Welcome to Facebook! As a new user, Facebook can seem overwhelming at first. With so many features and options, it’s easy to feel lost.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to use Facebook effectively. We’ll cover setting up your profile, connecting with friends, posting updates, sharing photos and videos, using Facebook Stories, finding Groups and Events, understanding your News Feed and notifications, adjusting privacy settings, using Messenger, and much more.
Whether you just joined Facebook or have been a member for a while but want to learn how to use it better, this guide will turn you into a Facebook pro in no time!
Setting Up Your Facebook Profile
Your profile is your digital identity on Facebook. It’s important to set it up right so your friends can find and connect with you. Here’s how to create a complete Facebook profile:
Pro Profile Photo
- Use a clear, recent photo of your face as your profile picture. Don’t use cartoons or avatars.
- Take a new selfie or have someone take a flattering photo of you smiling.
- Make sure your face is well-lit and the main focus.
- Fill out details like your work and education history, hometown, relationship status, etc. This helps friends get to know you.
- You can keep certain fields like your address private if you prefer.
- Your cover photo appears at the top of your profile. Choose a panoramic shot that represents your personality.
- Use high-quality images only. Don’t stretch a small photo to fit.
- Write a short bio summarizing who you are and your interests. Include a call-to-action like “Message me!”
Profile and Cover Photo Tips
- Change your photos periodically for a fresh look.
- Make sure photos are not blurry, pixelated or inappropriate.
- Use photos that show your hobbies, pets, vacations, etc. But don’t overshare private details.
Connecting With Friends on Facebook
Facebook is at its best when you connect with people you know. Here’s how to find and add friends:
Search for Friends
- Facebook suggests friends based on contacts, workplaces and schools. Browse these suggestions to add friends.
- Search for someone by name, school or workplace. Click “Add Friend” to send them a friend request.
Confirm Friend Requests
- Go to your notifications or friend requests menu to see pending requests. Confirm to add as friends.
Create Friend Lists
- Organize friends into smart lists like “Close Friends” or “Work Friends” to target posts.
Unfriend and Block
- You can unfriend or block someone to stop seeing their posts. Just click on their profile and choose an option.
Things to Avoid
- Don’t add people you don’t know as friends. Decline friend requests from strangers.
- Unlike other social networks, following someone does not create a connection on Facebook. You have to actively add each other as friends.
Posting Status Updates
Status updates allow you to share text posts, photos, videos and more to your News Feed. Here are some best practices:
Post Frequently But Not Too Much
- Stay active by posting a few times a week. But don’t overload friends with constant updates.
Share Your Thoughts and Activities
- Give friends a window into your life by sharing your thoughts, activities, news and recommendations.
Ask Questions to Spark Engagement
- Ask open-ended questions like “What’s your favorite holiday tradition?” to get friends commenting.
- Posts with photos or video get more engagement. Use high-quality visuals that add value.
Check for Typos and Errors
- Proofread posts before publishing. Fix any typos or unclear thoughts.
Post at Optimal Times
- Post when your friends are active, typically weekdays at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
Cross-post Select Updates
- Choose your most engaging posts to also share on other social media accounts.
Uploading and Sharing Photos and Videos
Photos and videos liven up your profile and posts. Here’s how to upload and share multimedia:
Upload from Your Device
- Use the Facebook app or desktop uploader to upload photos and videos from your camera roll or computer.
- Always include a caption describing your photos and videos for context. Identify people with tags.
- Organize photos from an event or trip into a photo album post to tell a visual story.
- Broadcast live video from your phone to share what you’re seeing and doing in real-time. Read comments as you record.
Use Platform Tools
- Take full advantage of editing tools. Add filters, drawings, and stickers. Trim longer videos.
- Use the “On This Day” feature to resurface old posts and photos to share again or create anniversary life event posts.
Using Facebook Stories
Facebook Stories allow you to share photo and video clips that disappear after 24 hours. Think of it like a daily visual diary. Learn how to create and share your own stories:
Create Story Posts
- Tap the + sign and choose the “Story” option. Take or upload photos/videos to create a story post.
Add Creative Elements
- Use stickers, gifs, drawings, interactive polls and music to spice up your stories.
Reply to Friends’ Stories
- You can react or reply to friends’ stories with text, stickers, photos and videos of your own.
- Pin important stories like vacations, celebrations or big news to your profile for longer visibility.
Add to Your Story Daily
- Get in the habit of snapshotting and sharing your daily moments without overthinking.
Limit Viewer List
- Customize your story audience. You can share stories with everyone or just close friends.
Watch Video Stories
- Swipe up in the stories bar to view friends’ video stories and react to what they share.
Joining Facebook Groups
Groups make it easy to connect with people who share your interests. Here’s how to get started:
Find Groups to Join
- Search for groups focused on your hobbies, causes, professions, health conditions and more. See what groups your friends have joined.
- Some groups will ask you questions when you ask to join to ensure you fit the group rules and culture.
Post and Comment
- Once approved, engage actively. Post questions, reply to other members, share photos, links and files.
Follow the Rules
- Read the group’s description and rules. Follow moderation guidelines and be respectful to prevent removal.
Create Your Own Group
- If you can’t find a group for something specific, start your own! Recruit members and manage discussions.
- Don’t stay in inactive or negative groups. Leave groups that no longer interest you.
Finding Local Facebook Events
Events make it simple to discover nearby happenings and arrange in-person meetups. Here are some tips:
Get Event Recommendations
- Check the Events tab to browse nearby events picked for you based on interests and friend activity.
Search for Specific Events
- Search for key terms like “concert” or “5K race” plus your city to find local happenings. Filter by date.
Respond and Share
- RSVP “Going” or “Interested” to events you want to attend. Share events to your News Feed to promote them.
- Invite friends directly to events you plan on going to so you can attend together.
Create an Event
- As the organizer, create a new event listing for gatherings at your home, parties or any real-world meetup.
Add it to Your Calendar
- Use the export option to add Facebook events to your Google, Apple or Outlook calendar.
Understanding Your Facebook News Feed
Your News Feed is the constantly updating stream of posts from your friends, family, groups and pages you follow. Master your News Feed to get the most out of Facebook:
- Pin select people and pages to the top of your feed so you never miss their posts.
Hide Annoying Posts
- Snooze or unfollow friends and pages temporarily or indefinitely to clean up your feed.
Adjust News Feed Preferences
- In Settings, prioritize the types of posts you want to see more or less of in your feed.
- Comment, react and share posts from others to see more of their content. Stay active daily.
See Most Recent Stories
- Switch from the algorithmic Top Stories to Most Recent feed to view all posts in chronological order.
Search News Feed
- Use the Facebook search bar to look up old posts from friends, groups and pages.
Create Focused Feeds
- Use Lists to filter your entire News Feed by specific friends or groups you select.
Stay on top of notifications to stay in the loop on Facebook activity. Here are some notification tips:
Turn On Push Notifications
- Enable push notifications in your device settings so you never miss an important Facebook alert.
Check the Notifications Tab
- Click the notifications (bell) icon to see a list of all recent notifications in one place.
Respond to Friend Requests
- Action notifications make responding with one click simple. Accept or decline friend requests.
Fine Tune Preferences
- Choose exactly which activities you want to be notified about in the Notifications Settings menu.
- Hide notifications from specific posts. Useful when a post gets busy with comments.
Mute Friends and Groups
- Prevent notifications from friends or groups temporarily or indefinitely so their activity doesn’t interrupt you.
Clear the Badge
- Mark all notifications as read when the badge count gets high so it resets to zero.
Customizing Your Privacy Settings
Facebook’s detailed privacy settings allow you to control exactly who sees your posts and profile details.
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Review Default Privacy
- Facebook sets default privacy levels, but you shouldn’t assume your posts are always public.
Limit Old Posts’ Visibility
- Use the Activity Log to limit old posts, photos and timeline details just to friends instead of public.
Restrict Audience for New Posts
- Choose friends only instead of public as the default audience for all your new posts in Privacy Settings.
Create Friend Lists
- Lists let you target specific friends to share posts, stories and updates only relevant people will see.
Use Availability Status
- Let people know when you’re active, or set yourself to appear offline temporarily for privacy.
- Completely block certain friends or strangers from viewing your profile or contacting you.
- Require a second step of identity verification via text codes when logging into new devices. Added security.
Chatting With Facebook Messenger
Messenger is Facebook’s instant messaging app. Chat privately with friends or groups:
Start New Conversations
- Open existing message threads or tap the new message icon to message friends already on Facebook.
React and Reply
- Tap the like or emoji icons to react to messages. Type, voice type or voice message friends back.
Send Photos and Videos
- Easily share photos and videos from your camera roll in chats. Draw on them or apply filters.
Video and Audio Call
- Start free video chats with friends and family. Make group video calls with up to 50 people.
Use Messenger Rooms
- Host video calls via sendable room links that let anyone on Facebook join, even without Messenger.
- Mute or turn off notifications for specific chats. Or mute all chat notifications when you need to focus.
- Easily create polls and share them with groups to quickly decide on event plans, restaurant choices and more.
- Make chats more fun with AR effects, stickers and reactions. Try the disappear message option too.
Answering Common Facebook Questions
How do I deactivate my Facebook account?
- Go to Settings > Your Facebook Information > Deactivation and Deletion. Choose “Deactivate Account” and follow the steps to schedule a deactivation or do it immediately. You can reactive whenever you want by logging back in.
How do I permanently delete my Facebook account?
- From the Deactivation and Deletion menu, select “Delete Account” instead. Facebook will begin deleting your data in about 30 days. Deletion is permanent, so be certain before taking this step.
How do I download a copy of my Facebook data?
- Under Settings, go to Your Facebook Information then click “Download your Information” to create an archive of your posts, photos, profile info and more. Very useful before deleting an account.
How do I change my name on Facebook?
- Go to your About page from your profile menu. Click “Update Public Details” and edit your name, birthday or gender. You can change your name up to 5 times in 90 days.
How do I find my Facebook friends’ phone numbers?
- Unfortunately you can’t export your friends’ phone numbers from Facebook. You’ll have to ask contacts individually for their numbers or find them through your phone contacts if you’re already connected there.
How do I find my Facebook password if I forgot it?
- From the Facebook login page, click “Forgotten password?” You can reset your password by having a login code sent to your email or phone number on file. If you don’t have access to either, you may have to verify your identity with an ID.
Final Tips for Using Facebook Like a Pro
And that’s your complete guide to dominating Facebook! Here are a few final tips:
- Use lists, groups and events to connect with people who share specific interests.
- Find Pages for hobbies, entertainment and organizations you want to follow.
- Use Marketplace to buy and sell items locally.
- Let your network know about major life events through Life Events posts.
- Discover popular viral videos and memes your friends are sharing.
- Wish friends happy birthday using Facebook notifications.
- Raise money for causes with Facebook Fundraisers.
With this Facebook instruction manual under your belt, you’ll be a pro in no time. Enjoy connecting with friends, families and followers on the world’s largest social network!