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How to Create a Powerful and Engaging Corporate Facebook Page

In my research for creating my own company’s Facebook page, I came across a couple of really good articles for optimizing a corporate Facebook page. Below is a mash-up of the best of the recommendations.

Sources: How to Create a Powerful and Engaging Facebook Page [corporatedollar.org], Five Tips for Optimizing Your Brand’s Facebook Presence [Mashable]

Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most popular social media services used by individuals, businesses and non-profits to connect with people. Groups and Pages are excellent options to leverage the large network and reach of this popular platform. Lately, Facebook Pages have become quite popular among businesses to show their presence in a much better way building engaging and long lasting relationships with users and fans. Let’s see how to make an interactive Facebook page that gives a reason to your fans to stay, interact and promote your cause.

Custom Image

Picture says a thousand words. Take a look at the Facebook page of Coca Cola. Not only it brands the page, but also grabs immediate attention of the visitor. The key to a successful page is customized image that represents your brand.

Facebook specs recommend that profile pictures should be 200px wide, while height can vary as needed. What is less documented is how the thumbnail that Facebook uses across the system is generated from this picture.

You’ll find the system crops images when generating a thumbnail, losing information around the edge. After some initial testing, we’ve determined that there’s a “title safe” area within all images. So when you create your profile image that’s 200px wide, allow a 12 pixel border around crucial information (such as typography or a logo) to allow for automatic cropping.

facebook title safe area image

Also bear in mind that regardless of the shape of your profile image, Facebook thumbnails are square (with rounded corners), and sized based on the length of the shortest side of your image. So when designing rectangular profile pictures, make sure to keep your desired thumbnail imagery within a square boundary.

You can try out various Facebook profile photo hacks to get the required effect you want.

New Features

Since the revised version of Facebook pages has been launched in March 2009, the layout and features have changed dramatically.

Tabbed interface – allows you to group the content and applications as per your requirements. Not only you can edit the default tabs, but you can also add new tabs giving you complete control in its customization.

Tabbed Interface in Facebook Pages

You can freely drag them to arrange in required order. With new Facebook application standards in effect, almost every new application (internal or 3rd party) can be integrated with Facebook tabs. This opens endless opportunities to create customizable tabs with your choice of third party applications.

Direct feeds for fans – is another new feature that allows your fans to access the page updates directly from within their Facebook profile.

Multi-media integration – lets you embed audio/video content to the wall making it rich in content and more engaging for users. Facebook allows users to upload a video file of size up to 1 GB and supports 18 major video formats.

Video formats

Similarly, you can upload unlimited amount of audio content. With no restriction on the amount of upload, you can provide podcast series to your fans.

Custom Page Settings: Personalize Visitors’ Experience

Facebook pages of Bon AppÈtit Magazine and Lucky Magazine presents a perfect example of custom landing pages for non-Fans enriched with multimedia content guiding the prospect to the main site and its products.

Custom settings for facebook page

Default Landing Tab – By default fans and non-Fans both land on wall tab. Public Profiles now allow separate default landing areas for Fans and Non-Fans. This allows brands to display a “Become a Fan” incentive in an FBML box or Tab. A common request we’ve heard from brands is “Is there a simple way to display different content for Fans and non-Fans?” This allows for some interesting scenarios, from displaying a simple “Thank you” to people who become Fans, to incentivizing visitors to “Become a Fan to see exclusive content/promo code/offer.”

So here’s a quick hack for creating an FBML box that can be used on the Wall or Boxes page (or in its own Tab) that displays different information to different users, depending on their Fan/logged-in status:

  1. Create a 1 cell borderless table, with a fixed height and width; for example, 100px.
  2. Create and define a background image for that cell to the same dimensions, which contains the information you want NON-fans to see.
  3. Create a same-sized image that contains the information you want Fans to see and insert that into the cell.
  4. Use the following FBML tag to surround the cell contents – <fb:visible-to-connection><img src=”insert your image URL”></fb:visible-to-connection> .

This FBML Tag only displays its content to Fans who are logged in. So what we’re actually doing here is creating a table with a background image, and then covering it up with another one IF you’re a Fan. It’s a bit of a hack, but only takes five minutes to do.

Here’s some example code if you want to try it:

<table width="xx" height="yy" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tr>
<td background="http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/nonfans.jpg">
<fb:visible-to-connection>
<img src="http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/fans.jpg" height="xx" width="yy" />
</fb:visible-to-connection>
</td></tr></table>

Third Party Applications: Spice Up Your Page

There are tons of Facebook applications for enriching your page with desired content. These applications are powerful, easy-to-use and extend the functionality of the page. Here are some of the popular applications that can be used to customize your Facebook page.

For more a thorough list of must-have applications, check out “Must Have Eye Candy for Your Brand’s Facebook Page

Custom Facebook Page URL

Normally, a typical Facebook page has a long and cryptic URL that makes it difficult for you to aggressively market and promote it. Visitors also cannot remember such long cryptic urls. How about a short custom URL like http://facebook.dj/company-name?

If you own your own domain, you could set up http://facebook.mydomain.com to point to your profile, or you can use this excellent Memorable Address Facebook application to create short, memorable web address for your Facebook page.

Optimize Your Share Preview

A key strength of Facebook – especially for the new Public Profiles – is the viral spread of shared links into news feeds, using the Links application. When anyone links to your site using this, the application presents the user with a number of images from the page that can be chosen as a thumbnail to accompany the link. But if your site is mainly Flash-based, or has no suitable graphic components for a thumbnail, you should define a custom Share Preview image.

Facebook provides specific information on how to do this here – with a snippet of code to add to the HEAD of your website pages that points to your desired image.

Again, no guidance is given as to the perfect size for a Share Preview, but we’ve found that a 100 pixel square preview is optimal. This not only requires no resizing by Facebook, but also provides a suitable shape for Digg (Digg reviews), which uses the same code to pull its own Share Preview (albeit reduced down to 48px square).

facebook share preview image

Note that the Facebook Links application will also pull the “Description” Meta Tag from your site into the news feed, so ensure that you have made this sufficiently explanatory. (You can also define the media-type icon that Facebook uses in feeds for your site e.g. blog, news, picture, video, etc – full details to be found at facebook.com/share_partners.php )

Manage Your Page’s Content Frequently

This isn’t really a tip, but more of a best practice. By creating a calendar to guide your updates, you will achieve the following benefits:

  1. You can spread updates out so that you carry on a persistent but unobtrusive dialog with your Fans. Post too often and your page updates will start being hidden, or you’ll lose fans. Too seldom and you’ll be forgotten. Try to mix up different update types – a status update, a Link, a Note, a Photo or video update.
  2. By creating a calendar, you can also schedule moderation periods for comments if you feel this is necessary for your brand. Most Interaction activity (including comments) will occur within 24 hours of an update before it drops out of Fans’ news feeds.
  3. By recording all activity on a schedule, it’s easier to map it against exported stats data from your page’s Insights. This can show you Total Interactions around different content types to gauge which gets the most traction/conversation, and track Removed Fans against certain update types.

General Guidelines to follow:

  1. Do not experiment too much with your brand image on the page.
  2. If possible keep a dedicated admin for discussion board.
  3. Update photo and video tabs on regular basis.
  4. Every quarter, create a poll to get your fans feedback about their views on various page elements.
  5. Resist the temptation to integrate tons of applications in a single tab.
  6. Do include a subscription box on the custom landing page for non-Fans.
  7. Keep enhanced wall posting permissions open for all (fans).

Sources: How to Create a Powerful and Engaging Facebook Page [corporatedollar.org], Five Tips for Optimizing Your Brand’s Facebook Presence [Mashable]

Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a strategic communications leader with nearly 20 years experience in both internal and external communications. She is a passionate advocate for developing communications that foster a stronger relationship between the organization and its employees. She is a global keynote speaker on employee engagement and HR communications. Elizabeth is a certified professional in Employer Brand through Universum Global's Employer Branding Academy.

2 thoughts on “How to Create a Powerful and Engaging Corporate Facebook Page

  1. For fans and non-fans content, I think

    will do what you want.
    Be careful that if you view this in Static FBML box with an account that have page admin rights, you will see *BOTH* fans and non-fans parts. Weired, right?