Three essential tips to start building your brand on Facebook

Like it or not, social media is now a necessary tool in managing and marketing your brand. Whether it’s the brand of a multinational corporation or of one pro angler working to attract both fans and sponsors, without social media as part of a brand’s presence in today’s marketplace, that brand just isn’t going to seem very relevant.

Kevin VanDam

The header images of Kevin VanDam’s Facebook page

So with all the social media platforms out there — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and countless others springing up seemingly every day — you may be asking yourself: “Where do I begin?”

The answer for most of you should probably be the one that seems most obvious, the giant: Facebook. Though it may be losing steam among certain demographics, it’s still by far the biggest fish in the pond — and therefore you owe it to yourself to maintain an active presence there. The following tips will set you on the right path if you’re just starting to build your brand on the platform, or help you make some key adjustments if you’re already there.

1. A page, not a profile

When you’re building your presence on Facebook, you want to go with a “page” and not a “profile,” which is designed for personal accounts. Profiles are what we’re all used to with Facebook, what the average user has. And while you are a person and, yes, this page will only be about you (and the sponsors you’re working for), it’s time to start thinking bigger.

With a profile, you’re fans will be following you by sending you friend requests — and, depending on your privacy settings, may not be able to see anything about you until you get around to accepting their request. Plus, do you really want Ricky from Guntersville, Ala., interacting with you in the same place Mom is tagging you in naked baby pictures? No, you do not.

What you do want is no restraints on who can follow you or when, and no limit on the number of fans that can follow your page (Facebook caps personal profiles at 5,000 friends). So set up your fan page today — it should only take you a few minutes to get up and running. In choosing categories, that’s up to you, but you certainly want to be accurate and there’s no need to overthink it. Most professional anglers tend to go with Artist, Band or Public Figure > Athlete for their pages.

2. Give your page a custom URL

Once your page is set up, and once 25 fans have “liked” it, Facebook will allow you to assign your page a custom URL. You will want to do this for one major reason:

facebook.com/KevinVanDamFishing

… is much easier for your fans to remember than …

facebook.com/g5226814hz5980hgew

When choosing the URL, you can basically pick anything that isn’t already taken on Facebook. You could just go with your name, you could add “Fishing” to the end of it like in the example above — whatever way you want to brand yourself. There is something to keeping it short and easy to remember though, and if just your name is available you really can’t beat that.

To keep it easier to read, you might want to consider capitalizing each separate word (“JohnDoe” instead of “johndoe”). Also keep in mind that this will automatically become your Facebook email address where people can reach out to you (johndoe@facebook.com); to keep you on top of any email sent to this address, Facebook will automatically forward it to the primary email address associated with your Facebook account.

3. Be a pro

At PAR, we try to always emphasize the importance of being a professional both on and off the water. That rule to live by also extends to social media, where anyone can see what you post. And once something’s out there in the ether of the internet, it’s hard — and often impossible — to completely undo it (and even when you can, it’s always a best practice to assume you can’t). The internet doesn’t forgive or forget. This of course means being civil and classy in all interactions with your fans (and haters), but it also means making sure your page projects an image of success.

Even on your Facebook page, you want to look like someone who’s made it in the sport, whether or not that’s true yet. A big step toward achieving this is featuring two high-quality photos in your page’s header area as well as filling out your professional details.

At the top of your page is the space for a wide “cover photo” that spans the width of the page, and inset within this large photo is a smaller, square-shaped “profile photo.” You’ll want to choose a couple of nice, dynamic photos of yourself for both of these spots. Pick high-quality, exciting shots of you pulling a bass out of the water, holding one onstage at a weigh-in, etc. If you don’t have them, get them. Even if you have to pay a professional photographer for a few nice shots of you on the water, they’ll go a long way in helping your image and building your brand. If you have some sponsors, make sure you feature them by showing off your boat wrap in the cover photo, and be wearing your jersey and hat in any photos of yourself that you use.

For your reference, here are the standard sizes Facebook uses for these two photos. Adhere to these exact dimensions to ensure the photos don’t end up awkwardly cropped.

  • Cover photo: 851×315 pixels
  • Profile photo: 180×180 pixels

The other half of being a pro on your Facebook page is filling out the professional details on your page. You’ll want to fill out the “About” area with a description of who you are, a link to your website (if you don’t have one, yes, you’re going to need one), your other social media handles, any career highlights, and a list of your sponsors. One key here is to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. If copy editing isn’t one of your strong suits, get someone to look it over for you. Seriously. It’s hard to project an image of professionalism through your Facebook page if the representations of your brand — whether photos or text — don’t look professional.

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Author: Nathan Benson

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