With just four quick steps, creating a Facebook page for your business is probably the easiest How-To you’ll see in REMODELING this year. (Seriously, it takes, like, 3 minutes.) But the key with Facebook is not just how to set up the page but how to make it vibrant — and how to determine if you need a page in the first place.

STEP 1: Need It?

Five years ago, if you built and marketed a website, people would visit it, says Marty Gould, president of Focalize Consulting. Now it’s not so simple. “Social media has changed how people use the Internet,” Gould says. “A company website is no longer a destination — it’s just part of the online ecosystem.”

Gould says that a homeowner curious about a remodeling company may well visit Facebook before checking out the company’s website. Facebook interactions give the prospective client a feeling for the company’s culture, attitude, and reputation.

Mike Patterson agrees. “I created my Facebook page because it seemed to me that a website only was too static,” says the president of Patterson Builders-Remodelers, in Gaithersburg, Md. “Clients who are interested in what I have to say, who like my style, those people have already developed a bond with me and qualified my company before we’ve even met face to face. That first sales call is more like chatting with a neighbor than selling something.”

Key to success: Check around Facebook to see if your competitors are there. If they are, chances are you should be too.

STEP 2: Plan It

A cardinal sin of social media is having a public platform and not using it. “One of the biggest mistakes a company can make with Facebook is to start and then just stop,” says Corey Perlman, owner of Web consultancy eBootCamp. “Leaving your page hanging on the vine doesn’t just look bad, it also invites spammers, which really diminishes your brand.”

Once you’re prepared to spend time building and using a Facebook page, determining who will manage the page and its content is the next important step. At Meadowview Construction, in Georgetown, Mass., company president and self-described social media junkie David West manages the company’s Facebook page. “My personality comes through,” West says, “and the page has a fun, funny tone that’s refl ective of me and my business.”

But Gould says business owners shouldn’t feel obligated to shoulder all the Facebook responsibility. “Everyone in the company should be empowered to be a content provider,” he says. “Remodelers can outline with employees what type of content belongs on the site and how to share it in a way that will keep users engaged.”

Key to success: Facebook posts should refl ect the company’s personality while staying relevant and professional. Use common sense and decorum.