How To Setup a Facebook Page for Business

UPDATE: some of the info in this article may not be accurate with regards to the new privacy settings Facebook introduced in late May 2010, but much of it still is.

facebook pages

The subtitle for this post should be, “… and avoid wasting 2 hours!”. That’s how long it took me to discover and workaround the various Facebook UI quirks and setup the minimum privacy needed to make my business page viable.

Setting up a Facebook page for business breaks down into the following areas.

1. Where to click to create a Facebook Page

That’s the first challenge. The link you need is nowhere within the hundreds of links on your homepage. Nor is it anywhere within the hundreds of links of your profile page. In order to setup a new page you need to Google ‘facebook pages‘. Using Facebook’s search feature will not return any relevant results. The page you need is http://www.facebook.com/pages/learn.php.

2. Should I use Facebook for business?

Quite an obvious question, but do you really want your business colleagues and clients to have access to the same material (photos/comments/games/etc.) as you share with your friends?  Probably not! Luckily you can restrict what each friend sees and it’s possible, if you know how, to expose quite a benign level of information about yourself and still take advantage of the fantastic networking features Facebook offers.

If your business’ products and services are in any way aligned with web2.0 features like user-generated content, viral sharing and media enthusiasm, you definitely will see benefit from spreading the word about yourself with Facebook pages.

3. Can I create a separate Facebook Account for my pages(s)?

Well this would seem an obvious choice.  I tried it myself, after asking around it seemed like a good idea.  Turns out it’s wrong, not permitted and Facebook threatens to close down your legit account if they discover you’re doing this.  And the only way to discover you’re not allowed multiple accounts is to spend the significant amount of time required creating your new page, then trying to create your new user account and only at this point do you get the detailed error message and warning from Facebook that you’re treading in dangerous territories.

Then once you’ve created the page you want, and you’ve been told it must link to your legit account, you will discover it is not possible to do.  Facebook doesn’t allow you to!  Neither can you associate the orphan page with your existing account, nor can you login to your legit account, fetch the orphan page, and link to it.  No, you must delete the page, login to your legit account, and start from scratch following step #1 above.

4. How Do I Split my Facebook account for Personal and Private Use?

This is the fun part.  If you’ve clicked around anywhere in your account in the last 6 months you’ll have noticed the concept of lists, and the fact that you can add some of your friends to custom lists that you create.  Lists are an ambiguous metaphor for grouping, effectively that’s the purpose they serve.  And there is one default, built-in group/list you need to know about called limited profile.

When you select your Friends from the top navigation, then scan down the left hand menu and select Friends again (this brings up the list), you’ll notice there is a list option to the right of each friend.  The first item you can choose from the list is limited profile, which is starting to sound promising.  Limited profile corresponds to a privacy feature that you can setup, but that is not done for you by default.  Just adding a friend to limited profile will have no effect.  Surprise 🙂

To configure your limited profile settings you need to go to Settings in the top navigation, then choose Privacy Settings.  From the list that appears on the subsequent page you need to select Profile Settings.

privacy

Here you’ll find a typically huge list of options you may find daunting.  The concept is important.  Do you care if you business contacts have access to some of the personal data about you, ie, contact info, family relations, favourite films, etc?  No, probably not.  But what you really don’t want is for your professional colleagues to browse all those eyebrow-raising photos you’ve uploaded over the years, right?  So you scan down and locate the choices that look relevant: Photos and videos of me, and Photo Albums.  Photo Albums leads to another page with a huge list of every single photo album you’ve ever created, and apparently suggests you should apply privacy settings on a per-album basis.  Acck!  Photos and videos of me seems more straightforward: you can open the menu, select customise, and then in the Hide this from field you can type in limited profile (why do you have to type it in?  Isn’t it a default option?).

But attempting to do the same for each of your 23 photo albums has a more interesting effect, in programmer terms it’s what we call a silent failure.  Do the same operation, select Customise, then type in limited profile, and hit ok, and you’ll see the option is saved and appears to be enforcing the restriction on your album.  Login to another Facebook profile, if you have access, one of a friend you’ve set to limited profile, and you’ll be amazed to see the setting has no effect whatsoever.  Even more amazing, go back to your own profile, refresh the page, and the limited profile indicated on the album you just configured has disappeared!  That’s silent failure 🙂

Trial and error revealed that the workaround for this mysterious and frustrating usability error is that privacy settings cannot be effected on this particular privacy screen.  You need to go to another which does respond to user configuration.

Go to Settings again in the top menu, and then Application Settings.  Here, with any luck, you’ll see your Photos app in the list.  If not, try a different setting on filter combobox at the top of the screen, set to Recent apps by default.  Once your Photos app appears, select Edit Settings, then Edit Custom Settings.  Here is where you can apply the custom block against limited profile users, and if you set it here it will stick!

photo privacy

5. Using Facebook pages for business

With these settings in place you can rest assured your business contacts will only see the relevant information about you on Facebook, ie your limited profile and not your photos, and you’ll be free to continue sharing the usual personal stuff with your friends.

With the page in place there are many ways to spread the news about your business and/or products:

  • use the Facebook badge and add it to your website, encouraging users to become fans
  • use Facebook’s paid advertising program to show your profile as an ad to users who are most likely to respond to it
  • add a link to your Facebook page in your email footer

The great feature about Facebook business pages is there is a real opportunity where your friends and their friends are likely to be interested in your products, and can spread the word on your behalf.

Here’s some tips on how to make your Facebook page successful.

Thanks for reading and feel free to check out my page for Seagull Systems.

17 thoughts on “How To Setup a Facebook Page for Business

  1. when i go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising/?pages that green button says Create an Ad and not Page as you describe. I’m logged in to FB using my personal login info to get to my personal page.

    I did try something else. I logged out of my personal page account completely then went to facebook.com and where you set up a new account I clicked on “sign up as a business or group” but that doesn’t seem to work right at all because I did it then it comes back and asks you to do it again, like what is that?

    I just want a page for my business that people can “like” and I want the URL to be facebook.com/my business name.

    FB is a pain when it comes to doing this and of course there is no way to reach them by email or phone for tech support.

  2. Thanks for this posting. I came across it while searching for any tips on how to fix my Facebook business page. Wonder if you might help? Here’s the scoop:

    A few days ago I set up a Business profile for my company, following Facebook’s instructions. Yesterday, I was working on the business page and inadvertently (because Facebook’s instructions are confusing to me) turned the business profile into a personal profile for someone called “Spillman Farmer Architects.” (I did this by clicking on the “Create Your Profile” button that appeared when I signed in to my page.) That wouldn’t be a big deal except that now I can’t figure out how to access the original SFA page that I set up in the business account so I can’t update it!

    Facebook Help doesn’t really help. Under “Help” there is a FAQ that says “What happens if I click the ‘Create Your Profile’ button at the top of my business account?” Here’s the answer:

    “If you click on the “Create Your Profile” button, you will be asked to provide additional information to allow you to transform your business account into a personal account. You will be required to enter your full name, a security question, and an answer to your security question. Once this final registration step is completed, these changes cannot be reverted. You will then permanently have a personal account on the site. If you convert your business account into a personal account, you will still be able to manage all the Pages and Socials Ads you’ve created by clicking the “Ads and Pages” link in the left hand navigation menu entitled “Applications.” The fans of your Pages will not have visibility or access to your personal profile. Any actions that you take as a Page administrator on your Page will show the Page’s name as the actor and not your personal name. However, if you wish to restrict your privacy so that other Facebook members cannot find you in search or add you as a friend, you can do so by clicking on “privacy” at the top any Facebook page.”

    I wish I had read this FAQ before I clicked on the “Create Your Profile” button because I wouldn’t have created a profile! Now I’m stuck. I see the “Applications” link but when I click on it I’m not seeing another link called “Ads and Pages” and I don’t know where to go from here. I thought I would be able to administrate the business page from the personal page but don’t know how. Help??????

  3. Please i don’t have the Ads and pages in my application, please can u help me to set it up so that i will send you my login or better still send me how to set it up using my email address above

  4. Hi, I think I may have a problem- being a little in-experienced I fear I have set up facebook for my business incorrectly and need to fix it. I have set up a new facebook page for my business and placed a page on this which I use as the ‘business page’. However based I what I have read- this is not allowed?
    I have also had the situation where staff have invited friends to the original page as well – which isnt really relevant. I would like to hide this page- is this possible? In addition, the name selected to find the facebook page- has digits at the end and I would like to fix this? Can you assist me?

  5. First place i would love to thank the producer of the blog. These are some very fine points that are not covered by FB. I have been looking for these specific answers for quite some time and even find it hard to find current discussions about FB with current solutions.

    Question, I have a (business) page for “O.U.R. Federal Credit Union” in Eugene OR. it is not linked to my personal profile or any other profile. i opened the page from scratch as a page. It has been up for quite a while and i think that google should have found it by now, but it still doesn’t show up on search engines.
    I read an article from 2 years ago that states your (business / fan) page must be linked to a profile for search engines to find it.

    Is this true ? if so, how do i link this page to my personal profile –or– what profile should i create for it as to not get in trouble for creating a “business” profile ? which is better ?

    Also, I created a “places” with a map and location for the business page. I assume that the FB “places” is like a phone book on facebook ? if yes or no…. can they be combined with my regular page…

  6. Great post, I have just setup a FB page for my online surveys website. its coming along – just having a few problems with the image size.

    Cheers!

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  8. Hi, i was just wondering if there is any way to reclaim an orphaned facebook page? I permanently deleted my facebook account a while ago and forgot that i had a page linked to it, of which i was the only administrator. I have since rejoined Facebook and opened a new account using that email, but 3 weeks later and numerous emails to FB, the page in question has not been reassigned to my account and still has no administrators… do i need to request it be deleted and start again?

  9. Hi Demian, would you believe i still haven’t been able to find a solution to my problem. I have tried reporting the page to FB a number of times but to no avail. Apart from emailing them via their helpdesk, do you have any suggestions how i could contact these Facebook folk… they seem to be quite elusive!! 🙂

  10. Hi Demian, to be honest, I’m still confused. Could you help. I typed in http://www.facebook.com and at the bottom, went to “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business”. I then proceeded to select Brand & Product page, then selected Website, then selected “I do not have a Facebook account” and entered email info@jobmap.com and password and this error message came up “Please enter a valid email address”.

    Q: Do I have go to set up a personal account with FB and then, under that personal account, I can then set up a business page?

    Appreciate any help.

  11. Yes, a facebook page can only be created once a personal account exists, at least that was the case when I did my first one a few years ago, they do change the rules quite often.

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