Well by now we have all at least heard of Facebook and most of us have a Facebook profile! But when it comes to using Facebook for business, it can get a bit confusing and quite complicated when trying to decide between using a Facebook profile or page to network and promote businesses. In this post I’m going to try and break it down a bit and look at the differences between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Profile, and hopefully help you to answer the question Facebook Profile or Page? Here at Marketing the Change, we have encountered a number of small business and charities that really don’t understand the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page and how they should use it to engage with their audience. Rather than try and answer this question over and over again we have created this resource page to help you understand the differences between what you can and cant do on Facebook.
So first off what’s a Facebook profile?
Very simply a Facebook profile is a personal account for individual users which allow you to add friends, share photos, videos and status’s with those friends. A Facebook profile is limited to 5000 friends but there is also the option for people to become ‘followers’. Facebook has repeatedly stated that Facebook profiles should not be used to sell anything and people should not use them for commercial gain. Facebook wrote recently that “Personal profiles are for non-commercial use and represent individual people” A Page is available to businesses, brands and products, causes, public figures, and so on. It offers special features and capabilities, such as marketing insights into your followers and custom apps to capture e-mail addresses via contests, and more. To receive Facebook updates from a Page, people must actively “Like” it.
So what’s a Facebook Page?
A Facebook page is a page that represents and showcases a business, organization, cause, public figure or brand. This page allows companies to promote special offers, products and services, competitions, to the audience of Facebook users that have ‘Liked’ their page. Facebook states “Pages look similar to personal profiles, but they offer unique tools for businesses, brands and organizations”
Why should I use a Facebook Business page?
1) Using a profile for commercial gain is against Facebook’s Terms of Service. / Don’t get deleted
Do you have any Facebook friends who are actually businesses? With names like “Dave’s Local Plumbing” or “Liverpool Tattoo Studio”?
Facebook has made it crystal clear that it will be removing any wrongly classified personal profiles used for business purposes. Facebook Profile being used for business is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. If you are using a personal Facebook profile to share and promote products and services that are for profit and especially if you are using a company name as your profile name, Facebook can and will be deleting it. Because of this, the thousand or possible millions of business owners who are using their personal profiles to market their businesses will be very disappointed and either need to convert there profile to a business page or suffer the consequences of having their page deleted. Below is a perfect example of a big church who have invested a lot of time and probably money into logos and getting online, but are still using a Facebook Profile to promote their organisation.
2) Facebook Insights: Helping you understand your business
Facebook offer all of it’s business page users the ability to track what they post. This is called Facebook insights, which is not available to individuals using personal profiles. If you don’t have any real data behind what you’re doing it becomes very hard to make decisions. For example, if you see one of your topics that you have posted on is driving more views than others, this can help you to learn what to spend more time on and where are your best target areas.
3) Personal Facebook profiles for business limit’s your business growth (Only 5000 “Friends”)
For small business this might not sound like an issue but it can be a huge stumbling block very quickly if something you do did did happen to go viral, or if you get some vital press that leads to lots of people wanting to make contact with you! Using a personal profile limits You. It actually limit’s your future growth as an individual. You might not be thinking about it right now, but maybe a few years down the line you may want to add a second site for your business or start working in another area and will be limited. Recently I was reading a blog post which I really enjoyed by Blaise Foret. I liked it so much that I checked him out on Facebook. He is an author and speaker based in Asheville, NC, and he speaks all over the world and some his recent posts have had huge responses across Facebook. That said, he is still using a Facebook profile and has Maxed out his friend list! This is a huge shame now as lots of people are now trying to add him but are unable to!
4) Promoting your products and services with Facebook Offers
Facebook offers are an amazing tool if used correctly. It can build a huge amount of buzz around your business and when individuals respond to these Facebook offers, more of your fans and even those who are friends of fans can see your offer!
5) Personal profiles look and are unprofessional and become irrelevant
Using a personal profile for your business on Facebook makes you look unprofessional. Not having a page can create the idea or perception that your business is ‘out of touch’ with technology and social media users. It raises questions about your business as a whole because you are not doing things the ‘right way’. Unfortunately, this can significantly decrease trust and ultimately your bottom line or message you want to get across. Just remember you have to set your company or brand a gender and a birthday. Nothing is more strange than Facebook notifying users to wish your business a happy birthday!
6) Third Party Tools
There are so many developers that are creating apps and programs that you can integrate with Facebook. Programs to find your perfect client, drive or promote your post or even examine the huge amount of data Facebook provides. However these are only available to Facebook business pages.
7) Connect to Facebook Places
By connecting your account to a Facebook Place you can provide the opening hours and others can ‘check in’ which further supports your company. This is a great tool for restaurants, stores and events because it increases the visibility of your establishment across Facebook. It promotes your business naturally because people love to share what they are doing and where they have been with their friends.
Facebook advertising can be hit or miss depending on what industry you are in, but if leveraged correctly it can be a powerful tool. It can be used to target existing customers and new ones by many different demographics. Its worth having a small budget for this to at least test it out and see how it effects your business.
9) Ability to Assign Admin Roles
Your Facebook account is normally personal and therefore you wouldn’t want to give your email and password out to anyone who wanted to do work on your profile. However the Facebook page gives you the ability to assign individuals into different roles:
- Insights Analyst: View Insights
- Advertiser: View Insights and create ads
- Moderator: All of the above, plus send messages as the Page and respond to and delete comments
- Content Creator: All of the above, plus create posts as the Page, edit the Page and add apps
- Manager: All of the Above, plus Manage Admin Roles
- Admin: Everything!
10) Native Facebook Scheduling
Your business page allows you to publish posts for a later date which is a huge help when you find out the times and dates where you get most user engagement. It also allows you to establish a content plan and schedule post in advance.
11) Privacy Considerations
When you ‘like’ a page you do not share as much information with the business as you would when you ‘add a friend’. If an individual has to add a page to engage with your company this may put them off as it is not as secure as ‘liking a page’. It can also be for your own protectiona and security. For example, a singer may not want fans to know their personal lives in detail and therefore keeping their music fans and personal friends separate is very wise and gives the artist peace of mind.
Reasons to build your brand image on a Facebook Profile and not a Page?
In my research for this article I have only really came across one person that argues for using a Facebook profile over a Facebook page. Lisa Hall-Wilson freelance journalist. She writes her main reasons why she believes that sticking with a Facebook profile is better than switching to a business page. She is an author writing to other authors in her field. However, the arguments can apply to other niches or verticals such as public figures, consultants and anyone selling themselves.
Facebook profiles are more personable
Facebook profiles are a lot more personal. They are designed to be, they connect you with the individual as a friend not as a fan. This can improve the engagement between yourself and the client / customer. Some Facebook users will find your personal profile before they find your page. This can make things awkward if you don’t want people you don’t know in real life trying to add you as a Facebook friend. Profiles give the appearance of being more approachable than a Page. People want to connect with you personally and not a faceless multi-national company.
Your Facebook profile and posts are more visible.
If you have a page you wont be able to comment on people profiles, you cant join group. See argues that pages are less visible than profiles although this has not been proven due to the lack of data on when using a profile. In terms of impact and reach of post ‘edgerank’ as its called works both ways. Facebook profiles by default are set to see most of their posts, not all of them.
You can have unlimited followers while keeping aspects of your Profile private
You can only have 5000 friends as a profile user but you can have unlimited followers (previously known as subscribers). This option allows you to share different information with your friends and your followers. Facebook Shut Down My Profile! Interestingly enough after reading through some of here post on her blog I found one about how a fellow author had their Facebook profile shut down for using it as a personal platform. Although she gives her endorsement for others to use a personal profile, she offers cautions about not using Facebook for personal gain.
- It must be personal it must be 80% about you, who you are not what you are working on.
- If you get close to 5000 friends switch to a page
- Don’t add people you don’t know in real life
- Don’ Spam groups
Conclusion Overall, I hope that I have shown you that the best option for any brand, business, public figure is to use a Facebook business page. There may be some slight scope if you are selling yourself but with the risks of Facebook deleting you for over-promoting yourself I do not think it is worth the risks.
Why should I convert my Profile to a Page?
Here’s Facebook’s answer to this question
Facebook Pages offer different features for organizations, businesses, public figures, brands and organizations. It’s also a violation of our terms to use a personal account to represent something other than yourself (ex: your business). If you’re a public figure, you can continue posting to your audience from your personal account by allowing followers. When people follow your personal account, they’ll be able to get your updates in News Feed without being friends with you. You should only add someone as a friend when you know them personally. If you’re not a public figure and you’re using your account to represent something other than yourself, you could risk permanently losing access to your account and all of its content if you don’t convert it to a Page.
Need help with your social media marketing? Need supporting creating a Facebook Page or converting to one? Contact us