How To: Set a Customized URL for Your Facebook Business Profile

I had a few people ask me recently how to get a personalized URL for their company page on Facebook, so I thought a I’d do a quick post about how to do it. So here goes.

Before you start, some words of warning. You need to have at least 25 likes to claim your URL and you can’t change it once you set it.

First head over to http://www.facebook.com/username/ In this example you’ll see I’m setting up the URL for Central PA Soccer, a site about soccer in the Central PA area. You can also set your personal profile URL here.
Facebook Custom URL Setup

If you have more than one business page, use the drop down to choose the correct page. Then enter the URL you would like in the box below the page name. Then hit the button to “Check Availability.

Facebook custom url availability

Then you will get a confirmation notification like the one below.

facebook custom url confirmation

 

That’s it, your done! You now have a brand spanking new URL, that you can start using for your companies Facebook page.

Want to know more info or do you need some help? Try Facebook’s Username Help Center

 

Facebook Personal Profiles vs. Business Pages – You’re Doing it Wrong

You’ve Been Warned!

There has been a lot of talk recently about personal profiles versus public or business profiles. I’ve noticed a lot discussions popping up about converting personal profiles that people set up for a business to a business page. The buzz was presumably started by the fact that Facebook has been going through and shutting down personal profiles that are being used for business, and the release of a new tool to convert your Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page. Some of you are undoubtedly wondering why Facebook is shutting down accounts.  Well, guess what, using a personal profile for a business is against the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

So who cares? Nobody reads those things anyway, right? Well maybe, but Facebook does have the right to enforce them and they are making some noise about it too.

Below are two critical points, with number 4 under section 4, the most important.

4. Registration and Account Security

  • 2.  You will not create more than one personal profile.
  • 4.  You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).

If that sounds too vague to you, Facebook makes it very clear in the help center section for the migration tool.

Why should I convert my profile to a Page?
Since profiles are for meant individual people, they aren’t suited to meet your business needs. Pages offer more robust features for organizations, businesses, brands, and public figures, which you can learn more about here.

Further, maintaining a profile for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your profile to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the profile and all of your content.”

The reasoning behind the restriction comes down to functionality. Personal profiles and public profiles now look very similar and much of the functionality is similar as well. However, the biggest difference is a business page / public profile can’t actively “friend” or “like” people. Not allowing this cuts down on some of the spam friend requests. They can however “like” other pages. On the flip side one of the advantages of using a business page is likes are not capped the way friends are. Personal profiles are capped at 5,000 friends.

Now, before you run out and convert your profile here’s a couple of things you should know.  As stated on the migration tool:

“At this time only your profile photo and friends will be moved to your new Page.  No other content will be moved.”

Facebook Profile Migration Tool
So make sure you save any content that you have on your current profile.

You may have noticed that even if you convert you will lose most of your data. Your friends will be converted to likes, which is the most important thing. But, wall posts and the such will not transfer. Will that change? I guess time will tell.

But in the long run, it would be better to convert so that your business name does not get banned from Facebook all together. Right?

Need help with your company’s page? Contact us for a free quote. For more info. view our Facebook Public Profiles page

Facebook Updates Fan Pages

You may have noticed that there have been some changes to the fan pages. The layout now looks very much like personal profiles. Right now page owners can choose to upgrade to the new design, but on March 10th all pages will automatically be upgraded.

Blackbird e-Solutions Fan Page

Here are some of the new features:

  • Receive notifications when fans interact with your page or posts.
  • A place to showcase photos along the top of your page. Unfortunately though, the ability to set the order that the images appear like you can with personal profiles is not available.
  • A news feed for your page.
  • The ability to surf Facebook and Like and post on other pages as your page.

There’s No Hacking the New Facebook Pages Photo Bar

You may have noticed that Facebook recently upgraded their Pages. Actually the full upgrade will happen in March, but page admins have the option to upgrade now. Check out the changes to our page: Blackbird e-Solutions on Facebook. The new changes are meant to make pages look more like the new profiles that Facebook rolled out a few months ago. Many people discovered that there was a hack that you could do with the images at the top of their profile to make a bigger more interesting banner across the top. You can see some examples over at Reface.me. The bad news is it isn’t going to work for the new pages.

The five most recent photos that you have published or tagged your Page in are displayed randomly at the top of your Page. As a Page admin, you can prevent specific photos from appearing at the top of your Page. Remember: This row only contains photos you’ve posted or tagged your Page in; photos from people who like your Page won’t show up here.

We’ll see, maybe they will change this to match the personal profiles, so companies can be more creative when building their pages.

New Feature for Facebook Public Profiles: Post Insights

If you administer a Facebook public profile you may have noticed a new feature Facebook snuck in on us called Post Insights.

Post Insights shows you the data for each post in the form of “Impressions” and “Feedback“. Impressions is how many times the post shows up in your fan’s news feed or when someone views the profile’s wall. Feedback is the number of comments and likes per impression. This gives you a quick idea of how many times your posts are being viewed and how well they are being received. Which can help with deciding what is working and what’s not.

The data is visible right below each post.
Facebook Public Profile post insights

Visit our page Facebook Public Profiles for more information about public profiles.

Facebook Removing Boxes from Public Profiles

Facebook LogoLast week Facebook announced to administrators of public profiles, that they will be finally be removing Boxes from public profiles on August 23, 2010. The Boxes will be replaced with “Applications Tabs. The idea is that it will simplify navigation and reduce complexity of the profiles. The move was also announced on the Facebook Developers Blog. Read the post below:

We announced plans last October to remove application boxes and application info sections as well as reduce the width of application tabs to optimize for the new profile and Facebook Pages format. We will be moving forward with these changes the week of August 23 and want to help you understand what to expect.

Based on feedback from developers, we have committed to the following plans to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Boxes. We will notify users via messaging in profile boxes and in the Help Center that the “Boxes” tab, boxes on profiles and Pages, and application info sections will be going away.
  • Application Tabs. Next week, we will give Page admins the ability to preview their custom tabs in the new 520 pixel width so they can modify their layouts as needed. All profile and Page tabs will be resized automatically beginning the week of August 23.

These updates are designed to simplify navigation for users, reduce complexity for developers, and enable us to build the next generation of tools for growing your business with Facebook. Subscribe to the developer blog to learn about our new roadmap in the coming weeks.

Fran, a Platform product marketing manager, is busy updating the roadmap.

Read the blog post on Facebook: Profile and Page Roadmap Update

Need help with your company’s Facebook Public Profile? Let us know, we can help.

The Benefits of Universal Search

Universal Search

Universal search has actually been around for some time. All the way back in 2006 when I did some work for Google, we were testing it before it went live in the spring of 2007. Even though it has been over 3 years since it went live, many companies, SEO firms and marketing agencies are still not taking advantage of it.

Search results used to be a very simple and rather boring list of links with the standard being 10 results per page. With Universal search Google, as well as other search engines, added different types of media including images, video, blogs, books and news. The example below shows a simple example for “cats”.

Universal Search Results for Cats

The idea is to give users more complete results. So, what does this do for you and how can you take advantage of it?

Expand Brand Recognition

One of the biggest benefits of using universal search optimization is multiple rankings. By presenting your material in various types of media you greatly expand your chances showing up multiple times in the search engine results. This will help your brand recognition and visibility. Using images and video on your site, and tagging them correctly, is one way to take advantage of this. Hosting your video on YouTube also gives you another avenue get listed. So does hosting your images on a site like Flickr. Get it? Each image, video has the potential to be listed.

Use Social Media

With the popularity of social networking sites there are even more ways to get into search results. Universal search now also includes the sites I like to call the big three: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. By setting up company profiles on these sites gives you even more ways to be found. Not only can you be found in individual search engines such as Facebook search, but now with multiple listings you could potentially fill the first page of results for your targeted keywords.

Drive It Home

If that’s not reason enough to optimize for universal search, there’s more! (use cheesy game show voice here). By showing up in the rankings multiple times you increase the chances of people clicking through to your content, but what do they do once they get there? You need to add links that lead back to your company site. This will give you more organically grown inbound links which will improve your ranking, provided that the site with the link doesn’t use “no-follow links“. Even if they do use no-follow links you are still increasing your chances of receiving secondary traffic to your site. Plus for the social media example, if you are writing engaging content people will share it with their friends which can also increase inbound links and traffic.

Below is an example of how to structure a campaign around a company site using search and social media.

Universal Search - Social Media Flowchart

Bottom line, when implemented correctly optimizing for universal search increases your chances of being found online, your brand recognition, your relevant inbound links, traffic to your site and the chance to reach a broader audience.

Facebook Limits Landing Tabs to Pages With More Than 10,000 Fans/Likes

Yesterday there was an announcement made in the Facebook Developer forums that Facebook is now limiting the ability to set custom landing tabs to profiles that are “authenticated” and have over 10,000 fans/likes. I am cautiously posting this because I have not yet seen an official announcement from Facebook about this and the profiles that I administer still appear to have this option.

To explain a little better what that means. Originally administrators for public profiles were able to set a specific tab other than the WALL or INFO tab that new visitors would see first. This is often used for a place to encourage people to become fans with some sort of incentive. I.e. “Become a fan and receive a voucher for two free whoopie pies”. With the new change all new visitors will be sent to either the WALL or INFO tab.

Here’s the post from the Developer forum:

Hello all,

We apologize for not messaging this earlier. Facebook recently made a change requiring that Pages be authenticated before enabling the ability to set a landing tab beyond Wall or Info. To be eligible for authentication, a Page must have greater than 10k fans or the Page admin must work with their ads account manager. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the authentication process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative.

Also, for advertisers who don’t have a representative or 10k fans, and want to run ads and land users on a specific tab, you can still do so with standard Facebook ads by making their Destination URL as the URL incl. your tab. Unfortunately, this currently will not work with “Fan” ads.

Thanks,
Matt Trainer
Facebook Developer Network Team

Link to post: http://forum.developers.facebook.com/viewtopic.php?pid=227722#p227722

So essentially Facebook is going after the big companies and sending a message to small to medium sized businesses that they are not important.

I’m not sure how all of this will play out, but it looks like Facebook is making another financially driven, sweeping change.