Congratulations on taking a big step in engaging your potential customers where they spend time! You’ve jumped into the weird, wonderful world of social media and you are using the few minutes you have to spare to do your best on Facebook.
Now I’m here to rain on your parade.
Not really. Sort of. A little. Here’s the thing: many businesses are using Facebook incorrectly and it might not turn out quite like they had hoped. People often start their business presence on FB the same way they did their personal presence. You go and use the very large sign up form on the Facebook homepage.
It is the way you created your own account and it is not surprising that many people set out to use Facebook for their business the same way they do for themselves. Unfortunately, it is both against the Terms of Service you agreed to and not great strategy for your business.
What you really need to do is set up a Business Page, which is located in tiny little letters right below the giant sign up form:
There are plenty of online tutorials showing you how to set up your business page. In fact, we here at RelyLocal will gladly sit down and walk you through setting up your page (an offline tutorial, if you will) for a very modest fee. And of course there are very talented people who will build out your whole page with lots of cool bells and whistles.
We are not concerned with that today. Today, we are looking at WHY it is better for your business to have the appropriate business page instead of using a profile.
1) Profiles are for people. Even if your company is just you by yourself working from your living room in your bunny slippers, it is still a business, not a person. You can’t be friends with a business. Facebook is very clear that their intention is to keep profiles for people. And it makes sense. I am wary of non-human sounding names that try to friend me on Facebook. I don’t know who this invitation is from without a real name. I don’t know if they are legit, if they have some ulterior motive for gaining access to my information, if they will abuse the privilege of being my friend. It is also conveys that this company doesn’t understand Facebook or how to use it. Kind of like PEOPLE WHO STILL TYPE IN ALL CAPS. WHY ARE THEY SHOUTING?!?! Don’t be that guy.
2) Like vs. Friend. People are commitment-phobes, especially online. Think about it from your potential customer’s perspective; when they ‘like’ a business page, that page’s posts go to their News Feed and the liker can post things on the business wall. But that is it. That is a much easier connection to commit to than being someone’s ‘friend’. When you friend a profile, they have access to your hometown, maybe even email or phone number. They see pictures of your kids, your car, your drunken shenanigans. If you don’t really know who is behind that profile, you are taking a big risk. Most people will not take it. It is too big of a commitment. Some will, but a business limits itself by raising the bar for connection so high.
3) There Are Limitations. You can have up to 5,000 friends on Facebook. That is a lot of people, but considering there are over 300,000 people using Facebook within a 50-mile radius of Victorville, that is a serious limitation on your success. There is no limit on how many people can like your page. The average user on Facebook has 130 friends. They have an average of 80 pages that they like. We have to work with these natural averages to succeed. Don’t try to change the customer, change the way your reach them.
Now, we don’t know what we don’t know, so if you find yourself as a small business owner using a personal profile for your business on Facebook, do not despair. In our next segment on this topic, we will discuss how we can fix this. And then after that, we will talk about how to use that business page to the best effect!