In what follows we’ll go over the differences between a page and a profile, and why you should create a page for professional endeavors (such as businesses) you want to promote on Facebook.
Could You Be Using Facebook Better?
If you’re like most people online, you have a Facebook account. And you’ve probably seen posts in your news feed that are geared toward promoting a business, brand, or product. You may have heard somewhere that you should be taking advantage of social media, and Facebook in particular, to promote your own business or project.
Somewhere in the dark waters of social media marketing, there is massive potential to grow your business and your Facebook profile is just the tip of the iceberg. With the all online marketing opportunities for small businesses, you aren’t sure where to begin or if you are “doing it right”. You may fall into one of these categories:
- (Kind of) Doing it Wrong – You have a Facebook profile you use primarily for friends and family, but you sometimes use it for commercial purposes – to promote your business, organization, brand, or celebrity.
- (Glaringly) Doing it Wrong – You have a Facebook profile masquerading as a business – you use it primarily for commercial purposes and may even have your name and profile image set to your business name and logo.
- (Kind of) Doing it Right – You have a Business page, but you aren’t sure if/when/why/how to use it.
- (Maybe) Doing it Right – You are a public figure with friends and followers on your Facebook profile.
What’s the Difference Between Facebook Pages and Profiles?
What are the advantages of a Facebook page over your Facebook profile anyway? Here are some differences between the two, to give you a better idea of when pages are more appropriate than your Facebook profile:
|SEO||Considered less relevant than pages by search engines like Google||Ranked higher than profiles in Google|
|Optimization||Optimized for personal connections & interactions with aquaintances, friends, & family||Optimized to represent businesses, organizations, artists, and brands and to update and interact with fans|
|Connections||Unlimited number of followers and maximum of 5000 friends||Unlimited number of fans|
|Messages||Private messages to can be sent to “friends”||Private messages can be sent to fans, but only after fan sends first message|
|Limits||One profile per person||Unlimited -create as many pages as you want and assign other profiles/people to administrative roles on the page|
|Apps||Business and marketing apps are not allowed to be installed on profiles||Pre-installed with apps suited for your page. You also have access to 3rd-party apps designed for pages|
|Lead Capture||Lead capture apps are not allowed to be installed on profiles||Apps available to gather emails for marketing outside of Facebook|
|Check-ins and Tags||Friends can tag you in posts and pictures||Pages can be checked in to if their are associated with an actual storefront. This alerts friends of the person checking in that they’re at your storefront. Pages can’t tag personal profiles.|
|Direct Calling||Facebook can not call you when someone visits your profile||You can be called with the Facebook mobile app when a fan visits your page|
|Facebook Ads||Limited to “boosting” a post for a set price.||Can create marketing campaigns targeted towards specific demographics and goals (such as getting more likes or collecting emails)|
|Post Scheduling||Can schedule posts using a 3rd-party app like Post Planner||Scheduling is built-in|
|Insights||No access to analytics for your posts, friends, or followers||Can access analytics on page post reach, fan demographics, and more|
I hope this table gets a point across – Facebook pages are geared towards professional applications while profiles are more personal. You can also read Facebook’s explanation of the difference here.
Should I Create A Facebook Page?
But maybe your profile is getting you enough attention from customers and potential customers to satisfy you. Why then, move your professional side to a Facebook page (or multiple pages)?
As the table above makes apparent, there are several reasons why you’d want to use a Facebook page for you commercial endeavors. To summarize, here are some of the most compelling reasons to use Facebook pages:
- Target Marketing and Analytics (Insights) – I can fine tune my advertising according to who I want to see my posts/ad and what my goals are (more likes, lead capture, etc.) Furthermore, I can see data about my Facebook page to track what efforts are working and who’s paying attention to me.
- Multiple Admins – I can let other Facebook users manage aspects of my Facebook pages without giving them my passwords
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google ranks Facebook pages higher than Facebook profiles
- Abiding by Facebook’s Terms of Service – By restricting my commercial efforts to a page rather than my profile, I’m not violating Facebook’s terms of service.
- Extensible – Facebook pages allow more room for growth by offering Facebook page apps, post scheduling, check-ins, and an unlimited number of fans.
- Keep Personal and Professional Separate – You won’t bother your friends and family with promotional posts that are more appropriate for clients or fans.
Warning – Don’t Violate Facebook’s Terms of Service
If for no other reason that this, you should move any commercial use of Facebook to a Facebook page. If you are using your profile for commercial purposes, you are violating Facebook’s terms of service, which read:
If you’re a public figure, you can continue posting to your audience from your personal account by allowing followers. When people follow your personal account, they’ll be able to get your updates in News Feed without being friends with you. You should only add someone as a friend when you know them personally.
If you’re not a public figure and you’re using your account to represent something other than yourself, you could risk permanently losing access to your account and all of its content if you don’t convert it to a page.
Moving from A Profile to A Page – Conversion or Creation?
If you’ve decided to start using a Facebook page, you should now consider whether you want to create a new page or convert your existing profile into a page. The advantage to converting a profile to a page is this:
What happens when I convert my Facebook profile to a page?
- All of your friends will instantly be fans of your Facebook page.
- You will lose all of your content (sort of) – Photos, apps, posts, etc. will be removed. If you decide to convert, make sure you download your timeline information (Facebook makes this option available). This will include all of your sent and received messages, photos, and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook.
- Conversion is irreversible.
- You may have a new URL – By default, your existing profile URL (username) will become your new Facebook page URL. If you decide to change your URL, make sure you update all sites that link to your Facebook with the new address.
- You’ll lose your admin status on any Facebook pages or groups you manage – This also means you should have another account ready to manage the new Facebook page (You can’t manage your new page with your no-longer-existing profile.)
If you think profile to page conversion is the right choice for you, see Facebook’s instructions on profile conversion.
The Alternative – Create a New Page
Especially if your existing profile is primarily used to interact with friends and family (ie, not used for commercial purposes), it makes sense to keep the existing Facebook profile and create a separate Facebook page for your commercial interests. See Facebook’s instructions on creating a new Facebook page.
What About Public Figures?
This is where the issue is a bit more gray. As a public figure (and artist, celebrity, etc.) you have the option of creating a page or having followers (in addition to friends) on your profile. When you post something on your profile, you can choose whether it’s a public or private post. Friends will see both. Followers will see public posts only. You can have an unlimited number of followers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are debating whether to have fans follow your profile or fan your page:
- What is your intention for your fans? – Do you want to market products to fans? Or do you want to share updates from your personal timeline with your fans? If your goal is the former, a Facebook page would be more suitable. If it’s the latter, consider sticking with a Facebook profile. If it’s both, you may want to allow followers to your profile and ALSO create a Facebook page that you use to promote yourself commercially.
- How large is you existing follower base? – If you’ve already got hundreds or thousands of followers and sharing your posts with them satisfies your goal of connecting with fans on Facebook, you may not have a reason to create a Facebook page.
- Do you want any of the features of a Facebook page? – For instance, if you’d like to promote yourself commercially or allow people to check-in to your business, Facebook page creation is a must.
Where to go Next
If you still aren’t sure what your next move should be, check out these resources:
- Facebook Profile or Fan Page? – This article offers multiple opinions on the issue of Facebook pages vs. Facebook profiles and is especially relevant to celebrities and public figures.
- Facebook for Business: Facebook Page vs. Personal Profile – A short summary that hits the most important points
- How to Determine What Kind of Business Facebook Page to Start – A “Dummies” article on choosing the right Facebook page type.
- Should I Have a Facebook Business Page? – An shorter post I did a year ago covering much of the same material.
- Eight Steps to a Facebook Business Page – Once you decide to create a Facebook page, this post will guide you through setting up the basic features.
- Social Networking for Business – Finding Your Style – Alongside Facebook, there are a host of other social networks you can use to promote your business. This post discusses some considerations when deciding which networks to focus on.
Warning – Avoid Historical Documents
When you are researching a timely issue like this, note article dates – Facebook changes so often that rules and recommendations written one or two years ago may be outdated. If in doubt, you can always go to the source, the Facebook Help Center.