It’s the perfect environment for businesses to promote their products and services and become more human to the public.
However, the first step is deciding on how you want your business to appear on Facebook. Should you host a personal page or a professional one?
And, if you’ve already made that decision, you may need to decide on whether you should keep your business image separate from your personal profile as well as how much personal image you share with your customers or potential customers.
They’re decisions that can only be made by you, but if you understand the difference between profiles and pages on Facebook, you’ll find making that decision far easier.
A personal Facebook page, called a Facebook profile, is designed for individuals to connect with people they already know, usually friends, sometimes colleagues, perhaps even old school buddies and, of course, family. Logically, the people you have on your Facebook page are called ‘Friends’.
This type of page is not really intended to be used to promote a business, though many people do so.
With Facebook profiles you have complete control over the privacy of your material. That means you have the ability to control exactly who sees what.
You do this by creating ‘Lists’ and, by choosing certain lists, you control what your ‘Friends’ see.
You can publish posts that can be seen by all your ‘Friends’ or you can publish posts that are seen only by members of certain lists, such as a ‘Close friends’ list or a ‘Family’ list.
For example, you can send posts only to people who you have identified as close friends or family, or you can post images and messages that can be seen by everyone who is your ‘Friend’ except, perhaps, people posts to people who only work with you.
Note, whatever you post appears on your private wall and, when you publish it, also appears in the news feeds of all your friends (or members of the list you’ve posted to).
While some people use the Facebook profile to connect with both business and personal contacts, usually these users are in professions that blur the line between friendship and business.
People whose names and images are associated with their brands (such as writers, personal consultants or actors) will often use their personal Facebook profile as a way to contact with other professionals.
In our industry, this also applies to celebrants, photographers and dress designers in particular.
However, there are some drawbacks to doing this. For example, it’s too easy to forget to limit who is seeing your posts. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister once did this, accidentally posting a private family image publicly rather than just to her ‘Friends’.
Another drawback is that there is a limit to how many ‘Friends’ you can have. Currently, it’s 5000 and, though that may seem a lot to you now, if your business is a huge one, reaching 5000 ‘Friends’ when you have thousands of customers may happen sooner than you’d anticipated.
Furthermore, if you are managing your content through privacy filters, search engines such as Google aren’t able to see content that you are posting privately, which defeats the purpose of you and your business being as visible as possible through online searches.
For example, if you regularly post about new products to a list called, say, ‘Customers’ and that post is not publicly accessible, the search engines won’t be able to find that information.
This means that your articles, images and quips aren’t being tracked and optimized to provide you better search ranking results.
There are reasons to have both. For example, Easy Weddings has both a personal profile and a business page, but that is because we manage many Facebook pages for customers and that can only be done via a Facebook Profile.
However, while we do post to our private profile, the bulk of our posting is via our public Facebook page which has about 40,000 fans.
A Facebook page can only be created by a real business entity, organization, band, etc.
It is designed to allow brands and businesses to share official information in an easy way.
Just as you’re connected with people on your personal page and they’re called ‘Friends’, the people who connect with you on your Facebook page are called ‘fans’.
Anyone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page becomes a fan and anything you post will appear on their newsfeeds. Unlike Facebook profiles, you (generally) cannot limit who sees content posted to your Facebook page. Anyone who becomes a friend of the page can see it and there is no limit to how many people can become a fan of your page.
Whenever a fan engages with your page either by commenting or liking a post, their own friends can see it, which provides extra exposure for your own brand.
Because it’s a public page, anyone on the internet can easily find your business page and “like” it. That’s why you have to be much more careful about what you post on your business page because there’s no easy way to stop anyone, including your own competitors, from seeing what you’re posting.
Pages can also be fitted with tabs, polls, landing pages, games and other interactive elements that aren’t available for personal profiles. You can also schedule posts on Facebook pages which means you can load up your content ahead of time, rather than having to post in real time.
One of the key differences between personal Facebook profiles and professional pages is the advertising opportunities.
While a personal profile will let you track how many people engage with a post, a page will give you access to promotional icons and paid advertising for a post. This gives you premium placement on general feeds at an additional cost, usually a few dollars per post.
Pages also offer the owner the ability to collect some very high-level data and see the real reach of their messages. Through the Facebook Analytics deck, you can see who is commenting, sharing and clicking on your posts and this gives you feedback as to what is popular, what isn’t and what may need a little tweaking, allowing you to tailor your content, but also your products, to your customers.
Facebook pages also give you an idea of how many non-fans are engaging with your content, which Facebook labels “virality.” The more viral your posts go, the more unique eyes are looking at your page and could possibly become fans.
Easy Weddings offers Social Media set-up packages that include Facebook set ups.