Facebook has been around since 2009. It is continuously adding new features and removing old or little-used ones. And of course, its infamous algorithm continues to challenge us all with figuring out how to find and be in touch with friends, if you are a Facebook user, or stay visible, if you are using Facebook for business.
There are some fundamentals about Facebook that don't change, and yet these can be some of the most confusing aspects of the platform. I speak of the parts that make up your presence on Facebook - your timeline, newsfeed, profile, and, if you use Facebook for business purposes, your page, group, or community.
When you create an account with Facebook, you get a Facebook profile. This is where you upload a profile photo; add specific information about yourself, such as your job or contact information; and share photos. It is uniquely yours and is associated with the email you used to create the account. The information that you post there is known as your timeline. You can post memes, photos, and links. Your friends and family can post content there, as well, if you specify that they can do so in your privacy settings (more about those in another blog post). When you connect with people on Facebook through a personal profile, you friend them.
However, when you first log in to Facebook, you see your news feed. What appears in your feed is a function of whom you have friended (and follow) on Facebook and how often you interact with them, content that your friends and family may like and share, as well as what their friends share, and lastly, what business pages you have liked and followed. Of course, you will see ads that Facebook is showing you because it has a pretty good idea of your demographic and buying habits. If you post something here, it will appear on your timeline, as well.
Businesses, public figures, and organizations will most likely use Pages, which are designed to essentially function as personal profiles for those entities. They are similar to a personal profile in structure and function, but the intent is for the actual page to become the entity rather than the person behind a profile. Pages help businesses and organizations promote and market themselves on Facebook through the use of templates with specific features.
When you connect with a Page, you like it (as opposed to "friending it"). You automatically also follow the page, which results in the Page being more visible in your News Feed. Pages are also verified for authenticity, which helps a brand develop a deeper level of trust among followers.
Facebook Groups are virtual meeting places for people who share common interests. Groups can be public, private, or closed, and provide a safe space for members to share information and express their opinions. A group can be associated with a business through its Page. For example, a nutrition coach can have a Page for her business, and associate a group for private coaching with that page.
So that is the ten-thousand foot overview of Facebook's makeup and functionality. We hope this helps make your navigation in Facebook a little easier. Watch this space for related articles on setting up a Facebook page, using groups, and more.