There is wide-spread confusion about the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page and how to effectively use them. I’ve recently had a few friend invitations from profiles using business names. Creating a profile in a business name is frowned upon by Facebook and you run the risk of having your account warned or disabled.
A Facebook Profile is not a Facebook Page
Facebook Personal Profiles
The name should tell it all. Your Personal Profile is the regular user account that you log into when you sign in to Facebook. It contains your friends and your interactions on the site. Profiles can only be used to represent an individual and must be held under an individual name. Plus you can only have one Personal Profile account.
Facebook Page is for businesses, public profiles or organizations. These pages are used to share information, interact with their fans and create a presence that engages those interested in what these entities have to offer. Pages represent a business and are separate from user profiles. Creating a Page does not attach it to your Personal Profile, however you are an admin of the page. You can create multiple Pages and Pages can have multiple admins.
According to Facebook’s terms of service, you may only create Facebook Pages to represent real organizations of which you are an authorized representative. In other words, I can create my client’s Facebook Page and then make them an admin of the page. The Page is what is visible to fans and the admin’s personal profile is kept private.
Facebook Fan Pages offer several benefits to a business, one of which is in their search engine ranking. According to Mari Smith, Relationship and Buzz Marketing Specialist, Pages are the only feature inside Facebook to be fully indexed by Google.
How Do You Set Up a Facebook Page?
In order for your business to establish a Facebook presence, you need to set up a personal Profile and then you set up a Facebook Business Page. Every Page must have one or more Facebook user named as its administrator.
There is another option: you can set up a business account. A business account allows you to manage Facebook advertising campaigns and Facebook Pages without having to set up a personal account. I personally believe that businesses should empower employees to create the Business Facebook presence from their personal accounts. But if for some reason your business is uncomfortable with that option, just make sure that you select a person that knows something about how to navigate Facebook to manage your Facebook interactions.
To set up a business account, create a Facebook Ad or create a Facebook Page. After you’ve created the page or ad, Facebook will ask you to enter your login information or the option to select “I do not have a Facebook account”. At that point all you need to do is enter your business email address and date of birth.
Be warned: If you already have a personal account, you cannot create a separate business account. If you have a personal account and go through this process, there is a very good chance Facebook will shut down both accounts.
What Does All This Mean to Your Business?
Depending on your preference and your business, you can intertwine your personal and professional life or you can keep them completely separate. That’s the beauty of Facebook. What you can’t do according to Facebook’s terms of service, is to:
Use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).
That does not mean you can’t discuss business, promote a business function or network with your Personal Profile friends! What it does mean is you are prohibited from profiting by selling your status updates to advertisers. Facebook is preventing advertisers from creating an ad network out of users willing to spam their followers for money. Amen sistah!
How to Carve Out Your Space
For me, Facebook is a social networking site where I have connected with a lot of new people and formed relationships I would never have otherwise. I like the fact that Facebook enables me to be a bit more personal and friendly with my business peers, while staying connected with my friends. My Profile is about me and my Page is about my Marketing Coaching business. However, I choose to keep them closely related. Facebook gives me the ability to project all that I am via my Personal Profile: business owner, golfer, sports enthusiast, Red Sox / Patriots / Celtics / Bruins fan, U2 fanatic and all else that makes me, well me, while displaying my brand on my Facebook Page in a slightly more business-like fashion. But keep in mind that I am my business so this works well.
For businesses that are larger with more employees, creating your Business Page enables you to engage your customers in different ways. You can have discussions, contests, feature coupons, encourage comments and ideas, and if you have a retail store, attract customers to come in and see you in person.
How are you planning to use your Facebook Page for your business? Let us know.