Facebook is now so popular that business owners can no longer consider it a site only appropriate for socialising and playing games. You may be surprised to learn that in September 2010, Facebook exceeded Google in relation to the amount of time users spent on their site. Facebook states that users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook!
With 500 million active users, Facebook is the new "King of the Internet". With its popularity across diverse age groups, integrated email application, and new Bing search integration, a Facebook user may simply no longer need to visit Google for Internet searches or log off to use an email application. They may be able to experience the Internet fully all from inside Facebook. With more than 50% of the active users logging into Facebook everyday, according to Facebook, Facebook is now so important to your potential customers' lives that it makes sense for you, as a business owner, to have a presence where your prospects are literally visiting on a daily basis.
Remember that a Business Page is not to be confused with a personal profile. They are two separate entities and offer different options and ways to interact with friends and colleagues.
Are Business Pages also called Fan Pages?
Facebook used to call Business Pages - Fan Pages. It also used to be that someone "fanned you." Now they "like you." Don't get confused by thinking that a Fan Page is a different product than a Business Page - they are actually one and the same.
All Facebook Business Pages start with the set-up of a personal Facebook profile. Yes, that's correct, a personal profile! You can't just jump to Business Page set up. The email address and name you use for your personal profile must be one tied to a person and not a catchall email like email@example.com. Remember, that if you have an employee set up your Facebook account and the personal profile portion for your Business Page, you don't want to tie the new account to the employee's email address. If the employee does so and leaves your Company, you could lose access to your Facebook Business Page, all of your accumulated “fans”, and information with no way at all of being able to retrieve this.
For set up, it is recommended that one of the business owners create a new email address exclusively for Facebook. Once you have set up the personal Facebook profile, you are ready to get started. But don't take time to add information like education and other details in this special account unless you plan on using it for your own personal use. In most cases you are just setting up this account to have a platform to launch and access your new Facebook Business Page.
While logged in to your new personal account, visit this link:
&placement=pgall&extra_1=1. It will take you to the Facebook Business Page creation tool where you can then create your new page.
On the right side of the creation page under the heading the "Official Page" look for "Create a Page for a:" and then select "local business." Enter your page name and then tick the box next to the statement that says you are a legal business representative and allowed to own the page. It is important to understand that the name you choose for the title of your Facebook Business Page will appear at the top of your finished page.
It is recommended to use proper spelling and not use hyphens or underscores in your selected name. Previously you had to enter hyphens or the spaces would show as non-HTML characters in the page name and URL, but Facebook has this sorted. For example, enter in "Your Business Name" (note the proper use of spacing and capitalisation), not "Your-Business-Name." This name will appear in your new Business Page URL as well.
Once you click create, the next page you see will be your brand new Facebook Business Page. It is that simple. Later, after you've had 25 people "Like" your page, you will be able to select a vanity URL and we will discuss that later.
Do my personal updates show on my Business Page?
After you have set up your Facebook Business Page, you can "lock down" your personal profile that was used to launch your Business Page. To do so, just alter the privacy settings in the personal account to not show your personal information to others who are not "approved" friends.
When Facebook was first created many business owners started with a Facebook personal profile for their business, but now that Facebook has created Business Pages, you can simply change the privacy settings on your old personal profile to channel your business traffic to your new Facebook Business Page, keeping your old personal profile just for family and chosen friends.
When you change the privacy settings on the personal profile attached to your Business Page, it does not impact who can view information about your Business Page. On the other hand, if you post pictures of your children on your Facebook personal profile that is the launch pad for your Business Page, and you have your personal profile limited to "friends only", your children's photos will not appear on the wall of your Business Page.
Why would a business owner want a business page and not just use a personal profile?
There are several reasons to have a Facebook Business Page ... the ability to contact all people who "Like" or who "Fan" you with one click newsletter type notes; being able to interact with discussion questions like a forum; set up events and invite fans to attend; even create specialised welcome and shopping pages. Your Business Page can almost be a mini website!
How to create your Business Page Vanity URL ...
Once you have 25 people who have clicked that they "Like" your Business Page, you can select a short easy to remember name to promote on your website and business card. Your Business Page goes from something like http://www.facebook.com/?tid=1772800639231&sk=messages#!/pages/WWW-Design-New-Zealand/153873444647571 to something like this http://www.facebook.com/wwwdesign (**We would be grateful if you can “like” WWW Design’s Business Page so that we can get a Vanity URL**). Just visit this link http://www.facebook.com/username to sign into Facebook. You can have vanity URLs for both your personal account and Business Page.
It is very important to understand that once you have selected your vanity URL you will not be able to change the name, so choose carefully.
Some good practice tips for keeping your new Facebook Business Page updated ...
No one wants to be spammed, but sometimes new, enthusiastic Business Page owners get excited and post what seems like a constant flow of information on their wall. It is important to understand that what you post on your wall is posted on the wall of the people who have clicked "Like" on your page. It is advisable, when they are doing status updates, to be sensible and post no more than two a day. Facebook is not Twitter and so 5 to 10 status updates a day could get you blocked or hidden by fans when they feel you have inundated their wall with your constant updates.
Hopefully this introduction to Facebook Business Pages will encourage you by showing how simple it is to set up. If you haven't created your own Facebook Business Page, now is the time to consider doing so. Facebook is ever-increasing in popularity and is actively seeking to entice the business community into their portal with demographic based pay per click advertising and the new integrated search with Bing.com.