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0–60 on Facebook in 11 Steps

Let’s get you started on Facebook. These 11 steps will help you get your personal profile up and running in about an hour:

  1. Take a Few Minutes to Familiarize Yourself

    This is either a new world you’re stepping into or a familiar social network you’re determined to spend more time hanging out on. It has lots of features, as shown in Figure 1.2—many of which we discuss. Click around; you won’t break anything. (Well, hopefully you won’t break anything.)

    Figure 1.2

    Figure 1.2 After you log in to Facebook, you see the home page that serves as your dashboard to access many of the features of your Facebook account.

  2. Upload a Picture of Yourself

    We want to see who you are. When someone searches for you, they’re much more likely to engage and recognize you if they’re greeted with a nice picture. When you do searches in Facebook, the search results provide you with only those people’s pictures, names, and networks. Therefore, it can be hard to identify people you’re looking for if they don’t have a picture uploaded, especially if it’s a common name. For this reason, uploading a profile photo is a must. Besides, one of the reasons you’re probably hanging out on Facebook, besides using it for your marketing needs, is to have meaningful personal relationships. Pictures help really well with that. On the marketing side, a photo helps to humanize your brand. It allows your prospects, customers, and fans to connect directly with you and know exactly who they are talking to.

    Please don’t post anything offensive. Facebook isn’t the right place for offensive pictures, and Facebook actively polices the network. At a basic level, why would you even want to upload a picture that was offensive to a network that you don’t control and in a world where everything you do becomes a permanent record?

    Do post a picture of yourself that shows your personality. The most preferred type of photo to upload as your profile picture is a nice one of you by yourself, either a head shot or a full body picture. This allows the focus to be on you, and people don’t have to guess which person you might be. Also, remember that the profile picture in search results and other areas of the network appear much smaller. If other people, animals, or objects are in the photo, it will make it harder to distinguish what’s going on and which person in the photo you are. But some people don’t want to be found or recognized in search, so in that case, have fun uploading a shot of an animal or a place instead.

    Uploading group pictures as your profile picture should be a no-no, because it will be nearly impossible to see you in it, especially if someone has never seen a photo of you or met you before.

  3. Fill Out Your Profile

    We know this seems time-consuming, but this is one of the main ways that people can find you. It’s the quickest way for me to get to know you when you accept my friendship request. Also, some of the ever-increasing applications created for Facebook can leverage some of this information to help keep contact lists up to date, such as on the iPhone, Palm Pre, and Android platforms.

    Some of the information you have the option to enter—and that you will be prompted to fill in, as shown in Figure 1.3, includes the following: sex, birthday, home town, relationship status, type of connections you want to establish, interests, favorite music, favorite TV shows, favorite movies, favorite books, quotations, a little information about yourself, contact information, and your education and work background.

    Figure 1.3

    Figure 1.3 The Info tab of your Facebook account contains all the basic information you choose to share about yourself.

    Now, you don’t have to fill ALL this out; you should answer only questions that you feel comfortable with having posted. If you don’t want to display your full contact info, that’s understandable. If you prefer not to mention your political preference, don’t. But do take the time to share as much as you’re comfortable with.

    By the time this book reaches the printer, Facebook may have moved the new Timeline Profile from beta to mainstream usage. Figure 1.4 shows what it looks like.

    Figure 1.4

    Figure 1.4 The new Timeline profile.

    As Mark Zuckerberg put it when he introduced Timeline in September 2011 at the F8 conference, it’s “The Story of Your Life In One Page.” It’s much more visual and historical than the old profile. It’s like Time Magazine’s Year In Review infographic, but applied to your life. And you can choose each element so it displays your life to the world the way you want. And you can choose privacy settings so that groups of people see what you want them to see.

    Currently, you get a week to play with your Timeline before it’s published, or you can publish as soon as you have it where you want it.

    The first thing you choose is your Cover, which is a big masthead photo that represents a unique moment in your life. To change your cover, hover over the cover photo, and click on change cover. Then you’ll get a pop-up of photos and you can choose to dive into your albums to look for the right picture. You may want to try several before you figure out which photo works best at that size and how your want to represent yourself. The question is, should it be a professional moment? A personal one? Your family? Your wedding? It really depends on how you use your profile on a daily basis.

    The View Activity button takes you to a private log of all your posts and activity, since your first action on Facebook. You can change the privacy setting for any post or story, delete posts, and more.

    You can use the Time Slider to change the date you’re looking at, and you can star, hide or delete anything you see below (see Figure 1.5).

    Figure 1.5

    Figure 1.5 Scrolling down, you see various stories in the Timeline, and you can hide stories or tell Facebook which ones they should feature.

  4. Start Finding Some Friends

    The main way in which you connect with people on Facebook is through friending them. These people can be family, friends, colleagues, business partners, or people who want to connect for a variety of other reasons. There is no “right” number for the total number of friends you should have. You shouldn’t focus on the number. Be focused on finding interesting people, many of whom you already know, and connect with them as often as possible. Facebook provides a perfect platform for relationship development, personal and professional networking, and connecting with old friends, family, and colleagues.

    As Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com points out: “One of the biggest challenges on Facebook is the loss of new users that are not able to connect immediately with other members.” However, you can find people to connect with on Facebook in a number of ways. The following are just a few of the ways, but if you use these, it can definitely help to get you up to speed.

    If you use one of the more popular email services, such as Gmail or Yahoo!, head on over to the Friend Finder section, as shown in Figure 1.6. When you’re new, Facebook bugs you with this option. If you have trouble finding it, go to www.facebook.com/find-friends/. Pop in your email and password. (Don’t worry; Facebook isn’t selling it to some foreign country.) Facebook searches the people you communicate with via email and spits back a list of people it finds who are on Facebook. Easy cheesy.

    Figure 1.6

    Figure 1.6 The Friend Finder section, where you can enter your email information and Facebook will search your address book to find people who you communicate with who also have a Facebook account.

    If you use a work email service that pops through Outlook, iMail, Entourage, or another desktop email software, never fear! Scroll down to Other Tools, click Find Friends, then Upload Contact File, and, as shown in Figure 1.7, you can upload your contact file. This can also be done through the Friend Finder section.

    Figure 1.7

    Figure 1.7 If you don’t use one of the popular email services such as Gmail or Yahoo! to manage your contacts, or if you prefer to keep your address book outside of email services, you can upload a contact file to the Friend Finder as well.

  5. Import Your AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) or Windows Live Buddies

    Figure 1.6 shows a list of some of the many email services you can use to find your friends on Facebook. Click on “Find Friends” next to the email service you use, then enter your login info (which Facebook will not save), and follow the process from there to identify friends from your email contacts.

    Based on the educational and work information you input into your profile, Facebook creates saved searches. For example, you can click to run a search for everyone who graduated high school or college with you. Alternatively, you can also go directly to your profile and click the name of your school or company to run that search.

    You can also use the Friend Browser (see Figure 1.8). If you can’t find it, go to www.facebook.com/find-friends/browser/. This allows you to find friends by city, school name, company, and other factors.

    Figure 1.8

    Figure 1.8 Using the Friend Browser, you can search for friends, family, or colleagues by searching based on their email address, school, or company.

    Finally, you can run an advanced search from the search box at the top of every page. After you’re on the search results page, click People in the left nav. You can also get to this search page by going to www.facebook.com/search.php (see Figure 1.9).

    Figure 1.9

    Figure 1.9 You can search all Facebook users by name and location.

    Running searches is the most manual of the processes, but it is the one you use the most after you run through the preceding steps.

    As your friends begin to accept your friend requests, Facebook asks them to make friend suggestions to help you grow your network. This can happen only in the beginning until Facebook senses that you have developed a strong network.

    As you continue to grow your network, Facebook provides you with friend suggestions based on mutual friends you might share, similar interests, and such. This can be a great way to connect with people who you might be following on other networks and through the previously mentioned methods, when you still haven’t found each other.

  6. Upload More Photos

    Uploading a profile photo or two isn’t enough. We want to learn more about you. We want to see more than just that headshot and the basic information you provided. One of the ways that you can do that is through creating albums and uploading photos to Facebook.

    Go through and pick out a handful of your favorite photos and create your first photo albums on Facebook. Many people, including both of us, go straight to people’s photos as the quickest way to learn more about them. We like to see where you’ve been, you having fun with your family, joking around at the office, or anything else you’re willing to share.

    Facebook makes it easy to upload a lot of pictures at once by allowing you to browse your computer’s hard drive and select all photos or grab a specific selection. Facebook also gives you the ability to upload directly from your phone; or if you’re a Mac user, you can use iPhoto, as well.

    As you grow your list of friends, you can go back through and “tag” any friends of yours who appear in your photos, too (see Figure 1.10). Warning: This can become addictive.

    Figure 1.10

    Figure 1.10 The tagging feature within Facebook photos.

  7. Upload a Video or Two

    Do you have a short video that you shot on vacation, during the holidays, or last Friday night when you were out with friends? Throw it up there. Because we might never have met in real life, uploading photos and videos is the way that we can connect with you and match your personality with the words that are on the screen.

    Don’t have any videos? Start creating ’em. Use a webcam, iSight (if you’re a Mac owner), your phone, your digital camera, or Flip camera, and start capturing some of the mayhem that you’re causing. Just like photos, you can tag your friends in videos as well.

    As a piece of advice, try to keep the video under 3–5 minutes. Everyone is really busy, and the longer you make the video, the less likely people are to watch it, share it, or maybe even blog about it. Keep it short and fun!

  8. Send Your First Status Using the Publisher Tool

    Updating your status is how we know what you’re up to, what you’re thinking, and how you’ll share anything you find interesting, such as ideas, links, photos, videos, and questions. You certainly don’t need to update your status 487 times per day. In fact, although it’s considered ideal to post 20+ times a day on Twitter, a few times per day is perfect for Facebook. (See Figure 1.11 for an example.)

    Figure 1.11

    Figure 1.11 The Publisher tool within Facebook—your primary communications tool to share information. You can even create polls for your friends to vote on.

    Updating your status can help you to stay top-of-mind with friends as your status jumps into the News Feed, giving your friends the chance to leave comments and Like or Share the stuff you’re putting in.

  9. Download a Facebook Mobile Application

    Are you part of the ever-increasing population that’s using a smartphone, such as an iPhone (see Figure 1.12), a BlackBerry, a Palm Pre, or an Android-platform device? If so, grab the Facebook app made for your device.

    Figure 1.12

    Figure 1.12 The official Facebook App on the iPhone.

    Alternatively, you can use the mobile version of Facebook by heading over to m.facebook.com. This allows you to easily add new content, such as photos and videos, update your status, see what you’re friends are up to, and access a number of other features while you’re on the go. If it weren’t for the mobile app, our Facebook usage would be much lower than what it is. It allows us to constantly produce content and share what we’re up to, even if we’re away from a laptop or Internet connection.

  10. Start Interacting with Your Friends

    Facebook gives you this great opportunity to connect with friends, colleagues, and people you meet. Take advantage of it. Cruise around and look at the photos and videos your friends upload. Check out some links your friends share. Leave a comment or two; share something they’ve said or “Like” a few things. But, a word of caution—please don’t “own” your friends’ Facebook accounts. There is no need to comment or Like everything that they post. This will not only become annoying but also can start to seem disingenuous. Comment on a couple items per day and you’ll be on the road to success.

  11. Have Fun and Explore!

The most important thing you can do is try to have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re less likely to use it. That’s definitely not what any of us want to happen. You’re reading this book to find how you can leverage Facebook better personally and professionally. If you don’t have fun with the basic steps, everything that comes after will make you want to run around with scissors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Take some time, get used to how things work around Facebook, and have fun. It can eat up a lot of your time if you let it, but that’s okay. Remember that this is all about making connections, interacting, and building or strengthening trust. The only way any of that can happen is if you put in time, have fun, and are genuine throughout the entire process. Besides, it’s not really “eating up your time” as much as it is making an investment in your future by allowing you a way to develop personal and professional relationships with others.

Although these 11 steps certainly don’t cover everything that you will find yourself doing when you first sign up, they can have you feeling right at home sooner than later.

Now that we have your profile filled out and you’ve uploaded a few pictures and maybe a video, and you’re starting to get friend requests, we should go over a few of the basic features and tools.

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