Small Business Marketing Blog

Facebook Profiles and Pages

Facebook PagesThere 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 Pages

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.

Other items of interest:



14 Responses to Facebook Profiles and Pages

  1. Steven Roddy September 16, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    I love facebook. Though I am just getting into the pages, I receive hundreds of visits every month through facebook. Good article and thank you for the additional information regarding the business account.

    • Debra September 16, 2009 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks Steven. The more I use the big 3 social sites, the more value I see in Facebook being my central hub of communication. I feel the fans are more connected than my followers on Twitter and they are more open to communication than my connections on LinkedIn. All three have value, but Facebook seems to be the more balanced of the three to me because of its casual, but interactive nature.

  2. kat October 13, 2009 at 9:50 pm #

    Debra-
    Stumbled across this article attempting to resolve an issue–how would I comment on other companies’ pages as my business and not as my personal profile?

    • Debra October 15, 2009 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Kat,

      That’s a really good question and one that is not easy to answer. This is where you need to decide your Facebook strategy – are you using your personal profile more for business or personal connections or both? How will you balance the two if you choose to do both? Everyone needs to make the decision that works for them.

      If you comment on other companies’ pages, you have to do so as a person, not a business, so you would need to ensure your personal profile is something you wish to expose to these companies. I have chosen to use my Facebook personal profile for both, but most of my interactions are business oriented with some personal stuff intertwined. So for me, I am comfortable commenting on a business page from my personal profile because it projects more about my business than my personal life.

      I hope this helps.
      Debra

  3. the healthy islander October 28, 2009 at 5:22 am #

    Hi,
    thanks for this great explanation.

    I stumbled over this site when I was searching for ‘how to change your facebook page into a facebook profile.

    Is there any way to do it, so that I can keep my records and fans?

    Thanks for help!

    kattsi

    • Debra November 2, 2009 at 9:24 am #

      Hi Kattsi,

      As far as I know, there is no way to convert a page into a personal profile. Why would you want to convert a page into a profile? If your page is about your business, then your fans are there for a reason. You can still interact with them and invite them to also friend you if that’s what you want. There is a product from SocialToo that you can install on your personal profile that enables you to update your status across your page, profile and Twitter.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Marcelo October 30, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Hi, very interesting article. Maybe you can help me with a problem I have in a facebook page. I’ve created the page, so I am the administrator of it. But now I want to add comments to the page with my facebook profile and everytime I write a comment the name of the facebook page appears as the sender. I want MY name to apperar as the sender of the comment. Is it possible to accomplish that? o to transfer the ownership of the page to other facebook user so that I can comment in the page? Thanks!

  5. Debra November 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    I believe that is done on purpose. Facebook distinguishes between a person and an entity/business/persona. A Page represents the entity and the Profile represents a person. Only people can make comments on a Facebook page.

    Where this concept breaks down is as an admin, I can’t comment on any page for which I am an admin from my personal profile. Any comment or post to the page comes from the page itself, not me personally.

    I would assume in the future this will change, as will a few other areas of Pages that is counterintuitive (like authorizing someone else to own the page other than the original creator).

    If someone knows how to do this, let me know as I don’t beleive it is possible.

  6. staticsid November 14, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    Is there a way to convert an Individual profile to a Page ? I have a business that was initially started on a profile and has yet not come under FB’s scanner. It’s got about a thousand friends added to it, so i don’t want to go through the process of adding fans again. Any recourse ?

    • Debra November 14, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

      Unfortunately I don’t believe so at this time. There’s a discussion thread on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friends/?ref=tn#/topic.php?topic=8952&post=50674&uid=10381469571#post50674 that several people have asked this same questions. My answer for most is to create the Fanpage and send a status to all your friends to please become a fan. Since you don’t need to approve fans, the process is rather easy. I would hope that Facebook would make this available as they do discourage businesses from creating personal profiles.

      Thanks!

  7. Monica Watts June 10, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Hi Debra,

    I was given the link to your article by a friend and it has helped my confusion in lots of ways! However one remaining issue is how my page can make friends with or like another page??!! I tried to do this and it appears that my Monica Watts profile likes the other page not my Lawson’s Men’s Hair page.

    I want to keep my personal account and my business page totally separate but ‘m not really getting the hang of it!

    Any pointers/tips would be appreciated.

    Rgds,

    Monica

    • Debra June 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

      Hi Monica,

      A page can add another Page to its favorites by doing the following:

      1. Go to the page you wish to like
      2. Click on “Add to my page’s favorites” (underneath the page profile image)
      3. When the popup box displays, select your business page from the drop down menu of pages you administer
      4. Save

      Hope this helps.
      Debra

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