Facebook Pages - The basics

We recently found that some business are still getting to grips with setting themselves up on Facebook. It can be daunting, so if you are one of those still confused about Facebook Pages and what you're supposed to do with it? Here's our very brief summary on how to start with it. 

PROFILES vs PAGES

Just like an individual person has a Facebook "PROFILE", a business has a Facebook "PAGE". You manage the PAGE just like you manage your own PROFILE, except it contains business details, like opening times and prices etc. Then, just like you share things on your personal PROFILE to do with you as an individual, you share business related things to the business PAGE.

PROFESSIONALISM

Be sure to keep your PROFILE and PAGE separate - you might like to update grandma betty with news about your holiday in the Algarve publicly on your PROFILE but that has nothing to do with your business therefore should not be posted to your PAGE. Think of the PAGE as a sort of store front - use it to advertise your business. Just like customers that come to a store to see what you sell and you might strike up a conversation with them about something photography related, that's what you share on the PAGE - Stuff about your business and conversations (other people's posts) related to your industry. Keep it professional though - you don't want to share anything that splits opinion, like politics for example, because it has nothing to do with your business (you could probably get away with commenting on a portrait photo of someone in Parliament if you are a photographer - if you wanted to!).

As an example, you may have seen the news about the cake shop that wouldn't bake a cake for a gay couple, they faced huge backlash and the business suffered overall (some may have agreed with them - including the supreme court in the end, but many disagreed with them). Remember, strangers will be invited to see your PAGE - it's not going to be just family and friends, so just like you wouldn't (hopefully!) discourage certain genders, religious, abilities etc. from a store you might operate, be non-confrontational with PAGE posts. The main thing to remember is that your PAGE is about your business and happens to be operated by YOU. You can invite others to manage the page as well if you need help, but be clear about what you want posting or sharing on your behalf.

WHAT TO POST

As an individual, on your PROFILE you might POST a bit about what you did last week or what you got up to at the weekend. You might also SHARE news from other people / social pages (for example if someone was trying to raise money and you wanted to help them by advertising an event, you might share the event POST). Its important to remember, when you POST or SHARE something, not only does everyone you know see what you posted, but if someone "likes" it or "shares" it again, all of THEIR friends see that as well. If you wonder where the term VIRAL comes from, some things are hilarious and so go "VIRAL" by being shared many many times in a short space of time, just like a how a VIRUS can spread if it is not contained (or isn't funny enough!).

Now on to what to post to your business PAGE. You do the same from a business point of view, but a general rule is that 20% of posts are to do with your business (latest images, updates on opening times, offers etc.), and 80% are to do with your business type/style/brand/industry. Just remember to keep it ON TOPIC (i.e. your business and sector). As a photographer, there's no point sharing a post about the latest book from J. K. Rowling. As good a writer as she may be, it has nothing to do with photography. Feel free to add that to your PROFILE though, if you so desire. For example, you might share someone else's images as a sort of recognition that they are particularly good (note, don't share your immediate competition images though!). Think of famous photographers, things in the news etc.

For example, if you saw BBC recently, you might share this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-44317027 (note, at the top of the page there is a blue F symbol for Facebook - if you click it you should be able to share it to your Facebook PAGE - if you are logged into Facebook on the same browser session). If you do share something, you can add your own little line of text at the top suggesting why people might want to look into it further.

In the above example, you might say something like "These pictures are beautiful!". Even better (although this is sometimes called "click bait" - i.e. you are baiting them to click on your post), you might add something like "The picture of the Himalayas in this series is stunning - what a sunset!" - Now then, because the picture that is shared on the post is NOT the Himalayas, people will think "What picture? Right - I need to click and see now!" and go ahead and look. Any caption that makes people want to see. If you want to see a good example of click-baiting, go have a look at MASHABLE - almost all their posts are click bait. There is one about Apple Music and the whole advert has three lines of text designed to make you want to click the post

  1. "This is not a drill" (OK, something important you may think?),
  2. "Apple Music web player leaks ahead of WWDC" (OK, so I know what the article is about now...) and
  3. "Please let it be true!" (OK - WHAT? let WHAT be true? I'm going to have to click on it now to see what it is that needs to be true!) -

CLICK. BAIT. It can work well, can also be bad for business - if the post is not interesting what so ever, it turns people away from your page, so be clear about what you are sharing and why - make sure it is something you think potential customers would WANT to see.

INTERACTIONS

One thing to remember is that the better the post, the more likes and shares (or "INTERACTIONS" as it is called) and therefore the wider the audience sees the original post. You can see total INTERACTIONS on the "Insights" page (once you get 100 likes!) so be sure to invite your friends and family to "Like" like your page and keep an eye on Insights to see how well posts do. When a post seems to do well, think about why it did - was there something funny about it? Tugs at the heart string? Was the photo particularly good? (a separate blog post will cover the emotions involved in branding and build a brand!). Whatever you think it was, do more of it because it clearly made an impact!

MONEY

On to money - Facebook make money by advertising and they get that money in two ways. 

Firstly, "normal" advertising. YOU pay THEM to put a little advert in front of potential customers. You choose what style of advert to put up (e.g. where it is placed, whether it's embedded in a video or not, what image to use for it, the text to use etc.) and also who you are targeting (age groups, genders, location etc.). You then decide how much you want to spend and for how long (£2 a day for 10 days for example) and Facebook will put it in front of as many people as it can. Sometimes they will tell you that you are not spending enough - this is because there are lots of people wanting to advertise and they take the highest bidder. It tells you this when you create an advert though.

The second way it gets money is when it thinks a POST seems to be doing really well (e.g. a particularly good photo has a bunch of likes - more than normal) it offers to BOOST the POST - this is an offer to quickly advertise based on that post - i.e. get the post in front of your target audience (well if it did so well with the people that already like your page, why not get it in front of people who don't know about your page?). A bit like an advert but it's promoting a specific well performing post, not a specific advert you created. An advert might be more like a campaign (e.g. a discount offer to get more business) where as a BOOST is more like shoving something popular in front of more people. It probably isn't an advert, but if it is particularly good content, Facebook will suggest to BOOST it as a make-shift advert. Again, you chose the audience and what you want to pay them.

So - ADVERTS and BOOSTS. One is a predetermined advert based on what you want people to see, the other is a POST that happens to have done really well in terms of INTERACTIONS, so get it out in front of more people.

SUPPORT

There are lots of tools out there to help you with Facebook posting. DRUMUP is a new service which scrapes the web for content on a topic you specify and presents it to you. From the suggestions it collates you can POST straight away or SCHEDULE posts to show on your page at a specific time. Scheduling can be handy when you find lots of stuff to share but don't want to share it all at once. Scheduling allows you to spreads out posts. Another popular service to help with this is BUFFER - it's a bit like DRUMPUP in terms of it's ability to schedule things, but also you can share things to Twitter and Instagram at the same time if you want which therefore requires less effort from you in the long run (assuming you use those services). It also relies on you finding things to post (be that your own stuff or stuff you have found, like the BBC article above).

Lastly, the Facebook Pages App helps keep track of your business interactions across Messenger, your Facebook Page and a connected Instagram account. It shows you all the useful info about your PAGE (i.e. business from a Facebook point of view) 

If you have any questions or queries, let us know in the comments below.

Hope it helps!