Facebook is a powerful tool for social media marketing but the platform, especially in advertising, does not take too kindly to affiliate marketers because it has been abused in the past.
Nowadays, it’s the fan page that gets the most hype because it’s an open, social platform to connect with your community on a site which everyone uses; there is low resistance for your community to sign up in comparison to handing over their email because they most likely have accounts on the giant of a social network.
On a fan page, the initial setup really only gives you the bare bone essentials which doesn’t make your page look all too attractive for visitors to like and follow. In this post, I’ll share various tips and resources to add some spice to your Facebook presence to encourage greater interaction within the community (and potentially send a few sales your way, while you’re at it).
Facebook Optimization 101: Claiming your Space
You don’t get the same level of customization as you would when operating your business website but the inclusion of apps in the Facebook platform gives you plenty of options to spice up your fan page design to increase engagement and optimize for search engines.
The Vanity URL
Once your fan page gets kicking, you’ll have the option to change the URL but you won’t have this option again if you pass the 200 follower mark.
As you could expect, you’d want to make this URL the same as your website if you’re going for the full-on branding angle but an alternative option is to use a keyword-specific name which will have benefits for being found within search engines for those terms.
The About Section
Right underneath your profile picture is a small About section which can be used to explain what your brand represents, what visitors can expect when following, or it can even be used to point people to a landing page (such as a “start here” or a money-making pillar page).
Take your existing About Me page, from your website, and condense it down to a single sentence (much like your Twitter profile).
The Additional Info Sections
Deeper within the About tab are other elements of your information including your mission, overview, basic information, and contact info. Just like a VCard or mimicking your LinkedIn profile, add in the additional information that relates to your website and business; take this opportunity to inject a few keywords for the search engines and buzz-terms for the followers.
Linking In and Out
Facebook is made for communication and, as you have already seen, a great way to bring exposure to your website content, promotions, and offers. Try a variety of status updates for your page including a variety of multi-media elements such as picture, video, and audio; throw in a few polls, giveaways, sweepstakes, and links to your website (along with your community member’s websites and perhaps your competitors while you’re at it – just to play fair). Search engines will dig around on these status updates and you’ll increase chances that your community members with websites may link to your pages they found through the fan page which is a big win in link building and lead generation.
Now let’s add some flare to your fan page …
Facebook Design Basics: The Graphical Elements
It’s no secret that the most responsive communities on Facebook follow brands that readily update their feeds with multi-media (not just a quick, one-off status update). Pictures, videos, audio, and embedded media gives followers the ability to explore and discover a brand much like a website; the basic fan page when you first start one do not come with these features so it’s up to you to make the necessary updates to give your followers something to explore.
The Cover Photo
The cover photo, the big picture at the top of your page, will be the first item a visitor finds on your fan page. Thinking along the lines of affiliate marketing, understand that this is the prime opportunity to share your message and convince these visitors that you have the authority within your niche.
The dimension for the cover photo is as follows:
- 851px wide
- 315px tall
Open a graphics editor (such as Photoshop) and create the template which will be used throughout all of your Facebook cover photo updates. Set the dimensions and begin playing with the format.
Here are a few ideas for what to include in the cover photo:
- Brand name (duh)
- Product pictures or a list of services
- Headshots and photos of your business and its employees
There are many tools to generate Facebook cover photos if you don’t have graphical skills such as TimelineCoverBanner.com. Likewise, you can hire a designer to do the leg work or purchase stock cover photos from graphic marketplaces like Photodune (or even run a script from CodeCanyon).
One thing you may want to consider is how your profile picture fits into the cover photo; you can make it stand out with contrast or integrate it as part of the design by slicing off the area from the main cover photo so it blends, seamlessly, into the banner (which gives your page a very cool look).
The Apps and Tabs
The app tabs are automatically generated and don’t give your page much flair but crafty marketers have found a way around the basics to begin including their own graphics for these tabs which does a number on creating better engagement since it presents a better user experience.
- 107px width
- 70px height
Once you’ve created your images for the app tabs, hover over the small ‘edit’ icon (small pencil-like icon), change picture, and upload it. Your app tabs are now crisp and branded for your fan page.
Milestones are like giant status updates that take up the width of your fan page timeline; generally these additions are reserved for major announcements like product releases or whatever-you-need but you can always use them to promote products during sales events.
- 843px width
- 403px height
The images will scale accordingly but work with these dimensions in your graphic editor to ensure everything fits within the area.
What were formerly tabs now are pages within the applications. These are commonly used to drive people to like your page, embed your website, conduct giveaways, and more; they are (almost) full page width and give you more than enough space to make an impact through imagery.
- 810px width
- Unlimited height
The use of Facebook marketing tools have tons of features to easily slap together pages for your fan page so get a start there otherwise use the html apps to embed your own media to these pages.
To Facebook and Beyond!
Facebook has gone through quite a few design and format changes since the early days and it doesn’t appear that these updates will slow down anytime soon. The network replaced the juggernaut known as MySpace but even now, we’re seeing a resurgence of the older social platform. In due time, something will come along to take the place of Facebook but fear not, your hard work optimizing the platform will not go to waste.
Understanding the ebb and flow of the Web means that you’ll be prepared for the next wave. Get in while the getting is good. Facebook will stand strong for many years but do understand that the user base will begin to fracture as newer, niche-specific social networks become available along with the common gaffes due to privacy concerns all too frequent on the goliath social network.
Why lead out with this doom and gloom? Well, it really isn’t all that bad. Facebook will, in the history books, serve a purpose. The network has given the rise to social commerce and has educated many new comers to the Web on the usage of social media. Things will change but the concept of social marketing will remain relatively the same. Yes, Facebook will most likely roll out new formats and structure as time goes on but you shouldn’t be discouraged from taking action, now, and making the most of your pages.
Learn all that you can from your community and continue to explore your networking options. A few hours invested toward updating the bare bone features of your fan page will take your business to the next level as we see more and more individuals shifting from websites to social networks as their main source of interaction and consumer research.
What features and updates have you done to your Facebook page to increase community engagement and affiliate sales? Share a few of your tips in the comment area below.