There are a few good reasons why you might not have made a Facebook page for your business yet. For example, maybe you just founded your business and haven’t had time to make a social presence just yet. Maybe you had one in the past, but it was deleted through a series of coincidental shenanigans including mistaken identity and doughnut theft. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg personally decided he didn’t like the look of your business and blocked it, only just now removing that block.
Whatever the reason, you’re finally getting around to starting a Facebook page for your local business, and you want to figure out how to go about it correctly. Luckily for you, I have all the answers.
The first thing you’re going to need to do is create a personal profile, if you don’t already have one. Pages require a personal profile to create. Ideally, this will be the personal profile of someone integral to the business, such as the CEO or the dedicated social manager. Ownership of the page can change later, but it’s easier if that doesn’t have to happen.
Select a Category
Once you have a personal profile and are logged in, go to the Facebook Page Create dialogue. There, you will be asked to pick a category for your page. This is very important! You can’t change it later. You have six options to choose from:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization, or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band, or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
As a local business, you are going to want to pick the “local business” option, fittingly enough. The reason for this is because of the additional perks you get by picking that category. Each category has a few perks that only that category can set.
- Local Business or Place: An About section, a physical address, hours of operation, contact information, parking information and a price range.
- Company, Organization, or Institution: A founded date, an address, a mission, any awards, and a product list.
- Brand or Product: An about section, a founded date, product lists and awards.
- Artist, Band, or Public Figure: Label/Party or other affiliation, birthday, address, interests, biography, gender if relevant.
- Entertainment: About section, release date.
- Cause or Community: Type of cause, description, access to cause groups.
As such, it’s clear why you pick the local business option. Having access to the address, hours, contact information and other options is invaluable. Otherwise, you would have to cram most of that into your About section, which looks cluttered compared to picking the right category.
Fill Out Profile
Once you’ve selected the category and created the page, it’s time to fill out the information available to you.
- Your About section should be a 2-4 sentence description of your company, including keywords if necessary, industry, prime product and other such important information. You should also include a link to your primary website, typically your homepage and not a subpage.
- You can specify a custom URL for your Facebook page, such as facebook.com/businessname.
- You should upload a profile picture, ideally your logo, in a 180 pixel square. You can update this for special events and holidays, but it should be recognizable and branded.
- Your cover photo is also important. You can use it as a billboard, special announcements section, or just a compelling picture of your physical location in good weather.
- You can specify your additional fields here too. Your hours of operation, your price range, your parking, etc.
- Your contact information needs to match the contact information on your website, for maximum SEO benefit.
Any other lingering fields should be filled in as well. The only ones you don’t necessarily have to fill out are the parking and price range options. These are typically most beneficial for upper-class establishments where parking is handled by valet or the price range is considerable.
Create and Schedule Content
At this point, your page is still either hidden or not announced. Facebook will ask you to like your own page, or to import your email contacts; avoid both for the moment. First, you want to start establishing a content schedule.
The key to success on Facebook is to post frequently with high quality content. I recommend starting out at 3 posts per week, on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. You can opt for 5 days or 7 days per week if you prefer, but it’s nice to give yourself space to grow.
Your content should be a mixture of content from your own blog and content from other industry sites. With three posts per week, you’ll want one post from your blog – a roundup post or your best post for the week is ideal – and two posts from industry sources. Curating content is very valuable. As you ramp up post frequency, make sure to keep your own content in the fold.
Before you begin promoting your page, you should queue up at least a month’s worth of content. This way, once you’re engrossed in promotion and sharing, you won’t have to worry about your content running out. The more content you schedule, the better.
Once you have your content scheduled, it’s time to get people to follow your page. You can do this in three ways when your page is new:
- Like and promote your page through your personal profile. This will get your friends and business associates to follow your page.
- Import your mailing list. This will send invites to everyone who subscribes to your business. You should also send out your link in your newsletter, for those who don’t always respond to Facebook’s invitations.
- Paid promotion. You can run Facebook ads in the sidebar or the news feed, to encourage people to like your page. This has a lot of intricacy and is not recommended until you’ve built up your audience as much as possible through the first two methods.
You can also do off-site promotion, like press releases or posts on your own site. Use all of these methods to build an audience, get them to engage with your content, and start the cycle of growth and expansion that Facebook is known for.