Last week, I spent Wednesday to Sunday in Asheville, NC for the Type A Parent Conference. There were a ton of great sessions, and I was excited to attend and learn from as many as I possibly could. Knowing how much information I was about to be overwhelmed by, I made sure to take as solid of typed notes as I possibly could in an effort to ensure I retained some of the valuable information imparted. Who knows if I completely succeeded or not, but I'm happy to share what I have!
That said, it isn't completely edited, so this series won't be like my usual posts. Let me know if you have questions or suggestions or additional information. Each post will have the session name and who presented so you can also contact them.
Facebook Pages by Melanie Nelson from Blogging Basics 101 - @chilihead
Basics of Setting Up a Facebook Page
To set up your page, go to Facebook.com/create pages.php.
There are six options that affect which text boxes you can fill out later - bricks and mortar store can fill out parking info and address, etc that will allow people to do cool things like check in at your store and do loyalty discounts, etc. You can still change it down the road, but set it up right now so you don't have to go in your dashboard in your settings you can change the categories later.
If you click edit page, this is how you get to your dashboard on your page; you are automatically taken to your manage permissions page. Leave your settings open. She encourages all of you to allow anyone to post to the wall. If you close it to others, it's like turning your back on people in the room with you and ignoring them. By allowing others to post, they feel like their voice matters and that they're a part of the community. Sometimes there will be negativity, and how you handle that will impact your community.
Building a Community in Facebook
Know what your goals and objectives are for FB so that you know how you want to use it. That will impact what you do and how. Local businesses will frequently say they don't have a website and use FB only, know that you don't own it. You could have it taken down one day because FB takes exception to it, too many people report it as spam, etc. Use other tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog, etc so that all your eggs aren't in one basket.
On your settings, you don't have to post as yourself so that it isn't confusing to people about who the person is posting - e.g., not as Michelle but as Honest & Truly. If you uncheck this option, you will show up as yourself. You can also get email notifications when people post as yourself so that you get updates when people post so you aren't surprised when 15 people have posted and you aren't aware.
If you have a FB page, you have to monitor it regularly - like every day. You can't just set it up and let it go. You don't want the community to run itself. There was a study on what the best time to post is, and it showed morning, around noon, and right around dinner time (eastern time). It also showed that best is once every other day, but we know that if we post that infrequently, we'll get lost in the shuffle. We are typically posting to other moms, who aren't going just before work, at lunch and after dinner. You have to figure out your own audience and give it to them, which may be different from the study - and probably will be. That was done on larger brands, not bloggers, small businesses, etc . If you post 10 times a day, people will stop liking them. It is still their space that you intrude on. About 70% of people say they didn't give permission to market to them. They like it because they support your product, not because they want to receive all sorts of info.
Melanie will make a resource page with her blog (Blogging Basics 101) with more info on applications, especially shortstack.com.
To make a vanity URL - 25 people have to like the page, then you have to go to Facebook.com/username Your title needs to be what you want them to search - and it's literal. You don't want it to be smooshed together, use what you want. Honest And Truly v Honest & Truly v Honest & Truly! etc. Your username should be as prominent as your brand. You want it to be on your business cards, etc. HonestAndTruly. You cannot change your username. Once it's set, it's set. If you want to change it, you have to delete the page and start over.
Your business page is searchable outside FB, which is good.
Everyone should have a contact form. IF you're waiting for people to contact you on your wall, sometimes you may miss it, they want to contact you privately, etc. If you haven't given them a way, you're missing out on business. Go to Shortstack.com and sign in. This is free up to 1,000 fans. Great apps at no cost.
You're automatically at the tab manager when you log in to Shortstack. Click on forms and promotions. You're creating a new database, click on custom forms. Name it and create the form. You'll get a page where you can start to add field - it's drag and drop. You need to ensure email is there. You can decide if you'd like them to include their name. You can rearrange the order by grabbing it and dragging to where you want it to go. Text area is more like a paragraph, text line is just a quick line. Add your header and footer - the URL of your banner image. You can edit this later, too. Then you save the form. You are going to publish this after that. Click on Tab Manager, then click quick publish. You'll have to allow the permissions.
Short Stack has a ton of video tutorials that are great that you can use to learn more and get more help.
iframes allows you to import all sorts of stuff. It's 520 pixels wide, your blog is probably 1000 pixels. On FB, you have the option of using it as an https - but more iframes aren't set up to run on SSL. You'll need to switch to http to view. Starting in October, if you want to do iframes, you need to have a secure server, so you'll need to have your webmaster set this up for you. WordPress has the ability to do this for you for about $50/year. Hyper Arts also has an iframe application that you can install.
Custom welcome pages can be made. You can do it via iframes (HyperArts and use their tutorials) or do it custom. This takes people to a custom welcome page instead of your typical wall. There's a 47% greater chance of them liking you. It gives you a more professional look on FB. A custom welcome page will tell them why they should like you - will be sharing articles, why they should visit, your goals and objectives stated in a conversational way. You can pull in a Twitter feed or a newsletter signup. Give them a directive - tell people what you want them to do or they are in and out. It's their stream, and they'll be in and out otherwise. Make sure you include the benefit for them, too!
How to Share Information on Facebook
Once people like you, 90% of people rely on their newsfeed to connect with you. People typically look at the most recent news, not the top news. You need to keep them informed with what you're doing - and because once people are on FB, they don't want to leave. Thus, you want as many apps in FB to keep people interacting with you.
Videos, photos, links, comments, likes - this is the order of what's going to show up in Top News for the algorithm of weighting of what shows up on people's top feed. The more you incorporate the higher weighted portions of the algorithm, the greater the likelihood that you'll be at the top of Top News.
People come to FB likes because they are educated, informed, or entertained. You because an authority on something because you don't just share you but other people's info, too, as relevant. This increases your authority in other people's eyes, too.
You can do a LiveStream tutorial and embed that in FB. Having that interaction with your fans again makes them connect with you. It is recorded, and people can view it whenever they want. If you do it regularly, people come to expect this on a certain day, etc. It also builds a library of information for you, which helps. It does live both on FB and on LiveStream.
The FB is your page. You want to keep it cleaned up for your FB fans. If there is something ad-like, if there are random bits that don't fit, feel free to delete them. If they are relevant links, however, encourage them, as it builds the community again. Reciprocal links, etc.... delete them. Once a month or so, reiterate your policy - you'll get comments like "thanks - love that you want my info"
Rules About Facebook Giveaways
FB giveaways were one of the most eye opening portions of the session - and this includes blog giveaways asking people to like you on FB. There are promotional guidelines! You have to adhere to a certain level of professionalism, even if other people aren't. You must use a FB app to ask people to do something for a contest - which you can make available only to people who like you, a workaround that is legal in the eyes of Facebook. There is also a promotions tab you can create via Short Stack (or an iframe). You cannot have "like my page, first 30 people to tell me their favorite jewelry piece have a chance to win it" - must be a third party app.
You can announce on FB that you have a giveaway on your blog because you're not collecting any data on FB, just promoting it. You cannot, however, have people like you on FB as a blog contest entry. (Yes, I'm revamping everything going forward. Oops.)
There is verbiage that you can copy but that doesn't mean you can then have people like you - verbiage that states that the info you are sharing is not associated with FB, how you're using the data collected. FB in no way wants to be associated with giveaways. That way, if you don't follow through properly, FB is not liable.
You cannot automatically enter someone into a contest, which is what the liking requires. You can't just pick someone who likes a page - if they didn't specifically enter something, they can't win. FB is very clear on this. People cannot put the contest on their status as an entry, comment on FB as an entry. You can "like gate" something where you have a third party app that is hidden until people like your page that they have to use the third party app as an entry. That restriction includes as bonus entries v required entries, it requires leaving comments on your blog that they've liked and more. You simply can't use any FB functionality whatsoever to be a part of a giveaway. You can ask people to share it on FB, but it can't be an entry!
Enough people are doing this without consequences, that a lot of people are doing this anyway. It's a question of where are you on professional integrity? We need to decide what we're going to do, and it's up to us to educate others. So easy to do the third party app instead. Won't cost any money, and they can do themselves going forward, too.
A contest is not a giveaway. If you have to submit something and outdo someone else via judging or some sort of voting, that's ok. There are applications that are robust enough that do this. These are separate.
Interacting With Your Community on Facebook
When you're looking to interact with your community, ask either or questions, fill in the blank questions, yes/no questions - don't make them think too much or have to share too much information on FB because there is the issue of potentially having the opinion knocked down or coming back to defend it, etc etc. Write a post on something and have the discussion there, but announce on FB that you're having a great conversation on X on your blog page.
What else did I miss?
Win a Wendy's gift card
Win Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go, a Chicago Travel Guide