Facebook fan pages are a great way to promote your business or organization, are easy to maintain and they keep your personal profile separate from your business page. To its credit Facebook has done a lot lately to make pages more brand-friendly, even website-like. If you’re like me, chances are you are not using your fan page to the full extent you could.
Here are five things you can do right now to improve your fan page.
1. Get a custom address. Mine is facebook.com/communicatto, which is far superior to the gobbledygook address Facebook gave me when I first created the page. To get a custom address you need to have 25 fans or “likers” of the page as a prerequisite.Less than 25 and Facebook tells you your page doesn’t qualify for a “username” (in their parlance). Arm-twist your staff, friends and family to become fans (i.e. visit the page and click the “Like” button) and get over the 25-person barrier. Once you hit 25, head over to facebook.com/username and pick a custom address. Try and make it simple so you can add it to business cards, direct mail pieces, your email signature and make sure it’s easy to say over the phone or at a party.
2. Maximize the size of your page’s profile picture. Even though fan pages are largely used by business, Facebook maintains the awkward nomenclature more suited to a personal page. For example, what I would call logo, a fan page calls profile picture. This is due to fan pages’ heritage as celebrity pages. In any case, treat your profile picture on your fan page as the spot for your logo. Beware though,appearances are deceiving – it looks as though you can only fit a narrow shallow image in that “picture” spot, but it actually will accommodate 180 pixels wide by 540 pixels deep, a shape we internet veterans might have called a skyscraper ad back int he day. Don’t just put your logo up there; use every pixel you can for branding and advertising. Why not? It’s free!
3. Tear down the wall. OK, not really, I just like Pink Floyd. But the Wall is generally the default view of a fan page, which means every fan page looks the same as the next, unless you take advantage of custom tabs. A custom tab is what it sounds like, a tab on your Facebook page that you can customize with the help of a web geek or a service. It changes the default view of your page from that bland, generic, text-heavy wall to a fully branded billboard, verging on a mini-website. Check out Chevron’s fan page, or Coke’s, they both use this technique effectively. There’s a slick little service called Pagemodo that helps you build such a billboard, and like a lot of Web 2.0 stuff, it’s free.
4. Add an application, or three. Add your slideshows from Slideshare, videos fromYouTube, photos from flickr, or a newsletter signup form. As a business person your goal is to build connections with your fans – creating more opportunities to interact with people will generate more conversations and thus more conversions.
5. Market your page on Facebook, outside of Facebook, and offline. Add the “Like box” to your website. Buy a Facebook ad to promote your page on the platform itself. Put your new vanity URL into your email signatures and into your bio, blog posts or offline articles you write. But don’t stop there – make business cards with the address on them, or thank you cards, direct mail pieces, print ads, marketing swag and so on.
Fan pages are becoming mini-websites, with more and more sophistication. There’s a huge audience on Facebook, 500 million and counting. Optimizing your page to get your share of that audience is just good common sense. At the very least you’ll like the search engine benefits that result from your fan page being indexed by Google.
Like the proverbial shoemaker’s child, my fan page has gone without for too long. A couple hours this weekend should rectify that. I figure it’s an investment in brand and image that will pay dividends for some time. You might want to do the same.