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”.
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”……….
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.
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!