Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Practice What you Preach

Tweed Net Marketing launched its official Facebook page.
One of the first signs that you're a successful marketing consultant is that you don't have enough time to actually do marketing.

I spend so much time building Facebook pages and writing ad copy, that I don't take time to update my own website or do social media marketing like I should.  Granted, I still blog faithfully and participate in Facebook and Twitter, but I don't take the time to build new collateral like I should.

I'm starting today.  Earlier this afternoon I finally launched a Facebook page for Tweed Net Marketing. Here's a few of the things I did right!  It's unfair for me to guide others without using my own best practices.

Sometime soon I'll put together a detailed "How To Start a Facebook Page for Business" but for now, I'll assume you can read the basics for yourself.

Here are a couple tips to help you get the most.

Grab a good Facebook domain.

Facebook calls their domains a "username". It's a little tricky to find this setting. On the page creations screen click the link on the left that says "resources" which has a few user guides. About halfway down the page you'll find "select a username".

You want your username to be simple and short because you may want to promote it later. I used because it's shorter than my entire company name. You may have also noticed that I didn't include spaces. While search engines like hyphens between words, most users need something easy to remember. My business relies more on word of mouth rather than SEO so I chose a human-friendly name. If I was focused more on search engines I probably would have chosen something like

Create some Facebook timeline graphics.

Business pages use the same timeline cover photos as personal profiles.  You'll need two graphics to add to your page.  These graphics are important, because they are the first thing anyone sees.

Create a profile pic.  Your profile picture is the tiny picture next to every post.  As you post status updates and links your fans will see this little graphic next to each item on their newsfeed.

Your profile pic should be 180 x 180 pixels.  Facebook requires this as the minimum size. Make sure the image is square or Facebook will crop it. The actual pic will be shrunken on the newsfeed, so if you're using a logo or any text, make sure it looks good when it's compressed. If it doesn't, try sampling a small section of your logo.

My logo is long and narrow, so I actually created a square version of it just for this page.

Create a top banner. Facebook profile pages call their banners "cover photos". These are a little more forgiving, but I still recommend creating one from scratch. The official dimencsions are 851 x 315 pixels. Yes, that's very weird. Additionally, I have found that the display is inconsistant. Therefore I create all of mine as 850 x 320. For some reason when there's a few extra pixels you can shift it up or down slightly have better control over what shows.

If your image is wider than 851, Facebook reduces it. If it's 900 pixels, Facebook will shrink the image by a few percent, and that makes a big difference. Conversely, if it's 800 pixels, Facebook will stretch it. If you want to keep your image clean, try to make it exactly 850 pixels wide. If you can't, use a wider pic. Never use one that's too small. Stretching it causes fuzzier images than shrinking.

The height of the image matters less. If your image is too tall, you'll be able to adjust it vertically with relative ease and no distortion should occur.

 Facebook cover photo. Click to enlarge.

You'll also notice that on your page the cover image and your profile pic overlap. You'll need to compensate for this if you're using text in your header graphic. On the one hand, this means you almost always need to create these graphics from scratch. On the other hand designers (especially the ones with more talent than me) can do some pretty cool effects by combining the two graphics artistically.

Get more "likes".

Formerly known as Facebook Fans, now your goal is to acquire "likes". Everyone who clicks "like" will start to see your posts appear in their newsfeed. Their is a science to getting more "likes", and then putting them to good use. A topic for another day, here's the basics.

  1. Fans who "like" your page have a chance of seeing your content on their newsfeed.
  2. Recent "likes" are more likely to see it.
  3. People who "like" your page and also have multiple friends who "like" your page are more likely to see your updates in their newsfeed.
  4. Newsfeeds that are updated frequently are more likely to get exposure.
  5. The number of "likes" is less important than the quality. A small number of loyal customers will reap greater rewards than a large number of people who ignore your posts.
  6. When fans "like" or comment on individual posts, they're more likely to see them again in the future. Posts that get a high percentage of "likes" are more likely to be seen by everyone.

You can stack this deck early. You may have noticed my page only has 6 "likes" in the graphic above. This is because I mentioned it on my personal profile just a few minutes before I did the screen capture. Six "likes" isn't very many, but it's not bad for the first five minutes the page was online. 

I've been writing this post for about 30 minutes, and I'm up to 15 "likes". Again, not impressive.  However, all 15 of those people are personal friends and family. Many of them know each other as well. This stacks the deck slightly in my favor. As my visitors increase over the next few days a high percentage of my status updates will be seen by those visitors. Using this technique you can get up to 90% of your fans to see your post. 

Make sure your posts are "like-able". Make them fun or interesting. Encourage people to comment as well. Interactive posts give your page more visibility  Later on, you can post promotional items and they will be seen by a higher percentage of fans. 

Turn fans into customers.

Having a page visited by lots, "liked" by lots and posts seen by lots is completely worthless UNLESS you encourage them to take the next step. Be sure your descriptions are filled out completely. Provide phone numbers and web addresses. Put yourself on the map. Fill out your hours of operation.

Most business don't sell products on their Facebook page. Make sure your Facebook not only encourages visitors, but encourages them to take an action that will generate sales. Direct them to your website, encourage them to call, or persuade them to visit your store. Whatever you do, make sure it includes a call to action.

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