opinion

Make Your Facebook Page Your Own

Joe D
The point of setting up a Facebook page for your business is to brand an identity that stands out from the crowd and presents your enterprise as a unique and interesting entity in a sea of other Facebook business pages all crying out for attention. One of the easiest ways to establish your Facebook page as a solid representation of your business is to use customizable applications (apps) to display your branded content, images and links.

Static FBML

One of the coolest tools on the market is Static FBML. FMBL stands for Facebook Markup Language (think HTML), and this app will allow you to quickly and easily customize the look and feel of your Facebook page through the display of boxes, tabs and more. By creating boxes to display content and links throughout to direct your fans or friends back to your website, you create another sort of link – a direct means of communication with you and your business through Facebook. Many businesses make the mistake of just throwing up a Facebook page “because everyone else has one,” and miss out on all the interactive benefits of having such a page online to communicate with customers, increase your customer base and, quite simply, get the “word out” to the masses about what your business has to offer.

Of course you’ll want to add your company’s logo to increase brand awareness and help current customers to identify your business on Facebook, but you’ll also want to include links to specific content, products or special offerings back on your website to bring that traffic back “home.” You can use Static FBML to invite fans to join your mailing list, get discounts or special offerings through your site – even highlight special promotions, contests or events – all in an easy to use content box on your Facebook page.

The FBML app is easier to use than a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) HTML Editor Tool. You simply click “edit” and enter a title for the box, then paste in the HTML code that you want added to your Facebook page. You can cut-and-paste this from your current business site or create something specific for Facebook. Obviously, the more experience you have with HTML, the more you will be able to do with Static FBML on Facebook, but even with just the most basic HTML skills you can easily and quickly create a nice-looking well-branded box for your page.

Social RSS

Another great way to tie in your business website and brand with your Facebook page is to display your company’s RSS feeds. A quick and easy way to automate this delivery is to use Social RSS (formerly known as RSS-Connect), one of the most popularly used apps in Facebook. By integrating your site’s content through RSS feeds, you will ensure that the content on your site is updated daily – even if you are unable to specifically update your Facebook page by hand.

You can plug the Social RSS app in on your Facebook page in another box tab or add it to your wall. Your fans and friends can also subscribe to your RSS feed directly from the Facebook app, giving you yet another way to communicate and interact daily with your customers. Once you add Social RSS to your Facebook page, just click “edit” as before and you can customize the app with your own feed’s URL. There are also a lot of feed settings that you can adjust – like adding a title to the feed, selecting how often you want the feed updated, setting display options, and more.

Facebook Events

Another great way to interact with consumers is to broadcast information on your Facebook page about special events – discounts, offerings, content updates or even live appearances. Use Facebook Events to easily tell your fans all about your event. Just access Facebook Events by clicking on the calendar icon under your Status Box. An Events details window will open and you can add a new event by simply providing a title, location, date and time for the event – you can even add a link back to your website for more details.

Once your event has been published on your Facebook page, your fans can RSVP to attend the event by selecting three pre-set options: “attending,” “not attending” or “maybe attending.” This will help you have an idea of how many fans are interested in your event, find out if your events are attracting attention and even plan other events more effectively in the future. Fans can also attach an RSVP note and share information about your event on their own Facebook profiles with their friends. It’s an excellent way to quickly market your business and event virally, expanding your customer base with just a few simple clicks.

There are tons of useful apps out there for Facebook users to use to enhance their pages. To explore, just choose the Edit Page and select “Browse More Applications” or search for apps from your personal Facebook Profile.

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