There are many ways to use Facebook to market your business. But even now, there is still some confusion about the difference between a Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages. Many still are unsure about how to effectively use them.
I still get friend invitations from profiles using business names. Facebook does not allow personal profiles using a business name. Facebook could disable your account.
Let’s just be clear: a Facebook Profile is not a Facebook Page
Facebook Personal Profiles
The name should tell it all. Your Facebook personal profile is the regular user account. You log into your personal profile when you sign in to Facebook.
It is about you, the person and contains your friends and your interactions on the site. Your personal profile represents you and must be held under your name. Plus you can only have one personal profile account.
A Facebook Page is for businesses, public profiles or organizations. Businesses can share information and interact with followers. It allows you to create a presence that engages those interested in what your business has to offer.
Pages represent a business and are separate from user profiles. Creating a business 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 visible to followers. As an admin, your personal profile is kept private.
Every Business Page must have one or more Facebook user named as its administrator.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Be clear on your strategy for how you will use Facebook. Both Facebook profiles and pages are a valuable resource for a small business.