Have you ever had Joe’s Bar and Grill send you a Facebook friend request? If you have then Joe could be in hot water with and not even know it. Why? Because a lot of businesses don’t understand the difference between pages and profiles on Facebook.
Here’s how to tell
People have friends and friends like businesses. So the first time you go to Joe’s Facebook page you should see a “Like” button. If you don’t, then Joe may have set up a personal profile instead of a page. It’s not easy to tell from the layout, they look very similar.
The Wrath of Facebook
And it is important. First off, you don’t want Facebook to ban you for using a personal profile for a business (or other organization that is not an individual). And they have been known to do it. They will close you down and not tell you and they won’t let you back. Period. End of discussion.
The Purpose of Facebook
Let’s clear up one other misconception I see – Facebook should not be your entire Internet presence. It is not a website replacement. It is a marketing tool to guide people to your website. Think of it like an ad in the newspaper. The ad drives people to your business. Facebook does the same thing. But it does it a whole lot better.
Put Your Best Facebook Forward
A Facebook Page allows you to spread your brand in the space your potential customers are hanging out. Joe and Suzy Smith aren’t Googling as much as they once were. They are using Facebook to search and they are checking out who their friends like. (And Google takes Likes into consideration somewhere in it’s horrendously complicated algorithm).
People can share your stuff on their profiles and spread your brand in a way they don’t usually do with other forms of marketing.
Because Facebook pages let you do a whole lot more than just display an ad. You can truly educate your potential customers in a way that is engaging and fun for them. They don’t feel like they are being sold. And people who don’t feel sold tend to buy more.
Facebook Applications for Business
Your page is actually an “app” that you build from your profile. (For more on how to build a page check this out: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=904)
You can add video, your blog feed, events, custom pages – lot’s of stuff you can’t do on a personal profile.
You can see an example by visiting my page – ePro Virtual Assistance. I’ve kept if fairly simple, just 3 apps – a custom welcome page, the YouTube app and Networked blogs. The whole purpose of my page is to be a curator for helpful information for my clients and potential clients. I want to be their trusted advisor.
What Facebook Isn’t
I mentioned before that a Facebook Page is not a website replacement but I want to elaborate on that. I think the Internet has killed the Yellow Pages. They may be dying a slow death but they are dying. Why? Because I can go to the Internet and not only find out they stuff the business wants to tell me but the stuff they don’t. On the Internet I can get the good, the bad and the ugly. The problem is that there may be a ton of information, some reliable and some not, about a business. Facebook allows me to focus in on what I want – the info from the business, and their reputation. How many Likes do they have? What do my friends say about them? Do they do what I want when I want it?
OK, yea, there are yellow pages sites with reviews but I honestly don’t trust them. Could be that bad review came from a competitor or the good one came from the owner’s daughter. On Facebook I can post – “hey FB Friends, I’m looking for a new bank – got any recommendations?” And I get so much more info than the current fee schedule.
So there’s the nitty gritty why your business needs a Page, not a Personal Profile. There’s tons more to talk about here so if you have questions or info to share, please leave a comment below!
And for more on Social Media for Business please check out this article - Social Media – Professionally Speaking.