The single biggest mistake small business owners make on Facebook is to create a personal profile for your business as opposed to a fan page.
A personal profile is just that – for people. A fan page, or business page, as Facebook calls it, is for businesses and anything that’s not a straight-out person.
At least once a week, I find a new personal profile that’s been subverted for business use and a business owner willing to defend their decision. Whatever the reason, it was a bad choice and I can already hear the objections:
- It’s easier to get more attention, they say. Yes, because what you’re doing is spamming people’s profiles. Way to make a reputation for your business!
- My fan page posts don’t always show on other people’s walls, and I don’t have a way to directly message my customers, they say. You need to work harder at building engagement – and you need to stop looking for ways to spam people. If people want direct messages, they’ll sign up for your newsletter – not at the place they’re looking at photos of their grandkids.
- I screwed up at first and now there’s too many people for me to switch over to a Page, they say. You’ll be out of all of your “friends” when Facebook discovers your mistake, so you’d better get started now.
- I don’t understand the difference between a Page and a Profile, they say. Then you need to hire a geek and get some help to understand it, because you’re risking your business’s reputation.
I make no qualms about how bad this decision is; it’s on the same level as placing your brand new daycare next to the X-rated bookstore. It sends the wrong message. Accident or not, you need to fix it as fast as you can.
Not only is creating a Facebook Personal Profile for your business (instead of using a Page) bad practice because it allows you to inadvertently (or with malice of forethought) spam and harass your customers, it is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service. It only takes one person to report you – your competitor, an angry customer, someone you’ve spammed – and all your hard work to build up a profile vanishes. There’s no recovering it. There’s no transferring it. It just goes away.
So, for my sake, and the sake of your customers, do the right thing and create a Fan Page instead of a Personal Profile for your business. If you’re not sure how, the LCBD teaches classes on that very subject, where we not only cover how to create one – but also how to build engagement there.
P.S. – if you’re legitimately confused and worried you made the wrong choice, contact Mary Ann. She’ll be happy to let you know if you’re on the right track.