Facebook for Business Launches Education Center Online

There has been a lot of press and conversation around the launch of Google+. One thing that has been glaringly missing from the new social network, however, is a ‘place’ for businesses to promote their brands – such as Facebook Pages. To make that issue even more obvious, Facebook has just released Facebook for Business – an online resource to help companies grow their business with Facebook’s powerful marketing tools.

Facbook for BusinessA Facebook spokesman says:

Facebook allows small businesses to create rich social experiences, build lasting relationships and amplify the most powerful type of marketing—word of mouth. We created Facebook.com/Business to make it even easier for people to reach these objectives and grow.

With Facebook’s amazing targeting features and improving reporting capabilities it makes sense for them to continue to push their marketing capabilities and continue to build the divide between themselves and Google Plus. Facebook for Business will provide details on all of the marketing options available including:

What are your thoughts – will you leverage this new Facebook business marketing resource?

Facebook Static FBML App Decommission Roadmap

I recently wrote about a Facebook security update for apps that kicked in on October 1st. It looks like Facebook will be making some changes to FBML as well in the near future. While you haven’t been able to create FBML apps since March, they still work.

That’s not going to be the case in the future. If you currently have old FBML apps which are currently grandfathered in, they will need to be rewritten or replaced by next June. Our recommendation is to make the updates even sooner.

From Facebook:

  1. January 1, 2012: FBML will no longer be supported. We will not fix FBML bugs after this date with the exception of security and privacy issues
  2. June 1, 2012: FBML apps will no longer work on Facebook. All FBML endpoints will be removed.

What this Means to You:

  1. Broken FBML apps will likely stay broken. You should no longer promote or depend on any FBML apps.
  2. FBML apps go away completely. At this point, any FBML apps should have been completely decommissioned or rewritten as HTML5 iFrame apps.

Resources to Migrate to an iFrame Solution:

  1. The Preferred Developer Consultant Finder on Facebook is a great tool to find Facebook Preferred Developers to help guide you through the upgrade process.
  2. Facebook and WildFire have created a step by step tutorial to guide your migration.
  3. Lastly, visit the Facebook Developer Blog to learn more – https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/568/

Do you use FBML apps? What are your migration plans?

Creating a Facebook Page – Step 5: Create a Username

Now that you’ve selected the most appropriate category for your Facebook page, filled out your info section and began adding content to your Facebook page and updated your settings to prevent comment spam hopefully all of that has translated into an increase in ‘likes’.

The last step in finalizing your Facebook Page is creating a username. This is key for a number of reasons:

  • Prevent someone from squatting on your brand name
  • Improve search engine optimization by including your ‘keywords’ in your URL
  • A specific, short URL is much easier for your users to remember
  • Helps establish an ‘identify’ for your brand
  • Eases promotional efforts when publishing your Facebook Page URL

In short, you should definitely take advantage of the ability to assign a unique username for your Facebook page.

To get started, follow the steps below:

  1. Login to Facebook and go to your Facebook page.
  2. Click “Edit Info” and then select “Basic Information”.
  3. Click on the link: “Create a username for this page?”
  4. In some cases, it may require you to verify your account. Additionally, it requires you to have at least 25 fans on your Facebook page.

Tips on Selecting a Username

You’ll need to assign a username that should be the same as your official business name, domain name, or brand. With over 750 million users on Facebook, its quite possible the username you are hoping for will be taken. In such as a case use “dots” or “dashes” to isolate each word. For example, if you are the owner of Blue Widgets, then you can assign the username as “blue-widgets” or “blue.widgets”.

After configuring this, your official Facebook page URL should now be one of the following options:

  1. http://www.facebook.com/bluewidgets
  2. http://www.facebook.com/blue-widgets
  3. http://www.facebook.com/blue.widgets

Its looks professional, clean, and search engine friendly. Now you have officially completed all 5 steps required to set up your Facebook Page! Feel free to leave a link to your Facebook Page in the comments section!

Creating a Facebook Page – Step 4: Prevent Comment Abuse

Now that you are populating your Facebook Page with content, you’ll likely encounter spam comments as well as the occasional use of profanity. Obviously this is not great for any brand page. With that in mind, its time to configure your landing page settings to prevent as much comment abuse as possible.

Preventing Facebook Page Comment Abuse

  1. Click “Edit Info” on your dashboard
  2. Click “Manage permissions’
  3. Next, configure the following important aspects
  4. Default landing tab – you can set this to either wall or info. This is the first thing the user will see when they land on your Facebook page
    • Elect whether or not you can decide if users can add photos or videos
    • To control the use of profane words in comments, under “moderation blocklist” copy and paste this list of words
    • Lastly, make sure “profanity blocklist” is set to “strong”

Now, after these settings are updated, you should be well on your way to preventing a lot of common Facebook comment abuse. Note, you should still manually check your followers comments to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks!

Next up, the final step 5 – creating a username.

Major Facebook Security Changes Oct 1 Audit your Applications Now!

On October 1, 2011, Facebook will make a mandatory change to all applications, as per the Facebook Developer Roadmap. Any affected application not updated before the change will become inoperable.

It is imperative that you audit any/all client Facebook apps/experiences in order to ascertain if they will be affected by these changes. Again, these changes must be made to existing Facebook applications (or inserted into current build plans for applications) – if not, these client applications will be rendered inoperable as of OCT 1.

We are sending this out now as the supported toolkits from Facebook were just updated and released and are now ready to be implemented against.

Recommended Audit steps:

  1. Identify and list all programs with Facebook integrations.
  2. Identify programs that will continue to be live after September 30, 2011.
  3. Work with your program’s associated tech resources to identify if program will be affected.

Facebook Security Update FAQ

Why is this happening?

Facebook has recently been the subject of many concerns about the level of security around the exchange of personal information with applications. This is an effort by Facebook to shore up their interfaces to prevent any exploitation.

Is this optional?

Unfortunately, Facebook has made this non-optional. Historically, Facebook has basically had the approach that changes like these have been part of the ‘cost of doing business on Facebook.’ They move fast, and expect you to also.

What will be affected?

Any application on:

  • Facebook Pages
  • Facebook Canvases
  • Non-Facebook site (minisite, client’s .com) using Facebook Connect

and using:

  • IFrames
  • OpenGraph
  • Facebook SDKs
    • Official
      • PHP
      • Javascript
    • Unofficial
      • Java
      • .NET
      • Ruby
      • Etc.

What will not be affected?

  1. Much older FBML applications – predating IFrame switchover.
  2. Site integrations limited to Facebook Social Plugins (Like buttons, Send buttons, etc.) that don’t do deeper Connect/OpenGraph integration.

What changes need to be made?

All applications must have valid SSL certificates and be configured to use HTTPS. This requires acquiring certificates and working with associated IT resources to install on the servers where the program is hosted. These certificates cannot be “self-signed” and must work with any modern browser without it complaining.

Integration code must upgrade to OAuth 2.0 and associated new Facebook authentication:

  • Apps using PHP SDK update to latest official Facebook PHP SDK and make minor code changes.
  • Apps using Javascript SDK update to latest official Facebook Javascript SDK and make minor code changes.
  • Apps using other SDKs must update in whatever manner appropriate.

In the Facebook developer console, under “Settings -> Advanced”, enable “OAuth Migration”.

What do we do if our app is hosted by a social app vendor (Involver, Buddy Media, Wildfire, Vitrue, etc.)?

Reach out to the vendor and ask them if they have a plan in place for the “Facebook OAuth 2.0 and SSL changes”.

It might be an annoying change to have to make but it’s nice to see Facebook putting some thought into privacy protection. What are your thoughts on the upgrade?

Creating a Facebook Page – Step 3: Add Posts to Your Wall

Now that you have selected the appropriate category for your Facebook page and updated the Info section, now you’re ready to begin providing some seed content to your Facebook wall. One of the easiest ways to get some content on your wall immediately is to share your latest blog posts.

To share a newly posted blog post or content from your website, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Wall.
  2. Click “Link”
  3. Copy and paste the newly posted blog link from your website
  4. Click “Attach”
  5. Under “Say something about this link”, be sure to type an enticing description to increase click through rates to your site
  6. Finally, click “Share”

An example is below:

Share Blog Posts on Facebook

As you increase Facebook fans and followers, your regular news updates will appear in their news feeds. If your fans likes or shares the story, the rest of their contacts will be exposed to the content in their news feeds as well – hopefully increasing your traffic even further.

This is short and sweet but definitely one of the easiest ways to begin populating your Facebook Page with useful content until a full editorial calendar can be developed.

Next up, step 4 of your Facebook Page creation – preventing comment abuse.

Facebook Marketing Ideas – 5 Tips to Generate Business Leads

Businesses have discovered Facebook in a big way, and are becoming quite adept at establishing their presence on the social network, both as a way to broadcast their messages, and also as a way to engage and interact with customers, or “fans.” However, only the savviest recognize Facebook as a way to generate leads.

Establish your B2B presence on Facebook, by all means, but don’t miss out on the opportunity for lead generation as well. Below are five simple ways to accomplish just that.

1. Link Your Content to Your Facebook Wall

The very first thing you need to do is to create links on your Wall back to your own content, thus providing your Facebook fans a way to convert into leads. The best way to do this is to establish a conversion form on the landing page, which will lead to some kind of downloadable content, such as a Webinar, or an eBook.

2. Use iFrames to Embed Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons

You used to be able to add CTA buttons on the sidebar of your profile in Facebook, but that is no longer an option. No worries—use iFrames to add custom tabs with CTAs, and then make sure they point fans to your landing pages for your special offers and downloadable information.

3. Increase Your Fans

According to a recent study, there is a direct correlation with the number of leads a company’s page generates and the number of Facebook fans they have. Think of it this way, every new fan you acquire and every “Like” you get represents a potential new customer and therefore a new lead. Hold contests or ask questions to generate more “Likes” and consider adding a button on your own Website that will link your customers to Facebook and recruit more fans.

4. Add Like and Share Buttons.

Make it as easy as you can for others to spread the word about your content and business by adding a share button to your content pages, allowing them to link your content back to their own networks. Along the same lines, add a Like plugin to all of your content as well, increasing your visibility and thus your leads.

5. Make it Difficult to Not Convert

What if you could offer conversion opportunities to your fans without ever requiring them to leave Facebook to do it? There is a way! Create an app for their customers that present fans with a conversion form immediately upon clicking Like, which will consequently increase your opportunities for generating leads. This is very innovative, and worth the download.

Have any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments!

Creating a Facebook Page – Step 1: Choosing a Category

With the incredible growth of Facebook, if you own a business or website, it makes sense to create a Facebook page in order to take advantage of the potential traffic. At this point, don’t worry if you are just getting started or do not have any fans or likes. If you are confident you can create quality content and present it properly, the number of people that will like your site and join the community will naturally increase.

To get started, visit this page. Note that there are a handful of options to choose from depending on what type of page you are looking to create. This is step 1 in creating a Facebook Page – be sure to select the most appropriate category to avoid future mistakes and confusion on the part of your Facebook fans.

Follow these tips to properly select your Facebook page type:

Company, Organization or Institution

If the Facebook page is being created for business purposes and you have a need to establish reputation and identity with the rest of your friends or visitors on Facebook you need to select “Company, Organization or Institution”. This will allow you to list your own company or business directly in your personal Facebook profile. To do so, log into your Facebook account, then click “Profile”. Once there, click “Edit Profile” then go to “Education and Work”. You can then list your company under “Employer”. The good thing about this method is that after saving the changes, your friends and visitors can see this link in your profile. When this link is clicked, the visitor will land on your Facebook page. Mercedes is a great example of a Company Facebook Profile.

Company or Organization Facebook Page Example

Artist, Band or Public Figure

Perhaps, Myspace is better known for their affinity for band pages and music in general, however, if you are looking to grow fans and community for a musical artist or band, then select “Artist, Band or Public Figure”. This Facebook page option allows the musical artist or band to upload music as well as the ability for fans to share music with their network of friends, etc. This feature is not available in other types of Facebook Pages. Eminem has grown quite a community on Facebook with over 46 million likes.

Band, Public Figure Facebook Page Example

Cause or Community

For non-profit websites created for charity and community, you can select “Cause or Community”. These pages were especially helpful during some of the recent tragedies such as the Haiti Earthquake. The American Red Cross pops to mind as one such Cause or Community page that is doing a great job.

Cause or Community Facebook Page Example


Looking to increase fans for a TV show, TV channel, concert or sporting event? The Entertainment Facebook Page is your ideal choice. One of my favorite examples is HBO:

Entertainment Facebook Page Example

Brand or Product

If you are looking to market a specific brand or product such as clothing, appliances, food or beverages than the Brand or Product Facebook page is the ideal choice. While there are a lot of choices to choose from in this category, I like how Skittles has really embraced the Facebook community growing fans to over 19 million and consistently engaging with comments and creating content on their wall.

Brand or Product Facebook Page Example

Local Business or Place

Does your business serve a localized cliental? This option is ideal for local bars/restaurants, hotels, religious institutions, local monuments, etc. You will have the option to add your address and local phone number. The example below, shows how 24 Hour Fitness utilizes individual Local Business pages to market to members of each of their localized fitness clubs.

Local Business Facebook Page Example

Look for an overview of step 2 coming soon! By the way, what are some of your favorite Facebook pages?

Facebook and Social Networking Tools for Mac

Looking for places to market your products or services? While Facebook is the clear leader in targeting and reach, be sure not to overlook additional social networking sites such as Twitter and YouTube!

Just what is a social networking site and how can it help you?

It is a place on the Web where people of all ages go to chat with friends, interact with associates, or just browse. Such sites can be used to interact with people in all fields of interest, but they seem to be a particular lure for young people.

It’s not hard to see how a social networking site can help to market an online business. If your business were offline, you would want to place your ads in areas where the greatest number of people could see them, such as in a shopping mall. Simple put, a social networking site is a lot like a mall.

Social networking sites appeal particularly to young people and those with plenty of disposable income. This is probably the reason why bands and other entertainers have such a strong presence on the social networks. Authors, software developers, game makers, really, people from any industry can be found there. If you want to reach a target audience, you will go where the people are. After all, Twitter has 200 million members as of this writing and Facebook has 600 million. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at!

The right way and a wrong way to utilize the social networking websites.

Like other places on the Internet, neither users nor administrators like those who go around blatantly advertising their businesses on the social websites. This is not to say that you cannot advertise your business on Facebook, but you should remember that the site has an advertising program and you will have to pay for the privilege.

There are free ways to advertise on the social websites, but you must go about it in the right way. This means adding value and interesting content to your own page, as well as spending plenty of time interacting with others so that they are motivated to see what you have to offer.

Mac Tools to manage multiple social networking sites

There are programs for Mac that can help with this, and some applications work with more than one social network.

  1. Facebook Desktop from Bit Per Second – A browser-based application that provides an alternative way of accessing both Facebook and Twitter that some users may find more convenient.
  2. Seesmic – One of the more popular tools that allows you to manage multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  3. Socialite From Apparent Software – Provides an attractive interface for accessing Digg, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds.
  4. Yoono Desktop – Similar to Socialite, Yoono Desktop, which has a version for Mac, Windows and Linux and also allows connection with multiple social networks.
  5. RockMelt – A browser for Windows, Mac, Linux and the iPhone that also has social networking capabilities built in. It is the defacto successor to the Flock browser (which recently announced its end of support).

No matter how you participate, if you want to market your business, you will want to go where the people are, and nothing fits that description better than social networking websites.

Tim Arends authors Internet Mac Marketing where he offers a FREE 75-page ebook that covers everything you need to know about running your Internet business using a Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Facebook Friend App – Edit Blank Avatars and Dormant Profiles with FaceDouche.com

This is one of the more genius Facebook Friend Apps I’ve seen and provides an easy way for you anyone to “Clean up your Facebook Friends and Weed out the Douchebags” in three simple steps:

  1. Login to your Facebook profile
  2. Select your filtering options and “douche your profile”
  3. Edit the douchey profiles

This video from Chris Voss provides a nice overview of the app.