Marketing Tips: TWO - Facebook Page or Profile?
When considering Facebook as a marketing tool, you have to make one decision right away:
"Do I want to create a Page from my existing profile, or set up a new Profile?"
I've said "existing profile" as I have assumed most people have a Facebook presence of some sort these days. If not, then (well done!) we can start there on another post.
So what's the difference between a page and a profile? According to Facebook, a Profile is for an individual, and a Page is for a business or organisation. Lots of people use a profile to promote their business if they're a sole trader. They use a 'middle name' to describe their business - such as Joe Plumber Bloggs. Profiles are nice because you can Like and Share things a little easier, and it's more of a two-way relationship with your customers. With a profile you can proactively find and request friends, you can't really do that with a Page.
Here's the thing, though: at some point, Facebook will get in touch with you. It'll be because they've noticed account activity and feel it's business orientated, or (as happened with Dermace some 5 years ago) one of your lovely competitors will report you.
Now, Facebook are very reasonable in these situations and give you a chance to sort your Facebook usage out. They offer you a chance to take all your content, images, posts, likes etc, and transfer them onto a Page. It's a one-time offer, and in my opinion, it's a good choice. By the time you're on the radar enough for Facebook or your competitors to notice you, you'll be ready to take advantage of all the benefits a Page offers over a Profile. Let's look at what they are:
Facebook Pages are set up to give your business the best chance of exposure on the network. You can get involved in paid advertising (I'll cover this in a later post), event planning, Messages, Calls to Action (don't worry, I'll explain), ratings, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and the ability to spread the word more effectively and in a more targeted manner. Your business will also now be on Facebook Places, meaning people can check-in (which their friends will see) and rate your business. You'll also be getting Facebook Insights.
This is a tab which gives you crucial information about your customers, where they're from, and what they're interested in. It also tells you which of your posts have been most successful. If you don't have Insights, you're just fumbling around in the dark. Your efforts need to be measurable and considered.
It's true that Facebook has turned into a pain in the backside where the timeline is concerned. It used to show you posts in chronological order (newest first, oldest last), but now it's "curated for you". This basically means that it's kind of in date order, but it's largely driven by advertising. It's annoying, I know, but you can use it to your advantage. I'm going to cover Facebook Advertising and Insights on a later post.
So - Pages V Profiles?
I say: start as you mean to go on. Set up a Page and start creating some great content. Respond quickly to questions, go easy on the inspirational quotes, and post things your customers want to see. I'll cover things such as Privacy, Advertising, ratings etc in subsequent posts. In the meantime, get in touch if you have questions.