Facebook is a great social media platform to promote and market your business. However, many business owners do not know how to get started or how to best utilize the network for business promotion. If you are a Facebook user, you have probably already created a personal account, along with a profile, on the platform. Business marketing on Facebook differs from personal use. Knowing the differences between Facebook personal accounts and business usage is integral to successfully using the platform for marketing purposes.

First, the main difference between personal and business use of Facebook is the account setup. When you set up a personal account, your profile page is the page that holds information that you share with your friends. Your friends are those individuals who have “friended” you on the network. You can configure your personal account to show certain content to all visitors, or you can restrict content so that it only displays to your friends.

On the other hand, a business account utilizes the “page” instead of the profile to display information to users. Users become “fans” of the page instead of friends. When you create a business account, you can create the account using a pseudonym or a common name, such as Johnny Doe, so that you may allocate the tasks of updating the page and interacting with users to an employee or another person.

When you create a business page, your page functions differently than a profile page. If you have made the mistake of creating an individual user profile for your business, now is the time to go back and create a business account. Once you create a business account, you can then create your business page. Once the page is created, you will see new options available to you to promote your brand that do not appear on profile pages. You will be able to advertise through Facebook Advertising options and your page will be indexed with Facebook search, as well as with major search engines.

1.) Create the Facebook Business Page

Creating a business page on Facebook is a simple as learning a few key steps. First, create your business account. Once you are logged in, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link labeled “Advertising.” You will be taken to the Business Page creation tool. Select the type of business you have and type a name of the business into the appropriate input box. Note that you will have the option to create a standards brand or product page, or you can elect to create a “local” business page. Select the “local” option if you have a business that caters to customers in your geographical area. This functionality will “geo-locate” or “localize” your advertising to display to customers that are in close proximity to your business.

Once you complete the Business Page creation form, you are ready to start using your business page. The default business page that users will see is known as the “wall.” The wall is where you will post content for your users. You will be able to customize your default page with your logo, brand name and other information about your business.

2.) Invite users to visit your brand page and make sure you engage them when they show up.

Some individuals who are tasked with marketing a brand on social media make the mistake of creating the brand page and then disabling the ability for users to comment! This action defeats the purpose of the page because social media is all about relationships and interactions. Elicit feedback and comments from users. Brand marketers will learn a lot about how the brand is perceived and how to improve the brand through interactions on the social media site. Post surveys and ask questions to generate conversations with users. Promptly answer any questions that users may post on your wall. Know that others are reading these conversations. You can make this fact work in your favor by answering questions promptly and addressing any customer concerns publicly.

3.) Cross promote your Facebook brand page

Advertise your brand page on your website, through email, newsletters and even on your business cards. Ask people to become “fans” of your brand page. In a recent survey, 69 percent of Facebook users indicated that they become fans of brand pages to be included on exclusive special offers. Accommodate users and provide special offers for fans of your brand on Facebook. Customers expect it and this is one way to raise the visibility of your brand.

Be sure to mention in all of your communications that your brand now has its own Facebook page. Elicit customers and potential customers to become a fan of your brand page by making sure that they know you will be offering useful information and specials for Facebook users.

4.) Post interesting and relevant content on a regular basis.

For SEO purposes, as well as keep your Facebook fans coming back to the brand page for more, you will want to post regular relevant content. Content may be in the form of blog posts, articles, white papers, videos, podcasts or even audio files. The key is that the content is helpful to users and relevant to the brand. Facebook content should not be promotional for the brand, however. Even though you may place a call to action at the end of the content or direct users how to find out more information about your brand, content should be a topic that is relevant to your brand, but not “salesy.” For example, if your brand is an automotive service shop, you may want to post content for users about how to increase their gas mileage.

5.) Don’t inundate your wall with constant information.

The key to posting interesting content is to remember to post regularly, but not too often. New content posted every other day or every couple of days will keep your users coming back to the site for information without drowning them in content.

Remember that social media is more about interacting with customers and potential customers than direct brand promotion. Producing content that “goes viral” is one goal to which every business on Facebook aspires. If you look at content that “goes viral,” you will find that this content may not even mention the brand name of the product. (See Old Spices’ “Smell Like a Man, Man” YouTube videos for an example.)