Facebook business page: to DIY or not to DIY

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

I’ve noticed an upswing in people looking to get their business on Facebook; in the past week I’ve explained how to set up a Facebook business page at least half a dozen times and consulted on two Facebook marketing projects.

Facebook may be fun, but it’s also a serious skill

What I’ve realized is that what comes naturally to me, having been on Facebook for years, is overwhelming to new users, especially those using Facebook expressly for marketing with no real interest in the site as a whole. And it doesn’t help that the Facebook page set up process is rather confusing (intentionally so, in my opinion).

So, what’s a business or big brand to do? You could read up and try to do it yourself, underpay an intern and hope they can figure it out because they’re younger, or hire a Facebook marketing consultant. The last option is the most expensive, but it will be worth it in the long run.

A consultant can offer you several things: general advice, paid for by the hour; a marketing plan you execute yourself; or a plan and execution completed by him or her. This may also include maintenance and management, which is a good idea if you can afford it.

If you have the money, I strongly suggest hiring someone to develop and implement a plan, for Facebook alone or full-scale integrated social media marketing. The second option will include other sites and new avenues to explore, which will improve your original focus, the Facebook page.

Should you Do-It-Yourself?

Why not do it yourself? Lots of reasons, most of which boil down to experience. It takes time to learn anything, even something that seems as silly as Facebook; time to learn the ins and outs, the little tips and tricks. Sure, anyone can put a page up, but far fewer can do it well and deliver proven results. Think of it this way: would you call a plumber, or try to fix a leak yourself? Evaluate your Facebook-saviness on that same scale.

How do you know you found a good consultant? Ask questions. They should talk about optimization, marketing materials, promotion ideas, site integration, adding new content, Facebook specific plans, gaining a presence on other sites. Personally, I tend to throw a ton of ideas at clients and scale down from there. If they’re talking about a Facebook page, and that’s it, keep looking.

You can also evaluate pages they’ve done before. The key is to look at the quality and diversity of the content. A basic page looks like a Facebook version of a website’s About page; a good one has cool things to look at and engaged users who interact with the brand through the page.

While I strongly believe that you should hire a consultant if you’re serious about doing this the right way, I realize that’s not always a financial possibility. So here are a few tips to get you started; if you reach a wall, maybe then it’s time to hire someone for an hour or two of professional advice.

Remember, it’s just Facebook

This seems to go against a lot of what I’ve said, but I’m a firm believer that even if you screw up, you’ll still be doing better than most other companies who aren’t even trying. And if it blows up big time, the damage is mostly limited to Facebook, so no major harm done.

Trial and error are the best teachers

I tell every client I train to play around with Facebook (or their new blog, or website, or whatever) because the best way to learn is to do it for yourself. Facebook makes it notoriously difficult for businesses to use the site, so this is a must before undertaking a page.

Do your homework

There is a ton of information out there on this stuff, and thanks to the internet, it’s super easy to find. Read up on Facebook, Facebook business pages and social media marketing.

Here are a few of my posts to get you thinking:

These posts will give you the basics to what I think makes an attractive, successful, engaging Facebook page, and how you can, and should, be using Facebook for your business.

1 Comment

  • More great advice and content! Thanks Alison

    Comment by Amanda — February 18, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

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