Business No-Brainers: Why You Should Use A Facebook Business Page Not Your Facebook Profile!
I was compelled to write this three-part article after meeting so many business owners who have not yet realized the benefits of a Business Page for their brand, products or services and are, in my opinion, really missing a trick. And then there are those who either misunderstand the separate entity concept of a Facebook Business Page or mistakenly think that it gives people a portal to their private lives online. I have even met business owners who to my dismay have set up multiple Facebook accounts with separate log-ins – so much unnecessary work for them.
1. Personal vs. Private
A Facebook Profile and Business Page are (nearly) mutually exclusive and lead very separate lives providing you always remember to post updates as your Page. Whilst there is a limit to what is 'public' on your Facebook profile unless someone is friends with you, if you are still concerned about the distinction, it does not do any harm to lock down the settings even further if you wish to – Facebook gives you the flexibility and control to do this.
On the flip side, putting yourself in the shoes of your family and friends, they probably do not want to see an update on your business every time they log in to Facebook same as you would not want to read about a friend's job every time you did. Of course, if they have chosen to Like your Business Page then it's a different story but keeping the two separate in the first place gives everyone the option and raises an individual's preferences.
Thereafter you have one universal log-in and there is no limit to the number of Pages you can create and administrator.
2. It's Not About You!
There is nothing more frustrating than clicking on a Facebook icon on a website for it to then take you to someone's Facebook profile. This looks amateurish and as if you do not have a handle on how to use Facebook for business. I have lost count of the number of times this has happened to me and when it does, rather than taking the time to find out if there is in fact a separate Page, I simply turn off and close the webpage.
I am not personally in the habit of sending friend requests to people I do not know, but say in this instance I did? So, I've landed on a Facebook Profile by clicking on the Facebook follow button on a website and sent a friend request. This has now been accepted. BUT I still do not receive business updates, but rather the photos, comments, friend updates, etc. of not only the person in question but their friends as well who I I do not know from Adam. Have I made my point?
3. Brand Newsfeed
A Page Newsfeed or Timeline is the equivalent of your Email Marketing on Facebook and underpins your success in reaching and engaging with people. Think of it as a person's inbox to which you deliver your entire business Page related news, ie a Newsletter to which Fans have subscribed to. With the added bonus of a far lower unsubscribe rate, no reliance on subscribers forwarding it to their friends (albeit with an incentive for doing so built in), it is far less time-consuming to keep up to date and a sentence or two is all it takes for you to potentially obtain new Fans and increased exposure.
But let's also not forget the reverse, because what you read from others in your own Page Newsfeed will not only provide a wealth of inspiration and material for your own content ideas but also provide further opportunities for you to comment on the posts of others and be seen by their Fan / Friends.
The bottom line is that without your Newsfeed, you would not be seen or noticed on Facebook – it really does embody the Domino Effect!
In essence, your Page Newsfeed equals increased exposure for your business / brand, invaluable insights into what you are saying most resonates with people but also provides ample opportunities for conversations with new audiences.
Just make sure that you are using Facebook as your Business Page in order to comment / post on the Business Pages of others.
4. Tagging & Commenting As Your Page
Is not it great when your friends and family Tag you in photos you did not know you were in or at a location you were both at? All well and good but imagine if your Facebook Business Page name could only be Tagged or commented on by them – it would be a very limited audience, right?
Well it's a good job that this is not the case – another very advantageous feature of Pages is that in addition to those who Like your Page, any Business Page owner can Tag / comment on your Business Page which opens it right out to a viral audience. And of course, each time they do this, you are maximizing the number of Newsfeeds your Business Page name appears in and absolutely not how many Fans see it but also their own Fans too which offers rich pickings in terms of engagement and new fans.
5. The Sky's The Limit!
Did you know that a Facebook Profile is limited to 5,000 friends? Not that I know anyone with that number and if I did, I'm pretty sure they'd be too thinly spread to ever spend any time with yours truly!
A Facebook Business Page is a different story with no limit to the number of Likes it can receive. Whilst 5,000 friends on a Facebook Profile may be met with scorns of derision about its authenticity, if you've got 5,000 or more Likes on your Business Page you're going to be held in pretty high regard. But why stop there ?!
6. Google Search Results
Whilst it is key that your online activity focuses on driving traffic back to your website, Social Media is the lifeblood of your overall online presence. Facebook Pages are indexed by Google which means that they are optimized for search engines. So the more active you are the more visible your business will be in a search resulting in an increased online presence and active and prolific impression on Social Media.
7. And The Winner Is …
Who does not love a freebie ?! Contests / Competitions are a great way to build engagement with your followers / Fans and also incentivise other people to Like your Business Page and share your content, making them an instant ambassador for your Brand or business.
They are, in my humble opinion, one of the most fun and creative Facebook Business Page features and something else that a Facebook Profile can not offer. The main reason for this is that they are generally only available via Apps or Advertising which Profiles do not offer the software for and, in the case of Apps, generally only installable to Facebook Tabs (see 12.), another exclusive Business Page feature.
Contests are a really effective way of incentivizing people to share your Business Page content and grow your Likes. Enough said?
8. Featured Likes
This enables you to showcase the pages of other brands / businesses that you Like – providing not only an insight into your brand / business and its interests but also to showcase the Pages of those businesses you have Liked which should also encourage reciprocity by those businesses.
Simply clicking on the 'Like Pages' link on the left-hand side of your screen allows you to choose from a list of Pages under various categories, including Brands & Products and Companies & Organizations. Of course, businesses similar to you or those who you have an affiliation or association with, such as complementary services, trusted suppliers and so on, are always going to have a maximum impact.
9. Business Page Owners
As with the content management system of a website, an Administrator of a Business Page can delegate administration rights to other Facebook account holders with a tier of different permission levels, which as well as allowing you to work smarter and free up your own time to focus on other areas of your business, provides an additional level of security because you do not have to give them the username / password for your own Facebook account.
10. Featured Business Page Owners
You can also make anyone who is already an Administrator of your Business Page a Featured Administrator / Business Page Owner. This will simply associate them with the Business Page by displaying their Facebook Profile Picture in the About section of your Business Page and also state that they are a Business Page Owner on their Facebook Profile. For my own business, the benefit of this is to allow people to see who the people in the business are, in the same way as the About Business Page of a website does.
11. Business Showcase
A Facebook Business Page allows you to display such information as your business's opening times, location map, telephone number, email address (es) and website address (es), etc. without compromising any of your personal contact details, such as a mobile number, Gmail address, etc.
In the website section you can also add up to three addresses of your choosing in addition to your business site – some suggestions are a link to your Twitter profile, LinkedIn Profile / Company Business Page, Google+ Page, Blog address, etc.
You can further showcase your business by providing a Company Overview, Description, Mission, Founded, Awards, Products (a call to action with a website link is recommended here), etc.
12. Tabs & Apps
Newsletter sign up, Twitter feed, e-Shop, website link or iFrame – these are just a few examples of how you can utilize your Business Page Tabs through the use of Third Party Apps, another feature exclusive to Facebook Pages. Not only that, but the majority of these Apps are completely FREE to download and use and, in many instances, customisable to your own business' needs. You can even set up an Amazon or eBay!
One of the many advantages of these Tabs is that followers can sign up to your newsletter, view your Twitter feed, purchase your products / services, etc. without ever leaving Facebook. And, since Facebook's MO is naturally to encourage traffic to stay within its own walls, you're in good hands. I have chosen to utilize one of these Tabs for my Blog (in addition to the website area where it can also be displayed).
13. Advertising & Promotions
Okay, so they're not free but Facebook Adverts still wipe the floor with many other (free) and organic techniques for growing your fan base. I'm not saying other methods are not as powerful, far from it, but there's a reason you pay for Adverts – they REALLY WORK!
Facebook Adverts appear in a sidebar on the right-hand side of your Timeline (Newsfeed) right before your status bar of friends who are / are not online. Whilst an Advert can only be set up by a Page, the beauty of them is that their audience is not restricted to Page fans; they can be used to target your friends too.
Whilst Facebook Adverts are a paid entity and can prove expense if not managed properly, you can control your spend with a budget, start and end date and maximum price per click (if you are going down that route), etc. Facebook offers you the choice of several tiers of advertising to suit your budget and objectives. You can also manage the Adverts from your Pages' Admin Panel to track their effectiveness in the same way as Facebook Insights (see 19.).
Promotions are also a paid entity but work slightly differently to Facebook Adverts in that they appear within your Page Newsfeed so appear more natural and less aggressive or targeted. And, while most of us know that by clicking on an advert the person who posted it is paying, this is not so obvious or well known with Promotions.
14. I'm just Checking in!
The Check-In Tool is another fantastic feature you can utilize to encourage people to engage and interact. It's also an easy way to provide the social proof that your Business Page is resonating with people and useful to them. In other words, those people who have Liked your Business Page have effectively endorsed your business to their friends. And this kind of social proof is an integral driver of a consumer's buying decisions.
Of course, this does rely on you having a physical location so if you are a work from home digital marketer it may not be the most useful feature but still worth knowing about and something else that is not available on a Facebook Profile!
This vastly under-utilized and valued yet fully interactive Facebook Tool can be used almost like a Blog and as another platform through which to further expand on your Products, Services or Brand. Notes are similar to Blog posts in that you can add or edit content and also avoid the 420 character restriction of a status update.
Fans can even Like and comment on your Notes and equally any Notes within which your Business Page has been tagged or commented on is accessible by you. They can even interact with other Fans about your Business Page which not only increases your Page's exposure but also provides you with the opportunity to increase traffic to your Blog and your industry authority and credibility.
You can add comments, photos and images, tag other Fanpages, and even format the style and layout of Notes, ie use bold, italics, or underline, numbering, bullet points and quote blocks.
Why are they important? Well, Google will index your Notes if you have properly optimized them and increase the likelihood of them appearing in a Google search, which of course means an additional stream of traffic for your Business or Brand.
Several years ago you could also use the Notes feature as a bonafide blogging platform but this seems to have been buried by the updated Newsfeed. There are rumors though that Facebook will revive the blogging functionality of Notes so watch this space for developments!
Do you use the Facebook Notes tool – if so, what for?
16. Import Contacts / Invitations
As long as you are using Facebook as your Page, you can invite a whole host of people to Like it and increase your number of Fans exponentially. This is absolutely my recommended port of call when you first set up a Business Page because they are already your captive audience and therefore incredibly influential in growing your Likes through their own Newsfeed. As I said in point 14., the people who have Liked your Business Page have effectively endorsed your business to their friends. And this kind of social proof is an integral driver of a consumer's buying decisions and which also helps non-profits to garner support. After all, word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing in the world but arguably still the most powerful, right?
There is nothing wrong with periodically re-inviting contacts to Like your Page and your lists will no doubt have grown since you last did this anyway. Facebook does also allow you to select which people you would like to invite to Like your Page so you can make it more targeted if you so wish.
17. Link Your Business Page To Twitter
If you sync your Facebook Page with your Twitter account, whenever you create a post in Facebook, both Social Media channels will be updated simultaneously. Not only is this a quick win but you are working smarter as you do not have to update both channels with the same content. Be mindful though if you use the HootSuite Social Media Dashboard that you do not post to both Social media channels otherwise even the most diehard fans will quickly turn off if they are seeing double every time!
18. Unique Username
A unique username or Vanity URL, such as Facebook.com/example will also assist with your search ranking and make your company name synonymous with Facebook, especially valuable if this is also your brand / product / service.
Much as you would add your current job to your Facebook profile if you were an employee, you also have the facility to add your Business Name to your profile with a link to your Business Page (please note that this will not link your Facebook Profile and Page, please show where you work).
19. Analyze Your Page's Activity
Once you have 30 Likes, you will be able to view Facebook Insights, which provide in-depth analysis on every one of your Business Page posts to see how many people your post reached how many engaged with it and how many talked about it with their Friends. You can also compare your different posts by showing the percentage of people who talked about your post to their Friends after seeing it. You can also export a report of your Facebook Insights to a spreadsheet and email it.
As defined by Facebook, "Insights provides Facebook Business Page owners … with metadata around their content. By understanding and analyzing trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, Business Page owners … are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook. "
Ultimately, Facebook Insights provide a platform for something you should really be checking anyway – what content is resonating the most with people, be it particular status updates you post, or links to blog posts or your latest newsletter or something else so that you can tailor your messaging for maximum impact.
Are you in the Facebook Profile or Facebook Business Page camp? What other advantages or disadvantages have you encountered with both? I'd love to hear your experiences!