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Mom and Pop - Make Sure Your Facebook Page Won't Be "So Last Year" in 2013

Facebook changes been fast and furious in 2012, making it tough for small, mom and pop businesses to stay current. Many entrepreneurs are on their own when it comes to building engagement and communities on Facebook and they generally don't have money to promote "likes", or buy Facebook ads, or even hire a social media professional.

Start by getting a tablet or a smart phone today if you don't already have one. The majority of social media users are posting from mobile devices. To truly understand the social mentality you need to be a mobile social user.  

Here are a couple of simple changes this businesses can use to up the profile of their page in 2013.

1.  Facebook finally added the "share" button to mobile phones and tablets. Update your mobile device to see how it works. It's great for personal profiles, but it also helps businesses increase their reach and hammers home the idea that photos and links produce the most engagement.

Here's what you can and can't do:

You can share updates from your news feed, including business pages that with links, single photos and  videos.

You can also tag friends.  

You can't share status updates from friends that are text only or photo albums with multiple pictures.

2.  I'm amazed that not all businesses have added a cover photo and changed the profile picture to enhance the look of their page. Facebook converted all business pages to Timeline on March 30th. Larger businesses complained about losing their fan-gate welcome pages, but the cover photo is a positive change for smaller businesses who couldn't afford to take advantage of fan-gate apps as it gives them the chance to use the cover photo to visually promote the "feel" of their business. Be careful though, you are not allowed to include promotions and URLs. Mashable has posted some great examples here

3.  Pinning (not to be confused with Pinterest) is another great feature. Businesses can "pin" important posts to the top of their Timeline so they are visible to fans longer. Click the pencil icon in the upper-right corner of your Page's post and choose "Pin to top". Of course, use photos for the greatest visibility.

4.  Facebook bought Instagram last spring and linked it to profile pages in an Instagram album. Encourage people to take photos of your business and post to their Instagram account. Yes, people will post more than puppies and food if you give them something interesting to share.

5.  One of the most annoying parts of Facebook is its insistence on deciding what I'm interested in. "My Sort By" at the top of my news feed keeps reverting to Top Stories. I'm not sure why anyone would chose that over Latest Posts. Brand posts no longer show up in a person's feed just because they "liked" the page. If you want to show up you must create engaging content that encourage likes, comments and shares. Make sure you monitor and respond to fans who have taken the time to care about your product.

(There is a work around so you can see all the posts in your newsfeed, at least until Facebook figures out to get rid of it).

You've probably noticed a recurring theme - images, images, images.  Start to think more visually and you'll really boost your engagement in 2013.

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