Facebook logoI’m currently re-jigging my business presence on Facebook and finding myself on a new learning curve about the platform and how it works.

I don’t mind going through that learning process, because I believe that understanding how Facebook works and being able to manage how we use that for our brands and how it can affect our brands has now become – for the time being at least – an essential part of basic social media literacy and competence.

I had been pretty slack about Facebook

I had been aware for a while that I needed to “do something” with Facebook, but it was on the “I’ll get around to that soon” list not the “priority to do” list. And I have to admit that although I routinely include favorable reference to Facebook in my presentations on social media for business, my own involvement with Facebook, while lengthy enough, has been pretty much to the lyrics of “Will you won’t you, will you won’t you join the dance?”

And insofar as what I post about here on Thinking Home Business is a reflection of what I’m currently focusing on, you could be forgiven for thinking I haven’t paid any real attention to Facebook. And you would be right, as is evidenced by the fact that the last time I posted here about Facebook was just a month short of two years ago, about how careful we need to be with our online identities.

Although I have just checked and found from a post on my Des Walsh dot Com site that, as far back as eighteen months ago, I was at least thinking seriously about Facebook as a social media platform for business.

The land rushes for URLs woke me up

The recent “land rushes” for Facebook profile username URLs and for “fan” page (or “vanity” page) username URLS finally focused my attention more seriously on the question of where Facebook fits in my business planning.The immediate task was to get my own preferred username – deswalsh – for my Facebook profile page.

Profile page URL

Having a name that is not very common, I was not unduly anxious about scoring my own name for my personal page on Facebook, although I did make sure I was on the case as soon as the flag fell for the land rush. I registered mine in the first five or ten minutes, so I now have the convenient URL http://www.facebook.com/deswalsh: and the cognate versions /DesWalsh, /des.walsh and /Des.Walsh work equally well as the /deswalsh one.

Page URL

Then there was the option of having a Facebook “fan” page and a related URL. I was more anxious about that, for the fairly basic reason that I didn’t yet have a fan page, although knowledgeable colleagues had told me that was a good thing to have for business.

Setting up the page was initially a challenge but I was able with a bit of help to figure it out. if you have yet to do that, and to save you the “mystificatiion” phase I went through, the steps are: 1. find at the bottom of your profile page the word Advertising (in blue) and click on that 2. On the page that click takes you to, find the word “Pages” at the top (there is a little orange flag) and click on that 3. Go through the instructions and then when you are ready click on the green button with the words Create a Page 4. Follow the steps set out there.

Note: it is not required that you take out a Facebook ad to help you find new fans; I skipped that step.

At first I wasn’t too anxious about getting the username I wanted, because once the gate was opened, so to speak, I would need only 20 fans to be able to register a preferred URL. Then there was a hitch: when I got to just over 20 I found that Facebook had changed the rules to require a minimum 100 fans. I launched a “fan raising” exercise – as did many others! – and within 24 hours, with the help of friends old and new, I had reached the requisite minimum. During the intervening time I was optimistic, although nervous. But the wait ended well: I now have my Social Media Roadmap page set up with the URL http://www.facebook.com/socialmediaroadmap

Coming up

For the next post on this topic I intend to look at the experience of making the Facebook page more functional and hopefully more helpful to the community that is forming there.

If you have any tips on what to do or avoid with a Facebook page, I hope you will share those in the comments section below.

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