With the recent updates to facebook pages I needed to go back over all my client training documents and redo some sections to reflect the changes and additions. I’ve decided to put together a few blog posts covering the topic of using facebook to promote a business.
In this post I will briefly describe the differences between profiles, pages and groups.
A profile is a personal page for individuals. A profile is needed to use either pages or groups.
To create a profile sign up on facebook.com by filling in your details.
Once a profile is created you have the choice of what you want to do with it. You can make your profile as public or private as you want, the default is public. If you are going to use facebook to promote your business your profile should not be the main focus of your customers and you can keep it private with no connections, no photos. and no status updates. If a business feels they’d rather keep everything professional they can setup a dummy profile for the business that’s only used to administrate the business’s page or group alternatively they can turn their employee’s personal account into admins for the page. The second option might not work for every business since it would mean people would be logging into their personal facebook accounts at work.
Depending on your needs for your business there are some limitations of a facebook profile. A profile has a limit of 5000 friends, when this is reached no more friends can connect with you and what’s worse is the friends can not be transferred to another profile, page or group. Anyone that requests to be a friend of a profile has to be approved so this can lead to spending quiet some time approving friend requests each day if your profile became popular.
Another issue from a business point of view is that facebook has evolved in such a way that it is expected that a profile is an individual and so the applications available for profiles are more geared toward the individual rather than having any real business use.
Facebook pages are a step up from profiles. They are designed to handle so called “public profiles” of celebrities, bands, businesses and brands. Because of its’ intentional design a facebook page has become a powerful business tool and has attracted many application developers that have created additional applications that are specifically aimed at helping businesses to promote themselves.
With the recent changes a facebook page can do everything a profile can do. The differences for a business are that a page does not have a friend limit and a page does not have any privacy functions, in essence a facebook page is an online public profile for the business. Another feature of a facebook page is that it can be controlled by several different users each with their own profile. If an administrator posts something on the page then it appears to have come from the page rather than the individual and as with profiles anything posted on the page gets distributed to the entire page’s friends.
One of the new changes and a huge addition for businesses is that a business can now use facebook as their page. Under the Account menu there is an option to “Use Facebook as Page”. This option lets the user select a page that they can use as their profile. This enables the business to go on to fans profiles and other business pages and leave comments and posts as the business instead of their own personal account.
Groups are used for discussions and events etc. Groups are a way of enabling a number of people to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects. They are increasingly used by clubs, companies and public sector organizations to engage with stakeholders – be they members of the public, employees, members, service users, shareholders or customers.