Facebook – Profile Or Page?

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social network with around 600 million users worldwide, 30 million or so in the UK alone. (that’s almost 50% of the population). Those statistics alone should convince businesses that they cannot afford to ignore the power of 21st century word of mouth, which in a nutshell is what’s offered by social media.

But, because social media is a fluid entity, growing exponentially at present, it’s not always that easy to keep up with changes – hence many businesses are not doing things correctly. This seems to be a particular problem with Facebook, whereby a large percentage of businesses have set themselves up with a personal account as opposed to a “page”.

Facebook Page

Facebook Page

In a recent update, Facebook has made it very clear that Profiles are for individuals and Pages are for businesses. Below is a quote from the Facebook TOS:

Since profiles are for meant individual people, they aren’t suited to meet your business needs. Pages offer more robust features for organizations, businesses, brands, and public figures, which you can learn more about here. Further, maintaining a profile for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your profile to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the profile and all of your content.

Also, note the following quote from the TOS:

You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain

One very notable difference between a profile and a page is that with a profile (i.e. your personal account) you can only have 5000 “friends”, but with a page there is no limit on the number of “likes” you can have. Imagine how limiting it would be if a business could only have 5000 people, i.e. current or potential clients/customers interacting with it! Some of the major brands have tens of thousands of “fans”……….

Facebook Profile

Facebook Profile (Personal Account)

Also, with a page, you can run competitions, promotions etc. but as you might imagine, there are fairly strict rules relating to how you can do this. Natasha, a colleage of mine, has written an excellent article on Facebook competitions.

However – if you have already set up your business as a personal profile, there is still hope! Facebook will allow you to “migrate” your personal account to a Page without losing your followers – you can find the details here. When you activate the migration tool, your profile photo will be transferred and all your “friends” will be converted to “likes” on your new page. All other content including photos and like connections other pages will be lost, so you should consider using Facebook’s “Download Your Information” tool first. Thsi is accessed via Account > Account Settings > Download Your Information, then clicking on Learn More.

Download Your Facebook Information

Download Your Facebook Information

I hope this has been helpful – if you’re a business then it really will benefit you to take note of these comments and get yourself set up properly on Facebook. Your clients are already talking about you and you need to listen!

Thanks also to Shailesh Ghimire of Social Reflections for an excellent blog post on this subject. Also to Josh Constine of Inside Facebookfor an equally great post!

Comments

  1. Jacqui Thompson says:

    I certainly found this article very useful, just wondered if you knew if there was a way to migrate your fans from a former Group Page to your Business Page? http://www.facebook.com/fingeronthepulse your assistance in this would be appreciated.

    • Anonymous says:

      hi Jacqui, thanks for your comment. This is a valid question. To my knowledge it’s not possible to migrate fans from a group to a page and Facebook’s terms seem to bear this out:
      http://www.facebook.com/help/new/?page=904
      (scroll down to – I have a Facebook Group. Can it be converted into a Page?)
      I anticipate changing from a group to a page shortly, for a charity I’m involved with, and I had resigned myself to simply contacting all the members and hoping they’d move over to the new page……

  2. I completely agree. However, trying to convince businesses they are doing wrong is another issue, it’s easier to add friends than gain likes and until facebook start disabling accounts people will continue to do this. I haven’t found 1 single case study where any profile has been closed as it was promoting a business.
    http://www.taylormadesocialmedia.com/2011/01/5-reasons-why-you-need-facebook-page.html

    • hi Dennis, thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s difficult to convince businesses that they should use a page rather than a profile. Your blog post on this issue was very comprehensive.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Of course, if you turn your creativity into a business you need to find customers.  One popular way to do this is to promote yourself on social media, and Naomi Johnson talks about the best way to use Facebook in her post Profile or Page? […]

  2. […] written about this in a previous post, but it does warrant another mention as I see so many businesses wrongly set up on Facebook, and as […]

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