The single most valuable feature for managing your facebook page?

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As a consumer, I’m quite picky. I make judgements based on websites and social media pages; if they’re badly presented I’m unlikely to part with my hard-earned cash, unless the product or service is seriously amazing and I can’t get it somewhere else. It’s a bit like a job interview: suit and tie is a bit stuffy and over-the-top these days, but if you’re going to offer somebody a job, you want them to make a bit of an effort and at least look presentable, right? Would you turn up for a job interview in your dog-walking clothes? Your gym gear? Unless you run a dog-walking business or a gym, are you likely to offer a job to anyone dressed like that?

In my corporate days I conducted tonnes of interviews, and I often wondered if the person across the table from me had looked in a mirror that morning. It’s exactly the same with Social Media. I can't believe how many small-business owners (or large enterprise owners, to be frank) never ever take the time to look at their facebook pages as customers see them. Even amongst those who do want to see through their customers' eyes, many tell me they find it frustrating that they can’t easily do so. They want a mirror for their interview. They go to amusing lengths like using different phones and accounts, which is fine when you’re sat at home on a Tuesday evening… but not so great when you’re up-to-your eyeballs on a Monday morning, with a queue of customers out the door. Forgive the metaphor if your business doesn’t actually havea door, but I’m sure you can see what I mean.

The great news is that (on a desk-top browser, at least) facebook does offer you an option! You can find it by clicking the three dots (…) underneath your cover image. Select “View as Page Visitor”, and hey presto!

Wait a minute, though… how many of us have the privilege of always having our laptops with us during our working day? Most of us just use our phones or tablets, and maybe sit down at a desk once a week or less to do what we consider the “serious” stuff. Make that once a month, in front of the telly if we’re being brutally honest.

Although the Facebook apps offer lots of great services and options, there’s only so much they can squeeze in. It’s not the end of the world. If your phone has enough tech to run a facebook app, its built-in web browser can probably run the full facebook site to an extent that will allow you to see what your page reallylooks like. Just use your browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.) to open up Facebook, and away you go! You can now make sure that your socks match and your hair’s brushed for your big interview!

Now that you’ve had a chance to check that out, were you at all surprised by the difference between how your page actually looks, and how you thought it would look? I know I was at first. I’ve since become a bit obsessive about it.

You may be wondering what exactly a good facebook page is supposed to look like. I can (and will, at a later date) give you some hints and tips on what I think, but the best advice I can give is to take a good look and ask yourself: would I hire me, based on this facebook page?

If the answer is no or you’re not sure, then what would you change? What is it that you like about other facebook pages? Check out your competitors and see what they do well. Ask some friends and relatives to do the same. I wouldn’t ask them to compare to yours, as they’ll probably try to spare your feelings. If the things they like are a million miles from your page, then it’ll become obvious enough what you need to change. It goes without saying that you should also be on the lookout for what you don’tlike on others’ pages, and avoid making the same mistakes.

Once you've made your changes, don't forget to View as Page Visitor again, and make sure things are as you wanted. You should make this a checkpoint on your regular social media audits. What are those? a hear you ask.... well that's a story for another blog ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts on what you uncover when viewing your page as a visitor, the lengths you may have gone to so that you can see as customers do, or which other facebook  features you find particularly useful.