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) launch a social media campaign for its Food Allergy Walk in September. We started both a Twitter account (twitter.com/FoodAllergyWalk) and a Facebook Page (search for Food Allergy Walk).

A Facebook Page allows organizations to showcase their events and interact with individuals who become their fans or followers. What’s great about a Page is that these followers are inviting you to market to them and share information. It’s what noted business author Seth Godin calls “Permission-Based Marketing.”

According to Facebook, a Page can be enhanced with applications that help organizations better communicate with and engage their followers, and capture new audiences virally through their followers’ recommendations to their friends. For example, the Food Allergy Walk Page has sections for photos and videos, as well as calendar to let people know when the event is and a discussion board for people to comment about the walk or even post relevant news about food allergies. Unlike a Profile, a Page is not subject to a fan limit and can automatically accept fan requests.

To start a Page, log into Facebook and visit www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.  Once you set up your Page, here are seven ways to ensure its success.

Publish it. Make sure your Page is publicly indexed and searchable. This will get your Page indexed by search engines, like Google, which will drive organic search traffic to your Page. On your Page, go to “Edit Page” and then “Settings” and set it to “Publish.”

Link to other Social Media Platforms: As I recommended with your status updates in a previous column, make sure you connect with all of your social media applications. Your Web site’s home page, Twitter account, LinkedIn Profile, and other Web-based outlets that you use in your marketing initiatives should drive people back to your Facebook Page. Connecting with these other platforms helps you to quickly build a large following.

Get your members to participate: Give your fans some reason to participate and get involved. Hold a contest or give a freebie away. Do it weekly and watch your numbers increase.

Think Relationships First, Business Second: If you all you do is promote your products and services, people will leave your page. Take off your marketing cap and be more social. Chat with your followers. Answer their questions. Spending time with them is a critical component of building your customer service, customer experience, and brand loyalty.

Be a resource. Offer practical, valuable tips and ideas. Post the latest news about your organization as well as links to articles or other sites that might be of use to your fans. In Facebook, like Twitter, your followers can share this information with their friends on their Profile pages.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Followers: I know you love your logo and probably spent thousands of dollars creating it, but many organizations slap their logo on the Facebook Page where the basic logo is displayed. Be a little more original. Use that section of the page to show a more engaging photo. This is the first thing people see when they come to your page and see displayed on a friend’s Facebook news feed. You’ll get more attention if you have an interesting photo versus your logo.

Update your Page: Don’t create a static page and never update it. As easy as it is to become a fan of an organization’s page, it’s just as easy to un-follow. Treat your Page like your blog. If your content is outdated and stale, people will stop visiting. Create fresh content at least several times a week. By doing so, you’re helping to spark conversations on your Page..

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About Daniel Casciato

Daniel Casciato has his own business as a social media consultant, freelance copywriter, ghostwriter, and ghostblogger. The Pittsburgh native loves his Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Learn more about him at www.DanielCasciato.com.

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