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Freelancing

How to Configure Your Freelancer Facebook Page

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Facebook Pages, in Facebook's own words, "give a voice to any brand, business or organization to join the conversation with Facebook users." To engage on Facebook as a brand, business or freelancer, you need a Page. As Facebook puts it, "Everything you do on Facebook starts with your Page".

In a Freelance Switch screencast I showed you how to create your Facebook Page, which covers basic facebook page setup.

Once you've created your page, you're ready to configure it. That means getting a profile picture, a cover, and a vanity URL. It also means filling out your about page, and tweaking your Page settings.

You can do most of this in your page settings, which you access by clicking "Update Info" in the Edit Page menu.

Your Profile Picture

Do you remember the old adage, never judge a book by its cover? We need reminding of that, because it's natural for us to jump to conclusions based on first impressions. What we first see of a person or brand has a lasting impact.

Images have become increasingly important for engaging online, as the rise of sites such as Pinterest and Instagram demonstrates. Your prospects and clients care about how your business looks, even if you're not a designer or artist.

Your profile picture is the first impression prospects will get of you when they find you on Facebook. It's also what they'll see when you engage in conversation and comments.

To add your Profile Picture either click "Add Profile Picture" on your main page, or select the "Profile Picture" option in the page settings.

Choose a face shot of yourself to show you're an engaging and trustworthy human being, not a distant, faceless brand. What's more, smile. Smile research shows people are more likely to like you and remember you if they meet you when you're smiling. That can only be good for your freelance business.

Lastly, your profile picture must be a square of at least 180x180 pixels. (For a handy overview of sizing social media images, check out this infographic.

Your Facebook Cover

While your profile picture shows off you as a person, your cover photo reveals your business as a brand. Your cover is your opportunity to give new visitors to your page a wow moment, and to build brand recognition.

For that reason, it's a good idea to incorporate branding elements from your website in your cover photo, as Freelance Switch does. Alternatively, you can feature a professionally taken photo of yourself (examples here and here). A budget option is to choose a creative commons photo that represents what you do. For example, a freelance writer could use an image of a pen; a musician could feature a musical instrument.

You can include text in your cover - as Facebook itself demonstrates. However, Facebook has strict guidelines around what you must not include in your cover. This includes:

  • Price or purchase information, including special offers.
  • Contact information, such as your website or email address.
  • Requests to like your page.
  • Calls to action, such as "Buy it now" or "Share with your friends."

To add your cover, simple click "Add a Cover" on the right hand side of your Page. The ideal Facebook cover size is 851x315 pixels.

In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with taking inspiration and ideas from what works and what's been done before when you're designing your cover, especially if you're doing it yourself and you're not a professional designer. You can take a look at some stunning designs here.

Your Page Information

Beneath your profile picture, Facebook gives you 155 characters to summarize your business. That's just one or two sentences. Use these characters carefully, as together with your profile picture and cover, it's what most people will look at when they're deciding whether to like your page.

To add your page information, click "Add Information About [Your Page Name]" below your profile picture.

Here's how to keep your Information section engaging:

  • Tell people what you do and the service(s) you offer
  • Focus on your target market. Explain how you help your clients.
  • You must let people know why they should like your page. When people visit your page, they'll be thinking "what's in this for me?", so tell them.
  • Include keywords prospects might use when they're searching for your services.
  • Write like a human being and avoid business jargon.
  • Include a link to your website.

Your About Page

Within your Facebook Page is an About Page. It sounds confusing, but it's just the place people go to find out more about you. This is where you share your story, go deeper into how you help your clients, and list the services you offer.

The information Facebook lets you include in your About Page depends on the Page type you've chosen. If you've chosen a "person" page (for example, if you've said you're a writer or artist), then Facebook provides sections for your biography, personal interests and personal information. For a "business" page, the sections include a business description, mission statement, and products.

Both page types allow you to list your website and contact details.

You can edit your about page by selecting the "Basic Information" option in page settings.

Here's what to bear in mind as you write your about page:

  • Keep it audience focused. How do you help your clients? Target your writing at the clients you'd most like to work with.
  • Explain the key benefits of working with you. What do you bring to the table that other freelancers don't?
  • Include relevant keywords. This will help you get indexed by Google.
  • Share more about you, in a positive way. What are your greatest achievements? What do you enjoy about your work?
  • Include your best testimonials, so potential clients can see you've done good work for others. Show you have a solid track record.
  • List your services. If you choose a business page, the products section is the ideal place for this.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs. They're easier to read, and more likely to grab attention. Remember, Facebook is a treasure trove of distractions!
  • As with your Page Information, write like a human being. A good tip here is to have one person in mind when you're writing. You want to show you're a real person your clients can relate to.
  • It's up to you whether you write at first person (I am...) or third person (Bob is...). Third person works best for business pages, though it sounds more formal.
  • Proof read, proof read, proof read. Get a second pair of eyes to spot anything you miss.

Your Vanity URL

Facebook lets you choose your own URL for your Page. This is Facebook.com/YouChoose. Usually, though not always, you must have at least 25 fans before Facebook lets you pick a vanity URL.

There are three different approaches to choosing your vanity URL. One is to match your other social media usernames. For example, if your Twitter name is BobJones422, then you'd choose Facebook.com/BobJones422 as your vanity URL.

A second approach is to simply use your business name.

A third approach is to use your business name, and one or two keywords related to your sector or industry. For example, BobJonesWriter, or BobJonesGraphicDesign. This has the advantage of improving your Page's SEO. However, a long name looks clumsy, especially if you plan to print your Facebook Page address on your business card.

You can choose your vanity URL by selecting the "Basic Information" option in page settings, then selecting "Create a Username For This Page".

Your Email Update Settings

Whenever someone likes your Page, or adds a post or comment, Facebook sends you an email. If you find emails from Facebook annoying, you can turn off this setting using the Facebook Page settings.

While it can be a helpful reminder to respond to Facebook comments, the emails can clog up your inbox if your Page gets popular. What's more, Facebook sends you a weekly summary of new likes. If you're in the habit of replying to comments, you can turn off your email alerts.

Laying the Groundwork

Setting up your profile picture, cover, information and about page on your Facebook Page lays the foundation for your engagement on Facebook. Doing it well takes a couple of hours - perhaps more if you're designing you're own cover - but you only need to do it once. You may need to tweak it in the future, especially as Facebook's technology changes. But you'll never need to do it from scratch again.

After your Page is ready, you can start building a fan base and posting updates. Enjoy yourself! Positive energy is good for your marketing, as it attracts clients.

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