I love following and interacting with natural networkers. Unlike those of us who have to make a point of getting out of our own private Idaho, a natural networker is a joy to behold, they are always finding innovative ways to connect groups of people. Ann Evanston is a great example of a natural networker. Case in point: check out her Facebook page called Blogger Mondays.
Here is how it works: Ten blog post URLs are posted to the Facebook page. The rules are that everyone who posted then needs to comment on the nine other blogs. With the additional activity, as well as the backlinks (even though yes, they are no followed), your blog gets some google love and you get to read some interesting blog posts. Many people who don’t post a blog post still comment anyway. This week I didn’t submit my blog, but still commented on a few blogs posted on the page. Check Blogger Monday out!
Remember that mad rush where everyone jumped on the net to choose their facebook username? Your Facebook Fan Page can have it’s own username as well. Instead of some awful URL like facebook.com/pages/name/89052720571…. (no this is not intended to be a real URL), you want a nice and simple one for your business, like facebook.com/breyerhorsecollectors
Usernames are different from the actual page names in that they are like a vanity URL for your page. The page name is what appears on the page itself.
There is a catch, however, in that at least 25 people must “like” your new fan page before you are allowed to choose a username for it. For my partner Bonnie, social networker that she is, that wasn’t a problem, she achieved that within a day. Note to self, there is a reason you partner ….
Contrary to what I thought, you don’t create a username for your page by editing the page. No you go to a separate URL to actually create it: facebook.com/username. If you have chosen a username for your personal profile it will show you that, and if you have any fan pages, there will be a second box with a dropdown list. Choose your page from that list and then type in your username. As it warns you, once chosen, you can’t change it, so choose wisely.
Right after I posted my quibbling post on whether to create a facebook fan page or not, I got an email from a partner who wanted, you guess it, a facebook fan page. Sometimes the universe responds to what you put out there.
Making a Facebook Fan Page is relatively straight forward, there are just a few key decisions you need to make right and you can be done in minutes. Assuming you want to make a page from your personal profile (it is possible to create one from a business account, but that is off topic for this post), you log in facebook, and click on “ads and pages” in the list on the left. Click on pages again, and you will get to the Facebook Create Page Interface.
Note that you have three choices, confusingly, none that call themselves a “Fan Page”:
If what you want is a SEO friendly page to help market and brand your business, then what you want is the Official Page. However just to be complete, let’s look at the other options. The Official Page and Facebook Groups, when you create them, have one owner, you. However a Facebook Community Page, is intended to have many authors. Use a Community Page when you have a cause or topic that you want to gather a group around and create a discussion, but don’t use it to represent your brand. Facebook Groups can be useful for your business, however they are less useful from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective. Think of a Facebook Group as if you would a list you email to, and that is an approximate analogy. But you don’t “brand” a group of people you email, that is what the Official Page is for.
Ok now that is out of the way, we have a few more decisions to make.
Your next decision is to decide whether you are a local business, brand/product or a public figure. As far as I know this decision can’t be changed currently, so choose carefully. Once you have clicked on the option, you will get a drop down to define your choice further. In this case we are creating a fan page for a website about Breyer Horse Collectors, so I choose “website”. Finally you want to choose your page name. I went with all lower case no spaces because this is how the website name appears on the actual website: www.breyerhorsecollectors.com. Again this is something that can’t be changed later.
Click on “Create Official Page” and you are done! Now the next step is customizing and getting fans.
Despite about having gone public about creating a Facebook fan page, I have not created one. But I’m not in complete inertia regarding Facebook pages. Sometimes when you put an intention out to the universe, it responds. This response came in the form of a business partner asking for help.
Bonnie wants a fan page for her website on collecting Breyer Horse Models. And she did create one … well not exactly. At first I was confused I could only see one page created from her account which had to do with her organic wheat business but nothing about Breyer Models. Then I realized what she had created was a Facebook application rather than an actual page.
In poking around discussions on Facebook pages, I’m picking up a lot of confusion among people creating and trying to use them. When you go to the create page, you have to decide whether you are an “official representative” of a brand, local, or public figure. You have to specify your page name. Turns out these things, once set, can’t be changed. The person that wanted to create a facebook page for their website and used http in the page name. Sorry, he has to start again with a new name. The person who decided their page was more of a brand than local business? Same answer.
There is also the confusion of community pages and groups (also presented as options on the create page form). Which one do you choose? If ever there was a market for a dummies book, Facebook was it. And sure enought, there already is a “Facebook for dummies” book with it’s very own facebook page..
Unfortunately the page is not being kept up (last wall post was a year ago) and the reviews of the book not promising (“useless” was used as a description). Then there is the matter of the rapid change of Facebook, a book that was published more than a year ago is already out of date for the Facebook of today. Let’s hope for a revision.
Facebook’s privacy settings can be a confusing tangle of options, just check out this new york times graphic for an overview.
A handy tool can be found at www.reclaimprivacy.org. What you do is drag and drop the scanner from the site to your bookmark bar, log into facebook and then click on “Scan for Privacy”. Most of my settings in the scan were tagged as “caution”. Only “friends can accidentally share your personal information” was marked as insecure. However clicking to fix and rescanning didn’t work. So I went and looked at the actual settings. Most of the information listed I really have no problem with people sharing. Many marketers would love to have their website shared .. even accidentally. I have turned off sharing of my religious and political views and relationship status (more because I don’t want to be targeted in any way rather than caring what is shared about me).
Some people really don’t want their information shared at all. Personally I think of facebook of a giant bulletin board. If you use it, you just need to accept that your privacy is limited on it, if you have stuff about you that you don’t want to be shared .. then just don’t post it. As Marty Cooper (father of the cell phone) recently said on a 60 minutes interview: “Sorry. Privacy is a thing of the past”.
There is no question that Facebook Fan Pages is a powerful tool in getting businesses found. A few months ago I was searching for businesses to help me secure a rental property. After trying a couple of queries, I found a facebook fan page for a business that installs temporary steel shutters on rental properties. Their page was boring, the same marketing message over and over again on their wall. However, the point is, I found them, they got my business, and my search query would have never found their website.
Clearly, from the SEO perspective, a fan page is a force to be reckoned with.
I would be reamiss if I didn’t point out you don’t get this same SEO bang for your buck (well your labor buck) with facebook groups. If you want an alternative to an ESP (email service provider), maybe a facebook group is something for you to consider. But if you want your business to be found, do a fan page.
Being in the business of giving out web advice, I should do a fan page, right? And yes I’ve been meaning to for a while. But I haven’t quite aligned my internal thinking about facebook quite right yet. I mainly use facebook to catch up with friends, past colleagues. I get annoyed with the few marketers I am connected to that woodenly spit out their messaging out in posts day after day. Only a select few do it right by making it personal and inviting conversation.
So I haven’t quite come around to expanding my use of a tool I solely use on a personal basis to a blatant business use. And “fan” page? What an affront to my inner lone wolf. I have to ask people to become a fan? Ick. Not too mention that I have to deal with this needy wall thing that wants constant feeding. Did I mention I’m not a natural extrovert?
Facebook itself isn’t helping. There is that whole convoluted privacy thing that has everyone up in arms. Did you know that May 31st is Quit Facebook Day? And I quote “Quitting Facebook is like quitting smoking..”. Maybe I should sit back and see how this turns out.
However that would be just too easy. I’m in the business of giving web advice remember? Especially SEO advice. So I will create a fan page. Hold me to it and don’t let me waffle anymore.
If you actively tweet and are looking to build followers, here is a round up of useful links of “follow me” twitter buttons, graphics and icons to add to your blog or websites.
Share Your Blog
Make it easy for your blog readers to tweet, digg, facebook your posts:
More Auto Tweeters
Feed your twitter, or get more enhanced with URL shorteners
Soon, follow mes and embedded tweets.
With the recent announcement that Facebook’s weekly traffic has surpassed google’s, Facebook has become a force to be reckoned with. Well you already knew that, but really, it’s just not going away.
The world’s largest walled garden does have a way for you to show your public face. Facebook fan pages have generated a ton of interest from businesses who want to use them for branding and customer engagement. Sometimes companies even partner with fans who have created a page as Coca-Cola recently did with coke lovers Dusty and Michael.
With a fan page you can virally get your message out there. When someone becomes a fan of your page, their network knows. With fan pages you can post updates and advertise events. So is the Facebook fan page a replacement for email marketing?
One development to watch, is that Facebook plans to issue 400 million email addresses to Facebook users. The email addresses would use your vanity Facebook name as an username, so that you would have a @facebook.com email address.
So is email marketing dead? Hard to say. But a system that provides a rich interaction with your clients via both fan page and soon via their email systems, could be very compelling, especially since it is all free!
There are far too many ways to add social media links and icons to your blog. However, if you are playing the social media PR game, it’s a necessary part of your web presence plumbing, those share, tweet this, facebook icons on your site and your blog.
Up to now, I had been happy with my socialable plugin, resisting the siren call of adding bolder and bigger social media icons to my sidebar. Then I looked at AddThis.
It’s so dead simple, you can’t help but to just do it. As long as your wordpress theme is widget aware, all you have to do is cut and paste HTML code into a Text Widget that you drag and drop to your sidebar. The step by step instructions are right there on the AddThis web page. The simplicity of the user experience is something that should be strived for by all webdesigners.
You can see it in my sidebar to the right. I still have sociable but I updated the settings to show it only on individual blog posts so I didn’t have dueling social media button bars on my home page.
AddThis also generates cut and paste code for your website, blogger.com and myspace for four different types of buttons.