If you are ready to start marketing your business on social media sites, one of the best ones to start with is Facebook. Facebook has more than 1.23 billion users, and it is by far the biggest social media site out there. You will have particularly good results with Facebook if your business already had plenty of face-to-face interaction with customers. Facebook gives you one more way to reach out to your patrons and interact and offer discounts and promotions. How do you sign up and launch a page? Facebook has changed over the years, but the basic steps are much the same now as they were in years past. Let’s get started!

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Log in or sign up.

If you have a personal profile on Facebook already, log into it. If not, create one. Do not skip this step or you will severely limit yourself later down the line. So ignore the “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business” that you see below the personal account sign-up. If you use that, you will create a business page only, and you will be lacking capabilities. Fill in all the fields and hit “Continue.”

Create your new business page.

Once you are logged in, you will go to create your business page. Your personal account and business page will be linked, but no one will be able to see your personal information publicly tied to your business page. Check out the categories available and choose the one which represents the best fit for your business. You will choose a main category first (Local Business or Place, Company, Organization or Institution, Artist, Band or Public Figure, Entertainment, Cause or Community). Only choose the “Local” option if you have a physical storefront. You will then pick a subcategory from the drop-down menu that appears (Internet/Software, Legal/Law, Health/Beauty, Food/Beverages, etc.).

Name your page.

Think very hard before you complete this step. If you already have a brand name and can use that, you should probably go with it so that you keep your image consistent and make it as easy as possible for people to find your page. The character limit as of right now is 70 characters. Note that the first letter must be capitalized, and you cannot add in unusual capitalizations. Later, if you wish, you can petition Facebook to change your capitalization. You can change the name of your page so long as you have fewer than 200 fans. After you pass 200, you are locked into the name you have. After you choose a name, select the box agreeing to the Facebook Page Terms, and click on “Get Started.”

Get your page set up and start using it.

Next, add a profile picture, preferably measuring 180 x 180 pixels. It needs to be something that will display well as a thumbnail. Choose something suitable and click “Next.” Now, add in your About information, and use plenty of keywords. You only get 155 characters here, so make them count. Add a link to your website here as part of the text, and then add it again in the website link field. You can link to other social media pages as well. You’ll then be prompted to “like” your own page, which you should go ahead and do. Ignore the prompt to invite your email contacts, as this will send out a form email from Facebook to all of them. Send your own personalized messages instead.

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Now Facebook will prompt you to share an update. You can do this now if you want or later. You can then go and add a cover photo to your page. The best size is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. This photo can contain 20% text, but no more than that. You can now return to your About page and add more detailed information using the fields available.

Finally you are ready to review your permissions. Choose settings that are suitable to you, and then start using your page! We suggest you post a number of status updates before you invite anyone to your page. That way they know what it is all about. Good luck, and enjoy promoting your business with your new Facebook page!