How to Utilize Your Facebook Profile

The Facebook Terms of Service, under Registration and Account Security, state

You will not create more than one personal account.

and

You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.

Given these rules and the inability to participate in groups as a Facebook Page, I know a lot of artists and entrepreneurs who get frustrated with the perception that they can’t promote their businesses.

1. Update your profile photo.

Facebook groups can be imperative for networking and business-building. Your profile picture is your first impression. Keep the basic rules of a good profile photo in mind, and stay authentic to yourself and your brand.

ProTip: Keep the photo of YOU not you and your bestie, your pet, or your kids. People want to know who they’re talking to, a photo of YOU makes you appear more trustworthy.

2. Update your cover photo.

The cover photo is a great place to show off your family, your pets, your favorite vista. Again, keep it true to yourself and your brand, but be cautious about HOW you use it to promote your ventures. If it’s a screen shot of your business logo, your pay-to-attend event, or similar promotions, you may come across as pushy.

ProTip: Make the photo relate to your business. If you’re a musician, use a picture of your instruments; if you’re an artist, take a photo of your materials.

3. Use your intro.

Think of these 101 characters as your speed date. It doesn’t have to be all business, you can shout out your allegiance to a sports team or declare your love for bacon, cheese, and chocolate. What are the people and things that matter to you? What hats do you wear and what roles do you play?

ProTip: Imagine an acquaintance has just introduced you to your idol. What do you want him or her to remember about you?

4. Update your featured photos.

This is another great place to highlight your friends and family. You can also use it to showcase your business logo, event flyer, or book cover.

ProTip: You get five pictures, a maximum of 2 should be business related.

5. Update your workplaces and schools.

If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, or an artist of any kind, you should have a Facebook Page to promote your businesses and services. In the “About” section of your Facebook Profile, you can add your Page as a workplace. So instead of a generic “Singer at Musician” your Profile would link to a Page that people could then Like and Follow.

ProTip: You can choose which of your workplaces are public and which are private or shown to friends only. If you have a “day job” at a company that isn’t affiliated with your Page, make that workplace private or friends only.

ProTip: Avoid being overly cheeky in your workplaces and schools. Relevant education and work experience can lend you credibility, but entries like “Attended the School of Hard Knocks” or “Studied nothing at None” can make you seem flighty.

6. Edit your privacy settings. 

There are two ways of looking at this, either keep most things Friends Only and make certain posts/information Public, or make most things Public and make certain posts/information Friends Only. Either way, make sure there’s SOMETHING on your profile to give people an idea of who you are.

ProTip: Go to Settings/Timeline and Tagging and select “View As” to see what the public sees.

7. Update your Content and Basic Info

This is where you can link to other accounts (Instagram, Twitter, etc) which may have different rules about how accounts are used. The Facebook algorithm seems to suppress posts which were shared from other social media websites, so you should make it easy for potential followers to find you on those platforms if they choose.

ProTip: If you have a blog, register a domain and share that under the website heading. Don’t list your Facebook Profile or Page as your website.

8. Find and participate in groups. 

There are hundreds – if not thousands – of Facebook groups dedicated to any topic you can imagine: music, poetry, reading, photography, etc. Find the groups that are relevant to your field(s) and participate. This is where a LOT of networking happens. Some of my best clients and colleagues have come from authentic participation in groups.

ProTip: If a Facebook group has rules, abide by them. If you don’t like their rules, don’t attack the people who created and run the group, just leave it.

9. Don’t hesitate to make requests.

As it’s grown, Facebook has become less about keeping in touch and more about networking. If you meet someone through a group (or a friend), send a friend or message request. If it’s based on a genuine interaction, you’ll probably be approved.

ProTip: Never, ever, EVER send SPAM. If you send someone unsolicited self-promotional content, it’ll probably backfire. Rather than being interested in your work or business, the recipient is more likely to report you for SPAM and make a note never to work with you.

10. Be authentic.

Bottom line: If you’re true to yourself, you’ll make connections with people who will WANT to support you and your creative/business ventures. 

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Resolutions and Reflections

While heartbreaking in many respects, 2016 was still full of wonderful experiences. I found a writing group where I can hone both my writing and editing skills; my husband and I saw FIVE Dave Matthews Band Shows (including three at the Gorge); we took our kids to the polls for both the primary and the general elections; and we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.

I wrapped up 19 months of photo-a-day challenges, I’m almost three-quarters of the way through my #52WeeksofCreativity challenge, and I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some talented artists and writers.

This year, I’ll start each month with a quick rundown of my pieces from the previous month. I start today with the end of last year. I’m hoping this will keep me on track with writing more regularly.

Writing Reflections: 

On Writing
On ReWriting

Vocabulary:

A Lot vs Allot
Happy Holidays
Words of the Year

Musings:

The Llama Problem
Christmastime

Children’s Programming:

Criteria of a Good Show
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

ProTip:

Take a Professional Quality Selfie

Photography:

Lake Michigan

ProTip: Facebook for Businesses

One of the biggest topics that comes developing an online presence is how to handle Facebook. There are so many options: Pages, Events, Groups… how do you know what’s right for your endeavor? It’s fairly simple to answer this question by answering another: What is your goal?

Are you hoping to make connections with current and future clients?
Are you hoping to have people attend or participate in a gathering?
Are you hoping to foster collaboration and a sense of community?

Don’t worry, you can answer “yes” to all three of these questions, but each of them requires a different approach to the Facebook game.

First and foremost, if you have a business, you should create a Facebook Page. They break down their definition in Desktop Help > Pages: “Pages are for businesses, brands and organizations to share their stories and connect with people.” Furthermore,  according to their Terms of Service: “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”

So that’s pretty clear, if you’re a business hoping to make connections with current and future clients, create a Facebook Page. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s professional, and it’s likely the first way clients and customers will find you. In the last few months, I’ve been working hard for a client, finding information about businesses where he might be able to showcase his work. After doing broad Google searches, I’ve compiled lists and gone searching for contact information. So many of these businesses don’t have a website, and many of those don’t even have a Facebook page. So I’m left with hoping that the contact information listed on a non-affiliated website is correct. Often it isn’t.

Next, and this can (and should) be in conjunction with your Facebook Page, if you’re hosting a meeting, party, celebration, or rendezvous of any kind (i.e. if you want to have people attend or participate in a gathering): create a Facebook Event. This is an incredibly useful tool, especially in the day & age of the smart phone. If your clients have the synced their Facebook app with their phone’s calendar, then the event automatically gets added to their calendar when they respond to the event. Events can also be a useful tool for keeping track of your business. I have clients who use Facebook events to help keep track of mileage for tax purposes. Also, Events allow you to add friends and other businesses as hosts, which allows for cross promotions.

Last, the Facebook Group. According to Facebook: “Groups make it easy to connect with specific sets of people” or as I like to think of it: foster collaboration and a sense of community. Groups are awesome for shared committee work, communicating with all the members of a wedding party, band, or business, and connecting with those who share interests. Groups have a few drawbacks: they can’t be created by a Page, they can only be created by an individual; the default setting on a Group is for all members to receive all notifications; not all Facebook apps/mobile sites make it possible to change the settings or leave the Group. If you create a group, be careful that you’re only adding people you’re sure will be interested in the topic.

Here are a couple specific examples of how Pages, Events, and Groups can work:
Meridian Photography: Page for sharing/interacting with clients; Event for mini-sessions, exhibit, or print sale; Group for participants in a photo-a-day challenge.
Perfect Strangers: Page for sharing/interacting with fans; Events for upcoming shows; Group could be for band communications or for fans.

Today’s Takeaway: Pages, Events, and Groups are all amazing ways to promote your business and engage with your audience on Facebook; just make sure you’re using them appropriately, it can make a world of difference.