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Facebook Fan Pages 101

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Now that we have the basics of Facebook down, let's look at one of the best ways to leverage Facebook as a marketer. Facebook started out with the student in mind and soon graduated to cater to businesses.

Many people think LinkedIn is the place to be for professional social networking and Facebook is just for friends and family. However, many organization and businesses reach out every day on Facebook. One of the best ways is through Facebook pages.

Group Pages vs. Fan Pages -- Which Should You Use?

People have asked this question many times at my social media marketing training workshops. There is some confusion about which to use because both have overlapping features. It can be difficult to choose the best option.

Think about groups like joining a club. Part of the set-up process for a Facebook group is to appoint officers for that group just like a club or organization. Those who administer the group can send out invitations to others to join that group via e-mail blasts. Groups also have better controls to choose who can join than fan pages. A group page is great for organizing people around a cause.

Facebook fan pages are more suited for companies and brands. They allow better interaction between customers. Fan pages also allow you to have more than 5,000 followers (the limit that group pages offer).

For our purposes, we'll focus the remainder of this article on fan pages because we've just determined they're more for business owners or brand marketers.

Benefits of Facebook Pages

Facebook started the idea of "pages" when they noticed more people were attempting to reach out to brands and trying to connect with them.

Followers of a Facebook page are considered fans. Just like most fans who pin up poster of their favorite team, Facebook users who join a fan page have that information posted on their wall for all of their friends to see. Now you can start to see the viral marketing benefit for brands that have a fan page.

In addition to the viral marketing aspect, another key benefit is that external search engines index Facebook fan pages. Search marketers should post content that includes targeted keywords you want to be ranked on.

Have you ever had problems getting your Web site updated with new content? Web sites sometimes take time to update with approvals needed and Webmasters or IT staff involvement. Facebook pages are simple to update: just log on and post.

Facebook Pages -- What Can You Do?

Businesses and brands can't have a profile, but they can have a Facebook page. This page is designed to house the information about your company or brand.

Think of it like a mini-Web site. You can post company and contact information, post videos, blogs, Twitter updates, and other relevant content. One impactful feature is the ability to interact and have conversations with your customers.

Just like personal profiles, Facebook pages can have friends (or fans), the ability to upload pictures, walls that fans can write on, and other applications. If you plan to send out any form of communication, you do that by sending "updates" which will then appear on the update tab or on people's walls if they're fans.

Those planning events can create events with fan pages (and also with group pages). These events will show up under the users' request of their profile. If they have signed up or RSVP'd to the event they will also show up in their upcoming events dashboard.

Those interested in advertising on Facebook can purchase ads to promote a fan page (or group page). Next week, we'll explore more about advertising and other strategies for marketing your business on Facebook.

If you'd like to share any lessons learned from developing your Facebook fan page, please post a comment below.

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