Josh Peters is a freelance social media consultant who has been deeply involved in the research and application of social media for several years and is the co-author of TwittFaced. He blogs at Shuaism and would love to connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter ().
Having an online newsroom for your company is a very important way to provide information about your business for customers, bloggers, and journalists. Through a well put together newsroom, you can control the story in order to make sure news about your company reflects what you want out in the public. Unfortunately, most corporate newsrooms are boring, static, and sometimes days late getting info up. Facebook can help you change that.
Facebook Fan Pages are perfectly suited for use as company newsrooms because they have a low barrier of entry, high visibility, numerous customization and automation options, and can be put together in an afternoon. A Fan Page can be more engaging and informative than most newsrooms out there, or it can act as an information portal that redirects customers to other, more engaging product Fan Pages. This guide will show you how to use a Fan Page to give your company a voice on Facebook () by creating an interactive newsroom.
A Facebook newsroom is not only a great way to disseminate information about your company from a central hub, but it’s also a good way to test the social media waters. The first step is to set up a Facebook Fan Page:
1. Sign into Facebook
2. Navigate to facebook.com/pages/create.php
3. Fill out all of the info you can and upload your company’s logo
4. Add content and set up the applications you plan to use (the rest of this post will help configure your page)
5. Click Publish this Page at the top of the page (bright red lettering) and your page will be live
Facebook does not automatically make you a fan of your Page just because you created it, so becoming your first fan is something you should remember to do after you create your page. Also make sure that you fill out all the info about your company that Facebook lets you enter. By entering as much information about your company as possible, you are not only providing a better resource for your customers and the press, but also making your newsroom easier to find.
Pulling in News
By setting up your page to automatically pull in information from already established presences your company has — such as your blog, Twitter account, or press release page — you can put your Facebook newsroom on autopilot and provide a good resource to fans and journalists with little effort. You can use one of the following apps to display your company’s blog posts on the page:
Facebook Notes – This is a default app on your Fan Page. To access it, click on the Notes tab at the top and then using the subscribe option you can enter your company’s RSS feed. Now new posts will show up automatically on your page.
Networked Blogs – This app will let you import your company blog feed, as well as display links to other blogs you like (in the style of blogroll).
Simplaris Blogcast – This is another super simple RSS app that supports multiple blogs.
Selective Twitter Status – You could just import your Twitter feed RSS to any of the apps above, or you could use Selective Twitter Status to only display tweets ending with the #fb hashtag. That way you can control which of your Twitter content appears on your Facebook newsroom Fan Page.
Once your own content is coming into the newsroom you’ll want to tackle what other people are saying about you. The best way to do this is to use Delicious () to gather articles about your company. With Delicious you can bookmark and share press mentions of your company, which is smart because it allows you to completely retain control over the information appearing on your newsroom. If you’re already doing this, then it’s as simple as adding an app to start displaying the articles you find.
There are two good applications you can use to sync your Delicious account with your Facebook Fan Page. Delicious box adds a box on your Fan Page that shows your latest Delicious bookmarks. A slightly more sophisticated option is My Delicious, which adds a box that displays your latest Delicious bookmarks, but allows you to show only bookmarks that have certain tags. So instead of showing all your bookmarks as they come through, you can set it to only display the ones you’ve tagged as “PressReleases” or “GoodArticles” or “Testimonials” or any other tags.
Pulling in Images, Videos, and Links
Once you have text updates set up to flow into your newsroom, you may want to import images and videos. This is an opportunity for your company to post any commercials, videos, pictures, ads, etc. that will help to make your Fan Page a one stop shop for all news and information regarding your company.
When it comes to managing video for your Facebook newsroom you have a couple of options. The first is to just upload videos using the built-in Facebook video app. Facebook even allows you to record a video using your web cam from within the same app, so that you can quickly create a video if you have a quick message you want to get out to your customers. Alternatively, you can host your video content on YouTube and then import it into your Fan Page by using the YouTube Video Box app.
The links section (bottom left of your Fan Page) is a great place for you to place links to any official documents, pages of your website or anything else that you feel is important and isn’t being imported or represented through any of the other methods.
As you become more comfortable with both Facebook and your fans you can allow them to add their own videos, photos, and links to the page. This will help to create fan (aka customer) testimonials so that when other people come looking for information about your company they will see more than just your company’s sanctioned info. They will see real customers saying how much they like your product or company.
Use every section of the Fan Page to your advantage and really help tell the ever evolving story of your company through pictures, links, and words.
The Finishing Touches
After your Fan Page is published and live on Facebook, start inviting your Facebook friends to become fans and build your numbers. Once you hit 25 fans you are eligible to claim a username for your page. To do this go to facebook.com/username and click on “Set a username for your Pages.” What this does is make it so that instead of your page having a super long URL that is filled with random numbers and letters it will be http://www.facebook.com/YourBusinessName.
If you or someone at your company is familiar with writing code for the web and wants to learn some of the nuances of FBML (the Facebook Markup Language), you can add the FBML App to your page and open up a host of new customization options. This is a more advanced option and requires a lot more time and dedication, but is worth it if you have someone able to do it.
Your Facebook newsroom is a one-stop portal for all information flowing out from your company, so you’ll want to make it discoverable by doing things like linking to it from your website, business card, email signature, and other social media profiles. If you follow this guide and keep working at it, you can create a very engaging news and information hub for your company. Keep pumping in good info, and keep it regularly updated, and your Facebook newsroom will likely serve as a great spring board for other opportunities and ways to engage your customers using social media.