So the new year has started, which means most people have New Years Resolutions. Some believe it`s a `fresh start`, though in some cases you could argue whether or not that is the best way to go. For me the start of the New Year also meant that we were going to welcome several new bloggers to the website. There are more to come, but we welcomed three already. Setting up new bloggers means I had to give them accounts, create their profile pages and update the bloggers page. That made me realize I had to update something else: our Facebook page. Bryan Eisenberg always tells me that you have to keep improving your site, Facebook page and other properties constantly. He actually gives me homework for that. For the Facebook page, that `improving` had been a while. So I decided to sit down and `clean up` the State of Search Facebook page. In this post I want to take you through some of the cleaning up I did. Because maybe it is time for you to do some cleaning too? Before I start explaining all the stuff I did you have to keep in mind that I am NOT a programmer, nor am I a designer. I’m a blogger. Which means that if I start designing, things might not look `as slick` as they could be. In this case I don`t think that is a problem, because I want to show you how everybody can pimp their Facebook page, even if you are not technical or not a designer. A truly 101-update, and a warning: its a long one!.
Change 1: The `About` Description
One thing I have been telling a lot of people in the past few months that they should take a good look at their snippets. Use the full length, but don`t go over it. And make it `catchy` and `understandable`. For your Facebook about description the same rules apply. If you have a description which is too long it gets cut off with dots. So my goal was to make the description fit and let people know what we do in one sentence. I don`t know the exact number of characters you can use, but in my case after 78 characters (with spaces) the dots showed up. So I used 74.
It is really easy to change this. If you are logged in you will see an `Edit` next to the about, clicking that will take you to your Basic Information Settings where you can adjust the `About` text.
Change 2: The Category
In the same place where you can edit your About-text you can change other things. One of them is the category you are putting your Facebook in. It turns out I had set the category to `Computers/Internet`. To be honest, I always struggle with these categories, because many of these pre-arranged lists where you can choose your category are not set up very well. I often have to put State of Search in to for example a `technology` category, because something like `Marketing` or even `Online Marketing` is missing. And we are not really a `technology blog`. In this case that wasn’t on the list either, but there was a better one: News/Media. Even though we `cover` web and not that much news, you could say we are Media. It came closest to what we really are. And one way I found out I should be in this category, not others, is that I checked my competition in which category they were in.
This one was really easy, it is the first option in the `Basic Information` Tab if you edit your page. As said, at the same spot where you change your About, your description and other meta-information.
Change 3: A Bit Of Personal Branding: Page Owners
We are all marketers, which means we all want to do business and we all have our personal profiles we want to keep up to date and prominent. Some people `push` their personal profile as much as possible. I tend to be a bit careful with that, but it is something you should always think about. Sooner or later things might change, but you are still going to be the same person. So a bit of personal branding on the Facebook page is not bad. In this case I added some personal branding to the page for both me and the co-Founder Lisa Myers. Very simple: by adding `Page Owners` to the sidebar. Adding Page Owners will display the owners profiles in the sidebar and on their personal profile the page will be shown as one of their pages. So it goes two ways: branding for the owners, but also a bit of branding for the page.
When you are editing your page in the Tab `Featured` You can edit the featured page owners.
Change 4: The Thumbnail
Now here is a change I hadn’t thought of before. When I looked at the State of Search Timeline on Facebook I noticed that next to a post the thumbnail was a bit off. It showed only part of the logo. Now, those familiar with State of Search might recognize the logo, but somebody who might see a shared post on somebody else his timeline might not instantly recognize. So there is something I had to change.
This change also was a lot easier than expected. It only took about 5 seconds to change this. If you are logged in and you mouse over your logo on the top left you will see `Change Picture`. Clicking on that will take you to the edit page again, this time in the tab `Profile Picture` (what else 😉 ). Here you have the option to `Edit thumbnail`. If you click that just check `Scale to Fit` which will make you a new and improved thumbnail. Note: the thumbnail is smaller than it was, so if you cannot read it properly any more you might want to reconsider the image you are using.
Change 5: The Photo Strip
Up next was the Photo Strip on top of the Wall posts. Now, in the `old` days you could pick which pictures were shown there and in which order. I originally had that set up quite nice. It showed the State of Search logo spread out over five pictures. That is not possible any more. Now Facebook picks your last five uploaded photos and places them randomly. So my logo at first looked really off and since I hadn’t `cleaned` up for a while it `only` showed photos. Mind you: having actual photos there could also be a good choice, it makes things more `personal`. In this case however I decided I did want to do some extra branding, so I started updating the photos. Now doing the logo again was not an option, since it is randomly picked. So the five photos I had to upload should work in any order they are shown. I decided to take a part of the logo-background and put keywords in them which describes what we do. I chose `Blog`, `Search`, `Social`, `Strategy` and `Marketing`. This way people who visit our page will immediately see what we stand for.
The actual how to is pretty simple: Just upload the images you want to use to Facebook. There are a few things to keep in mind however to make this actually work: – be aware, when you upload anything else, it will disrupt the strip you made. You can ‘hide’ the ones you upload by clicking on the little cross in the strip when you mouse over the images. Remember to do this after you upload a new batch of photos! – The measurements of the ‘Thumbnail area’ are in a 97/68 pixels ratio. Which means that if you upload bigger photos they won`t show well in the strip. So keep the images you want up here within that ratio.
Change 6: From FMBL to iFrame
This change is why I originally started cleaning up the Facebook page. On Facebook we also have a bloggers page. That needed updating too. I realized that I was still using the `old` FMBL pages, a form of html. This however is not supported by Facebook any more. They want you to make iFrames now. At first this was a bit scary, because this was getting really close to actual programming and designing. After all you have to make an html page, upload that to your own server and then make a Facebook app which you then integrate onto your page. Sounds really complicated. It isn`t. I decided to make relatively `simple` pages to embed. It was just like building a small website in the old days. And if you really don’t know how to make those pages: use WordPress and copy the html code. It will not be that nice, but it will work. Using HTML I changed some of the `static` pages on the Facebook account: an updated bloggers page, a new landing page and an improved connect page. On that page it is interesting to use this method, because now we can use Facebook to get people to put us in their Facebook circles, by using a bit of code which we also use on the website, and we embedded our sign up form for the newsletter.
The actual making of `apps` and getting the pages into Facebook seemed difficult and I had to look twice to see how I should do that. It turned out to be really easy, just like filling in a form. I found this post that nicely describes how you can get the pages in. To be honest: this part was the most time consuming, but that was because I had to make the pages from scratch. I now have them set up on my server so the next time I have to change something I can change it on my server and it will automatically be updated on Facebook. UPDATE: the pages will NOT show immediately on https. So some people might not see them. If they remove the `s` from https they will see it. The pages have to be uploaded to a secure area as well. I am now figuring out how to do that :).
Change 7: The Sidebar
This final change seems minor, but is important. I have looked around on Facebook and noticed that many pages do not pay enough attention on this part, not even the `bigger`, most successful ones. I hadn`t looked at it that well myself before, but my sidebar, the navigation, sure could use sow pimping. 1. First the names of some of the items. I am using two apps to publish the RSS Feed from State of Search and one for the YouTube videos we upload. One was called `blog`, the other was called `YouTube`. Not very catchy and certainly not explaining what you can expect. So I changed these into `Latest Posts` and `Our YouTube Videos`. 2. Secondly the order of the items in the sidebar was randomly picked. An old action page from Marcus` book was the first result, followed by randomly other ones. I had to fix that order, with the new pages I created in mind. I moved the landing page up and gave more attention to the latest posts in comparison with the YouTube videos: put what is more important first. 3. Thirdly the most important one I think: the icons. As you can see below in the `old` version the icons were standard icons from Facebook. For those I could touch (my own apps) I changed the icons to the State of Search thumbnail, making it more recognizable and more `calm` to look at. Unfortunately I couldn’t change the ones which were created by 3rd party apps, but maybe that will come in the future.
Again, these changes are quite simple to make. To change the name of an item go to apps in your edit settings and you can change the name of the app in the sidebar. The order is even simpler. When logged in you can click `Edit` below the items in the sidebar and then drag and drop the order of the items. The icons finally are really simple too. You have to fix this part in the apps you are making for your page. If you edit the app at the title, below the name, ID & Secret it says `Edit icon`. There you can upload any icon you want to use.
Our Facebook page really needed some cleaning up. And that could have taken me a lot of time. In the end it didn’t take me that much time, because some simple `new years cleaning` did the trick. The page still isn’t perfect at all, but it is much more `showable` than it was before. And especially branding-wise I made some handy and nice changes. Next I will start looking for good apps to use on a business page like this one. But that will be a whole different post probably. If you have suggestions for those however, please let me know! And finally: did you like these changes? Then go like our Facebook page (and this post off course 😉 )!