Unless you live in a bunker, cut off from the rest of the online world, there’s almost no way you don’t know what Facebook is.
But assuming that you have just emerged from that bunker (welcome back to the real world btw) then let me run through this new mysterious thing called Facebook for you.
What Is Facebook?
It was started in 2004 by a guy called Mark Zuckerberg in 2006 and some of his friends while studying at Harvard and has become the largest social network in the world.
Let’s have a look at some of the numbers from their latest earnings report:
By the time you read this the numbers have probably gone up a bit, but at 1 billion users a day, they are really a force to be reckoned with.
It helps that they are making a killing from ads as well, because that ensures longevity and will keep them around for the foreseeable future.
How People Use It
Just go to any 20-40 year old who has a smart phone and you should be able to see what they do with Facebook.
Essentially it is a content aggregator, but the content is user or brand generated, such as text, videos, links and images share from friends, family, colleagues and brands/ businesses.
Facebook allows you to scroll infinately to keep reading a continually updated stream of content, thereby hooking you to their service and encouraging you to interact with whatever content you see on screen.
They do this through ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and shares.
Still not sure how to use it? Go to Facebook.com and create an account, then play around with either the website or the mobile app and you’ll eventually figure it out.
Alternatively, here are some useful getting started guides you can follow.
Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Pages
Now that you’re a bit more familiar with Facebook in general, let’s get into some of the nitty gritty shall we?
First up, what’s the different between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page?
I’ll tell you a funny story – I heard from a client once that a previous agency had come in and spent 2.5 hours explaining to her marketing director what the difference was.
This leads me to conclude that either:
- the agency had no idea what they were talking about
- the marketing director had no idea what the agency was talking about
- the agency was speaking a language the boss did not know
As you can see, it’s definitely the agency’s fault – unless they were speaking to the fictional character from the first paragraph then maybe I’ll cut them some slack.
So what is the difference? Well, simply put:
- A Facebook profile is meant to be for your to use personally as an individual to connect with your friends, family, colleagues and some brands online. You can only have 5000 people follow your profile on Facebook through a personal profile.
- A Facebook page is meant to be used by an individual or team to connect with the public in general and other brands. There is no limit to how many people can follow your page as fans.
If you still don’t get it, how about this analogy:
- Profile: chatting with your mum about Christmas dinner
- Page: you are Walmart, talking to everyone about Christmas dinner
And if you really still don’t get it? Then read this.
Facebook Page Basics
For the purposes of this guide, let’s assume you are using Facebook primarily for business purposes, because of which you will need to setup your own Facebook page.
If you’re familiar with Facebook at all, you’ll know that they are known to change their layout every now and again to either add new features or squeeze in new ad types.
So although I’ll try and go through the stuff that I think will stay for the foreseeable future, the truth is with Facebook, you just never know.
For the best source of information on Facebook pages, the best place is directly from the horse’s mouth:
But as of today, here’s a couple of things to get you started with pages:
Setting Up A New Page
Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ to create a page.
There should be a page wizard that walks you through each step of the process. Including choosing a page name, username (if possible) and other information they would like to display on the page.
A few things to keep in mind about page names:
Page names can’t contain
- Terms or phrases that may be abusive or violate someone’s rights.
- Improper capitalization. Page names must use grammatically correct capitalization and may not include all
capitals, except for acronyms.
- Symbols (ex: ! or ® ) or unnecessary punctuation.
Page names can’t consist only of
- Generic words (ex: Pizza). Pages must be managed by official representatives of the topics they’re about.
- Generic geographic locations (ex: New York).
You know when you access a Facebook page like fb.com/StarWars? Well the username in this case is ‘StarWars’ get it? It’s important because it gives you a unique Facebook URL that leads directly to your Facebook page.
Choosing a username
- Go to facebook.com/username
- Select your Page from the dropdown menu
- Enter your desired username and click Check Availability
- If the username you want is available, click Confirm
- Usernames can only be changed once.
Username best practices
- You can’t claim a username someone else is already using.
- Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
- Periods (“.”) and capitalization don’t count as a part of a username. For example, johnsmith55, John.Smith55 and john.smith.55 are all considered the same username.
- Usernames must be at least 5 characters long and can’t contain generic terms or extensions (ex: .com, .net).
- You must be an admin to choose a username for a Page.
- Your username must adhere to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
It’s important you keep these things in mind, let me tell you why…
Let me tell you about the time I made a huge boo boo on usernames and page names so that you don’t repeat the same mistake as me.
Like I said in the points above, usernames can only be changed once. At the time I had 2 brand pages under my control and the good thing was that they were my own brands, so this mistake didn’t affect a client.
What I was trying to do was swap the usernames for the pages, because one page was new and the other had a few thousand fans. I wanted the fan count for the more prominent brand, so I thought just swap the page names and usernames/ URL and I’ll be good.
So I went and swapped the usernames for both pages and it worked!
But what I didn’t know at the time was that although you could change the username once, if your page had more than a 200 fans, you couldn’t change the page name.
This has now been changed, so you can change the page name once, but you must submit a request to Facebook to do so, it is up to them to approve it or not.
So there I was with 2 pages with the wrong names and usernames/ URLs.
In the end, I deleted them both, losing thousands of fans in the process. #FML.
Facebook Page Categories
You can select from various categories when you create your Facebook page, depending on what you think you’ll be using the page for.
The different categories you can select for your page each have different functions, summarized in the table below.
Typically I create company or local type pages for my clients as they have the most useful functions. Especially useful if you run a brick and mortar business like a retail shop, because you have the ability to add a map, opening hours (people can see if you are open or closed anytime they view your page) and the ability to check in to your premises when customers are there.
There are tonnes of options and things you can do with pages but the best way to familiarize yourself is by using them yourself and occasionally referring to Facebook’s pages guide and Googling whatever else you don’t understand.
Good luck, now go start a Facebook page!
I’ve created a simple check-list that you can use when you are creating a new Facebook page for your business, or maybe you just want to improve your current one?
Either way register your details below and it’ll be sent directly to your inbox.