Facebook is the new place to hang out and be with friends. However, it can also be used to promote your business, says Alan Devereux, Communication Officer, British Business Group.
Facebook has become one of the most influential companies in the world and many of us have an active account. I was a huge fan of Facebook a few years ago; but all that changed when the company started changing its privacy settings and deciding personal account matters, on my behalf.
I am still, however, a fan of Facebook’s Fan Pages (or Business Pages as some call them) you can build your own Website. For small businesses, this can be an effective channel to communicate with both existing and potential customers, as well as previous and current employees.
If you think a Facebook page is right for your business, creating one is simple. Firstly, type www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. Facebook will then ask you to choose what type of page you want and will guide you through the first few steps. Very easy so far and you can actually leave it there and start working. You’ll have a place to store photos, a wall to have discussions on, and an events calendar you can use. But we aren’t stopping there.
Facebook can attribute much of its success to the applications it allows third-party developers to create for use within the site. You know the message box that appears when you want to play a game or send a gift asking for access to your information; that is an application. Fan page applications are slightly different and we are going to focus on just one for now and look at how to customise our fan page.
If you need to add an application for your page. You can do this simply by:
- Typing Static HTML into the search-bar and look for the application with the silver star in the grey background.
- Click the link and in the bottom left you’ll see ‘Add to my Page’.
- Add the application and then return to your page, you will see a new icon on the left; a grey box with a silver star inside and the word Welcome.
- Using this free application, there is no way to change the design of this icon.
There are many developers that can do this and you can find all of them on Facebook.
If you are following these instructions as you read, you would have probably already clicked the word Welcome, and you’re probably staring at two boxes and wondering what they are for. We’ll come back to those in part two.
Now that we have a page and the application added to that page we need to know how to use it. The application is called Static HTML. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, and is the language that computers understand; behind every Website are pages and pages of HTML code. You need to turn your company logo or image into HTML for the application to understand, which is easier than you think.
Firstly you need to create an image to upload. You can do this in Photoshop and get quite creative or you can use Microsoft Paint and resize an existing image. You need an image that is 500 pixels wide and 600 pixels long. This size will ensure the optimal experience for visitors.
Once you have decided how your page is going to look (via your picture) you need to upload it to a free image hosting website. I use www.imageshack.us. It is only a matter of creating an account, logging in, and clicking on the Upload Image button. The Website will then open a page with a small version of your picture and a selection of code in boxes. You have now turned your picture into HTML code, a language the application will understand.
Alan Devereux is a husband, a father, and Communications Officer for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates, and can be found here: http://ae.linkedin.com/in/alandevereux He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org