[Editor’s Note: Be sure to read Designing for the New Look of Facebook Pages!]
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Facebook you’ve probably heard of these things called Fan Pages. Maybe you’ve even created one yourself.
As I’ve perused the Pages devoted to a certain celebrity, or that company or this ministry, one thing has stood out to me: The Facebook Fan Page is one of the most underutilized connection points available today, and this is especially true for ministries.
There are many great examples of the Fan Page, or Page, being used to it’s fullest potential, it’s just that most of these examples lie outside The Church.
I’d like to change that here, with a simple, yet concise series of posts on Facebook Pages.
Part 1: The Reason to Have a FB Page, The Basics
Now, you might be asking this question:
I already have a Profile or Group, why do I need a Page?
Good question. Let’s look at each individually to compare.
- One line intro: The face of Facebook.
- Pros: Post photo and video content, use Facebook applications, get “friends”, viral*
- Cons: 5,000 friend limit, customization very limited (e.g.- a profile name must be a first and last name, something most organization don’t have)
- One line intro: Group = Club in “real life”.
- Pros: Gather people with common interests, intimate- great for conversation
- Cons: Sending blast emails/messages limited to groups with less than 5,000 members (If you want to limit your connection ability you would be ok with this, but I don’t know why anyone would want to do that.), limited customization
- One line intro: Community connection without limits.
- Pros: Unlimited fans (aka- friends/members), customizable, viral*
- Cons: Somewhat more involved than Profiles and Groups
The Page is the right choice for you if your desire is to create a connection on Facebook between your organization and your people already utilizing it or that are going to. Your page is ultimately going to be: A free online community that extends your existing website, providing a reflection of you or your organization.
If you already have a Profile or Group set up for your organization, don’t delete it or take it down- just simply link to it from your existing Facebook properties.Profiles are viral in the sense that when Joe becomes friends with Brooke, the interaction appears in both of their News Feeds and on their Walls, letting their other friends know that Joe and Brooke are now friends.
If Joe and Brooke become fans on the Local Community Church Page, it appears in these places as well. The same is true if Joe and Brooke join the Local Community Church Group, however there is one feature not available to groups: the suggestion.
The suggestion appears on every Facebook user’s home page, as well as on the Find Friends page, allowing you to “Add people you know as friends and become a fan of public profiles you like.”
Create Your Page:
There are two ways of doing this:
- Logout of Facebook and go to facebook.com/create.php Going this route will create a separate login for the Page (so the Page is NOT linked to your personal account). If you only want to remember one login for Facebook, don’t create the Page this way. Instead use option B. If you do want to use this option, skip option B all together. I should note here as well, that utilizing this option (A) does not allow you to link your Page to Twitter. More on linking to Twitter later.
- Login to Facebook. Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Once you’ve arrived, regardless of which option you’ve gone with, you’re only a few clicks away from the creation of your Page.
On the Create New Facebook Page, select the category and sub-categories that your Page will fit into. Don’t just jump at the first one that seems to fit. I would encourage you to look through all the sub-categories and find the one that BEST DESCRIBES the Page you are about to create.
Name your Page. Choose your name wisely because it’s permanent. In considering the name for your Page, think about character length. For example: “This is a fan page for everyone that likes fan pages” may be effective, but it’s not as catchy as “Fan Page of Fan Pages”.
After this, there’s an option to make the Page publicly visible right away. I usually elect not to make the Page public, or publish it, at this moment. This allows me to get everything the way I want it before anyone sees the final product- an unveiling of sorts.
If you’ve elected to create your Page as a “separate entity” apart from your personal Profile, you will now need to “signup” for Facebook. Fill out the information, and you’ll be well on your way.
Page Setup: The Basics
Now that you’ve created your Page, you’ll want to get it ready for your fans.
1. Change Picture. This could be your organization’s logo, or it could be a picture of what your Page is about. Either way, be certain that it is highly visible (not overly dark or light) as well as clear and crisp (not pixelated or grainy).
2. Edit Page. This is where you will go to make the majority of the changes to your Page- this is the drivers seat.
Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. (See, aren’t you glad we didn’t publish it yet?) In part two we’ll get the basic editing down and get on our way to a great Page.
Thoughts on the Facebook Page? Let’s hear ’em!