What you need to know to get started with Facebook
Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users... can any of them find you?
Who am I and why do I feel qualified to teach you how to get started with Facebook? My name is Tanya Jones-Thibodeau and like you, I have NO formal training on building websites, using computers, using the Internet, or understanding technology. I also started out with a massive budget of ZERO to make an Online Presence happen.
However, where we differ is that twenty years ago when I first heard about the Internet and websites, I grabbed at it like a baby with a new shiny toy. I devoured it. I couldn't get enough of it. As soon as I'd figured out one layer, I was digging deeper to figure out the next one, and the next one. And you know what? I'm still digging today and I still love it.
Fortunately, I also have a natural ability for transferring my knowledge to others. I taught piano lessons to all ages for many years, then years later, I went on to teach business owners, authors, teachers and students how to find their way around a computer.
I'm very active online in business and writer communities and it was in seeing the struggles that so many are facing when it comes to the different aspects of an online presence, combined with the requests for help that I constantly get in my local community, that I decided that it was time for me to put some serious effort into helping people.
There are several components to an online presence, and it can feel overwhelming when you're getting started - especially if you feel alone and unsupported. But it absolutely can be broken down into small steps, you absolutely can do this yourself - even if you think you're non-techie - and you're absolutely not alone, because I'm here to support you, and simply by reading this article you are now ON THE RIGHT PATH!
This article is just going to tackle one component of your online presence, and that is to help you get started with Facebook.
So let's get started!
I get a lot of questions about what social media businesses should be using. Whether or not they actually work. How people should be using them... and so on.
When you're not a natural user of social media, it can be pretty daunting to get started. Plus everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion as to which ones are best. Not to mention all the hype we see about building a following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat… claims for making 6, 7, or even 8 figure incomes by leveraging this one or that one for business.
I'm here to cut through all the noise and hype and set you on a solid path.
This isn't a path to making millions. It's not a get rich strategy. And you probably won't end up with hundreds of thousands of followers and viral posts with millions of views in just a few weeks.
I take a far more down-to-earth, reality based approach to business and to creating a solid online presence.
We hear so much about how it's the top 20% who make 80% of the money in pretty much any industry. But does that mean that the other 80% are failing? Or that they're broke? Not at all. They're just not millionaires.
But chances are that YOU'RE in that 80% category, and chances are that you're still in business because you managed to create something that's comfortable and sustainable. Or maybe you're just getting started with a new business, or you're an author who wants to see a regular income develop from your writing.
In any case, this article is for you if you want to start learning about the practical side of social media, without all the hype about revenues beyond your wildest dreams.
If you just want to know what to do, where to do, how to do it, and how to make it sustainable, then this is for you!
So the very first question is: which social media to start with?
I say "start" with, because yes, most businesses will benefit from utilizing more than one. But take small steps. Rome wasn't built in a day.
So the answer is Facebook. Period.
"But I heard that Facebook isn't effective."
"But I hate Facebook, it's just a big soap opera."
"But my audience isn't on Facebook."
Yes I've heard all the objections and they are both right and wrong at the same time.
I could go on and provide provable arguments supporting both sides of every objection you can think of. But I'm going to save us both the time. If you don't agree with me. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about. If you're not willing to listen and implement. Then I suggest you go ahead and close this article, because it's probably not a good fit for you.
For those of you ready to learn - let's get started with Facebook!
Facebook is huge. It's the biggest social media network with the largest user base in existence. As of May 2017 they're sitting at nearly 2 billion active users.
Every single demographic group that you can dream up... Every possible audience target… DOES have a presence on Facebook. Click the image to see a breakdown and more details on some of their demographic information.
Obviously some pockets will be larger than others. But they all exist.
- So should you have a presence on Facebook? Absolutely.
- Will it be your largest audience? Maybe, maybe not. But it's the best place to start.
- Why is it the best place to start? Because it has the largest user base and it's the easiest to learn.
I don't want to spend this entire article justifying my position and trying to convince you. I want to teach you something useful. So I'm going to leave it at that on this point.
If you have questions or objections that you'd like me to address, leave a comment and I will dive deeper on them. But for now, let's move on.
Everything you need to know to get started with Facebook.
Four Core Elements of Facebook
If you've been using Facebook for personal reasons so far, I'd like you to put aside everything you think you know and settle in to look at Facebook from a new perspective. If you're brand new to Facebook, that's great, you're working with a clean canvas.
So from a business perspective, there are four key components to get started with Facebook that you'll want to become familiar with. They are:
And that's the order you want to start with as well.
We like to use the acronym BUGS for the process of creating and maintaining your online presence. This stands for:
This article is going to touch on the steps to Build it, with respect to Facebook. But we won't be able to go any deeper than that within this article (it's going to be a long one as it is!)
First, to get started with Facebook you have to have an account before you can do anything.
This has to be a personal account for you as a person. Using YOUR name and you will have to provide a certain amount of personal information to Facebook. But it's important to note that Facebook provides you with a tremendous amount of security and privacy options that you control. So putting yourself "personally" on Facebook doesn't mean that the world will suddenly know what colour underwear you wear! (Unless you choose to tell that to the world!)
But for authenticity, Facebook wants your account to be the real you.
"But there's tons of fake accounts on Facebook!"
Well of course there is. And the offline world is full of con artists, thieves, and murderers too… but I highly doubt that you walk around life pretending to be someone that you're not because of it.
Don't worry about what "other" people do. Worry about yourself. Make sure that YOU are genuine, authentic, and use common sense.
If a customer walks into your business do you give them a false name? I sure hope not.
Now this does raise the question for authors about pen names. At this point, I'm not going to give you advice on how to handle this, because there are a lot of opinions and I think that every situation needs to be looked at on an individual basis.
So the first step is making sure that you have a legitimate, personal, Facebook Account. If you're a member of our Panoptic Foundations Membership program, then we take you through a detailed process of how to setup your account and how to handle all of the security and privacy options available to you. If you're not sure where to find this in the members area, just fire us off an email and we'll get you to the right place.
The primary indicator that you're on an Account profile is that there's an option to "Add Friend".
Once you've got the basics of your Account setup, it's time to look at Pages.
You can have as many Pages as you want. But as with everything, one step at a time. So when you get started with Facebook, start with one, broad focused Page that is focused on your business/product/niche… if you're an author, start with an "author" Page, not a page for each book that you've written.
The primary purpose of a Page is for you to provide a consistent stream of high value content to your followers. The primary identifier that you're on a Page is that there's an option to "Like" the Page and a Call to Action button (like: Learn More or Sign Up).
Creating and managing a Page requires a bit of effort, planning, and organization. So don't bite off more than you can chew to start with, which is why I say to start with one.
When setting up your first Page, take the time to understand the difference between the different types of Pages. For the most part, the different choices are more about the features available on the Page and the initial layout of the page. If you're an author, then you don't need to provide a map with your store location. If you're a business then you want to make sure you're including your hours of operation. Those types of things.
You will have options to adjust this information after your Page is setup, so don't stress over it, just pick the one that makes the most sense.
Below is a comparison chart of the different features offered to each type of Page, it's linked to the source page where it came from:
Once your Page is setup, you want to make sure that you fill out the details as thoroughly as possible. Don't be lazy with this step. Your Facebook Page is a part of your marketing strategy. It's free and it's one that can keep working for you 24/7 if you do it right. So make sure that you take care of ALL of these components:
- Pick a logical name
- Cover image
- Profile image
- Call to action button
- Edit page info (leave nothing blank)
- Fill out the About section - be detailed
- Check and update ALL setting options
Like I said, don't be lazy with this. Be as thorough as you possibly can be.
Again, inside the members area of the Panoptic Foundations Membership, you will find detailed, how-to videos on all of these points. Let us know if you need help finding them.
Now, before we move on to Groups and Events, I want to take a look at some steps you should be taking to leverage your personal account, without compromising your privacy. So going back to your Account, you want to do the following:
- Complete your mini-intro (this is 101 characters)
- Link up your new Page properly under your mini-intro (hint copy and paste your Page URL into the company field of your workplace record)
- Select up to 5 feature images - choose wisely (but you can always change them too)
- Create Friend Lists to use for the privacy setting on individual posts
If you'd like some detailed guidance on how to do these steps, and you're not currently a member of the Panoptic Foundations Membership, then we have a couple of options.
First you can download our free PDF eBook that walks you through these steps (with screenshots).
Second, you can join our Facebook Group, Getting Going Online, where we have 3 videos that walk you through exactly how to do each of these steps.
Another resource that we have available for you, if you're not a Panoptic Foundations member, is a free course on learning how to use Canva, from scratch to sophistication. This will help you to create effective images for your feature photos section. You can enrol in it using the button below:
So now, moving on to Groups.
The indicator that you're in a Group is the "Join" button. It will change to "Pending" when you request access and then to "Joined" when you're accepted.
There are two angles where Groups can benefit your business.
- You CREATE a Group to develop an engaged community of customers and prospects.
- You JOIN other people's groups to network and learn.
When you first get started with Facebook and are just beginning to build your following, I recommend that you get started with Facebook Groups by joining other people's Groups for networking and learning.
In order to run a successful and beneficial Group you need to have a purpose and a plan. You'll be in a better position to determine your purpose and create your plan once you have a better understanding of Groups in general.
There are three types of Groups:
To participate in any Group you must first Join the Group and be accepted by the admin.
Two things to understand:
- You can only Join a Group using your personal Account (a Page can't join a Group);
- Many Group Admins will look at your personal Account before they decide to accept you to the Group.
So this is another reason why it's super important that you complete the steps above for leveraging your personal Facebook Account. Many Groups will decline your request to Join if they can't see clearly why you might want to Join their Group.
Facebook does have a new questionnaire feature that admins can setup which can ask people why they want to join or get them to agree to certain rules before they're added - but not everyone has this setup. So it's good to make it easy for them to approve you by provide useful information in your profile.
Now back to the types. Anyone can search for and find Public and Closed Groups. If a Group is Public, anyone can see the posts and activity. If it's Closed only Members can see the posts and activity. A Secret Group can be found by invite only.
For your own Group, choosing the type is a strategic decision.
For Joining Groups, it doesn't really make any difference.
When researching Groups, Public is nice, because you can see the posts and activity before you decide if you want to Join. With a Closed Group you have to Join first and then decide if you want to stay.
I'm not going to sugar coat this, finding good Groups is a pain in the butt and a needle in a haystack. But once you find 2-3 that are an excellent fit for you, they're golden.
So how do you find them?
- You search for terms that you think a relevant Group might use in the name of the Group
- You watch your FB sidebar down the right side of your Home page NewsFeed for suggestions
- You ask people in your industry for recommendations
- You go to the Groups section under "Explore" in your Home page sidebar on the left and browse by category
How do you pick which ones to Join and stick with?
- You read the descriptions to get an idea of what they're about
- You look at the Members to see if anyone you already know are members
Other than that, it really comes down to just getting into the Group and taking a close look at the types of posts, who is posting (is it just the admin), how much interaction do the posts get, how supportive and positive are the people in the Group, how relevant are the topics being discussed, ask questions and see what kind of response you get…. All that sort of stuff.
What doesn't necessarily matter is the size of the Group, depending on your reasons for Joining. Which is a question you should ask yourself at the start. "Why do you want to join a Group? What do you hope to get out of it?" (Your answer shouldn't be "Because Tanya told me to!" haha) But the size of the Group won't necessarily be a reflection on the quality of the Group.
It can be easy to get drawn into a Group based on the size and to see potential because they have 20,000 members. But if there's no conversation happening or it's just a bunch of promos getting dumped, then it's a useless Group. But I have seen the same thing with small groups of a couple hundred. Typically Groups that have at least a few hundred and higher will be more active than really small Groups of less than a hundred. But it still depends on the individual Group.
So focus on value. What value can you get out of the Group for yourself and what value can you provide to the Group.
There's actually a whole lot that we can get into when it comes to using Groups. But for this article, all I'm really going to say is that etiquette DOES matter. Every Group has rules, so make sure you know what they are and follow them.
The last component that I'm going to touch on are Events.
I'll be honest, when you first get started with Facebook, Events are something that you'll want to leave alone. There's a lot involved with pulling off a successful Event. And at this stage of the game, you've got a lot to get right, to learn how to use and then grow, before you'll be ready to pull off a successful Event.
Facebook Events can be used for both offline events and online events. But they literally are all about planning an "event". So much like you wouldn't host a dinner party for 20 people without some planning and organization, don't try to pull off a Facebook Event without some planning and organization.
The indicator that you're on an Event is that you have the option to indicate if you're interested in the event or if you are for sure going or not.
So what are Facebook Events used for?
Well, they can be used for a huge number of purposes such as launching a book, tracking an in store customer appreciation gathering, holding meet and greets, special events in your business or community, expert Q&A summits, how-to tutorials... The ideas are really only limited by your imagination.
But, I can't stress enough how important it is to have a plan and to be ready for this phase. You'll experience more success and less frustration.
I wanted to at least introduce Events so that you're aware of them. But I'm not going to dive into any details on them at this time. If you have specific questions, please let me know in the comments, I'm more than happy to answer your questions.
So let's recap
In this article we've covered what the four key components to get started with Facebook are:
Hopefully you picked up on the importance of starting with the first two, Accounts and Pages - and making sure that you're fully leveraging them. Then learn about Groups before deciding if creating a Group is right for your audience. Only after all of this will you want to start looking at Events.
That concludes my article on the Build It aspect of Facebook. There's a lot of information in this article and it's not even an exhaustive article that covers all the angles.
But everything here are individual baby steps. Simply do one thing at a time. It's nice to have a big picture overview, but don't let it bog you down. You know where you're going, so now it's time to start doing it, one step at a time.
And you're not alone, because we're here to help you with every step along the way. So if you haven't already, be sure to join our Facebook Group, Getting Going Online, where you can ask as many questions as you like, follow our content and tune in for my Facebook Live videos.
If you'd like a one-page blueprint summary of this article on What you need to know to get started with Facebook, you can grab it through the button below:
If you think a Guided Path approach to creating your entire online presence might be something that interests you, then check out the information on our membership and join our waitlist here:
The resources covered in this article include:
- A one-print blueprint download that summarizes this article Download your free get started with Facebook BluePrint
- A free eBook on leveraging Facebook Download your free Leveraging Facebook eBook
- Access to our free course on how to use Canva Request access to the Learn Canva course
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We're very excited for you, when you get started with Facebook, this is the beginning of a very rewarding journey that pays off with long-term benefits for you and your business!