Get started with Facebook

Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the UK, and in fact the world! There are almost 1 billion Facebook users, all over the world, and more than 30 million of those are in the UK.

Facebook allows people to connect with friends, share photos and videos, post updates on what they’re up to, and see what friends are up to too.

Organisations or companies can do much the same, using a dedicated Facebook page to keeping in touch with customers, clients or fans and letting everyone know what’s new and what they’re up to.

1. How does it work? - Profiles, walls, feeds and pages

When a person creates a Facebook profile they have a ‘wall’ that they can add their photos, videos and activity or status updates to. Their friends will then see these updates in their ‘newsfeed’ - a live stream of everything that their friends are adding to their own walls.

You can also add things to other people's walls if you think it’s something they’d be interested in, or you can comment directly about something they’ve posted.

Rather than a profile, Facebook asks organisations to create a page, although this acts much like profile. You can add all your details, links to your website, add status updates and uploads photos and videos. People who ‘like’ your page will see your updates in their feed.

2. Why do organisations have pages and not profiles?

There are however a few key advantages that ‘pages’ have over ‘profiles’.

  • Pages are visible to anyone on the internet, whether they’re logged into Facebook or not, giving your online presence a wider reach
  • When people ‘like’ your page, it will appear on their profile, so all their friends can see that they’re a fan
  • It’s easy to customise your page and add buttons and widgets, such as a Just Giving Donate button
  • It’s also really easy to create a button on your website that links straight to your Facebook page
  • Your page shows your timeline – all your activity and posts, with the most recent at the top
  • You can also ‘pin’ photos, videos or updates to the top of your page so you can decide what new visitors see first

3. How do I get started?

You can create a page for your organisation without having a personal Facebook profile but we don’t recommend this, as there are lots of features that are only available if you do have a one.

Creating your page: Setting up your page is really easy. Just type ‘Create new page’ in the Facebook search bar, select the given option and follow the simple instructions! When picking the name of your page try to make it short and snappy but as specific as possible. The full name of your organisation is usually the best bet - this will make it clear that the page is an official source of information and authorised by the right people.

Profile picture: It’s really important that you pick the right picture, as this will appear next to every update you post on your page and will appear next to your activity when it appears on other people’s feeds. It’ll often appear quite small, so a bold image without too much writing is a good idea. A logo or an image that is very identifiable with your organisation is a good idea. Look at some other pages for similar organisations to yourself for some ideas.

Cover picture: This image will appear at the top of your page and will be first thing most people see when they visit. It’ll be a much bigger image than your profile picture and can be your chance to get a bit more creative. Try to find a photo or image that you think really represents what your organisation does. It could be a photo of your clients, volunteers or staff at work or it could be your full name and logo if you decided this was too big for your profile pic. Think about including one or two key pieces of written info, such as the address for your main website or contact details for your organisation. You can find details of the dimensions your cover photo should be here.

‘About’: When creating your page, you’ll be asked to fill give some details about your organisation, which will appear just below your profile pic on your cover page. Try to make this a succinct and powerful as possible, summing up what your core activities, aims and beliefs are. You should also include other key info such as your web address or contact details, if you’d like people to reach your organisation beyond Facebook.

4. What should I post?

Photos: Pictures are the best and easiest way to show off all the exciting things that you’re up to within your organisation. It’s much easier and more interesting for someone to look at a photo than read a wordy status update so keep it visual

Videos: Videos are a great way to show off something really exciting that’s going on in your centre, even if it’s just something you’ve filmed with a smart phone. Not everyone will watch a lot of videos on Facebook however, so it can be nice to save them for important moments, and everyone will get to know that if you’ve posted a video, it’s for a good reason!

Links: Linking to other websites that you think your fans will like is a great way to give added value to your Facebook page. People are more likely to come back to your page or take notice when you post something if they recognise you as being a useful source of information or someone that posts fun and interesting things that they care about. All you need to do is paste a URL in your status box and the link, with a thumbnail from that site will appear automatically!

Sharing: Under every piece of activity you’ll see an option to ‘share’. This gives you the chance to re-post other peoples photos or updates on your page. This is a great way to keep the content of your page fresh without having to generate all your own content, and to show the world what you care about

Cross pollinate: For many people, Facebook will be the most regular way they have contact with you - especially online - so if have things on other websites you want them to see, then do post a link on your Facebook page to encourage people to check it out

Keep it fun: Don’t be afraid to throw the odd funny link or picture in amongst your activity updates - as long as it’s appropriate of course! It’s a good way to show your organisation has personality and knows how to have fun!

5. How do I get people to visit and like my page?

There’s no point spending all this time setting up a page and posting photos and updates if no one’ going to see them. Try some of the following steps to get everyone talking about - and visiting - your page,

Badges: Badges link to your Facebook page from other places such as blogs and website. You can create a badge that link to your whole page, just your photos or one that will let people ‘like’ your Facebook page from another site. Try to put it somewhere prominent, such as the homepage of your organisation’s website. You can find very easy instructions on creating badges here.

Email signature: Try to get everyone to add a link to your page to the bottom of their emails. It doesn’t need to be anything long, something like: “If you’d like to keep up to date with everything we’re doing, why not visit - and like - our Facebook page?” - not forgetting to include the link!

Keep it social: Find the pages of your partners, organisations similar to yours or anyone you’re interested in and get social! Commenting on other people’s walls and complimenting them on the work they’re doing is a great way to get a conversation started. And don’t be afraid to invite them to visit your page and ‘like’ it too. And if you share other people’s photos on your page, they much more likely to visit your page and do the same in return.

6. How do I know it’s working? - Insights

If you want to keep a close eye on how popular your Facebook page is, you’ll see a link to an ‘Insights’ area above your cover picture on your page - don’t worry, only the person that administrates page can see this!

This area allows you to see which your most popular updates were, how many people are liking your page over time and how many people are talking about what you post. There’s loads of information available so it’s worth checking it out.