I see a lot of businesses in Facebook set up as a personal profile rather than a page so I thought it was worthwhile running through the differences between a Facebook page and a personal profile and explaining why you should definitely choose to set your business up as a page. I think many businesses see an advantage in setting themselves up as a personal profile in that they can actively go out and request to be friends with potential customers. What they don’t realise is that by setting their business up as a personal profile they are making themselves less visible to search engines and to potential customers. They are also in danger of being shut down by Facebook.
So what is the difference between a Facebook page and a personal profile?
A page is a public, open, searchable space for your business. Pages are managed by admins who have personal Facebook profiles. People who want to follow your business will ‘like’ your page and your news will then appear in their news feed. People who like your page will then be able to comment and post on your wall (unless you change your settings). Even if people don’t choose to like your page they can still view all of your content.
Personal profiles are for individuals and are hidden from public view behind a log-in and privacy settings. Maintaining a profile for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Here are 10 reasons why it’s better to set up a Facebook page for your business (rather than a personal profile):
1) Pages are public so search engines can index the page. This means people will find your page when using a search engine and then (hopefully) go to your site.
A personal Facebook account is hidden behind a log-in. This prevents search engines from indexing your personal profile and the public who aren’t logged in from seeing it. If someone follows a link to your personal profile through your website all they will see (if they are not logged in to Facebook or do not have a Facebook account) is a request to sign up to Facebook.
2) You can customise your page, create a landing page for it (a unique Facebook home page), start discussions. You can add tabs to your Facebook page to link in your YouTube channel, Twitter feed, Flickr, Myspace etc so all of your social media platforms are linked up. You can’t add tabs linking your other social media platforms in a Facebook personal profile.
3) With a page you stay logged into Facebook as yourself and interact with people as your business. If you are admin (with rights to interact on the page as the business and see the behind the scenes info) for several pages, you can access them all very easily from your personal profile.
4) Several people can be admin of a page and their posts will still appear as the business rather than their personal profile. This can share the workload. You cannot have several admins of a personal profile since it’s supposed to be, well, a person.
5) There is no limit to the number of people who can ‘like’ your page. There is a limit of 5000 ‘friends’ with a personal profile.
6) People who view your page won’t be able to see that you are the page admin or have any access to your personal account.
7) You can link your page to Twitter and have it automatically update via twitter or automatically update twitter via Facebook. Great if you just don’t have the time to update both on a daily basis.
8 ) You can create Facebook Ads to advertise your page. You cannot create Facebook Ads for a personal profile.
9) As a page you have the ability to ‘like’ other pages but not to be ‘friends’ with other people. Although this may seem like a drawback it means that your newsfeed will be full of updates from other businesses relevant to yours and not with updates about people’s everyday lives.
Some people may be put off if your business is set up as a person – if they accept your friend request you have access to more of their private info and can post on their wall. Because a page is public more people are likely to join, as they can see what they are getting before they sign up.
10) Facebook pages have a ‘view insights’ feature in the form of graphs and charts showing user interest in your page .This is really valuable for monitoring the effectiveness of your Facebook posts and interactions. Personal profiles do not have this feature.
What if your business is already set up as a personal profile?
Facebook can and does close down personal profiles which are clearly businesses and not people. If you have set your business up as a personal profile you may be closed down by Facebook with no warning. All of the hard work you have put into building up a following will be lost. It’s your choice but the risk is there.
The good news is that it is possible to migrate your personal business profile into a page and in doing so convert all your ‘friends’ to people who ‘like’ your page. Click here to learn how to convert your profile to a Page.
I hope this helps and good luck with your business. Contact us for advice on social media management.
Image by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot