As I began pulling this article together I realised just how vast the subject of running a Facebook Page is. This first part of ‘Top Tips For Running A Facebook Page‘ will focus on the absolute basics that every Club or Organisation should be getting right.
Group, Profile or Page?
The clue here is in the title of this article. If you are unsure of how to present your brand publicly on Facebook and which of the various options to choose from, I can say with 100% confidence that you need to use the Facebook Page option.
Groups: These are for focussed communities of individuals to come together. Entry to a Group can be controlled so that only Admins can add and approve people or it can be open for anyone with a Facebook account to join. Some functions available to members of a Group include uploading photos to shared albums, collaborating on group docs, chatting/discussing and inviting members (who are friends) to group events.
The number of members in a Group is limited to 5,000 and a Group is contained on Facebook so won’t show up on Google search results. Groups are set up for smaller communities and have controllable privacy options so are ideal for things like ‘Players Only’ or ‘Club Members Only’ management.
Profiles: This is what you get when you join Facebook, your own profile. I have seen some clubs opt for this solution which requires a 2-way authentication process for people to ‘friend’ the club. That in itself is enough to drive people away from you on Facebook as users see it as an amateur move and are used to joining Groups or Pages. Being someone’s ‘friend’ on Facebook is a more intimate affair as means that the club would have access to the users full Facebook profile (unless they specifically cut you out of certain areas). Profiles also do not have the same functionality as Groups and Pages, a key one being insights into how your posts and page in general are performing.
Pages: These are for organisations and are more likely to be used, trusted and kept up to date than your own website. They are more customisable than Profiles and Pages and can even be used to generate revenue for your club! Pages are open to the Public and have no limit to the number of people that can ‘Like’ them. The best Facebook pages can even rank high in Google indexing, meaning that they appear in search results.
Getting help running the Page
It’s likely that you’ll want/need help running the Facebook Page, as an Admin you can provide Admin access to other people. The best part is that you can control the level of access/permissions that each Admin has by assigning them to one of the six available Admin Roles.
To make things easy, Facebook even made a handy table showing the access/permissions level for each Admin Role:
Use a relevant Profile Photo
The Profile Photo is the one that your fans and the general public will see the most often. It will appear in Newsfeeds with every post you make. My advice here is keep it simple, use a nice quality image of your club logo.
You don’t want too many words (or any at all if it can be helped) in your Profile Photo. The Profile Photo will render as a small image next to your posts so it is very unlikely that words will be legible unless they are large and bold.
Pay attention to your Cover Photo
Facebook has recently upped their game when it comes to Cover Photos and very few Pages are taking advantage. Think of your Cover Photo as your billboard, use it to advertise. Now I don’t necessarily mean revenue generating or call to action advertisements, I mean advertise what you are about, what’s the best part of being involved in your club? What means a lot to your club? Why should I bother liking your Page? Use your Cover Photo to get that all important Page like from those who show an interest in your Page.
Now you may think “well that’s a lot, how can I possibly fit so much in to one picture” and you’d be right. You can’t fit all of that information into a single image, however Facebook allows you to use a video or a slide show of up to 5 images as your Cover Photo. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! It will set you apart from the others and maximise on a key element of your Page.
Now, here’s the rub, you need to do all of this with as much imagery as possible. Cut out and cut down on words, that’s not to say don’t use any words but keep it simple and concise.
Post photos and videos to your Page
Visual content is forty times more likely to get shared on social media than non-visual content. Think about your own habits on social media, what types of posts are you compelled to like, share or comment on? What types of content do your friends and family members like, share and comment on? I’d hazard a guess that its more often than not something that either has an image or a video attached.
We are going to follow up with an entire article on social media content but take a look at other Facebook Pages for Sports Clubs, see what they are doing and do a version for your club. There are hundreds of things you can create and post on your page that your followers will engage with.
A key but subtle part of this is the ‘to your page’ bit. Try to minimise sharing posts from elsewhere, I’m not saying don’t do it but don’t rely on others for your Page content. If you are a Page that just reposts the work of others, why would anyone want to like you? Get the content on your own Page, not a link from another page or a link from your own YouTube channel or a website, post it directly on to your Page. Facebook provides more favourable exposure for content posted on its own site, so more people will see it if you post it yourself.
Play on the narcissism of your players, involve them, post about them, engage with them and then watch as everything falls into place. They will like and share it, a handful of teammates will do the same, then it may get picked up by their friends and family, then there’s fans and supporters of your club. All of a sudden your post has a hundred or so reactions, 10-15 shares and has been seen by 3000 people.
Facebook provide a free and easy to use scheduler for your posts. This allows you to set times and dates to post your content at the most optimal times. The Insights part of the Admin console will show you loads of information including when the majority of your followers are online.
However my advice is to test the water and post at different times to see what works best. You’ll see infographics and blogs from experts that advise certain times, these are probably a good place to start but they are not necessarily optimal for your Page so make sure you try out alternatives.
You’ll still need to be agile and ensure you are able to post content that is time sensitive but leveraging the scheduler will make life a lot easier.
A good 80-90% of people who visit your page will do so on a Mobile device. So you need to make sure that your photos, videos, cover photo and profile photo all look good and work well on mobile devices.
You can test posts out by scheduling them in (or saving them as a Draft) and then opening them and clicking on the Mobile Preview tab.
Tag other Pages
Expand your post reach as well as build connections to other clubs and organisations (maybe even sponsors) by tagging them in your posts. I’ve already talked about sharing content from other Pages, make sure you tag the original Page when you share – this is another way to endear your Page to them and hopefully create an online relationship that is mutually beneficial to all parties.
Your approach here needs to be genuine, there has to be a valid reason to tag the other Page(s) and you don’t want to do it all the time as you will likely annoy the Page Admins and your own fans.
Another thing to be mindful of is that reciprocity is not mandatory. The Page you tag doesn’t then have to tag you in their next post, they don’t have to offer up any type of response at all. But think of yourself as the solid one that gives with no expectation of receiving and in time you’ll come across a valuable partner or two.
Respond to Comments
This is a big one and another element that can and will set you aside from the pack. Less than 40% of Facebook Pages respond to comments on their own posts! Its crazy. Some social media experts say you should respond to ALL comments on your posts, I find this approach tiresome for the Admin and disingenuous for the commenter.
I see pages that have either the same canned response to all comments or they try too hard to make a relevant reply. For instance, if someone has tagged a friend in a comment and the Page then replies to it with “Well <insert tagged friends name> what do you think?” You’re likely to get ignored or laughed at, or both.
Don’t force yourself onto commenters but be there for conversation and help.
Avoid the faux pas of commenting as yourself! This is an easy one to slip up on, as an Admin you will have the option of commenting as the Page or as your own personal profile. Its an easy thing to overlook when you are going through and responding to people but do your best to ensure you are always commenting as the Page.
Activate the Inbox
If you’ve not done so already, do this right now. Go to Admin Panel > Edit Page > Manage Permissions and make sure that you have the box checked to show the “Message” button.
This now means you have activated the Inbox on your Page and people can now get hold of you using Messenger.
This is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants to get in touch but doesn’t want to do so publicly. Why is this so important? You open up doors to new players, supporters, club members, sponsors, suppliers and with that a whole world of opportunities for your club.
Having that transparency and that close communication method with your fans is also another value add to them for you.
You can set auto-responses up for your inbox so that every message you receive gets a response quickly. I’m not a fan of this, even if its just a holding message. It feels a bit too wooden and corporate however there will be times that someone messages and an Admin isn’t available. My advice is to get a real response from a real person (whether you use an automated message as well or not) to them as soon as possible.