By Alexander Bussey
In previous articles, we have discussed the power of social media marketing and talked at length about the importance of Facebook; the only social media platform to boast more than 2 billion average monthly users.
Managed properly, Facebook has the potential to transform your business by:
- Expanding your reach
- Allowing you to target people that are not aware of your brand
- Driving web traffic
- Increasing conversions
Because it allows a more personal approach to marketing, Facebook is also a great platform to build brand loyalty, and/or showcase engaging blog content that your audience might otherwise miss. It is a good alternative to channels like PPC advertising, which require constant spending and a Forbes article written by Jayson DeMers actually indicates that 50% of Americans think Facebook has the biggest influence on their purchasing decisions.
However, getting the most out of Facebook can be challenging. We can?t count the number of times we?ve logged into a client?s Facebook account, only to find that they?ve been stunting their own efforts by misreading settings, clicking/following the wrong links and/or not properly utilizing tools settings.
The first (and arguably most important) step to leveraging Facebook?s potential is proper page setup, and it is this fundamental aspect of social media marketing that we want to focus on here.
It might seem like setting up your business? Facebook page would be a relatively simple and straightforward part of utilizing the platform, but there are actually a number of nuances in selecting the right page type or business category, as the options you choose will have a significant impact on the success of future campaigns.
Some business owners rush through page setup and ultimately lower the chance of ranking for relevant Facebook searches. Others will forgo the process completely and use a personal account to promote their business. This kind of misuse can actually get you banned from the platform, and it also could mean that you miss out on all of the business analytics and advertising options that are built into Facebook.
To help you choose the right category for you, we have put together a guide intended to outline each option so you can more efficiently create your Facebook business page.
Step 1: Choosing a business type
To create a business page, you need to have a pre-existing (personal) Facebook account. When you?re logged into your account, you should see a drop-down on the right-hand side of the toolbar.
Fully expanding this drop-down should present you with the option to ?create a new page? and, as you might expect, clicking on this link begins the page creation process, and presents you with the following six options:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
This option may initially seem like the choice for you, particularly if you are tied to a specific location, and focus on serving people in a defined, geographical area like a town center or shopping mall. However, what is less obvious is that this page type tends to strongly focus on geographic targeting (or geo-targeting) where Facebook tries to serve search results that are relevant to specific GPS coordinates of a user?s phone or device.
This means that you?ll have the advantage in searches that Facebook associates with someone looking for a nearby business, but at a disadvantage in more generic searches that do not rely on a geographic location.
For example, let’s say you run a florist on your local high street, but also offer deliveries via your online store. People searching for ?florist [town]? or ?florist near me? are more likely to find you if you use the Local Business option, but, someone searching for a delivery service in the next town over would actually be less likely to see you because Facebook has categorized you as the type of business that specializes in servicing a small area, and that?s the nuance of ?local business.?
Conversely, choosing to identify as a ?company, organization or institution? would improve your chances of appearing for general searches while reducing your chances of appearing for ?[florist] near me? type queries. Of course, your business may thrive on local foot traffic, which would make ?local business? a more sensible choice.
Company, Organization or Institution
Although it lacks a strong focus on geographical targeting, this is by far the best option for most business owners ? particularly that are focused on digital revenue.
This category provides access to the full suite of marketing/advertising tools and it also gives you complete freedom over decisions to disclose your physical address, telephone number, etc. More importantly, it gives your page the best possible chance of appearing in relevant searches and ensures that you benefit from maximum exposure. There are a few exceptions (as noted above) but for most businesses, this is a good go-to option.
Brand or Product
This page type is designed for brands that resell through other organizations; like perfume companies that are stocked by Kohls. Brand or product pages allow you to interact with customers, post news articles and send updates, but they don?t allow you to sell directly through your Facebook page and they limit your advertising options. As such, we?d probably recommend steering clear of this page unless:
- Someone else is actually selling your product
- You are running a non-commercial service (like a podcast)
- You don?t intend to do any advertising
Artist, Band or Public Figure
As the name suggests, this page type is set up to help artists, bands or personalities promote their brand. This setting is used by motivational speakers and consultants – particularly if they are well known in their industry, and feel that their name is their brand – but we do think that it?s still better to choose the Business, Organization or Institution option if you can.
It can be tempting to select the Artist, Band or Public Figure option ? particularly if you?re relatively well-known in your niche. Unfortunately, this might create a page that doesn’t take full advantage of Facebook?s geo-targeting facilities or intelligent search functionality. People will only be able to find you by searching for your name, and you?re unlikely to show up in searches for, say, marketing consultant or ?New York Realtor.?
Ultimately, this means that you?ll miss out on traffic and, more importantly, on the advertising and analytics functions that allow Facebook to monitor your analytics. Our advice? Stick to the ?Company, Organization or Institution? setup for small businesses, unless you are running a local club or group of some kind.
This option is designed for TV channels, shows, and news outlets and if generally not a good fit for most small businesses. If you are running a news service or blog, it might be worth selecting this option but there?s no tangible benefit to doing so and we have not seen any increase in functionality.
Cause or Community
Designed for local causes, this page type could be of use if you are running a charity, but it is worth noting (again) that the ?Company, Organization or Institution? option has a sub-category for charitable organizations and, again, there?s no added functionality that would be notably beneficial. The only slight advantage is that you are more likely to appear when people search for something like ?charity near me,? but we doubt many people actually search like that, and if you pick the right business category, this won?t be an issue anyway.
To help you out, we?ve explained the in?s and out?s of category selection below.
Step 2: Selecting a business category
Once you?ve selected how you want to identify as a category, you?ll be prompted to pick a name and a category for your business.
The box for the business category uses an autocomplete script that displays relevant options shown as you type. If, for example, you start typing ?beauty salon? in the box, you?ll see a range of corresponding options that Facebook associates with that business type.
Presently, you can only select a pre-existing category from the drop-down; you cannot create your own, and it is important to note that your choice will impact page performance.
When it comes to selecting a category for your business, try to be as specific as possible. Once you start typing, you?ll notice a number of relevant options, ranging from the very specific to generic.
At first glance, it might not seem like there are many distinctions between ?beauty salon? and a more generic option like ?beauty, cosmetic & personal care,? but it is important to remember that you will only rank for searches that Facebook deems relevant for your business, and most people tend to search for very specific keywords when they?re looking for a service provider.
If you can?t imagine your customers searching for ?beauty, cosmetic and personal care?, it?s probably not the right choice for you. Similarly, if you?re running a repair shop, try to pick something more specific than ?automotive services.? Even if you do offer more than most of your competitors, your customers are unlikely to find you if Facebook doesn’t know what you?re actually offering.
The only exceptions to this rule are local businesses with multiple locations; such as a chain of restaurants. If this is you, you may want to consider:
- Running separate pages for each location
- Picking a more generic category so that you don?t pigeonhole yourself too much, and end up only showing for searches in one location
Generally speaking though, specificity is key to getting the most out of Facebook.
Step 3: Filling Out the Fine Detail
After picking a category, you?ll be asked to fill out a description of your business and add a profile image. You will also be given the option of adding a cover image that sits across the top of your page. We?d recommend providing all the imagery that Facebook requires, and we?d also recommend keeping the branding, colors, and names consistent with your own website.
This is not for Facebook?s benefit, but it will help to reassure your customers that they?re on the official page, and it will also help cement your brand identity. Try to avoid using outdated collateral or images when setting up a Facebook page, or you may find that people dismiss it as an imposter page, or never associate it with your core business.
Once you?ve branded your page, you can start posting. But we?ll cover that in more detail next time. Until then, happy marketing!