Monday’s post was about setting up a group for your business on Facebook. Today, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of creating a Fan Page.
Why a Fan Page?
In the grand scheme of things, a Fan Page is probably much better for business than a Group. First off, you can really distance your personal self from your business on Facebook. Any emails or invites that you send out from your group will be specifically from you, and have your photo attached. Any emails or invites sent from the Fan page will come from the name of your Fan page, and the icon will be whatever image you choose for your Fan page. The second great advantage that a Fan page has over a group is that you are not limited by the number of fans you can have, whereas a group will limit you to 5,000 (like personal friends). Fan pages are indexed by Google (groups are not) and they also have metrics build in, so you can view your page view stats. All pretty useful stuff if you have a business (and if you are Facebook, helpful to sell PPC ads).
Creating a Fan page:
Start by clicking on the “Applications” menu in the lower left-hand corner. Now click on the option marked “Ads and Pages.” In the upper menu of that page, click on the link for “pages,” and then look for an oval that says “+ create page.”
Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.
Once your page is up and running, you can add things to it, similar to adding widgets to your blog, to customize it, and allow for a better experience while your clients are on your page. For example, you can add a discussion board, your Flickr stream, etc.
Once your page is up and running, you need to get people interested in “becoming a fan.” You can invite your own personal friends in a similar way as with setting up a group (except it’s called “Suggest to friends”), and you can, the same as groups, create events to which you can invite the members of the Fan page. However, it is more difficult to do bulk invites with Fan pages than it is with Groups. You should use the URL of your page on your website, blog, and outgoing email signature, as well, to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to connect with you.
As limited as I know Facebook can be, I still see it being very useful as a business application. If you don’t have a blog (and even if you do!), it is a great place for people in your community to connect. They can post comments on the wall, connect with other people who like your business, and it gives you the opportunity to be in touch with them, and let them know about upcoming events. This is all quite painless and doesn’t take up much time, if you have already done the prep work and created the infrastructure. As long as you are giving them good stuff, and reasons to come back and check, they will. And, knowing that 200 Million people (and potential clients) are currently on Facebook makes its potential nearly unlimited.
Ugly vs. Vanity URLS
Facebook just announced yesterday that, as of June 12, you will be able to have a vanity URL. Let me give you an example: here is my own personal profile URL on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604312470&ref=name. Ugly, right? I could never say to someone at a networking event, “look me up on Facebook, I’m http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604312470&ref=name.” There are ways (mostly using a redirect) to make your URL more customized and pretty on Facebook, but up to now, it’s been only in the realm of those who are fairly technically inclined (which I am not). As of June 12, however, I, along with everyone else, will be able to have a Facebook URL that will be similar to their Twitter URL: http://www.facebook.com/rebeccacoleman.
Thanks for listening, Facebook. Or being intimidated by Twitter, whatever works!