We’ve talked about Twitter and LinkedIn but almost forgot (not) about the world’s most popular social network, Zuckerberg’s one and only Facebook which you’ve probably had a profile on for years now. But, you haven’t thought about using it for personal branding. Up until now. Let’s get you setup while we close up this year’s Summer of .Me!
- Part 1: How to write an “About Me”
- Part 2: The Power User’s Guide to Twitter Rebranding: Tweet-Voice & Repeat Tweets
- Part 3: The Power User’s Guide to LinkedIn Personal Branding Habits!
- Part 4: The Essential Guide to Facebook Personal Branding (This article)
- Part 5: Final chapter…
While you might think that just companies and brands use Facebook to promote themselves, individuals have used it for years to get their message out. It can be politicians, as we see in the run-up to the US presidential election, or movie as well as sport stars such as Dwayne Johnson.
Facebook has even released the Facebook Mentions app that lets public figures stay in touch with their fans on iOS or Android. It supports live video for announcement or Q&As as well as sharing on multiple social networks, a first for a company who prides itself in its size. Facebook Mentions supports not just Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, but also Twitter! You probably can’t use the app just yet, since your page probably isn’t verified and you’re still building your personal brand, but we all need to start somewhere. In this case, that’s your Facebook profile.
While companies, brands and public figures have pages, individuals start off with profiles which have friends that follow their updates. Pages, however, do offer a lot of room for promotion, have analytics and other benefits to grow your personal brand.
Get The Basics Right
However, before you go out to create your John Smith page, keep in mind that pages also aren’t really personal and if you still haven’t established your personal brand you won’t get “fans”, you won’t even get a single like! It’s far better instead to start with a personal profile that you can, later on, turn into a page.
Try to get the basics of your branding right, and since Facebook doesn’t give you that much space to brand graphically try to make the header and avatar stand out as much as possible. For your photo, try to get a good photographer to take a great portrait of you, or at least Photoshop a selfie in a way that makes it likable to most people. A logo can also work, but since you are a person you don’t want to be mistaken for a faceless (literally) company.
Friends… or Followers?
While you might not want everybody to be your friend on Facebook, profiles do support the concept of “followers”, similar to Twitter. These are people that don’t have access to you in the same way that Facebook friends do and can just follow posts that you publish to them. It’s a good way of still keeping the people that aren’t your personal friends at a distance that’s comfortable to you.
Topical Content – Yes!
To get started, just start posting content on what you want your personal brand to be about. It can be links to an article you wrote or that cover news in your field, or original photos and long, witty comments. The most important thing, whatever content you put on Facebook, is to stay – on topic!
While you can rant about politicians and put some foodie photos up on your profile, doing too much of too many kinds of content will dilute your fan base. Your personal brand needs to have focus – and so do you! To get the most number of followers you can, don’t “lock up” your content just for your friends – make it accessible to everyone so even friends of friends and even other users can see – and share it! How you can get the largest reach however, is a trick we’ll share later on in this article…
From Profile to Page… And When to Do It
When you do grow your profile to a limit of 6,000 friends or, hopefully, thousands of followers, you should turn it into a page. When Facebook converts your personal account to a Facebook page, it will transfer your current profile page as well as add your friends and followers as fans of it! Your account’s username will then become the address of the Facebook page, while your name will also transfer to the page. Unfortunately, if you decide in the mean time that you want to change the name of your page, you’re better of starting a new page or changing your name before your convert it!
After you’ve decided what to do, go to Profile to Page Migration on Facebook.com, choose a category for your page and click on “Get started”
Facebook’s Reach Doesn’t Make It Easy
As I mentioned, Facebook has killed off the reach of Facebook pages so the larger the page, the smaller percent of fans you can reach at a given time. This is, of course, an incentive to buy Facebook Ads and while you can use them as an effective way to reach your audience, I’d recommend trying a different kind of content type at this time.
Video Is (Currently) King (on Facebook), So Use It
In order to beat YouTube, Facebook has enhanced the reach of videos that are uploaded directly to its servers. Zuckerberg doesn’t want you to just link up content from YouTube, he wants Facebook to become the next YouTube and the most popular video sharing website on the planet. And you should help him.
With today’s accessibility of high-speed internet both at our homes as well as on the go through 4G and LTE, video is a viable way of getting your message across. In most cases, you don’t even need a fancy setup, just a phone or decent camera and lighting. Facebook video is currently the most effective way to reach your entire audience – and it doesn’t really matter if you have a profile or page.
While Facebook might seem like an easy platform to setup for your personal brand, these are just some of the challenges you’ll face when trying to truly use it to grow your following. Keep in mind that, although most people that “just” use Facebook think they know it, the truth is quite different. Like LinkedIn or Twitter, you need to know these hacks in order to truly master Facebook for personal branding – good luck!