Facebook Marketing: page, group or profile – what’s the difference?
With Facebook being so huge, and having a number of different features and options it’s not surprising users wanting to market their small business on Facebook get confused!
When it comes to Facebook pages, groups and profiles, do you know what the best option is for your business? Are you representing yourself professionally on Facebook and making the most of the amazing features available?
I see lots of businesses using options that don’t suit their needs and this can often lead to trouble (by using the Facebook platform you have to adhere to their terms, if you don’t – they can shut your account down!) so I felt it was important to cover this subject.
Let’s look at the differences between a profile, group and page.
Personal profiles are designed for people to connect with friends and family. Most users on Facebook keep their profiles just for close friends. Some also use their personal profile to network with other business owners, and this can be a useful way to continue a business relationship having met in person. But, using a Facebook profile to directly sell goods and services is against Facebook’s T&Cs and they can shut your profile down if they catch you. Just think if that happened to you… consider all the effort and work you put in for it all to disappear along with the contacts and community you’ve created. It’s not worth it! If this is you, I recommend moving your community as soon as possible.
It’s also against Facebook terms to have more than one personal profile. For instance, a personal profile just for friends and another profile for business contacts. If you want to use your profile for business and leisure, order your contacts in to separate lists. This means you can choose which updates are visible to your different lists and can target your business related messages to your business contacts without annoying your Facebook friends and vice versa.
To connect with a personal profile on Facebook your invitation has to be accepted by that person, and the profile displays personal information at the top of the page (depending on how much information has been provided and privacy settings), like this:
Think for a minute: do you want to be a friend with a business, know where they ‘live’ or where they’re ‘from’, then wait for your friend request to be accepted before you can interact??
What kind of first impression does that create when other business pages have interesting welcome tabs encouraging visitors to like the page, or tabs providing useful information for customers such as opening times and location maps…? What’s more, with the introduction of Timeline to personal profiles, it will be instantly obvious to everyone.
A group is ideal for small communities of people who share a similar interest. Groups can be open (anyone can join), closed (your request to join has to be accepted) or secret (the group is completely invisible to everyone other than the group members and you have to be invited to join). Groups make it easy to share documents, schedule events, and chat with members but the limited functionality means it’s not the most suitable option to promote a business. It is however, a great way to provide additional support to customers and clients particularly if you have a service based business or are a coach or trainer.
Facebook pages are created with businesses in mind so it stands to reason that this is the best option if you want to promote your business on Facebook. There are lots of reasons for this:
- They are designed specifically for businesses in mind. OK, I’ve already said that but it’s worth repeating
- They include lots of customisation features so you can create special landing pages, newsletter sign up options, discount coupons, shopping carts and run competitions directly from Facebook
- They are indexed in search engines like Google (good for being found on line, also known as SEO)
- It is classed as an additional web page (this means people don’t have to be logged in to see a Facebook page – they don’t even need an account = more reach and visibility for you)
- Anyone can ‘Like’ your page and invitation requests are not needed to be authorised (which means less admin for you and more reach and visibility again)
- Pages, because of all of the above reasons, look more professional. Take another look at the above image if you don’t believe me.
So there you have it. If you need more help with your Facebook presence and strategy, or want help switching from a personal profile or group to a business page then get in touch. Or, come introduce yourself on my Facebook page and get free and exclusive Facebook video tips to professionalise your own page!
Guest Web Tech Expert: Social media savvy Alicia Cowan specialises in helping small businesses use social media and online marketing to build their profile and create more business opportunities. Alicia understands what small business owners need from social media. She delivers simple, easy to use strategies that fit their busy lifestyle and get results.