Dear business owners,

So glad you have understood that you can gain great value and grow your business through Social Media, but did you seek advice before you started?

I can’t believe I’m posting on this topic again – but still I see so many new businesses starting up as a  personal profile under a business name.  I know it might seem easier, and you feel you don’t want to personally “be” on facebook, but this is against facebook terms and is a poor business decision.

It kinda makes me want to cry!  

Because I am passionate about supporting businesses to grow,  I usually drop a friendly private message to give the business a heads up… but I find it so frustrating that so many still do it.   On an ethical level I will no longer  “friend” a business – it would be hypocritical of me, but create a page and if your product is something I value, then I will LIKE away, and engage!  Remember a LIKE is an endorsement of a product or service – if you are getting value from a page then you should LIKE them to say thanks!

After sending messages to a few pages, I had a couple come back saying they get better engagement with a personal profile – but the principles are all wrong.   Let’s just examine a few from both the business perspective and that of someone “friending” the business as opposed to becoming a fan:

  • Do you really intend to push your business out onto all your friends – many of your friends may not appreciate that you are spruiking to them, and it is very poor social etiquette to do so.
  • On the other side, if  you “friend” a business they are able to spam your friends .. NOT good social etiquette at all
  • as a business  on a profile, you cannot take advantage of all the cool things that the Apps (tabs) can do help your business to grow
  • You risk building a huge base of fans only to have it all it all shut down – at some point, especially with facebook now privatised, they are going to do some serious culling – then all your work is lost!
  • It is almost impossible to implement any kind of reasonable social media marketing strategy when you are operating as a personal profile, and any self respecting and qualified social media consultant should not encourage it.   If you want to start list building – then do it through offering something of value and create an opt in offer.
  • Without a page you cannot take advantage of the analytical tools on offer – so how are you measuring your engagement?
  • Having an individual profile will limit you to a maximum of 5000 friends, pages can have millions of likers.
  • Converting to a page later is messy and doesn’t always work as well as you might like.  It may not work in the best interests of your brand to later change over where some fans may move and others might still interact with the profile.  You miss opportunities for engagement with a much broader audience.
  • You can link a page to your website and include a LIKE button  to improve engagement, you can’t do this with a profile.
  •  If you later create a personal profile then you are again in breach of facebook terms which clearly state that personal profiles must be in the name of a real identifiable  individual (yes not your dog, cat, boat or business) and you may only have one.  If you also have a business set up as a profile then you risk having both your profiles shut down.
  • It actually doesn’t help anyone to do it this way as it causes the statistics to be incorrect – and if you are trying to measure your ROI accurately  then we all need to play the game fairly.

I could go on, but the number one thing that you are doing when you set up your business as a personal profile – is not being honest.   No one knows who you are – it does not generate trust.  Be proud of what you have created and let it shine on it’s very own page, and seek help so you don’t waste precious time and money, because you never get time back.

– Fiona.