Unless you’ve been living in a nice cushy cocoon of oblivion, you may have noticed that every goober and their dog have been setting up a facebook page of late. Apparently the so-called ‘digital age’ has spawned a craze of ordinary people starting up online businesses and websites. Who the hell do they think they are? On top of this, many others (who are not quite entrepreneurial enough to get in on this action but still want to be involved in the whole page revolution) are setting up community pages or humorous pages designed to reflect their activities and interests and really every little inane element of their lives.
If you are a little late to the party, I suggest you think of some pages to create now. Even if there are thousands of other pages about the same topic/subject/interest/group/business that you want to use, just do it anyway. You can never have too many facebook pages. If you are unsure, just pick some random, strange or funny thing that you know will appeal to a good percent of the world’s idiots out there. Everybody likes to like pages. To give you some inspiration, see examples below, which I found to be rather humorous.
You can check out some more funny ones here: http://somerandomstuff1.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/100-funny-facebook-pages-to-like/.
Right so now for the purpose of this actual article. Has anyone else noticed I’m really shit at getting to the point? Here it is:
1. Choose your page name/brand wisely – you can’t change it. It’s annoying and some would stay stupid, but you can’t change your page name once it’s created. I kinda get why Zuckers may have created this rule, because otherwise some wise-ass would have set up a page for ‘cute kittens’ with lots of nice pics like the one below of my cat (just look at those little leopard spots on his tummy!!), waited until they had a billion followers and then changed the page name to ‘doin’ it doggie style with your mum’, or worse, ‘tony abbott’, which could have been really embarrassing for those billion cat lovers. Anyway should you want to change the name of your page later on, you will be forced to create an entirely new page and go about the painful exercise of trying to get all those people to follow your new page. Most of them probably won’t.
2. Don’t create a ‘community page’ – this is a bad trap to do if you want to properly own your page and be able to control it. In the new page creation process on facebook, these community pages are represented as ‘cause or topic’ – it may make sense to choose this option, but I don’t recommend it. You will probably regret it.
3. Choose your category wisely – As above, it’s probably not a great idea to choose ‘cause or topic’ if you want to be able to maintain control over the page. But there’s more to choosing a category as this can also determine whether people will see your page on their friends’ info tabs. For example, sports teams, musos, movies and tv shows are displayed more prominently than local businesses, websites and activities (see below). You should still choose the most appropriate category, but if your business or page satisfies a number of different category types, pick the most prominent.
4. Once you get to 25 fans, create a username – Hopefully you are not so facebook-illiterate that you haven’t created your own unique facebook profile username (eg. www.facebook.com/billybob). Just like you got to do this in a rush of excitement when facebook introduced it back in 2009, you can also create a username for your facebook page, so that you don’t have to advertise it as www.facebook.com/whatever_you_called_it_38793829838392. You just need to have 25 followers before facebook will allow you to coin your username. Then you can do so here: www.facebook.com/username (also where you can coin your personal profile username if you are still living in the dark ages).
5. Add another admin to your page –It’s always a good idea to add a friend as admin to your page, even if they don’t have much to do with your endeavour at all. This safe-guards against something happening to your personal account that may result in you not being able to access your page. Facebook pages are required to be linked to a personal account (one of the sore points when using for corporate businesses), and if you can’t access your personal account you won’t be able to access the page. A friend of mine had his facebook account deleted due to excessive friend requesting and since he was the only admin of his page, his page was effectively deleted as well. Goodbye 3,000 fans.
6. Be aware of Facebook terms + conditions – One of the things Zuckers and the team love to do besides coming up with more annoying and ridiculous ways to get advertising $ and obsessively changing your profile layout is to create excessively strict guidelines and proceed to disable zillions of accounts that contradict these guidelines. It’s best if you know what the terms are of creating and managing a page: http://www.facebook.com/terms_pages.php. On top of this one, most people are unaware of the guidelines for running a competition – and I can tell you that just about every damn comp you see violates them. If you want to run a competition, you really probably can’t. That is unless you have lots of money or expertise to build an application. Check the guidelines here: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.
7. Choose appropriate tabs for your page – If you aren’t going to use videos or discussions or any of the other tabs you have by default for your page, I suggest you delete them. You can manage these in the ‘apps’ section when you click ‘edit this page’. You can also add other apps that can create relevant tabs for your page. For example, you can see how I have included a ‘Twitter’ tab on the page for The Social Skinny (which you should probably like because it’s awesome).
Just bear in mind that you can’t remove the ‘wall’ or ‘info’ tabs. Everything else is fair game.
8. Set up hyper alerts for your page – another great facebook mystery is why zuckers has not created an alerts system for when people interact with your page. Currently there is no way to know through facebook if someone has written a comment on your wall, liked one of your posts or engaged with you in any way. This kinda sucks, because the whole thing about social media is timeliness, and yet nobody really wants to check their page every few seconds. SILLY ZUCKERS! Anyway one solution to this problem is to set up hyper alerts through http://www.hyperalerts.no/. You can set up alerts for any facebook pages through this free tool, and it works well.
Note: due to working for ultra-paranoid hyper-conservative corporate bosses, I have had to expertly censor the page name of the above alert. Probably I should have blanked out the person’s name, which in hindsight would have been appropriate, but unfortunately I’m too lazy to do so now. Sorry James. But thanks for the kind message.
NOTE 2: Not even a week after publishing this post Zuckers has introduced notifications for page activity, but I still think HyperAlerts are also good to have (use both) because they give you a better overview and are a better historic reference. Zuckers has yet to ring me to thank me for pointing out his deficiencies, but i’m sure it’s on his list of things to do.
9. Don’t spam your followers – kinda no-brainer, but people tend to get super annoyed at being spammed on their facebook feed. It’s bad enough we have to endure countless stories about people’s digital endeavours in fake farm and mafia worlds without having all these bloody pages broadcasting shit every five minutes. Unless you’re a social heavyweight and your fans can’t get enough of you, I wouldn’t post more than once a day. Even that may be a bit too much. Take it easy and see what response you are getting from your followers. In the insights tab you can see how many people are ‘unliking’ or ‘unsubscribing’ (this means they still like you but they have ‘hidden’ your posts from their feed) from your page – if the number is climbing, give your posts a rest.
10. Lastly, be human and interact with your followers – nobody wants to hear a bunch of boring, informal or salesy posts from you. Have fun, be genuine and (wait for it… every social media guru’s favourite buzz word…) ENGAGE with the people who have taken the time to show an interest in your page.