7 Ways you can improve your Facebook page now

Facebook is a major source of traffic for many news sites and it also presents a unique opportunity to interact directly with readers. Make the most of your Facebook presence and make your Page more engaging with the following tips:

1. Change your profile image

Your Facebook profile image is the first thing potential fans see when they on the arrive on the page. Is yours bold and enticing or a boring waste of space? If you’re looking for ways to liven up your profile image, check out 1stwebdesigner’s gallery of enticing Facebook Page Profile Images.


2. Get a vanity URL

Instead of a long URL like http://facebook.com/profile?65238628!!?ref=omgsolong the web address to your Facebook Page can be something simple like facebook.com/mypage. To shorten your URL, visit facebook.com/username or follow this nifty guide. You must have at least 25 fans to receive a custom URL.

3. Spice it up with FBML

Facebook Markup Language or FBML allows developers to add custom HTML or CSS to their Facebook page. You can even make your original content your default tab. For examples of what you can do with FBML, visit the Facebook Pages created by Louis Vuitton, Lady Gaga, and the NHL. For a step-by-step guide to using FBML, read this Mashable post.


4. Promote it on your own site

No man is an island and a Facebook Page shouldn’t be either. Make sure that your readers/viewers know about your Page by promoting it on your main site and including links on your individual articles. You can even add a “Like Box” to your site that displays people who are fans of your Facebook page on your site.


5. Stop having one-way conversations

A common mistake many news organizations who use Facebook make is they post articles or pose questions to their fans but don’t interact or respond to them. Social media isn’t a one-way conversation. Be sure to engage with your readers so they don’t feel like they are talking to a brick wall. Because talking to a brick wall is crazy.

6. Use third-party apps

There are many different third-party apps that you can use to enhance your Facebook page and better interact with your audience. These include Poll, which allows you to create a poll right on your page, YouTube Channel, which as its name suggests allows you to post YouTube videos to your page, and Docs, which enables the posting of documents to Facebook.

7. Create photo albums

Many newsrooms guard their photos like Buckingham Palace and this is understandable…photos can be downloaded and shared on the internet without permission. However, for those photos you do want to share, why not post them to Facebook as a photo gallery? You can even create a photo gallery with a link to where people can see more photos.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out California Watch (my former employer), who used the gallery feature share photos of California Watch staffers, scenes from a local tea party rally, and supplemental graphics that were paired with stories.

For more inspiration, check out App Storm’s list of the 35 best Facebook Fan Pages. If you don’t have a Facebook page yet, click here for information on how to get started.

Also on 10,000 Words:

10 Ways to track what people are saying about you on Twitter
4 Organizations more tech-savvy than your newsroom
How to turn online social networking into real-life relationships