Facebook Update Guidelines: 26 Tips for Enhancing Your Facebook Page

social media how toAre you looking for fresh ideas to enhance your Facebook efforts? Do you ever have days when you’re not sure what to post on your Facebook page?

This can be a real problem if you’ve made Facebook updates an integral part of your communications strategy.

These are the times when having a ready-and-waiting list of Facebook ideas will come in handy. In this post I’ll show you 26 practical ways to use good content for your Facebook pages, everything from A to Z.

Some days knowing what updates you want to post to your Facebook business page comes easily.

#1: Alltop

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of content ideas, the online magazine-rack format of Alltop may be just what you’re looking for. According to Alltop, the purpose of the site is to help you answer the question, “What’s happening?” in all the topics that interest you. Alltop aggregates the headlines of the latest stories from websites and blog feeds, and displays the five most recent headlines. When you mouse over a headline, you’ll see the first line of the post. Perusing the vast number of headlines will give you access to loads of great material.

#2: Business Updates

These updates include news about your business and are akin to mini press releases, including: announcements of new products and services, new hires and new customers you want to welcome on board. Word of caution regarding these types of posts—limit how frequently you use them so you’re not seen as a self-serving broadcaster!

#3: Contest

A contest is a good way to engage with your Facebook community. There are a number of apps that can be added to your page and become a tab on the navigation bar. Some companies use their Notes tab as a place to post information about how to enter a contest and official rules. A contest requires planning and forethought, so it’s best to go this route only when you’ve already invested the time and necessary resources.

#4: Data

Facebook is an excellent way to share facts and statistics. You probably come across great data all the time that your fans will enjoy, too. For example, in 10 Fascinating Facebook Facts by Amy-Rae Elliott, the author shares interesting Facebook posts. Here’s a sample: 1) the meaning of the term poke has never been defined, 2) the average Facebook user has 130 friends, and 3) Mark Zuckerberg calls himself a “Harvard Graduate” on his Facebook profile (not what you learned in the movie The Social Network, was it?) What unique facts can you share?

#5: Events

With Facebook Apps you can easily share information on Facebook about upcoming events you’ve been invited to or are hosting. Events can be classified as open, closed or secret (only visible to invitees). Among other things, you can add an event description, photos, videos and links, and specify whether guests can bring a friend. You can invite friends and manage and promote the event.

Facebook fan pages can have a lighter side.

#6: Fun

Facebook fan pages don’t always have to be serious. You might want to mix up your posts every now and then by adding some fun ones. Callan Green’s post, Killer Facebook Fan Pages: 5 Inspiring Case Studies, shows how Pringles, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Adidas, and Red Bull have broken out of the mold by creating fun content. Red Bull, for example, has “aggregated tweets from sponsored athletes like skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and snowboarder Shaun White and included them directly in their Facebook presence.”

#7: Gimmick

As described on The Daily Gimmick, gimmicks are often a big way to draw in new customers and entice existing customers to buy more. Here’s one used by Miller Lite’s Fantasy Football Draft Sweepstakes: “On September 1, one lucky winner and nine of his friends will be flown to Dallas for two nights where they will get to conduct their fantasy draft in the fully stocked Miller Lite’s suite at the state-of-the-art Cowboys Stadium. They will enjoy all the amenities of the suite…”

#8: Helpful

You don’t have to be Heloise to list helpful hints. Communicate with readers about things that will help them. For example, what time- or money-saving tip can you share with your readers? Maybe there’s a new phone app relevant to your audience or an upcoming conference where if you register today you’ll save $100. Your readers will thank you for the recommendations and heads-up.

#9: Info

Depending on the business category you selected when you set up your Facebook page, there will be fields for you to fill in to describe your business; e.g., hours, web URL, detailed info, mission. It’s good practice to use the open-field space to put your other social networking profile URLs such as your Twitter, blog and YouTube channel. You only get a limited amount of real estate, so use it to your full advantage.

#10: Jokes

It’s okay to be funny on Facebook. You can be your own comedian or rely on others for Facebook jokes. For inspiration check out Jokes, Jokes and Funny Pictures, and Top 100 One Liners.

#11: Keywords

Keywords are one of the most powerful features of all online content. As Justin Smith tells us in his post 10 Key SEO Strategies Every Facebook Page Owner Should Know, “One important SEO strategy that should be employed on your Facebook page whenever feasible is placing keyword-dense prose as close to the top of the page as possible. Because Facebook limits where page owners can place large chunks of text on the default Wall tab of Facebook pages, the ‘About’ box actually represents the highest place in the CSS structure of the page to add custom text.” Are you using your About box most effectively? Take advantage of those 250 characters and make them work for you.

#12: Like

In the post, 10 Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page Following by Ching Ya, she suggests that in order for a page to be Liked, it must be likeable first; which translates to quality wall posts and consistent engagement. Facebook has some ready-made sharing buttons. Place a shout-out or a reminder to Like your status updates and instruct fans to click the Share button right next to your message so that their friends will be alerted about the update, too.

#13: Movie Reviews

On Facebook’s Blog, Austin Haugen writes that he asks his friends, “Have you seen any good movies recently?” as he’s making weekend plans. Austin suggests using Rotten Tomatoes as a movie review site. You’ll immediately see the reviews most relevant to you without having to register, search for friends or fill out a profile.

#14: Offers

Your Facebook page can be your own daily deal site. For instance, a national movie chain posted, “Last chance to win 1 of 4 prize packs, click the link below. Good luck!” What are your offers?

#15: Promote

In order to be successful, Facebook fan pages need to be promoted inside and outside of Facebook. Social Media Examiner uses Facebook Friday Expert Sessions for Q& A sessions among experts and page fans. Cindy King’s post How Facebook Friday Expert Sessions Increase Fan Engagement discusses how the sessions help to increase fan engagement. She writes, “These sessions are a great way for fans to quickly get the information they need. And you can model this for your business. These open Q&A sessions with industry experts are a great way to encourage engagement with your fans and get your updates to show up more in your fans’ news feeds.”

#16: Questions

While you can use questions and answers in one longer session as discussed above in #15, updates can be made on an as-needed basis to answer questions that come up on your social networking sites or in your in-person meetings with customers. Update your group or fan page on a regular basis with helpful information and answers to questions.

#17: Reads

What book or magazine article are you reading today? What’s on your future reading list? If the book is available on Amazon (what isn’t, these days?) you can add a link to the book so your readers will be able to learn more and maybe they’ll order the book based on your advice. Your audience will appreciate hearing about books that wouldn’t ordinarily hit their radar if it weren’t for your update.

#18: Separate

Fletcher Prince suggests in his post Twitter Updates and Facebook Page Updates for Your Business to keep Twitter and Facebook updates separate because he sees them as “two very different platforms with different capabilities, audiences, and tone.” I agree and would take it one step further—to establish distinct messaging strategies for your profiles.

For example, planning that you’ll communicate on Facebook about what books you recommend, but as a rule, knowing that you will not use your tweets for that purpose. This becomes helpful too when you have multiple people managing your profiles and separate them into different content turf. For a list of tweet ideas, see the companion post to this piece, 26 Twitter Tips for Enhancing Your Tweets.

#19: Static FBML

(Important Update: Facebook no longer supports FBML. Please refer to the articles on Facebook iFrame.) Nick Shin’s post How to Customize Your Facebook Page Using Static FBML shows how to add a clickable image, embed a YouTube video and how to set the FBML box as the default landing tab. As Nick suggests, static FBML gives you the ability to make your Facebook page serve as a marketing vehicle which can help drive traffic to your website and engage further with your audience. Social Media Examiner’s Facebook page does this quite nicely with the Welcome tab and the embedded video.

#20: Tagging

You can tag your status updates by including the “@” symbol before a friend’s name. This way the person will receive a notification and a wall post linking them to your post. Tagging within your status updates is a powerful way to increase the social and shareable features of Facebook. Check out this video by David Erickson to learn more.

#21: URL

When you create your Facebook page, the URL will first appear with over 100 characters including the name of your business, city and state, followed by a long string of numbers. Hardly easy to communicate! But as soon as 25 people have Liked your page, you can visit here to choose a user-friendly URL for your page; e.g., www.facebook.com/yourbusiness.

#22: Visual Aids

Want to make a point with an image? Use an app such as SlideShare to upload your presentations, documents and PDFs. Remember, content doesn’t need to be limited to the printed word.

Facebook updates are checked on screens of all sizes.

#23: Web Writing

Christina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web, defines web writing as “The practice of writing useful, usable content specifically intended for delivery online.” Facebook updates will not only be read on computer monitors and laptop screens but on other devices too, such as iPads and smartphones.

Remember that you’re writing for online delivery, so be sure to use a good balance of chunked content, hyperlinks, images and videos.

Good rule of thumb: Commit to a social media content strategy.

#24: Excellence

Soumitra Dutta, in the November 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review, writes in her article, “What’s your personal social media strategy?”, how today’s leaders must embrace social media for three reasons: 1) communicating as a personal brand, inside and outside of your company; 2) engaging rapidly and simultaneously with peers, employees, customers and the broader public; and 3) providing an opportunity to learn from instant information and unvarnished feedback.

Used properly, Facebook business pages provide a vehicle for demonstrating your business excellence, which is even more reason to give thoughtful consideration to the quality and quantity of your company status updates.

#25: YouTube

As already discussed in this post, videos will enhance your Facebook updates. Here’s an important perspective from Ekaterina Walter, a social media strategist at Intel, who shared thoughts about social media initiatives in an SME interview, “The Inside Scoop on How Intel Manages Its Facebook Page.”

Ekaterina encourages businesses to upload raw video files versus just linking to YouTube to enhance their engagement strategy. As she says, “If you upload a raw video file, not just linked from YouTube but uploaded on Facebook, and your fans share it with their friends, when somebody who’s not a fan or liker of your Facebook page actually watches the video, there is a sweet little thing—a button that pops up on the upper-left corner of the video that invites you to basically like the page, or in the old terms, to become a fan of the page. That is the fastest way for folks to just click on it and become a fan.”

#26: Zen

We’ve gone over 25 tips before coming to this last one. This is a good place to wrap up by saying that Facebook updates shouldn’t feel overwhelming. In fact, quite the contrary happens when you view Facebook as a zen-like experience, commit to enlightenment and make a point to provide content that doesn’t add to the noise. Commit to memorable, thoughtful content.

Final Thoughts About Facebook Content Ideas

Whether your business communication is targeted for B2B or B2C end-users, Facebook offers a unique and powerful vehicle for creating a memorable experience.

What Facebook content ideas can you add to this list? Which ones are you already using? Which ones do you enjoy most? Leave your comments in the box below.

Photos from Flickr: smemon87, boetter & Jorge Quintero
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