One issue that many business owners have, especially when they are just starting out, is understanding the best way to leverage Facebook for their business. In just that one platform, you can have a personal profile, a business page, and a group. I’m going to break down the usage of each of these for business purposes, so you can develop a strategy for each of those in a way that honors Facebook’s terms, speaks to your audience, and clarifies your vision for each avenue.
Facebook Personal Profile
Your personal profile is exactly what it sounds like. It’s all about you, personally. This is where you connect with your friends, share milestones in your life, post your favorite recipe videos, show pictures of the grandkids, and even go nuts with your political views. On your personal profile you can lurk, engage, talk, do Facebook Live videos about the things happening in your daily life, make huge announcements, or post funny gifs and cat videos.
You control your privacy settings, so you control who sees what. If you don’t want something to be seen by the public, change your settings. If you want the world to know it, change your settings. Basically, everything that you post, you own. You do have to respect Facebook’s community standards and not share illegal stuff or bully others and so forth, but that is generally understood as an appropriate thing to do anyway.
What you CAN’T do, however, is run your business on your personal profile. Sure, it’s acceptable once in a while to post a link to something from your business. But it is actually against Facebook’s terms to manage your business social media on your personal profile! Straight from the horse’s mouth: “It’s against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself (example: your business), and you could permanently lose access to your account if you don’t convert it to a Page.” A profile is for representing an individual person. So if you are a business owner (be it a brick & mortar business, an online business, a MLM/DS business, or any other kind of business) you need to keep the business representation on a Page.
Even in my own personal network of friends on Facebook this is something I see ALL THE TIME. People either don’t know, or don’t care, that what they are doing is against Facebook’s terms. For what it’s worth, the abundance of business stuff that you post in the personal sphere of Facebook can very easily drive your friends up a wall. People may start to unfollow you, or possibly even unfriend you, and at the very least they will get really sick of your business really fast. Save that stuff for the places where it belongs, and invite those who are interested to check it out – rather than blatantly sticking it in everyone’s faces on a regular basis.
Here are two things to keep in mind when trying to work out what to post on your profile versus your page:
1. Sometimes you may want to share with your personal friends about what you’re up to in your business. So once in a while, you may decide to share a post from your business page over to your profile. Keep these posts to things like “Where real life and business intersect” or “How the product I sell has impacted me personally” or even the occasional “If you don’t follow my page, you might be missing out on this.” These should be posted on your business page first, then shared over, with a personal comment, to your profile. But hear me when I say loudly and plainly: keep this to a minimum.
2. You may choose to have some of your business colleagues and associates as your “friend” on your personal profile. But remember that you may not always want those people to know everything that you post on there, so that’s entirely up to you. And just keep in mind, business conversations and interactions really shouldn’t be taking place via your profile.
Pages were created to be a profile for public figures, businesses, and organizations. This is why they come with great tools such as statistics, a scheduler, a messaging system separate from Facebook Messenger, and more. There are a number of fantastic options to explore within the “Insights” tab of your page! Not to mention, this is where you can go to town talking business left and right, without driving your friends crazy.
So what do you need to think about if you are going to have a Facebook page? I won’t go into everything here because that’s just way too much for one post. But here’s a quick list of things to think about for setting up your Facebook Page:
1. A page name that is easy to remember and connects well to your business name
2. Branding that matches the rest of your business branding
3. Profile & cover photos
4. Business information all filled out
5. A plan for your posting strategy and schedule
People who “like” your Facebook Page have expressed some interest in what your business is all about. So be sure to prioritize educating them, engaging with them, helping them understand your industry and why they should trust you as a leader in that industry. But most importantly, you should be showing how you can solve a problem your followers have, adding value to their lives, or adding joy to their lives.
Now a Facebook Group is a different animal altogether. Groups are intended to be all about community! So while, on your page, you are generally talking TO your followers, in a group you are facilitating community. You are there to help them interact with one another, just as much as you are trying to help them learn to trust you. So when it comes to interacting with your group, you will want to remember to minimize how much you are trying to “sell to” them, and maximize how much you are “engaging with” them. That principal applies on a Page too, but not to the same extent.
The advantage to having a group, as a business owner, is that you essentially have a captive audience. You have said or done or created something that led people to want to hang out with you. They want more than just reading the articles and clicking the links you provide, they want to have conversations with you, and with others who are also in those conversations. They want to learn from you, and learn from others. They want to pitch in and share their own thoughts.
Your group can be about whatever you want it to be about, but I recommend that you have a specific purpose or theme for your group. Having a group just to have a group is going to leave you floundering and aimless. But knowing that you have a group of people who are passionate or curious about the very thing that you are equipped to teach on, will set you up for clear conversations and helpful interactions.
Here are a few ideas to help you begin to brainstorm what kind of group might work for your business:
1. If you teach a program or a course, you could have a group of your students or participants so they can discuss their questions and accomplishments together.
2. If your business has something to do with crafts or DIY projects, you could have a group where people can ask one another what to do when they have problems with their latest project, or share ideas for new ones, or even just post something they’ve recently finished.
3. If your business deals with travel a lot, people in your group could share travel tips, photos, stories, and even reviews of places they’ve visited. This is a great way for someone to learn more about places they might want to visit in the future!
4. If you provide a necessary service to your audience, and it’s one that often has lots of questions (such as a law or accountancy firm), a group could be a great place for people to inquire about how to handle some challenging issues – as long as their issue doesn’t require confidentiality, of course.
5. Your business might be one that could benefit from a variety of groups that are specific to categories of audience members – such as a university that wants to have groups for each graduating class, or a mechanic that wants to group customers by car make & model.
Now that you can better understand the difference between a profile, a page, and a group, do you need to rethink your approach to how you use Facebook for your business? Or are you struggling to figure out what kind of group you might have? Leave me a comment below, or use the contact page to get in touch. I’d love to chat about how Facebook can work for your business!