Ch3 - Facebook Pages

(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)

Social Media Marketing Primer

Chapter 3: Facebook Pages



Introduction


Welcome to the Social Media Marketing Primer. If you’ve come across this material on its own – it has two homes – one is a site where you can download copies of the chapters or read them online, at http://tinyurl.com/casa-mktg - the other is a LinkedIn Group, Social Media Marketing Café, where you can discuss the material and ask questions: http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe


In This Chapter


The scope of this chapter is to introduce the concept of Facebook pages, and walk through the process of creating one. The chapter starts off with a discussion of what a Facebook page is, as well as pros and cons of using them, and then there’s a tour of creating one. If you’ve never created one before, I recommend giving it a shot, even if you don’t have an “official” project yet. As with many free tools these days, you can come back and delete it.


What is a Facebook Page?


A Facebook page is a central “hub” for a business or organization to establish a social media presence on Facebook. It’s basically like having a web page or website of your own, but “within” Facebook, and following their format. As a Facebook page owner, you can make posts of various kinds, including text, pictures, video, etc., and if someone clicks the “like” button on the page, then in theory, they will receive posts in their news feed when they log on to Facebook. Most social media marketers would consider Facebook pages to be a “must have”, but it’s also worth knowing the limits and costs, as we’ll discuss.


Common Facebook pages includes ones about authors, movies and entertainment.


For example, if you go on Facebook, and type in “matrix” in the search box, then you can select “The Matrix” Facebook page, which at the time, has about 7 million people who’ve “liked” the page:





Facebook pages also have “web addresses”, which can be used in promotional materials to advertise or link to the Facebook page. For example, the direct link to the Matrix facebook page is:


https://www.facebook.com/TheMatrixMovie


(Note: when you create a facebook page for the first time, it may be a longer link, such as facebook.com/pages/name of your page/11887376363873 – basically a longer link; but there’s a process to choose a shorter “username” for the facebook page, so that the direct link is easier to remember, like the one above.)


When you access a Facebook page, depending on how things have been designed, you’ll generally see a prominent image at the top, and then a box with the “profile” icon, and an area for posts below.



For comparison, this is a direct link for a smaller, “independent” Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/npoex



Similar, in terms of corresponding items – but only 220 likes as of the time of writing, compared with 6 million, and also in need of some sprucing up. I hope to have millions of likes someday!


(Notice the “Add a Cover” image – that’s one of the options for customizing a Facebook page – which – (nudge, nudge) is an opportunity to work with digital images, as described in the last chapter. When you start making profile icons or cover images, it might be common to start with a picture, and then resize it/crop it to a particular size.)


So below is an example of a Facebook page that I “liked”, and because I liked it, a post showed up in my news feed:



In addition to entertainment and business, in the last few years, Facebook pages have also been increasingly been built around causes, and have had a direct impact on world events, both with “official” pages of movements, as well as independent pages.


For example, during the Arab Spring, I made a Facebook page with some music and poetry, to encourage people who were protesting, who hoped for democracy in their countries in the Middle East.


www.facebook.com/freedomsongs





And you might be interested to review/discuss the nature of how the revolution in the middle east was sparked – it wasn’t “caused” by social media, but it just so happens that a facebook page was a central method of communication for people:


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/books/review/how-an-egyptian-revolution-began-on-facebook.html


And this was the page that basically started it:


https://www.facebook.com/elshaheeed.co.uk





You might also be interested to take a look at a video I made, which gives a tour of the “Freedom Songs” Facebook page I made in support of the revolution, with a discussion of how facebook advertising was used, as well as some of the “behind the scenes” information on the Facebook page, including statistics that were gathered about people who visited and liked the page from various countries.


The title is “How to Start a Revolution (or help one)”, and a direct link is: http://tinyurl.com/fb-arabspring


.Facebook Pages: To Do or Not to Do?


In my opinion, one of the most important things to keep in mind about Facebook pages, for a business or organization, is their limitations. Facebook pages are often considered a central piece of social media strategy, and the general mindset of the media is that it is a “must have”, but some technical changes at Facebook have also affected the effectiveness of pages as a promotional tool, and it’s worth looking at.


Principle: What is Facebook’s Business Model?

One thing that helped me in a book I read about Google (Winning Adwords by Danny Sullivan), is a challenge the author made about understanding Google’s business model, and I think a similar principle can help a social media marketer think with a critical eye about Facebook, for your own efforts or for an employer or client.


In Google’s case, the discussion was around techniques for getting a page listed on Google’s search engine, for free, which is also known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. So Google allows just about any website to be listed for free, but they also offer the opportunity for paid advertisement. (The paid advertisement is also known as Search Engine Marketing, or SEM).


In terms of business models – Google doesn’t technically make money from offering free placement on their search engine. When people submit links, and when google crawls the internet to discover sites automatically, it adds value to Google – but the way they make most of their money is through ads. Tens of billions of dollars.


So the challenge was – even if you put effort into the “free” techniques, it stands to reason that Google’s business model is about paid advertising, and that putting resources and effort into the paid techniques is more sustainable, and reliable, long-term. Basically Google doesn’t “promise” anything, even though an entire industry has grown around SEO. Even though the free google placement, SEO, is a good thing to do – you can’t necessarily rely on it. It’s a debatable topic, but it bears on social media, and in my experience, the challenge with Google, to think critically, has been a helpful one. For example, once in awhile Google will change the way websites appear on google, and that can have a pretty big impact on businesses who have made assumptions about their “free” SEO campaigns. In short, understanding where a business makes money can help you plan long-term and think critically about marketing in their “channel”.


In terms of Social Media, historically what happened is that Facebook grew, and then started thinking more about revenue, how to make money – and this had a direct impact on Facebook pages.


So it used to be, when you created a Facebook page, the implicit assumption was that when you got people to “like” your Facebook page, that the posts you made would appear in their news feeds. Kind of like a subscription. And social media was touted as a method where you could more or less get free advertising – self-promoting on “social media” – getting a presence, putting content out there, etc.


But then Facebook started charging for “boosting” posts.


And I think the basic principle applies to Facebook too – just keep in mind the question – how does Facebook make money? And the answer is through advertising. So it’s likely that while you “might” get something for nothing, in the end it might not be sustainable, and it’s important to have realistic expectations.


With social media, it’s especially important to think critically, and skeptically, because of all the hype around it. So as a social media marketer, you might have clients who know “they need to have a social media presence”, and you might be able to help them based on the “must have” attitude, but over time, I think it’s important to ask the question about return on investment, and understand what the impact is, and to question assumptions that people might have, and help them understand. In the end, look at the numbers.


For example, on a small scale, for my “NPOEx” page, at the time of writing there are 220 likes:



So it might be understandable to make the assumption that if I make a post, in theory the people who like the page would get the post in their news feeds. (And even if they do, there’s no guarantee that everyone reads all their posts, which is another limitation of Facebook that’s important to keep in mind.)


So you make posts, and hope for the best.





But the important thing to keep in mind is – how many people actually saw the post?


When you have a Facebook page, and make a post, and come back to it later, you can see how many people it was “served” to:



So this graphic above shows that the Facebook post, on a page where there were 220 Likes, was only served to 10 people, so that means “10 people potentially looked at it”.


And the red arrow points out the relatively newer “feature” Facebook included, which allows you to boost the post.


And then you see how in order to reach more people, you can pay facebook:



So granted, in this “boost” scheme, Facebook is including a way to reach more people beyond your audience for the page. But it is also charging you to reach people who liked your page. So if you thought reaching your fans was free, think again.



So in my perspective, I think it ends up being a little like Google ads – there’s competition – and to a certain extent, it’s like Facebook is treating peoples’ newsfeeds like Google search results – in order to get noticed, pay Facebook to get a better change of being noticed.


So in the end I think it’s just helpful to keep in mind the way things work, and then for a business or organization, decide what the goal is, and then look at the results, see if it’s worth it. There’s no rule either way – it’s worth experimenting. And some businesses and organizations have had success in gaining followers, and leveraging facebook pages to help establish and maintain their presence on social media. And from a credibility perspective, many would argue that part of maintaining “social credibility” is having a social media page.


But there are also instances where the effort and money put into a facebook page may have questionable results.


For example, here’s an article where someone looked with a critical eye, did some testing, and found out that Facebook pages, for them, weren’t such a good idea:


“Facebook Pages are a Bad Idea”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/elandekel/2013/01/22/facebook-pages-are-a-bad-investment-for-small-businesses/


In the end, I think Facebook pages are definitely worth learning about, that they are legitimate hubs for social media, and that they can’t hurt. I recommend thinking of Facebook pages as an experiment – trying it out, and seeing how it works, and looking at the numbers.


In terms of content, and the discussion in the last chapter, if you are creating content about your business or organization, and giving it a home on your website or blog, then the most important thing is that you are building up an archive of stories about the business or organization. Even if you never posted them on social media, they would be important. (in part, because they help a website get recognition on Google, through “SEO” – in other words, even though SEO has limitations, just putting content on your site draws people there, and helps you with Google search results).


So if you focus on the content, then if you already have it – why not share it on social media? Sure, why not. But remember to “drill down” and actually look at how many people are actually seeing it – to set realistic expectations.


And part of your social media strategy might involve trying different ways of “increasing engagement”, such as creating a video that has more of a chance of being shared, because of the appeal – the story, the humor, the relevance of information. The same would apply to articles.


So the bottom line is – social media is worth trying.


.Creating a Facebook Page


Creating a Facebook pages is fairly easy. Just go to:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/create


There are a variety of page “types”, and I recommend on clicking on various ones, and then try creating one:



For example, you might try clicking on the “Company” type:


Then choose a category:



Type in a name for the business, and then click Get Started:





Next you will be led through a series of screens where you can enter basic information.


For practice, and for a learning exercise, I recommend making a “checklist” you can refer to later, to assemble this content. But for now, on each screen, I’d just suggest clicking the “Skip” button:



The second screen allows you to upload a picture. (nudge nudge, see chapter 2 on Content):






.This is probably worth doing – it just makes your page easier to find and manage when you sign into Facebook – favorites is referring to your “Favorites” area on the home page when you sign into Facebook, until/unless Facebook changes their format:



Then you get an introduction to Facebook advertising – a sophisticated approach – as part of the Facebook process, ending with inviting people to make an ad. How does Facebook make money? Through ads.


As you’ll see in chapter 4, there’s a variety of ways to make ads, so I’d recommend skipping this page.


And then, voila! You have your draft Facebook page:




Congratulations on making a Facebook page.


Remember, you can always access Facebook Help for more information:


https://www.facebook.com/help/364458366957655/


There’s some good basic information on creating, managing a Facebook page, which is worth reviewing.



Posting to the Page


The general point of having a Facebook page is to get people to “like” it, by promoting it, and then to make posts to it.


One thing to keep in mind is that Facebook allows you to post as “yourself” to a Facebook page, but also allows you to make posts “as” the page.



For example, on the facebook.com/npoex page, I can post to it as “Todd Kelsey”, but in general it’s better to post “as the page”, so that the posts are marked as coming from NPOEx;   


Just something to keep in mind.


Content! Content!


Here’s another opportunity to re-visit and reconsider the chapter and skills about content. Here’s where you are asking yourself, “ok, what can I post?”


And here’s where, if you haven’t already, you may want to make a blog, make a post, and then bring that link (about your organization, or thoughts, or whatever), and post it on Facebook.


To post, you just click in the post area:    (ex: in the “What have you been up to?” area)



And type something, like “Hello World”:



Then click the Post button.



And you get a post:




Accessing Pages


You can access your Facebook pages by going directly to them, or by logging into Facebook, clicking on Home, and then looking for the page on the left hand side:




Facebook Page Links


If I access my page using the method above, in the address bar in the browser, I get a link like this:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Social-Media/1510620519168937?ref_type=bookmark


This can be shortened to:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Social-Media/1510620519168937


(You don’t need the information beginning at the “?”)


This is the basic link to the Facebook page. People can also search on Facebook for the page based on the name you choose:



Facebook Page Usernames


But in general, at some point, you’ll probably want a shorter link.


Instead of a long link like:


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Social-Media/1510620519168937?ref_type=bookmark


You’ll want a shorter link, which is easier to promote, such as:


www.facebook.com/npoex


In order to create this, you’ll want to create a “Facebook page username”


To get one, go to your Facebook page, and click on Settings:



Then go to Page info:



And click on Enter a Facebook web address:



Then, click on “Create a web address for this page?” and maybe click on the ? to get more info:



This allows you to try thinking of a web address name that hasn’t been taken on Facebook yet:



Click on the Facebook Web Address field, try typing a name, and then click on Check Availability:


Then when you find one that’s available, review the info, and click Confirm:



Then click OK:



Then you will have a shorter link, such as:


https://www.facebook.com/FreeSocialMediaInfo


And some businesses advertise the link like this, removing the http and www


facebook.com/FreeSocialMediaInfo



The More Things Change


Another thing I think is helpful to keep in mind is that Facebook and other social media channels regularly change things, out of a desire to improve, offer new features, or other reasons. So the way that Facebook pages work may change (ex: there weren’t originally “cover images”) – or the interface for working with them will change, or additional features will be added.


So my general suggestion is, explore Facebook pages, review the help – and Facebook will often send emails with updates, etc. – learn how to learn, and experiment as new features come out.


Conclusion/Discussion


Best wishes in exploring Facebook pages! My general recommendation is to focus on content, and not the channel, such as Facebook. But once you are developing content, then experiment with posting it to various social media channels. Go on Google, search for articles on social media strategy, including what to post, how often to post, etc. A safe rule is to consider, what would people be interested in reading?


And remember – check and see how many people you are actually reaching with your posts!

Invitation


You are welcome to visit and join the LinkedIn Group at http://tinyurl.com/smm-cafe - if you want to come on and say “huh?” or if you would like to set me straight on something, or just have some feedback.


Remember, there are NO DUMB QUESTIONS. If you have the question, someone else surely also did.


Resources


Facebook’s help section on Facebook pages:


https://www.facebook.com/help/364458366957655/





(NOTE: You can download a copy of this chapter in PDF format at the very bottom of this page.)



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Todd Kelsey,
Jul 17, 2014, 8:48 AM
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