Think Facebook is just for friends? I did too until Facebook recently rolled out a massive structural change to Facebook Pages. Now businesses that setup “Pages” have more options to use Facebook like a regular user. How does this benefit a small business or professional person like a blogger?
Facebook Page and the Facebook Profile
With a few simple steps I’m going to outline how it’s easy to separate Facebook “friends” into two distinct groups – your personal friends with your regular Facebook profile, and business fans and people you would like your page to be a fan of. Now, Facebook pages have the ability to like other pages. This comes in handy in four ways.
- You can get other pages to notice your page when you like them.
- You can keep updated on the news feed of other pages – and not see the feed in your personal account.
- By liking other pages you are now in the group of people with similar interests.
- You can comment on other pages as a page and get people to view your profile with your business pitch or any content you want.
I’ve heard of people using Facebook to network before with their personal profile. To me, it just doesn’t make sense. I think people live in two worlds – a business world and a personal world. In my case, my name is my brand. Since my business / professional name is the same as my real name, it causes an obvious problem on Facebook. I used to think that there were better tools to use for networking like Twitter and LinkedIn. But these new Facebook Page capabilities make networking on Facebook easy. Plus, Facebook opens your personal brand / business to nearly a billion people.
You don’t want your messages exposed to people who are not interested in receiveing them. That’s why it’s important to have a separate Facebook Page. We all know people who send business-related messages on their personal accounts. Nobody likes that! If you don’t have a Facebook Page, creating one is easy. Once you have it set up, you can take control of it with the powerful Use Facebook as Page option.
UPDATE 10/16/11: Facebook now has a Subscribe Button to enable anyone to subscribe to your public updates. This may make sense for a personal brand, as long as your friends don’t mind seeing your topic-specific posts. You can create filters in Facebook for your posts, but this is kind of a hassle. Separate pages can make more sense. In all, it’s not easy to separate business and personal in Facebook without some work.
UPDATE 12/15/12: Facebook is now changing the subscribe button to Follow button, so users expectations are inline with Twitter and Google+.
Use Facebook as Page
The new feature that changes everything is the “Use Facebook as Page” link in the Account menu at the top right of Facebook when you are logged in. Facebook Page veterans can see this link to see what’s changed. Once you are logged into your page you now take on your alter ego. Step out of your Clark Kent suit and post, like pages, comment, and see a custom news feed – just like a Facebook superuser. And of course you can use the page to syndicate your content automatically as before using RSS from a Web site or blog.
Another great use of the Use Facebook as Page option is that you can aggregate news from pages you “like” in your industry. When you see a story that catches your attention you can comment on it. It’s much easier to see relevant news stories when you’re not seeing updates of your baby cousin’s new halloween costume. Since making comments in Facebook is easy and fast, you can really get your name out there. Also, I noticed some blogs I followed got more comments from Facebook than on the actual blog site. Interesting. I think more technically-oriented people sometimes forget that regular Internet users use Facebook most of the time. It’s how they “make the rounds” in the digital space. Plus PR people NEED to be on Facebook all the time, so you need a professional presence on Facebook to get noticed and interact.
FaceBook Page Tab and the IFrame
You’ll notice a big design difference with regular Facebook user profile and business Facebook Pages because of what’s called the tab feature of the Facebook Page. Facebook pages can have a design (if the owner chooses) that look like mini Web pages. They are even easier to create now that Facebook has migrated to what’s called the iFrame to display tab content.
iFrames are literally Web pages within Web pages, so regular Web designers can easily create pages and host them on another server outside of the Facebook domain. When users visit your page for the first time, your welcome tab can appear with your logo, fonts, videos, and any other marketing material. The sizes are small though, only 520 pixels or roughly 5 inches wide on a standard computer monitor. Facebook Pages don’t automatically come setup with the iFrame component, so you’ll need to install an iFrame app to get it to work. I’ve investigated a few iFrame apps and this one has the best reviews.
Simple pages aren’t all that you can do. Having developed Facebook Applications professionally, I can tell you there is so much you can customize to make your page fun and viral. Pages give you access to limitless creative possibilities – you just need a skilled programmer familiar with the Facebook platform. Wanna add a game to your page? No problem! Want to use their friends list or gain access to useful personal data to build your database? Yep, you can do that too.
Small Businesses Spending More on Facebook Marketing in 2011
Did you know small businesses are stepping up spending on Facebook marketing this year? According to an Inc Magazine survey, in 2011 businesses will spend more this year on Facebook than Twitter. Interesting. Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn made the other top spots. What does this tell me? 1 billion Facebook users can’t be ignored. If you’re a small business or professional you need to respect the size of Facebook and its growing importance in the business community. With the increased features for separating personal accounts and business accounts, you can be sure Facebook has more in store for businesses. The place check-ins are already evidence of that. Think you can’t know what’s happening next? Developers usually know through a page Facebook has called the Roadmap. It helps them prepare their code for services changes and major upcoming shifts. You may want to check it out as you get deeper into Facebook marketing since Facebook changes can derail your marketing if they remove features.
Separate Accounts for Facebook Business and Facebook Personal Accounts
People often wonder if you can have two fully separate Facebook accounts – the quick answer is sort of. Facebook Pages should be connected to a Facebook personal account. While you can create a new Facebook login (not profile) for a business page, why would you? It’s another login to have — everyone has a Facebook profile, and there aren’t any downsides to connecting a business page to your personal Facebook profile. Remember, someone has to make updates to the page.
When you create a new Facebook Page with a personal profile that account becomes an “administrator” of the page. You can also appoint others to administer your Facebook Page – useful for large companies or busy business people. Users must “Like” a page before they can become an administrator. You can also walk away from your Facebook Page and let others manage it completely. You can create as many pages as you want with your personal account.
Don’t bother trying to create a personal account with a business name. There’s a Facebook algorithm that checks names. It the name doesn’t look like a real name it won’t let you create the profile.
Can I Convert My Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Business Page? How Do I Convert My Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Business Page?
Yes, you can, but this isn’t a great option. If you want to convert a personal profile to a business page it’s probably because it wasn’t setup properly. Business pages are for businesses. Before Facebook Pages, many business setup personal profiles for their businesses because that was the only option available to them. Now, you can convert the personal profile to a business page, but would your personal friends appreciate it? Do you want to lose your personal friends? I suggest creating a new, separate Facebook Page and let your friends know about it by posts in your personal feed and through page invitations.
Here is the official word from Facebook:
“When you convert your personal account to a Facebook Page, a business account will be created to manage your Page. We’ll transfer your current profile picture and add all your friends and followers as people who like your Page. Your account’s username will become the username for your Page, and the name associated with your personal account will become your Page’s name. If you want your Page to have a different name, consider creating a new one.
No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning the conversion”
What Benefits / Features do Facebook Pages Have Versus Facebook Profiles?
Facebook business pages are more capable than personal profiles. Useful Page features:
- Like boxes
- Multiple administrators
- Categories – useful for the new Graph Search Facebook introduced
- Instant followers – no one needs to accept the fan / follower request
- Facebook Insights (analytics) – get useful information about your audience and posts. Personal profiles have NO analytics.
- Peace of mind – know that with a page everything you post will be public – no need to worry about privacy or audience like with a personal profile
Like me, many people have a personal brand. I created a Facebook business page that included my real name, plus what I do. So, for example “Ken Morico Digital Consultant.” I have a Like box on my Web site that people can click. It helps my separate my family and my professional contacts on Facebook and helps me target my status updates.
When building your personal brand, you’ll also want to build up your authorship profile to establish your credibility throughout the Web.
Here’s what Facebook analytics look like:
I am a Consultant / Advertising Agency, How Can I Manage Many Facebook Business Accounts?
When I worked for an agency, I setup a new, dummy Facebook profile to connect all the Facebook Pages to that separate account. It’s a good way to fully separate many business accounts from your own personal account. You might name that separate Facebook profile “Ken at Work” or make up a name. Then you can create pages using that account. For most small business users and entrepreneurs with only a few pages, I would recommend just using your own personal Facebook profile to connect your pages.
Facebook Timeline for Pages
Facebook Pages fully support the Timeline option just like personal profiles. Timelines are a great way to tell your brand’s story. Add milestones to fill your page and showcase your long brand history. Adding milestones is great because if you didn’t post anything to your page in the past or you are late to social media, users will have something to read as they scroll through your page.
Manage Accounts with HootSuite
HootSuite can help you manage your social media accounts and help you separate your personal and professional social media lives. Basically, it uses tabs for each stream in a social media account. You can create custom tabs, for instance called “Personal” and “Professional” and keep track of feeds and special search feeds. For instance, I have a tab called “Monitoring” where I keep up to date on what people are saying in the blogging world, allowing me to enter the conversation at any time. With HootSuite’s posting abilities, you can choose which accounts you want to post from and schedule them in the future. Very handy. I’ve found monitoring works better with Twitter than Facebook primarily because I think people are better with hashtagging on Twitter.
I also created a “Me” tab where I gather mentions and searches for my name so I can monitor my personal brand. I suggest you do the same.
What about Google+?
Google+ is a new social media service from Google. The great thing about it right now is that you can keep personal and business separated from the start with their “circles” feature. Any posts you create can be set to private – shared with groups you create, or using pre-built groups Google provides. Or, for maximum exposure, they can be set to public. I like using Google services since I feel they give me an edge in SEO. Google rolled out brand pages for businesses, so if you have a brand that is separate from yourself you’ll want to check that out.
Do You “Like” Me?
If you have found this helpful please “Like” Ken Morico on Facebook or add me to a circle on Google+. I’ll be posting more articles on Facebook strategies and learnings as I go, so please subscribe to my blog to stay notified. Also, I periodically update this page with new information.
- I discuss social media power tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck in this podcast episode and some best practices for separating personal and business
- Professional Share – A WordPress Social Media Plugin | A plugin I developed for professional blogs