If you’re like many people, you have a Facebook profile to connect with old friends, share updates about your life, browse funny pictures and play games. But there’s another type of presence on Facebook that’s both fun and fruitful. It’s called a Facebook page. Using it, RDs can establish themselves as credible food and nutrition professionals, attract new clients, increase visibility and build a stronger personal brand.
Facebook Page vs. Facebook Profile
What’s the difference between a Facebook “page” and a Facebook “profile?” In a nutshell, a Facebook profile is personal. It’s where you post photos from your family vacation, funny anecdotes and connect with friends.
A page, on the other hand, is professional. It’s where you promote your business to current and potential clients.
Facebook does offer a number of profile privacy settings with the intention of managing professional and personal audiences, but those settings and policies change frequently. So before you “friend” colleagues or clients, first ask yourself whether you really want to share the same information with business associates as you do with friends and family. If you don’t, a Facebook page can help you silo your networks successfully.
Creating Your Facebook Page
You must have a Facebook profile in order to have a Facebook page. If you’re not on Facebook, therefore, step one is creating your profile, which you can do by visiting Facebook.com and clicking “Sign Up” (Facebook will walk you through the process). Once you have a profile, you can create a page by following these steps:
- Visit Facebook’s “Create a Page” tool, where you can choose one of six page types. RDs who do business under a company name should choose “Company, Organization or Institution” while those who operate under their own name should choose “Artist, Band or Public Figure.”
- When you choose a page type, select the appropriate option from the “Category” dropdown menu. RDs creating a “Company, Organization or Institution” page, for instance, might choose “Food/Beverage,” while those creating an “Artist, Band or Public Figure” page might choose “Business Person.”
- Click “Get Started” and follow the instructions to create your page.
- Personalize your page, starting with photos. You’ll need a personal photo and a cover photo: the personal photo should be your logo or a professional headshot, and the cover photo ideally represents your line of work. Also important is the “About” section where you describe who you are, what you do and what services you offer. Include your email, phone number and a link to your website or blog so potential clients can get in touch.
- Now you’re ready to add page content. You can post photos, videos, links or text. Because this is a business page, however, keep it professional. RDs and RDNs, for example, can post nutrition tips and advice, links to articles about diet and exercise, recipes they’ve developed or information about products they recommend. (Remember that there are rules and ethics about paid endorsements! Read more about that here.)
Promoting Your Facebook Page
Once you’ve created a professional Facebook page, your goal is getting people to “like” it. When someone “likes” your page, they may see your updates in their news feeds. And the fact that they “liked” your page may show up in their friends’ news feeds. Share the link via other social media sites — for instance, share with your Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections.
Other ideas for publicizing your page:
- Add “Like Us on Facebook” to your business card and email signature.
- Add a Facebook “Page Badge” to your website and/or blog.
- Try paid advertising to reach Facebook users who are interested in food and nutrition.
Using Your Facebook Page
Like any social media channel, a successful Facebook page requires fresh content. Consider the following tips for maintaining your professional page:
- Post something to your page every day to keep it in followers’ news feeds. It could be a link, a photo or even a question for your followers to answer.
- Keep your most important posts at the top of your Facebook page by “pinning” them. To pin a post, click the pencil icon beside the post and select “Pin to Top.” This will move the post to the top of your page and mark it with an orange flag. Posts can stay pinned for up to seven days.
- Whenever possible, include a photo in your posts. According to Facebook, a photo album or picture generates twice the engagement as other post types.
- Use Facebook Insights to find out when people engage most with your posts —morning, noon or night — then try to make posts during that time period.
- Add apps from the Facebook App Center. There are more than 500,000 apps to choose from — many of them free — that you can use to enhance your page. If you’re an author, for instance, you can add an e-commerce app that allows people to purchase your book. A polling app allows you to survey followers. Or, use a slide-sharing app to add presentations and documents to your page.
Finally, if someone posts on your page or comments on your content, respond. Being a good Facebook citizen means not just posting to your page, but also interacting with your followers.