WHAT IS….a Facebook Profile, Page and Group?

I have recently been working with local businesses. I found that often they know they should have a presence on social media but have had issues setting up their accounts in the right way. As there is this confusion, it is also stopping others from setting themselves up at all.  Facebook is the one site that seems to be the least understood from this perspective. There can be a significant benefit to businesses from having a presence on this site, I have written this post to help you what the various options are.

1. What is Facebook?

facebook logo

Facebook is a website that was launched in February 2004 as a social networking site. As of January 2011, Facebook is reported to have more than 600 million active users globally! Users can create a profile and add friends and then exchange short updates, messages, pictures and videos. Users can also join common interest user groups or become fans of pages for their favourite businesses, brands and celebrities. With users being so active on the site, it is a great opportunity for a business to increase awareness and interest in their products, services, offers and events, share relevant media, get feedback and ideas, and direct people to their website.

2. Should I be setting up a Facebook profile, group or page?

Initially, you should set up a personal PROFILE as an individual. Your business would then have a PAGE to keep customers and prospective customers up to date with news, events and offers and respond to feedback, comments and suggestions. If you want to bring together people who have a common interest or cause you can create a GROUP.

3. What is the difference?

personProfile. Profiles are a collection of information about you as an individual. Having this set up enables you to invite users to be your friends and share information, pictures and videos with them. The reason it is important to know this is I have seen that some businesses have been set up as profiles. Please be aware that Facebook’s terms of service for profiles states, “Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook.” Importantly , if your business’ profile gets shut down by Facebook for violating this rule, your friends list will vanish with it.

pagesPages. Facebook states, “Pages can only be created to represent a real organization, business, celebrity, or band, and may only be created by an official representative of that entity”. Pages are visible to everyone on the internet (not just Facebook users) by default and are indexed by search engines like Google so that if you search for a business their Facebook Page can come up in the results.  Any user on Facebook can connect with these Pages by ‘liking’ the Page to become a ‘fan’. Fans then receive information from the Page in their News Feed (which is the first page they see when they log in and lists all the activity of their friends, Pages and Groups) and can interact with them. When a user becomes a fan, all their friends will see that they did in their news feed, giving them the opportunity to do the same. A Page can be personalised and applications can be added. Businesses use Pages to announce news, events and special offers, share content and enable customers to discuss their products and services in a way not possible on their website. To set up a business page you need to have a personal profile but there is a personal-professional distinction in that the names of the administrators are not displayed. This means any comment made when you as admin shows up as made by the business page rather than you personally.

groupGroups. Facebook states, “Groups can be created by anyone and about any topic, as a space for people to share their opinions and interest in that subject. Groups can be kept closed or secret, whereas Pages are intended to help an entity communicate publicly”. Groups are usually smaller (as there is a limit on number of members) and you would tend to know members personally. If you are administrator for the group, your name is shown as being the administrator and when you make a comment it will show up as made by you as an individual.

Key points

  • If Facebook fits your business strategy and your customers are active there, you should build a presence on the site.
  • Set up a personal profile page for yourself as an individual. If you set up one for your business it is against the terms and conditions of the site and can disappear overnight (along will all your friends).
  • For your business you need to set up a Page. (You need a personal profile to create a Page.) You can then attract people to ‘like’ your page.
  • For a cause or common interest you can set up a Group.

I hope this is clearer. Once you have your business set up with its well branded page, make sure you use it (and do not fill it with spam).

If you need any help understanding Facebook or setting your business Page up, please let me know. I am always happy to help.

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