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Want to promote your band or business? A fan page on Facebook is a great way to get your name out there!

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Facebook fan pages are like anything else on the Internet: easy to do fast and dirty, and more complicated and time-consuming to do right. Whether you're making the page as a true fan or creating a community for fans of a brand you represent, the steps are the same. And even if you're acting as a fan, you can still take your tips and inspiration from the top marketers to make your page the best.

First, you need to find your way to a page creation space on Facebook -- either by using Facebook's "create a page" tool or the link at the bottom of somebody else's fan page -- and then select what kind of page you're making. Sign in that you're authorized to make the page (if you're officially representing the brand), and that you agree to Facebook's policies.

The basic categories are: Local Business/Place, Company/Organization/Institution, Brand/Product, Artist/Band/Celebrity, Entertainment and Cause/Community. These are only necessary for the templates that follow -- you'll probably know which of these you need. (Before automatically choosing Artist/Band/Celebrity, check out the options for Entertainment, because there's a bit more variety, and it could suit your needs better.)

You enter your basic information, depending on the type of page you're making: name and Web site, hours and addresses for a business, contact information and more.

Next, you need an image. Remember that whatever you choose needs to represent your brand -- and we're using "brand" here inclusively, whether you're talking about an actor or a detergent -- and should be a recognizable image that also scales easily to that tiny square you see next to people's comments on your wall. You might need to play around with the size and centering of the image to get it just right.

Next up, we'll look at some of the things that can help your page stand out.