In the world of small business and social media, we're seeing a massive migration to company Facebook Pages. It's no wonder, they offer amazing functionality at practically no cost and they give businesses a chance to connect with the more than 300 million people who have already flocked to Facebook. There's amazing viral potential involved with Facebook pages and it provides companies an easy way to reap the benefits of photos, videos, discussion forums, micro-blogging and pretty much every other form of social media in one neat little package.

But there's a problem.

They're NOT easy to set up.

Those of us in the industry might scoff at that statement. After all, you just head over to Facebook, start a page, slap a logo on it and get going. Sure, if all you want is yet another brochure for your site on the web. If you're actually looking to take advantage of the features Facebook offers, it's a whole other story. In fact, I spent a few hours last weekend watching a pretty web savvy friend get to the point of nearly throwing his laptop out the window in frustration as he tried to set up a Facebook page for his web site. (I'm betting more than a few readers can relate.) I went online to do some hunting to find him a step by step guide and was amazed at how many posts skimmed over the actual process with "set up your page, then..." before getting to any meat.

So in the spirit of my Twitter start-up guide, let's do this again on the Facebook front.

Why Facebook? Why Now?

If you thought Facebook was just a way to share photos and life updates with friends and family, you haven't looked very deeply into the largest social networking site this side of 2008. In fact, Facebook now owns nearly 60% of the market share for social networking sites and it continues to grow at an astonishing rate. (In other words, if you've yet to be inundated with friend requests from old classmates...just wait, it's coming.)

socialmediachart.jpgI've been warning my small business audiences for years against jumping on the latest social media bandwagon, cautioning them to wait until a service reaches a saturation point that makes their involvement worth the time and effort it takes to be there. Facebook definitely fits the ticket. There are more than 300 million Facebook users as of the writing of this article...that's roughly the population of the United States.

Need a little more perspective?

You know all that buzz you hear about Twitter?

Facebook has roughly 30 times the market share Twitter does. Yep...for every person you hear about that uses Twitter, there are 30 using Facebook. (Let that sink in for a minute.)

It's also got loads more functionality and far more ways to communicate with your audience. Why limit your outreach efforts to 140 character snippets when you can incorporate multi-media, discussion groups, applications, games and almost anything else you can dream up?

That's not even mentioning the fact that Facebook Pages are indexed by Google and can be a great way to capture yet another first page search result for your small business. In a time where online reputation management is key, the value in that extra search listing alone makes it worth the effort for most companies.

Ok, You've Sold Me...But What's a Facebook Page?

Facebook doesn't let businesses set up personal profiles. If you register for Facebook, it has to be YOU registering. A single human being who might like to share their life and connect with others. Businesses? They get relegated down the hall to the world of "pages". Now this might be confusing to you if you're used to referring to your personal profile as your "Facebook page." See Facebook, in their infinite quest to make the heads of usability experts explode, decided to name the presence a company/web site/organization builds on Facebook a "page." Clear as mud, eh?

That's not a bad thing mind you.

Facebook's Page option allows you to create a presence for your business, web site, product or whatever and then promote it to the community. Facebook pages let you gather "fans" rather than "friends" and gives you the ability to send them updates, engage them in discussions and perhaps handiest of all, examine user analytics and data just like you can for your web site.

Since Facebook has an API they've released to developers, the potentials for a fan page are virtually endless. Companies on a tight budget will be limited by what applications have already been developed by the community, but even then, there's functionality aplenty just waiting for you to tap into it. For now, let's focus on getting you set up with a presence.

Yoo Hoo! Facebook Page Creation Link...Where are You?

You'd think if Facebook wanted companies to flock to the network creating Facebook pages, they'd make it easy for them to do so. You'd be wrong. What they actually do is hide the Create a page link in a variety of different places on the chance you might eventually stumble across one. Of course even if you do, that's not to say you'll ever remember where you found it. (Not to mention the fact that someone else will likely find it a totally different way...and the different ways you enter determine the path you take to set up the page...it's all very Alice in Wonderland of them.)

Ironically, it's easiest to find the create a Facebook page link if you aren't even logged in to the site. Hit the home page without being logged in and it sits there plain as day on the front page.

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If you're already an active Facebook member and your cookies dump you right into the system, it's a bit more difficult.

Two surefire ways to find the link?

1. Sign in to Facebook, scroll to the very bottom of the page and look for the link that says "Advertising."

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Once you reach the advertising page, look along the top of the page and locate the link that says "Pages."

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At this point, you'll have the option of learning more about Facebook Pages from Facebook or of jumping right into the process. If you want to jump right into the process, look for the green "Create a Page" button on the top right.

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2. Sign in to Facebook and visit an existing Facebook page. Scroll to the bottom and left for the tiny link at the bottom left that says "Create a Page."

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Ok, Let's Get Started!

Yes, yes, I know that was a lot of work just to get to where you can even start setting up a page, but so it goes. Your first decision is to figure out how you want to classify yourself. If you are a local business with a physical presence, you'll want to look through the drop down options and find the one that best fits you. If you're a business, organization or web site with a national or international presence, you'll want to look through the "Brand, Product or Organization" options. If you're looking to create a Facebook Page for yourself because you're one of those famous types (artist, public official, etc...) go with the last option.

The example site I'm using here is Life in a Tent, a new camping blog I've set up to test some new social media marketing outlets. That means I selected the second option and chose "website" from the drop down.

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Once you've done this, you'll be taken to the bones of your new Facebook page. Yes, it's pretty bleak and boring. It's up to you to add some personality to the mix.

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To do this, you need to look at the list of links right under the big image of a grey question mark. There you'll find a link that reads "Edit Page." Click on this link and you'll be taken to your admin page.

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The first thing you'll want to do is click on the little blue edit icon (blue box with what looks like a pen in it) that appears over to the right in the box called "Settings." You'll see a pop up window. Select Edit.

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This will pop up the window that let's you create your most basic settings.

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You'll need to assign your country and any age restrictions. This is also the page where you decide if you want your page to show as live or not. If you're just getting started, leave this set to "Unpublished." Once you've got your page the way you want it, you can quickly go back and turn on access for the world.

Next you'll need to return to the admin page and select the "Wall" option.

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This is where you start to have some options and need to start making some decisions. For instance, you can set it so your wall displays only posts you've made yourself or you can open it up to include the posts from your fans. While I understand the temptation to retain control and publish only your own comments, it's important to remember you're setting up a Facebook page for the sake of building community and communicating with your target audience. Unless you've got a good reason not to, it's a good idea to go ahead and set the default view to include posts by you and by fans.

You also get to set the default landing page for people coming onto the page. Most companies leave this set to "wall" but there are some good reasons to consider changing it. If you're building a Facebook page with a heavy focus on conversations and community building, you may want to push people straight to the discussions page. If you're a travel destination or a food site or something else very visual, you may want to push them straight to the photos page.

You also have the ability to decide how much publishing power you want to give your fans. Decide if you want to let them post their own photos, videos and links. And remember, if you turn this feature on, you will need to have someone keeping an eye on things to make sure nothing inappropriate is being posted.

Now that you've got this section set, hit save and head back to the admin page. Your next step is to click on the edit button for Facebook Mobile.

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This area of the admin panel lets you create the ability to interact with your Facebook page via mobile phone. Granted, with most smart phones, you can just pull a Facebook app in and interact with the site that way, but depending on the purpose and scale of your Facebook page, it can be a handy addition to your toolbox. This step by step process only takes a minute or so...

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Once you set this up, you can publish status updates to your Facebook page from your phone using SMS. This is handy if you aren't near a computer or can't pick up an Internet connection on your phone.

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Once you've got the basics set up, you're ready to go back and add some personality to your page. To do this, you'll need to go back to your default Facebook page again.

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Scroll your mouse over to the grey question mark image and look for the little blue editing icon to show up again. When it does, click on it and select the appropriate option for uploading a photo or image to use as your avatar.

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While you don't have to upload a perfect square to use as your profile picture, it's important to remember Facebook will create a mini avatar for your posts off of what you upload. Use a rectangle and you may end up with an off center or less than ideal mini avatar. To keep it simple, it's best to try and upload a logo that works well when it's shrunk down.

Once you've got your profile picture in place, look for the "Information" box on in the left hand column and click that edit button. This will pop up windows allowing you to mark the year your business/org/site was founded. You'll also have the chance to add in a link to your web site along with a company overview, mission statement and information about any products or services you offer.

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Finally, you'll notice yet another box in the left hand column that says "Write something about..." Think of this as a little tag line for your site or a mini-profile for your business. Editing it is easy. Just click on the box, type your text in, then click off the box again. It will save your entry.

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That's it! You've got yourself a starter presence on Facebook!

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Now you just need to start using it. That said, while I understand the temptation to rush to Twitter or email and send an announcement out to the world about your new Facebook page, I'd caution you to be patient. There's no sense inviting people to an open house when all you've done is unlock the front door and lay down a welcome mat. You still need to learn how to leverage Facebook's tools to create something people will find valuable.

In the next post, we'll take a look at the default Facebook Page applications and how you can leverage them to create a more interesting and interactive experience for your visitors.

More Articles In This Series:

Part 2 - Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page

Part 3 - Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page






Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.





Comments(31)

Great article, Jennifer. I'm thinking you might be answering this in your next article, but just in case, I thought I'd ask here: it's about feeding blogs to fan pages.

I know if you go to the Wall and click "Options" and then "Settings," you can add an RSS feed. While this will rebroadcast blog titles (and excerpts...and there will be a link) to fans' newsfeeds, the link doesn't take people to your blog, but rather to your "Notes" on Facebook, where the full article will be republished. Not a bad thing per se, but if you're trying to get traffic to your blog, it defeats the purpose.

I use Twitterfeed for my personal Facebook page, and this is excellent--it publishes my blog title to my friends' newsfeeds AND it includes a direct link to my blog (and it's a trackable bit.ly URL, which is nice).

But if you use Twitterfeed for Fan Pages, it will post the blog to your wall as "you" instead of as the Fan Page. (i.e. if you were to use Twitterfeed to feed your blog to Life in a Tent's fan page, it would look like Jennifer Laycock is rebroadcasting the blog to Life in a Tent's wall, and it wouldn't show up in the fans' newsfeeds (since they're fans of Life in a Tent and not Jennifer Laycock). [Gosh, I'm hoping you're following what I'm saying.]

Twitterfeed is supposed to be figuring out a workaround, but I'm wondering if you've discovered a different workaround, service, or plug-in. I have two client Fan Page sites that I monitor, and so far, we haven't been able to figure out a way to simply feed the blog title (and link) to fans' newsfeeds and have the link go directly to the blog.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Robyn,

I know exactly what you mean!

It was actually the integration of third party apps that sent my friend to the loony bin. It's a common complaint I hear from people. They try to add apps to their Facebook pages only to find the apps functioning on their personal profiles instead. That's because there's a tricky little process to make sure the app goes on your PAGE rather than your PROFILE and few places bother to tell you this.

I'll cover that in the article I'll be doing on third party apps, so please stay tuned. :)

Jennifer,

You are the shining light, as the rest of us stumble in darkness. Another home run in terms of great reader service. I tried to figure this out myself but ruined my Facebook account trying to use two email logins and had to start over. Hopefully I can follow your guidance and get it right this time.

I followed all the steps and created a page for my business. But here is a problem: I would like to have the link as facebook.com/businessname but rather I have it as facebook.com/page/businessname. How can I set that?

Thank you, great information. I've been very frustrated with this process, which is not intuitive or easy, even for people like me who spend the majority of their work day online.

Nice to see a succinct outline of this process!

One thing to keep in mind tho is that, according to nielsenwire, traffic to twitter grew by 1500% between 2008 and 2009. Facebook traffic grew by 200% in the same time frame. Twitter will get there ;)

I can't yell "SING IT, SISTAH!" loudly enough to convey my own frustration when setting up a Page this summer. The UX is horrible, there's no instruction (sometimes linear is good), and there's an endless see of apps - many of which don't work, nor do they offer any sort of standardized installation/process steps.

Seriously, what is Facebook thinking?

Thank you for your detailed account. I'm sure it will help many others.

This was great information and really easy to understand, even by a newbie. When will you be posting part II of Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your FaceBook Company Page?

Thanks so much,

Ann

I LOVED seeing this post in my mail box because my friend and I were just discussing how easy FB is yet how confusing their page set up is...Thanks Jennifer!

great post... looking forward to the next one... Just think how many more users facebook would have if the designers actually put some thought into making it user friendly.

Thanks Jen for this very detailed and informative step by step intro to setting up a facebook page. Looking forward to part 2 for a bit more meat.

Jennifer,
OMG!! I'm not worthy!! You are my hero and my hope! Thank you for these instructions. I tried, failed, tried, and failed again. I'll bet I can do it this time. Can someone tell Facebook to get with the program?
You are the best,
Julie

Jennifer,

Great post! It would be great to cover email autoresponders in your next page, so that people can actually do lead gen and start tying in their regular website with their Facebook page-- the two Internets, as Marty Weintraub likes to call it, with Facebook being a whole other Internet.

Great info about setting up a Facebook business page. Answered some of questions I had about what is indeed a very confusing task.

Already looking forward to reading the next offering!

Sean

Bangin info Jennifer, you rock! Cruise over and check out my new wall sometime. ;)

Thanks a lot for this, Jennifer.

I set up our company Facebook page about a year or so ago, with the help of an expert. Otherwise, it may have been a bit of a labyrinth as far as optimizing the functionality, and adjusting the settings.

One thing I've found about the Facebook page is that it seems to work best if you manually add the content rather than set up RSS feeds. I had a feed set up which bundled all of the content from our company blog, and then set that feed as a default on the FB page. But, I found that the links didn't go directly to my content. It published the feed material as a 'note', often just the title and no snippet. Clicking on that note led the user to a secondary page with a very small 'view original post' link at the bottom, which inexperienced users would never pick up on. It just wasn't very user friendly at all.

So, I detached the feed and started posting links directly to blog articles in the status field. This works much better, because the link allows the user to access the whole article, rather than being funneled to a stark secondary page where it is often hard to figure out what to do. Now the page looks much better, and access to our content is easier, too. Plus, I find I'm able to get a sense of progress on the page a bit more, just because I am going into it and manually adding something new every day, rather than letting the RSS do it for me. It feels not entirely unlike gardening, in the best sense. I get to watch the whole thing bloom.

Thanks again for this post!

Hi Jennifer - Great post! LinkUp, the fastest growing job search engine, has a free Facebook app for employers called “Current-Jobs-at-Our-Company.” The app allows companies and employers to easily publish their open job listings to their Facebook page or company’s ‘Fan’ page.

The App places a jobs widget on a company’s Facebook ‘wall’ as well as a separate jobs tab for company ‘Fan’ page that lists all of the current listings from the company’s corporate website. When job seekers click on a job listing on Facebook, they are directed to that job listing on the company’s website.

For an example, Check out USA Today’s Facebook page or read LinkUp’s whitepaper: Adding Your Company to Facebook: Concepts and tips for employers (http://www.linkup.com/press/).

Molly

Karri,

I agree that Twitter is still growing at an astonishing rate in terms of percentages, but the reality is they're still light years behind Facebook in terms of adoption rates. Again, for every Twitter user, there are 30 Facebook users. For small businesses deciding where to invest limited resources, Facebook wins hands down. Add in the time investment it takes to really maximize your presence on Facebook verses Twitter and I think Facebook wins again.

I don't say this to say people shouldn't use Twitter, I just think that when it comes to prioritizing time...Facebook has and will continue to have much higher adoption rates. Twitter will keep growing, but it's not mainstream enough in it's intent or style of use to ever see the type of user base Facebook will.

Deals,

You'll need at least 25 fans before you can claim your vanity Facebook Page name, but once you've done that, you can get the info on setting it up here: http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=900 (Or wait another day or so because I'll be including the step by step for this in an upcoming post to the series)

Rob J,

What you mention is the thing that finally pushed me over the edge. I have watched person after person finally get their Facebook Page up and running, try to add apps to it and have everything publish to their personal profile instead. Turns out there's a little trick that is totally non-user friendly that makes sure you do things in the right order to have apps work on your Fan Page. I'll be covering this in part 3 of the article series. :)

Glad everyone enjoyed it! Hope you like Part two just as much!

Jennifer.... you rock! I have being going at the facebook for business very slowly and this blog post is exactly what I needed. I have shared it with many of my fellow non-facebook saavy friends and colleague. And the "Super Simple" in the headline really reeled me in! Can't wait for the next post so I can continue the journey.

Great article! I will be sharing it with all my friends who have small businesses and could benefit from expanding their Facebook presence.

Diana

This is very helpful. Like the others here, I can't wait for Part Two!

In the meantime, I was wondering if you (or anyone else) might be able to answer a question for me. I set up an FB profile solely for the purpose of creating a company page. I don't want to use this profile for anything, as I already have a personal FB profile. As a result, I set all of the privacy settings to "high". Just wondering whether that will affect the page's visibility.

Thanks again for the great guide!

Thanks for the great advice. I'm having a problem directing people to our new facebook page directly from our website. It takes them to a login page when I want them to go right to our wall. I edited the settings correctly, but it still doesn't work

Stacey

hey jennifer,

when is the next section of this article going to be written. i am most interested in how you add applications to your company pages and wanted to see more on that but good start. Also can you write about little SEO tricks you can do in yuor pages as well to help your FB company page rank higher in the search engines. Thanks,
John

Can you please help me ?

No matter what I do no matter what I read and searched,n I Can't access company facebook pages.

I have created a page for my company

I have waited at least 48 hours for it maybe to show up in search and nothing.

If I send invites to friends when they click on it it takes them to their profile page and not my company's

I have deleted and done it again and still NOTHING.

CAN YOU HELP ME ?????

This was an excellent article and made creating a facebook page very simple! Thanks very much.

This is a great series, Jennifer! In fact many of your articles have helped make me look the guru in the office.

I do have a question; I'm currently setting up my company's FB presence (or rather, resetting it from someone else's previous attempt). The owners primary concern is security for our employees (primarily the women) and has requested that each of us creates an alias account on FB so that clients can't potentially track/stalk us. I've gone over the security settings within an individuals profile, but his main concern is that I would then have to police our employees. On one hand I can understand his concern, yet on the other it seems like a breach of trust with our customers (and is also against FB policy).

Any suggestions?

Melissa, I honestly don't know the answer to your question for sure, but I'm pretty certain the answer is it won't cause any problems. Your personal profile settings should not have anythign to do with the privacy settings for your company Facebook Page.

Stacey,
Without seeing the link and the problem, I can only guess for you. If I log out of Facebook and use a Google link to navigate in to a company's specific Facebook page, I will get a login page combined with the Wall. Is this what your users are seeing? If so, there's no way around it unless their cookies keep them logged in. If not, you may need to email me so we can see if we can fidn the problem.

eyal,
there could be a million things going on here, your question is a bit too vague for me to answer. Try following these articles step by step and it should work for you.

Doug,
I would very much suggest you follow Facebook's TOS and NOT have people create fake profiles. There is absolutely no reason for your company's Facebook profile to really have anything to do with your employee's individual pages. People will only be able to view an employee's page if the page is set to be open, or if they friend them. This will be up to your individual employees to police.

In regards to the previous post with privacy concerns stated by DOUG, we have had similar difficulties. Because our business page would have multiple people maintaining the page, we did not want any one individual as the administrator.

So starting fresh (without logging in first) we clicked on "create a page" on the facebook homepage and then followed the steps in the article above. Somewhere in the first few steps we were prompted to create a profile - so we, like DOUG, decided on an alias and created an email and password for the alias. BAD IDEA. After going through all the tedious work of setting up our business page we can't get back in.

Jennifer, shouldn't the pre-first step to all this be setting up a personal facebook page? I think maybe that is where we (and possibly EYAL - another person above with similar problems) screwed up. We will be starting over...after we get our ducks in row.

Thanks, Jennifer! This is a great "How To" guide and exactly what I need to help an organization I'm working with get set up. I've suggested to them that they use Facebook to publicize a major event. I'm waiting to hear back if they like the idea, but if they do, they'll need someone to set it up and manage the process. You know how it goes...if you open your mouth with an idea, you better be prepared to get involved with implementation. That's OK with me...I've been looking for the perfect opportunity to practice what I've been preaching. This should be a fun project to work on.

Thanks for your help - During one episode of Lost I have a good start on our company page. Under the info section > detailed info mine shows website, parking and public transit. I prefer the format you show > website, company overview, mission and products. Do you know how I change my info format to the one you show in your article?

Thanks Jen, I have tried 3 times to create a FB page for my company but failed 3 times...and just when I was about to give up I discovered your post. I must say I'm very excited. I haven't quite completed all steps yet ... but I get it ... and hopefully in another 1/2 hr I'll have my FB page completed! I have included this blog as a resource on my website (which I'm about to launch in a few weeks) because I think it is of real value. Good one!



Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part One