With today’s announcement from Facebook that Pages can now be tagged in photos, I can officially not think of one good reason for a business to operate on Facebook with a Profile instead of a Page. The difference? Facebook puts it best:
Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook. You may only create Facebook Pages to represent real organizations of which you are an authorized representative.
It might be fair to say that Facebook’s distinction between Profiles and Pages wasn’t always as clear as it is now. Moreover, the benefits of using a Page for your business may not have always been obvious. After all, the average Facebook user is familiar with the way a Profile operates. It might have seemed easier to communicate with users on an individual-to-individual level.
But I’m here to tell you this: If you are using a Profile to represent your business on Facebook, you are doing yourself a disservice. Below, five points that I hope will sway you to convert your business’s Profile to a Page today.
- Creating a Profile for your business is against the rules. As stated by Facebook and quoted above, “Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name…” There is a slew of verbiage in Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities about only representing you as yourself with a Profile, etc. and so on. Further, these terms state in several ways and in several places that Facebook reserves the right to disable your account if it sees fit. Break the rules, and risk losing all of the connections you’ve made with your business’s Profile.
- Using a Profile is likely discouraging users from connecting with your business. It’s simple to connect with a Page; the user simply clicks “like” and is done. Instantly, that person has opted into communication from that Page. No commitment necessary. However, when a business has a Profile, users must become “friends” with the business. Connecting in this way makes the user’s personal information available to the business. That might be enough to convince someone that connecting with you isn’t worth it.
- As users become more familiar with Pages, businesses operating with Profiles appear less legitimate–or at least less familiar with social media in general. Operating as a business within Facebook’s parameters readily identifies your business as official, trust-worthy.
- Did you know that Facebook Page administrators have access to analytics? Loads of them? For free? FREE! This is serious and worth repeating. Facebook offers Page administrators analytics. If you are using a Profile for your business, you are robbing yourself of knowing which content your audience is most engaged by, who your audience is, and more. So that you can pause and think about this for a moment, I present you with a snapshot of the magical world of Facebook Insights before I give you more to read.This entire blog post could have just been that snapshot, and it should have been enough to convince you. Just in case, though, I’ll go on.
- There is no longer any excuse to use a Facebook Profile for your business. Features once only available to Profiles are now available for Pages as well. By using the new “Use Facebook as Page” feature, Pages can now behave like users in several ways. Pages can leave comments, like content (including other Pages), and now can even be tagged in photos. To seal the deal, Facebook now offers the option of converting your business’s Profile to a Page. And personally, the availability of this option makes me think that Facebook is getting ready to crack down on misuse of Profiles. If you are a business with a Facebook Profile, that possibility should scare you.
Some might say that there are drawbacks to using a Profile instead of a Page for a business. For instance, Page users can only be tagged in a Page’s content if that person is connected personally to the admin of the Page. A Page cannot send a regular message to users, only an Update that won’t appear in the user’s main inbox. And so on. However, interactions like these are not what an individual wants or expects from a business. Personal messages, or tagged content might feel invasive to users.
Thankfully, this social platform has now expanded to allow businesses to benefit. By taking advantage of the tools provided by Facebook, businesses are able to connect with users who will opt in to marketing messages. This is a privilege that should not be abused. To get the most out of Facebook for your business, interact with your audience in a way that’s expected, that isn’t invasive, that offers value. Take advantage of all that’s available to you (this would be a good time to take another look at that Insights snapshot). In the end, following the rules will be good for you. I promise.