UPDATE! The new article for 2013 is here
Updated for 2012
Facebook is still kicking butt. Everyone and their mother is on there and fortune 500 companies have caught on with contests, fan photo uploads and so many other promotional ideas that Facebook marketing strategies is an entire science of its own. Even still, its just as easy for the little guy to own some facebook real estate and run great promotions.
I’ll show you the right links and how set up a page, but learning how to make a facebook fan page goes beyond filling out basic information. So I’ll include a few tricks to make your fan page really shine.
First let’s understand the rules. Facebook makes a clear distinction: Profiles are for personal accounts. Facebook Fan Pages are for business. Even the new timeline layout states that cover images (the large image on top) should not be of a promotional nature. So fan page it is for business – but you will need a personal profile to create those nifty sidebar tabs on a page. I’ve tried setting up a business page outside of my personal account, it just doesnt work.
Now that were up to speed, sign in to your personal facebook account and get started.
How to Make a Facebook Fan Page
Finding your way in facebooks everchanging landscape can be difficult. At the time of this writing, the correct link to create a fan page is here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
Click on your business type, choose a category, then name your business. The ‘name’ will show up as the name of your fan page. Create your fan page and verify your email.
Go through the steps of including your business information. Your basic fan page looks like the image below. Click on Edit Info and go through the settings links to get a feel for whats there.
Make a Facebook Fan Page Image
The first suggestion is to upload an image. This is your first opportunity make an impression. You can use it to introduce your ‘call to action’, showcase a product or define your brand. Think about what your fans NEED to know and include it in the image.
Because its an important first step, lets learn from the big boys. CSI Miami keeps it short, simple and to the point. A defining image of the show, their logo and where to find them offline. Simple, yet effective. Motorola takes it a step further by featuring products in their image. Dallas Cowyboys go all the way by running a contest, then pointing to that contest in their fan page image. Thats truly interactive and brilliant marketing from the start.
My fan page is a little different, intended to brand my website which promotes my individual products services. Because I like to keep things more personal, I incorporated my photo, so people can see who I am. In this way, I can edit the thumbnail that shows when I comment, to show my photo. I also include my name because the page is named after my business and not myself.
Creating the Fan Page Image
Create an image 180 pixels wide. Image height is not fixed, but dont make it too tall because your tabs are located directly underneath. Add your photo, logo or other pertinent info. When your image is just right, click on the ‘Upload an Image’ link in facebook and make it live!
To control the icon that shows when you post and comment, go to ‘edit page’ > ‘profile picture’ then click ‘Edit Thumbnail’ and move the image to the desired spot.
Note: Every time you upload, facebook throws the image into your ‘profile pictures’ gallery. If you’d like to delete the mishaps, go to your page > photos > profile pictures. Inside each image, there’s a delete link.
Fan Page Tabs
‘Facebook Fan Page Tabs’ are the icon links in the left sidebar under the fan page image. When you click on each of these tabs, it loads different information. Facebook gives you power to customize the information you display with the ability to create custom tabs.You can also set your welcome page, or ‘default landing tab’ to load one of your custom tabs instead of your ‘wall’, so it will be the first thing visitors see when they come to your page. Featured content can be very powerful for your business.
The goal of a featured fan page tab is to create content that works for your business and is also useful to your fans. You might like to simply introduce your company by featuring what you do. I’ve also seen free giveaways, sign up forms, videos, and in the previous example, a contest. The sky is the limit in a custom tab. Facebook pulls this information from a real web page elsewhere on the internet, so whatever you can do on a regular webpage, you can do in a facebook tab. As long as the width of the page is confined to 520 pixels wide, you’re golden.
Creating Tabs on your Facebook Fan Page
To create the content that will appear inside your custom fan page tab, you’ll need the ability to either write an html page or customize a template, and be able to upload it to your web sites server. Your server must have at least a shared secure server (SSL) or you can purchase a private one.
Create your content in html format max 520 pixels wide and upload it to your server. You’ll need to copy the url where the content is located so we can plug it into facebook by creating an application.
Creating the Facebook App to install a Fan Page Tab
Creating the app is a whole new ballgame for 2012. So much that I rewrote this post and made a full video tutorial in a separate post dedicated to tab creation and installation, right down to setting up a secure site. You can check it out here.