As some of the regular readers of this newsletter will know, I did not start out as Facebook’s biggest fan. And to be fair, while I have softened my stance ever so slightly, I would hardly put myself in the rather crowded room of social media evangelists. There’s way too many uber-cool people in this space for me to feel comfortable.

I always thought that social media would really start to capture my attention when I could prove to myself that it was responsible for either my customers or, less importantly, myself gaining more customers. Well that time has come.

But first – a few very short notes on the basics of Facebook as I see them for non-social media people. Yep, the bits your teenage children will not tell you because the last thing they want is you on Facebook. Well it’s time to move over – oh yee of little faith in us grey-haired ones – now there’s some business to be done.

So, to start you need to set yourself up with a personal Facebook profile. You can’t set up your business without having one. Don’t worry, it’s easy and doesn’t require too much commitment. Just head over to the Facebook home page and register – share some of your details and you are done.

Now that you have a profile you can connect with others and ask them to be your “friends”. If they say yes, then everything you post on your “Wall” they will see within their “News Feed” and, likewise, all they post you will see in your “News Feed”.

So you can see some pics of this, below is an image of my News Feed.

When I took this snap, it included a note from my brother who lives in the UK and who had just landed in Lanzerote for a holiday – lucky him! Plus a short note from Allan Li – he used to work at Permission but has now moved to London and is working for a large corporate search optimisation company. Here is a picture of my “Wall” – that’s where I add my own new content.

This can be images, video or plain, ordinary text. You can comment on and “Like” your friends’ posts, videos and pictures.

I think the privacy settings in Facebook are adequate for most. You can configure these to limit your posts so they are just seen by your friends and not the friends of your friends.

Done this? Then you are now one of the many millions who are Facebook people. All that’s left to do is to set up a Page for your business. To start this just head over to and pick the option that best suits you.

Once this is registered you can invite people to “Like” your page and become your fans. When they do this they “should” see what you write on your page’s Wall within their News Feed. Now there’s a “should” there because if your posts get very little interaction (i.e no comments or likes for a reasonable period of time) then they are not shown up. So developing some interaction with your posts is important. More to come on this later.

But first let’s get back to adding in some content. This is simple – it’s done in exactly the same way as you update your personal Facebook profile. Just write, upload a photo, or even delve into the land of video. With a fan page you can control the ability for your Fans to write on your business page Wall, which may be a good or bad thing depending on how much interaction you want to get going.

So that’s it. It’s the basic basics, I know, but it moves you a bit further forward. Hopefully, you will start to appreciate that the overall goal here is to get your audience to “Like” your business page, love your content, engage with it because of this and, then, do what you want them to do.

Here are a few questions that all this may prompt.

Do I need a Facebook page to advertise on Facebook?

No you don’t. You can send Facebook advertising links to your usual website. You will see this traffic as from the Facebook domain within your Google Analytics account. And if you have goals set up – please tell me you do – then you will see its conversion rate.

How do I increase the number of people who “Like” my page?

It depends on your true goal. If it’s all about numbers and increasing them, then competitions, draws and vouchers are a few good ways. Your Fan count will grow – however, most will be there for the draws, vouchers and free stuff – no surprises there. Once this all goes, then there’s a good chance they will too. Whereas if you want to gather around your page a reasonable number of hopefully more engaged people then it’s all about delivering them a steady stream of content that they see as being valuable. When you think about it, the concept is very similar to growing an effective email newsletter list.

How do I get my own Facebook URL, e.g.

As I write this note, Facebook tells me you need a group of 25 people to “Like” you. Then you can follow the help screens in Facebook and they will show you how to register your details and pick your URL. Also, as of now, once this is set up you have to live with your choice – so pick carefully.

What are the basic mistakes I should avoid?

Here’s just three that quickly come to mind. First, starting off with a page instead of a plan. Knowing who you want to talk to, what you want to say and the desired outcomes of all this work are some basic things to include in your plan It doesn’t have to be pages and pages of closely typed, small font. One or two pages will suffice. Just enough to refer back to and re-energise yourself after you grind through writing your 50th post and are wondering – Why?

Second, starting the conversation on knowledge, tips and general value-building content and then switching tracks to focus on offers, promotions and super deals. They “Liked” you so they could receive what your Wall showed them when they dropped by. Keep on message to keep their “Like”. Yes, people can “Unlike” you.

Third, not feeding the beast. It doesn’t need to be an hourly task. Some get by with just adding new content each week and responding to feedback on a daily basis. Multiple week gaps between posts is probably not such a good thing.

What’s the least amount of time I can spend on this?

This follows on from the last point. It really doesn’t have to be much. I would suggest that people asking for a response by posting or commenting on your Wall shouldn’t be left longer than the time you would take to return a phone message asking the same question. For some this would be half a day at most. And if you place some new content out there each week then this is a good start.

And finally – how much is this going to cost me?

This is the nice part. Setting up a page is free. Yep, nadda – nothing. Adding content to it may cost depending on who you get to write it. (Yes, we offer services for this at an affordable rate.) You may need someone (like us) to help customise some pages to welcome people to your page and entice them to hit the “Like” button. Or to create a page to host some video or other web page content. Fortunately, Facebook has built an environment that allows these changes in a reasonably open way so adding them is not that costly.

So there you have it. For some experienced Facebook people this content will be way too basic. But that’s fine, it wasn’t written for them anyway :). Nope, this should be enough to help the successful business owner who is considering Facebook to feel that little bit more confident about taking it on. Those teenagers can’t have all the fun and it pays to embarrass them on a frequent basis – just try and ask them to be your friend. I’ve a few stories there I can tell you. (“No Dad, that’s creepy.”)

And anyway, just let me know when your Facebook business page is ready. For reading this far, I’ll reward you with one shiny new “Like”.