As a Social Media Marketer, when I think of Facebook, I think of Business Pages and how I can help companies can use them to engage customers, service existing customers and make sales. But when I start talking to many business owners, they immediately think of the Facebook they use to communicate with family members, play Candy Crush and catch up on old high school sweethearts.
They have been told to use Facebook to market their products and services, but misunderstand the difference between the personal and business platforms. Some try to turn their personal pages into billboards for their companies. There are a couple of problems with this. First, personal Facebook pages require a friend request and acceptance. Not every customer wants to be a business owner’s friend. The larger issue is the fact that these pages often mix business and personal posts in inappropriate ways. (A website client of ours uses his Facebook personal page advertise his company, filling it with coupons and sales, which could alienate some of his real friends. He also posts revealing photos of his wife and “off color” jokes between his close friends, which might alienate his business fans.)
What makes Facebook so powerful is the melding of the personal and business sides into a coherent whole. When we post on the business pages we manage, we are aiming those posts to be shared on personal pages and perhaps lead real people to our clients’ websites to learn more. While we do post funny and interesting things about the company or the world in general, we are very careful to keep the Pages professional and business-oriented. Our aim with Business Pages is to make people want to share special offers, interesting information and even jokes with their friends, thus introducing those friends to the company. We want people to “like” the Page without having to accept their friendship.
But businesses don’t live in a vacuum. There are times when personal pages can be used for business. For example, upon hearing that a friend has just had a baby, an insurance agent might mention that it could be a good time to consider life insurance. Think of your Facebook Personal Page as a virtual cocktail party, where you interact with friends and acquaintances. Your business might come up in conversation, but it will not be the focus of the conversation. Think of your Business Page as a virtual networking event. You are there to enhance your business, there is still a large social aspect and you will not spend your time there trying to sell to people, but everyone knows you are there because of your business.