A question I hear a lot is whether or not businesses should use a separate Facebook page OR use a personal profile for business posts, and what the Pros/Cons are of each.
There are those who argue that you should only use your business page for your business and those who argue that a personal page is much better. On this occasion, I land squarely in the middle.
What are the benefits of a business page?
The benefits of a business page are enormous. You can boost your views when doing a launch or showing off new material or just for increasing eyeballs on your content. In fact, it is possibly the cheapest way available for getting yourself out in front of a big audience quickly.
The key to boosting effectiveness is to give those newly introduced something to come back for. Make sure that your content speaks to your prospects. Answer their questions. Feed their curiosity. Tickle their sense of humor. Do something that will make them want more of you. Otherwise, yelling in the mall on a weekend will produce the same effects (except for the part where the police eject you.)
Another benefit concerns new search information. Some estimate that over 70% of searches are now done from mobile devices. Currently, the second most popular search engine for businesses from mobile is Facebook. Facebook publishes those results from the business pages it has available. If you don’t have a business page, you won’t be shown in those results. The key to effective marketing is to be where your customers are when they need you. A Facebook business page can help you accomplish that.
A Facebook business page helps your customers to know, like, and trust you. There isn’t much of a relationship without that. When you are choosing a doctor or lawyer, you want to know about them and their business, but you don’t necessarily care about their kids’ spring recital. By providing good, solid information to your audience, you get a chance to really enlist your customers’ loyalty and evangelism.
Another advantage of a Facebook business page is excellent analytics. According to Google and other sources, like CrazyEgg, Google analytics are becoming more sketchy, making accurate numbers increasingly important. Facebook has a reach that certainly gives a broad enough basis for great analysis.
The problem comes from that same audience pile. If you don’t have enough followers to your page, you don’t get the analytics. And if you don’t grow your audience to followers beyond your immediate family and offline friends, you won’t get numbers that you can actually use to better affect your business decisions.
All in all, if you are using Facebook for business at all (and if you are in business you need to be using Facebook), you should have a Facebook business page. And you should be populating that page with good, informative, interesting content.
What are the disadvantages of a business page?
The disadvantages of doing all your business on a business page is that you don’t have access to the beneficial everyday interactions that make personal Facebook profiles fun and effective. For instance, I have cultivated a group of movers and shakers in a certain industry as Facebook friends (and I encourage you to do the same), when they post something and I respond (not as spam, but as actual conversation) their friends and followers get to see and hear me. I have grown my audience significantly through these conversations. When I post from my personal page and they respond to me, again I am increasing my audience by reaching everyone who would see any one of their posts. This would not be happening from a business page.
I cannot talk to another personal page in my business page voice. I cannot have personal interactions with those not already connected to my business page. And, those industry leaders would probably not have gone to like my page if I had not developed a more personal relationship with them first.
One of my considerations is that I grew my audience before the advent of business pages. It would be difficult to get all, or even most, of those folks over to a business page.
They think of themselves as “friends” not customers. I encourage that notion.
Any request that I post, whether it be on my business or personal page, is seen by less than 10% of my friends (based on FB’s newest logarithm.) The only option for ensuring that you reach each and every one of your current friends and request that they like your business page instead of your personal page is to contact each of them. If you have a significant number of friends (I keep mine at around 4000) you would have to individually message each of them to make sure they received the heads up. FB strongly frowns on that many messages. In fact, they prohibit it.
What about using both a personal page for business AND a business page?
A less significant but important drawback of having both a personal page used for business and a business page is that you need to have double the content.
That content cannot be automatically duplicated on both pages. I learned this the hard way. My business page was automatically posting to my personal wall. Those who were friends and liked my business page were getting the same content twice. This resulted in a lot of people unliking my business page because they wanted to continue getting my personal info (so, I guess sometimes we do want the update on the kids’ spring recital.)
So, as I said, I come down in the middle. Based on research and personal experience, I believe that right now (in the ever-changing world of marketing online) it is best to use both a personal and business page.
However, if you are running both pages for business it is important that you are doing it in the most productive way. Treat them as separate pages. They are in fact different pages with different purposes and etiquette rules. Your personal page is your personal page. Keep posting junior’s recital videos. And occasionally reference the business page from your personal page. And put up lots and lots of content on both.