Small Biz Social Friday: 4 Ways to Start Building a Community on Facebook

4 Ways to Start Building a Community on Facebook

Facebook allows you to gain access to a large audience by connecting with people and build a community in a way that was practically unthinkable before social media. Via Facebook you can improve traffic to your blog or website, and link readers to other work.

Here are 4 quick ways to start building a community on Facebook.

1. First decide if you want a Facebook “Profile,” or “Page” — or both. What’s the difference? A profile is reserved for people; a Page is for a business or brand. If you have already created a profile for yourself, but have decided to use Facebook for professional purposes, you can migrate your profile to a Page. Unlike with a personal profile, if you create a Page, other users don’t become your “Friends,” they “Like” you instead. You can, by the way, keep a personal profile for your “Friends” and set up a professional Page for your work but some people find that managing two separate Facebook accounts gets complicated. If you decide to have only a profile, you will also be limited to 5000 friends. Once you reach that limit, people can subscribe to your updates but they will not be your “friends.”

Facebook guru Mari Smith has both.

Here is her business Page:

And here is her personal profile:

If you’re on the fence, keep in mind that using Facebook for business purposes allows you to install all sorts of applications (using third-party providers like ShortStack) that make the page more fun, functional and interactive. Any person with a public persona — such as a writer, artist, politician, or celebrity — can migrate his or her profile to a Page so that people you don’t know personally, and whom you don’t want to have access to your personal details, can subscribe to updates from your Page. Be aware that if you decide to change your Facebook presence from a profile to Page there is no going back.

2. Complete the About section of your profile/page. Facebook requires that you disclose your name and gender but completing the rest of the content in this section is optional. Use this page to give prospective employers and clients a glimpse into your educational background, employment history, interests and hobbies. It should not include potentially controversial information.

A few commonsense tips for a personal profile:  

  • • Avoid making controversial political, religious and sexual references.
  • • Write a description that offers insight into your personality but does not offend.
  • • Your About section should be true to who you are but edited in such as way that it doesn’t put you at a disadvantage.
  • • An appropriate profile photo is one that is of just you (with a smile on your face) preferably from the shoulders up. Avoid distracting backgrounds.
  • • If your small business is a consultancy, when you include employment history, add a brief description of what you did for each position
  • • A good cover photo — the large rectangular photo that stretches across the top third of a profile or Page — expresses your personality and/or interests, is your company’s logo, or is a photo of your place of business. Avoid photos that make you look unprofessional or might cause some people to make negative assumptions about you and your business.
  • And a few best practices for a Page (we recently wrote a more elaborate post and created an infographic about this topic).
  • • If you are given the option, list the URL to your website first in the About section.
  • • Provide links to all of your social media channels in the About section.
  • • Make sure your cover and profile photos meet all of Facebook’s guidelines.

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3. Join relevant groups. It’s safe to say there is a group for every and any interest on Facebook. If you “Like” these groups you can participate in the conversations that go on among their members and even motivate them to come over and Like your Page. To find groups that are relevant to your business, use the search bar at the top of your Page or profile to search for the general topic you’re interested in. For example, you might search for “social media.” When the list of topics drops down, look at the bottom of the list and choose “show more results.” From there look under “search filters” on the left of the page and choose “groups.” You’ll then see a list of the open groups related to your area of interest. Once you’re a part of the group, check in periodically and participate in the conversations that are happening on the Page and when you have it, share relevant information.

4. Follow relevant fan pages. If there are companies whose work is similar to yours, or whose work you admire, “Like” them, or become a subscriber, so you can see what these business owners are doing to promote their work and create an engaged community.

Do you have any other advice for people who are just getting started and want to build a community on Facebook? Let us know below or via @shortstacklab.

Big Brand Facebook Secrets for Small Businesses

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