Facebook is the current king of the Social Network heap with over 300 million active users. What is a more important statistic for agency PIOs to consider is that more than 2 billion pieces of content are shared each week. This content includes links to websites, Facebook Notes, and blog posts.
So the big question is how do you introduce your agency’s message in the form of content into that sharing trend?
Profiles vs. Fan Pages
A presence on Facebook can come in one of three forms. The gateway for all users onto Facebook is the Facebook Personal Profile. Designed for individuals, this provides users with the full ability to add and distribute content to those who link their accounts as friends and it offers the widest range of application options. Unfortunately quite a few agencies make the mistake of trying to establish themselves with a Personal Profile.
Best practice indicates that agencies and organizations are better served by setting up a Facebook Fan Page. These Pages offer a unique feature set of analytics that PIOs will find valuable in their Social Media efforts and are designed for agencies and organizations as opposed to individuals.
If your agency is already on Facebook using a Personal Profile, then you’re doing it wrong.
How To Set-Up Your Fan Page
Setting up your Facebook Fan Page is actually really pretty easy to do.
- Go to an established Facebook Fan Page such as PIO Social Media Training
- Scroll down to Create A Page For My Business and click on it
You will now need to classify your organization. Some categories you can classify it under the Local setting is Health Service, Professional Service, or Other Service. By using the Brand, Product, or Organization setting you can categorize it as Government, Non-Profit, and Professional Service
- Once you select your categorization it’s time to enter the name of your organization. I recommend entering the full corporate name of the organization and not use acronyms or abbreviations
- Finally, you need to affirm that you are in fact authorized to create this Facebook Fan Page. The Facebook TOS is very clear that only an “official representative of this brand, organization, or person” is allowed to create a fan page. Creating an unauthorized Facebook Fan Page can lead to the suspension of your entire Facebook account, including your Facebook Personal Profile
Once you click on the Create Page button, you’ll be taken to your now blank page that has not yet been made public. Click on Edit Page on the left column to make changes:
- Settings – Country Restrictions and Age Restrictions will stop anyone who is in a country you list or anyone under a certain age from viewing your page. There really is no reason to restrict other users based in other countries from viewing your page, so I wouldn’t change any of these defaults. The last setting is Published Status and should be listed as Unpublished until you have made all the changes you want before publishing your page
- Wall Settings – Your biggest appearance defining option is Default View For Wall. This can be switched from Only Posts By Page to Posts By Page And Fans, which allows whatever your fans post to your wall to be integrated with your posts. While it may be nice in theory to allow your Fans to have their posts on the front tab, I don’t recommend it and I’m sure the producers of NBC‘s Trauma probably wish their Page Administrator hadn’t allowed it either. The option Default Landing Tab For Everyone Else is a useful feature if you want your non-fans to see a different Tab first, like a Welcome Page. If your not going to create something unique, leave it set on the familiarity of the Wall
- Application Settings – There are 6 default applications that are already loaded onto your Facebook Fan Page. While each application has it’s own settings available for the action it is to perform, they all have Application Settings that determine how the application is displayed on the page and what it is permitted to do when interacting with your Page‘s News Feed. The two options under Profile are Box and Tab. Box will add a small box with the application content either under a Boxes tab or you can move it under the Wall tab. Tab will display the application on an individual tab and it’s content on it’s own page
- Upload Your Photo – Using the Photo Application, add a photo or a logo that you want to have representing your Agency on the page and in the News Feed
- Publish Your Page – Once you’ve made all your setting selections, filled in the blanks, and uploaded a photo it is time to Publish your Facebook Page
- Share Your Page – Be sure to share your page both through posting it to your profile as well as personal messages
3 Must Have Applications For Your Facebook Fan Page
Networked Blogs – While Facebook Notes is the default application to pull in your blog posts via RSS Feeds and works quite well, Networked Blogs does it better on three levels.
- First, when it pulls the feed it also will pull in a thumbnail of any images in the post. This visual addition will make your post stand out in the newsfeed of your subscribers
- Second, it will give you the ability to post it automatically or to post it manually to either your Fan Page News Feed or your Personal News Feed. Notes are automatically posted
- Finally, when your readers click on the post from Networked Blogs in their feed they will actually be taken to your blog. Clicking on a Note will take you to an imported version of your post on the Facebook platform
FBML – This is a really simple application that can pack alot of power. It allows you to place a box or a new tab on your Facebook Page that you can render either HTML or FBML for customized content. Some uses for this application include a custom splash landing page, using Feedburner‘s headline animator, or providing a subscription form for e-mail subscribers.
Twitter – If you are setting up a presence on Facebook then chances are you are also setting one up on Twitter. The Twitter application will allow you to update your Twitter status simply by updating your Facebook status. One stop status updating is one of the benefits of using the same type of media across multiple networks.
Further information on the use of Facebook by government agencies you can check out and become a fan of Facebook Government
To get the most out of this series it is highly recommended that you sign up for our Free E-Mail Social Media Bootcamp if you haven’t done so already since we will be referencing techniques and terms introduced in that program