Social Media
2-Facebook for Business

Now that we’ve broadened our understanding of the psychology behind social networks, it’s time to start zeroing in on the Big Four… starting with Facebook.

It’s a rare person who doesn’t already have a Facebook account. If you’re one of the few, go sign up now.

Whether your account is old or needs refreshing, it may help to take a look at the key points to observe…

Step One: Set up Your Profile

There are a few small but important pointers for setting up a strong Facebook profile…

PHOTOS:

1. Upload a profile photo — and not one of scenery or flowers, unless you’re a Landscape or Nature photographer! Use a headshot.

2. Use the same profile photo across all social networks.

3. Make sure it’s a current one — preferably a head shot with no distractions in the background

4. Make sure what you’re wearing in your profile photo reflects the image you want to portray. (For example, if your business is selling dental equipment to busy dentists, you wouldn’t want to show a photo of you goofing around at a party in your “70’s Blast from the Past” afro wig and tie-dyed t-shirt.

On the other hand, if your business consists solely of selling hand-painted beach flip-flops, you could get away with a photo of your self in a Hawaiian shirt on a beach, flip-flopped feet pointed towards the camera as you lie on a deck chair with a big grin on your face.)

5. Have your photo ready to upload before you set up your profile. It doesn’t really matter what size it is, as you’ll be able to drag the your thumbnail around to select the portion you want, but 367 pixels by 327 pixels is the size you need, if you have photo editing software

PRIVACY SETTINGS:

Don’t take these for granted. Make sure you configure them to your liking. Go through each one individually.

Step Two: Readying for your Facebook Page

We’re going to spend some quality time on your Facebook Page because that Page will be your main business engine, when it comes to that particular social network. Ideally, you should restrict your general Facebook Wall to your personal life — close friends and family — and interact with business clients, customers, fans and peer acquaintance on your Facebook Page.

Facebook pages are meant for your group, band, business, non-profit — any permanent cause that isn’t simply personal. (If you are your business, you can make it all about you.)

Your fans don’t have to “Like” your Facebook page: Facebook has changed it so that any viewer can comment, “Like” or share your content. They can also post on your page, which expands three key ingredients for successful social networking:

• Interactivity
• A sense of community
• Emotional involvement

When you post frequently and invite engagement, it’s no longer a question of forcing people to press “Like” — artificially — to share your content (or even read it). The result? Facebook “Likes” are no longer a joke — something everyone knows you did to support all those begging friends. (“Please “Like” my page — I’ll get my own custom URL if I get just seventeen more “Likes”!)

Instead, if you are tuned in to the psychology of your followers, your calls to action should naturally prompt them to share your content.

If you monitor your results and discover what your “hot” buttons (topics) are, you’ll be able to create content with a huge potential to go viral. And your fans will now be able to share it with anyone they like.

No more desperate, annoying pleas to “Like my page”. (And what was the result of having a “Like” emotionally blackmailed out of you by someone you barely know? Did you ever visit their page again?

Step Three: Study the Stars

[Share a few case studies from the coaching and author industries]

Cesar Millan, better known as “The Dog Whisperer”, reached 1.6 million viewers last month via his Facebook page — only a few months after starting it.

Now, granted, Millan is a mega-celebrity, but don’t be lulled into thinking that his celebrity status is the only reason his page went viral so quickly.

Here’s what he does with his social networking — in his own words:

And note the call-to-action in that article (“Sign up for the newsletter here”) — as well as the “Like” and “Share” chiclets.

Note also that this article is from Millan’s main site, CesarsWay.com: A perfect example of a Facebook Page supporting his main website… and his main website driving people to share and increase visits to his Facebook page.

You may not yet be a celebrity, but when it comes to Facebook Pages, you can learn a lot about content management and fan connection from the stars.

Now let’s take a look at his actual Facebook Page

1. The first thing you should notice is his custom URL:

2. The next is his Profile photo, which fully supports his warm public persona. He is surrounded by staff and he is holding a dog. He is also smiling — part of his persona.


(Two things you might not want to do: Smile… and look away from the camera. Friendly eye contact is a safe bet, if your site is service or business oriented rather than “pets and people” oriented.)

3. Millan uses a lively mix of multiple media content, to create interactivity and interest. In the screenshot above, you see a contest – Your Dog’s Funniest Photos! This is a great way to engage viewers (particularly in a niche involving crafts, babies or pets). Further down the page, you would notice that he doesn’t stick to this format — he mixes photos, videos and news article screenshots; a memorial to a dog; and tips and information…

4. Note the number of comments in the previous photo. This is a really simple way to track your audience engagement: This particular article elicited 103 comments: A previous post on dogs in the White House draw only 46…

The earliest version of Millan’s page used no photographs, but was drawing thousands of viewers even while in its “down-‘n’-dirty” infancy. One thing he did include that helped this process was a “Discussion” tab.

The Discussion tab is gone… but that is because it’s no longer needed. Anyone can comment — but calls to action are always a good idea in your posts.

Step Four: Making the Most of Your Facebook Page

This is not to say your page should duplicate his: There are variables you don’t share. Your focus will most likely be completely different. You are most likely not a celebrity (or you would be having staff members or a PR firm to read this lesson for you!)

But basic principles always apply:

• Tell people in each post what you want them to do

• Mix your media and your subject types (photographs, text, video thumbnail links, contests, polls, questions, tips, etc.)

• Create a custom vanity URL with either your name or your best keyword

• Create badges, chiclets and links between your Page and your website, blogs, and other web appearances

• Track your results — even if only by analyzing the number of views and comments (as well as increases in followers and blog subscribers)

• Publicize your page!

Other Tips

1. Cut down on the word “I” as much as possible. Too many “I” statements can easily come across as egotistical. Keep the focus on your viewers. (“What do you think is yuckier — boiled or poached eggs?”) Or use wording that is warm, but could be said by anyone: (“Now HERE’S a sunset!”)

2. Keep ahead of your competition! It’s not hard — simply stay on top of breaking news sources for your niche and subscribe to authority source RSS feeds. (A great way to find the most relevant ones, if you don’t know what to search for: Visit Alltop.com, select the most appropriate category for your niche and choose from a list of authority blogs and online publications.

Another great strategy: Search via Blekko.com, using hashtags such as these after your keywords:

• /news
• /2011
• /techblogs

Blekko also shows you more hashtags via their Autosuggest drop-down menu:

3. Generously share high-value content submitted by fans (and give them specific credit in your comment, even if the value is obvious). Everyone loves to be acknowledged — and the more they view you as an authority or web-celeb, the more you’ll make their day (and increase their loyalty and liking) by making them feel their time and thoughts matter to you.

Step Five: Create a Facebook Page

Now you’re in a position to set up your Facebook Page — or tweak it, if you already have one. But don’t make the all-too-common mistake of hanging back and hanging back until you learn how to create Facebook Page templates or wait until your business is “ready” or you’ve got more subscribers, etc. Do it right now. (It’s really easy!)

1. Log into Facebook and slide down to the bottom of your Wall posts page. Click on the “Create a Page” link and follow the prompts:

2. Make sure you include a strong tagline

3. Create custom tab apps to increase interactivity

4. Don’t be intimidated into putting this task off. Just get your page started — you can customize it and add content later.

Here’s what a brand-new page might look like, before they’ve invested it with “character” and got the conversational ball rolling…

Taking this as an example, bare-bones, essential ingredients you’ll want to have ready and plan to include are:

Best Category. (Don’t worry about putting it in the most appropriate one: Instead, put your energy into visualizing what category your ideal reader would be searching.).

Description. Here’s where your most direct, punchiest copy should be. (TIP: Cut out every adjective or adverb and keep sentences short.)

Call-to-Action at the end of your description. (“Visit www.myamazingsite.com.”, “Share this page link with your friends”…)

Blog or website URL (test it, to make sure it works!)

“Join” or “Like” button

Contact info

Statement for the “News” section. (This can be as simple as “What’s better in a Martini — Pickled onions or olives?” and as divergent as “Press the “Wall” tab to see what we talk about”)

Your very basic page should:

Tell people what you want them to do — while making it feel that it’s all about their interests, dreams, needs or entertainment.

The bottom line, of course, is that anyone can create a page such as the Food, Wine and Beer Artisans page — simply by following the prompts.

So go do it. Get it up and running, and make sure all your links and badges point people to your Facebook Page.

Besides, if you’ve studied your competition’s Pages, made note of the tips we’ve discussed, found yourself some authority feeds to follow (in order to keep up with changes and new Facebook features), you will naturally gain from these a strong idea of what you’d like to emulate and what wouldn’t work for you.

Do this, and targeted tweaks and giving yourself an edge by fine-tuning your Page will quickly follow!

Page Design — You have three options, when it comes to upgrading the look of your basic Facebook page to a more professional layout:

1. Use a template

2. Use static FBML (markup language for Facebook pages)

3. Leave it alone and rely on photos and content to help you engage viewers

4. Hire a professional to design and set up your page for you

If you have any basic web design experience at all, you may wish to use install the static FBML app and customize your page yourself. To add the FBML app, look under Applications for “Ads and Pages”. If this doesn’t work, simply type “Static FBML” in your Facebook search bar and it will bring up the app page.

Select “Add to my Page” in the left-hand sidebar on the Static FBML page:

(TIP: You can find any Facebook app this way!)

If you don’t want to do it yourself, you will find many companies (and virtual assistants) who specialize in Facebook Page setup, and the costs vary to suit any budget.

Step Five: Tidying Up Loose Ends

One more aspect of Facebook you shouldn’t ignore — security. As an online entrepreneur, you want your page as accessible as possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave it wide open to scammers, frauds, phishers and identity thieves.

Facebook expert Mari Smith recently released a succinct post giving shrewd and sensible Facebook security “best practices”, which include:

• Using a password manager service such as 1Password.com or Roboform.com (a great practice for all your sites!)

• Clearing your cache regularly after you log out

• Turning on secure browsing:

1. Go to Account Settings

2. Select “Security”, then “Secure Browsing”

3. Choose “Edit”, then check the box enabling secure browsing

4. Save your changes

• Using common sense and good judgment when deciding to click on unknown links or ones that sound too good to be true — even ones purporting to be from your friends!

Make a habit of visiting your Privacy Settings and Account Settings on a regular basis (once a week to no more than once a month), to see if (a) settings are still the way you left them (b) settings have “disappeared”, or new settings have been enabled.

Facebook has a habit of announcing changes via its official blog only. Unless you visit the blog regularly, you may not know something has changed.

A Word About Contests — Before you rush into doing that “Send Us Your Cute Pet Photo” contest on Facebook be aware that Facebook has fairly strict rules about running promotions and contests via its platform.

Certain types of contests absolutely have to be run using Facebook apps only. And until you grow more familiar with what you can and can’t do, do make sure you check Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines first.

Take Advantage of Apps — But use only Facebook apps, to be safe. For example, run polls using the Polldaddy app or add your blog, using the Social RSS app (which currently allows you to add up to five feeds.)

You should be able to add apps by selecting “Applications” on the left-hand sidebar of your Facebook account, under your Profile photo. If you don’t see it there, select “More”. And if that doesn’t work, follow the instructions in Facebook’s Help Center.
(Be sure to read the “Discover Games and Apps” section too.)

Educate Your Followers — Tell them about Facebook apps like the Android app. Instruct them simply on how to answer your poll, and reassure them about their privacy as honestly as you can.

Never assume your readers know the same things about Facebook that you do. Always look for an opportunity to point out a handy Facebook link (especially if it makes your Facebook Page easier for them to access) or how to configure their settings for an app you want them to install. As well as that most basic of basics, where to find it!

Keep it Current — Facebook seems to invest in more twists and turns than a Stephen King novel, so make sure you regularly check the official Facebook blog for up-to-the-minute news. Another way to make sure you’re not getting left behind with

Facebook changes is to get in the habit of constantly tracking and re-evaluating your friends’ and your own communication patterns and content.

Watch for changes in audience behavior (a shift in your demographic). This can occur spontaneously, in respond to changing social trends or to Facebook changes. (For example, a huge number of people have de-camped and left Facebook for Google+, which they say better meets their needs while still having all the advantages of social search and social impact.)

Stay with the Big Picture — Last but not least — Do make sure that Facebook really is the best social network where you and your target demographic best connect! Don’t invest hours in Facebook, if they only communicate via Twitter and Google+, for example.

Have your business goals always before you. It doesn’t mean your posts always have to be about business — of all the social networks we’re discussing in this series, Facebook is by far the most personal and informal! But it does mean you should never lose sight of the image you want to present. In other words, don’t get on a soapbox about politics if your main business focus is all about New Age positive energy and removing stress from people’s lives. Or to put it even more simply, don’t talk about vampires to anyone but teenagers and garlic salesmen.

Remember the Golden Rule of entertainment: “Always leave them wanting more”.

But make sure you visit regularly so they actually look for you in the first place!

WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT:

1. Find and study at least six Facebook pages. Make notes of what you like about them… and what you don’t like.

2. Look at your “likes”. Ask yourself: “Would these features and strategies work with my target reader? Do they align with her psychological profile?”

3. Analyze your current Facebook profile photo. Is it the same as your other social network profile photos? Does it say who you are and what you’re about? Is it professional? Is it too formal? Are you making eye contact? Does it support your image or contradict it?

4. If you need to change your photo, do so.

5. Set up a Facebook Page for your business

6. Clean up your Privacy and Account settings. Make sure you have a strong, long password

7. Start to interact! (Posting an irresistible YouTube video that is funny, amazing or entertaining but also relevant to your business niche and asking people to share it is a great Facebook “icebreaker”). Find one and do this, if you can’t think of anything else to post immediately

8. Select three Facebook apps and learn about them. Install the one you think will help your target reader the most.

9. Remember your calls to action in each post!

10. Monitor and acknowledge any comments