Facebook 240: 5 Steps to Customizing Your Facebook Page

In my post last Friday from the Facebook for Business seminar, I reported some recommendations from Alan De Keyrel, a friend from Rochester who was the keynote speaker.

Among Alan’s suggestions was that organizations with Facebook pages should create a custom landing tab for their visitors, so that you don’t “just dump them on your wall” but instead have some kind of welcome message that directs them in a way that is in keeping with the goals you have set for your Facebook page.

In Facebook 240, I will take you step-by-step through the process of customizing your organization’s page.

In keeping with my original goals for SMUG, to learn on my own before applying in my work, I will use the SMUG.Chancellor page as the demo example.

Maybe soon we will apply something like this on our Mayo Clinic page. In the meantime, I’ve learned the basics of how to do this, so if and when we decide to make that switch we can do it seamlessly.

Note: The following applies to organizational or business Pages, not personal Profiles. The SMUG.Chancellor page is what was formerly called a “fan” page, and even though it says “Lee Aase” at the top, it’s about me as an author/speaker. It’s different from my personal profile.

A personal Profile uses the “Add as Friend” terminology, and is for individuals to connect with each other. It is reciprocal; in other words, you don’t get to see my profile details until you add me as a friend and I confirm the relationship. Pages, on the other hand, use the “like” lingo. If you “like” Lee Aase, the SMUG Chancellor, you are connected to that page. No need to confirm the connection.

So I’m glad to be your friend on Facebook, but I hope you’ll like me too.

Step 1: Install the FBML application on your page

From your Page, click the Edit Page link under your profile picture:

Then click the Applications link in the left navigation to see the applications you have already installed. Your screen should look something like this (click to enlarge):

Click on the Add Application button for the Static FBML application. If for some reason the Static FBML application isn’t listed, you can search for it by clicking the Browse more applications link at the bottom of the list.

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Facebook Pages Get a Major Upgrade

Facebook’s Pages program for businesses and other organizations got a major upgrade this afternoon with the implementation of changes that make pages much more like a personal profile. In fact, I think they are now calling pages “Public Profiles.” And I have added emphasis below to Facebook’s description of what I think is the most important new benefit:

By leveraging the real connections between friends on Facebook, a public profile lets users connect to the entities they care about and allows you to join the conversation. Posts by the public profile will soon start to appear in News Feed, giving you a more dynamic relationship with the public figures and organizations you are interested in.

A big problem with Pages, as opposed to groups or personal profiles, has been that when an organization wants to send information to its “fans” it must send an “Update” as opposed to a message that goes in the regular Facebook Inbox. But most users rarely check their updates; at least not anywhere near as regularly as they view their Inboxes. This has significantly reduced the usefulness of Pages.

Here are some other specific highlights of the changes (again, with emphasis added):

Update and share: Like a user profile, your Page can now update its Fans with statuses—short text-only messages. Soon, these statuses will appear in Fans’ News Feeds.

Tabbed Structure: The tabbed structure multiplies your possibilities. Similar to their functionality in user Profiles, tabs help keep Pages organized so people know where to go to get different pieces of information. The Wall tab is for dynamic content, the Info tab has static information, the Photos tab contains photos albums and Fan photos, etc.

Wall: The Wall tab closely resembles the Wall tab on a user profile. You and your Fans can use the turnkey publisher tool in the main column to share comments and even rich media. Posts by your Page go to your Fans’ News Feeds, and comments by your Fans go to their friends’ News Feeds. Those posts will hyperlink back to your Page.

Facebook has a Step by Step Guide to the new pages that is helpful, and the Best Practices documents for each particular kind of page (Public Figures, Music & Bands and Communities) also provide good guidance.

Check out our Mayo Clinic fan page, which we have adapted and republished with the new format.

Another major improvement is the ability to use the Notes application to import blog posts into your organization’s Facebook public profile. So, for example, we are importing our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog posts into our Mayo Clinic page, which will help create more readership and engagement.

Updates to fans are still available, and can be targeted to certain demographic groups among your fans. So, in the case of Mayo Clinic if we have a notice that only affects one of our three campuses, we could limit the distribution of the update to residents of a certain state.

I understand if some organizations have spent significant time customizing the look of their Pages, that they would not immediately appreciate the changed look. That explains some of the early angst among commenters on the Facebook announcement. But overall it’s a really good thing for organizations to have functionality that feels similar to personal profiles.

And the inclusion of status updates within the news feeds of fans is valuable enough all by itself to make the new Facebook pages a much better value for organizations.

Especially since everything you see on the Mayo Clinic page, for instance, is free!

The big remaining question is:

How soon is “soon?” 

If public profile updates will “soon” be published to the news feed, I’m hoping “soon” means tomorrow or next week.

Anyone have any insight on how soon “soon” is?


Blogging 112: Pages vs. Posts

The great thing about blogs is that the newest and freshest material is always right at the top.

And the bad thing about blogs is that the newest material is always right at the top.

So you can write a great post, but over time it gets pushed further away from the front page, accessible only through the monthly archives and via Google.

That’s why Pages are a helpful alternative to Posts.

Pages become the overall high-level structure of your blog. So, for example, on this blog the Pages are

The Curriculum page is the “Parent” page for the Blogging, Core Courses, Facebook, Podcasting and Twitter curricula.

Then each page can have links to posts that have been done over time. So, for example, the Podcasting page has links to courses from Podcasting 101 through 110. These posts were written between March 31, 2008 and July 29, 2008. During that same time, I probably wrote a couple of dozen other posts, and I didn’t write the podcasting posts in numerical order.

By creating the Podcasting page, though, I could bring links to all of the podcasting-related posts together in one place, so that people stumbling upon SMUG (or one of the podcasting posts) can work through the related posts in a sequential manner.

As I write this post (part of the Blogging curriculum), it is Sept. 30, 2008. Soon it will be part of a previous month’s archive, and within a couple of weeks will be off the front page. But several months from now, when someone is wanting to learn all about blogging, she will start at Blogging 101 and work her way through.

Creating Pages is easy. In your WordPress dashboard, click the Write link:

Writing a Post is the default, but if you then click the Page link, you’ll be able to write a Page.

From that point, it’s just like writing a post, except a Page becomes part of your overall navigational structure.

Use Pages with care; once you start them you shouldn’t get rid of them. But if you need to bring order to your blog, Pages are important tools.

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Chancellor RAQ: Creating Facebook Pages

This is the start of a new occasional feature at SMUG, in which we’ll answer publicly some of the questions that are sent via e-mail. I thought about calling these FAQs, but a question doesn’t need to be asked frequently to be worth sharing the answer publicly. It could be that others just haven’t thought to inquire. So we’re creating a category for them called Recently Asked Questions (Chancellor RAQs).

This first question actually does fit the the frequency criterion, too, since I’ve had it a couple of times in the last week:

Q. How do I create a “fan page” for my organization in Facebook? Do I first need to create a group? I can’t find anywhere on the Facebook site where it gives any instructions and apparently I’m not quite cool or hip enough (yet!) to figure it out intuitively!!

A. You’re right: not about your lack of coolness or hipness, but about the relative obscurity of the method for creating a new Fan page for your brand. If you look at the bottom of any Facebook page, you’ll see an “Advertisers” link. When you click that, you will learn not only about Facebook’s advertising options, but also will see, on the right side, a description of Facebook Pages (along with a button you can click to create a new page.) Or if you want to take a shortcut, just click here.

This assumes you already have set up your own personal profile in Facebook. Someone has to be the administrator for the Fan page, so you can’t create a page until you have an individual profile.

This leads to a follow-up:

Q. I want to set up a page for my volunteer organization. Shouldn’t I just set up a separate profile for the organization (instead of a Page), so that when I rotate off the board someone else can take over? I don’t want to be forever connected to this Page through my Facebook account.

A. No. Individual profiles are for real people. Pages are for brands and organizations. Once you have created your organization’s Fan page, you can add others as administrators; for example, we have two administrators for the Mayo Clinic page. Be careful when adding administrators, though, because anyone who has admin rights can do everything with a page that you can, up to and including deleting the page. But when you leave the organization, you can just have yourself removed as an administrator for the page.

In a future post, I will go through the steps of creating a Facebook page as part of the Facebook curriculum. For now, hopefully the answers to these RAQs can help SMUGgles get started.

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Facebook Page as White Pages Listing

Note: This is the required reading for Facebook 221, part of the Facebook major track for Social Media University, Global (SMUG). More information about SMUG and the homework assignments for this course are at the bottom of this post.


I have written previously about Facebook Pages being like a free multi-media Yellow Pages listing.

I got my dead-tree phone directory analogy wrong.

In reality, with some relatively recent changes in how Facebook manages its URLs for Pages and people, and the fact that profiles and pages can now be found by Google searchers who aren’t Facebook members, a Facebook page can be a great White Pages listing.

Before Facebook launched its Pages program for organizations, I had recommended that organizations and businesses and other organizations should develop Facebook Groups. One of the key reasons was because anyone can form a group with any name, and if they mention your business name in their group description, people will find that group when they search for your business in Facebook. By creating a group and getting lots of members, your “official” group would come up highest in the Facebook search results.

But now, with Pages having been established as the way for organizations to have “official” Facebook presence, they are great tools for searching both inside Facebook and in the wider Web via Google. They’re much better than groups.

Here’s why:

  1. Facebook groups cannot be found through Google.
  2. Because of the URL structure, a Facebook page shows up high in the Google rankings when people search for your organization or business name.

A Facebook group has a nondescript URL, as is demonstrated by this group I formed in the pre-Pages days for Aase Wedding Photography and Video, a moonlighting business my brother and I have been exploring. Here’s the URL from that group:


Even if Facebook groups were available to be found by Google, their URLs aren’t optimized for search.

In Facebook Pages, on the other hand, the URLs have been search optimized. Here’s the URL for the Facebook Page I developed for our fledgling wedding photo and video business (click the graphic to view at full size):


But more importantly, look closely at the Google results (and the URLs in green) when you search for Aase wedding video


Note that my Facebook page shows up first in the Google results. It doesn’t show up high if you are searching for wedding video or wedding photography. Those categories are a lot more crowded (7.4 and 7.6 million), so it’s much harder to make the first page of Google, and I don’t have many inbound links to that page.

So that’s why I say a Facebook Page can be a great online equivalent of a White Pages listing. Your business or organization’s name is in the URL, which is major cue for Google. And maybe over time a Facebook page could become an effective Yellow Pages listing, if it attracts inbound links and if its content is optimized for relevant keywords.

Homework Assignments:

  1. Go to Facebook and search for Mayo Clinic. Note how many groups you find, but also that the official Mayo Clinic Page shows up at the top of the search results.
  2. Try the same Mayo Clinic search in Google. Note that the Facebook page doesn’t show up anywhere in the first several pages of results. For organizations that already have lots of web presence, a Facebook page will not immediately come up high in the Google rankings. But then again, people will be able to find contact information for those organizations through conventional Google results.
  3. Search in Facebook for your business or organization. You’ll see how many groups have been formed that mention your organization. If an official Page doesn’t come up first, you may want to consider developing a page. And if someone not affiliated with your organization has created a Page for you, you can seek to have it removed. This will be covered in more detail in Facebook 310.

To enroll in Social Media University, Global (SMUG), join this group in Facebook. Read more about SMUG and our Curriculum.