Fortunately I quickly noticed that these so-called strategies are very unpopular and don’t work. I never intentionally do it. The vast majority of Facebook’s almost 800 million users regard their Facebook personal profile as exactly that, personal. Worse still is when that person posts a link directly on their new friend’s Wall which isn’t a welcome or appreciation message but a link to a sales page! The vast majority of people are not primarily on Facebook for business purposes and even those who are don’t want to see their page being hijacked by uninvited strangers. When they see such posts appearing on their newsfeed, or worse posted directly to their Facebook Wall, it will be viewed with the same disdain and distaste that they show towards junk mail, generally addressed as “Dear Homeowner” or “Dear Occupier”, which piles up on the doormat or in the mailbox and then gets sent unopened to the trash bin – who wants to do business with someone who can’t even be bothered to find out your name or what your interests are?.
Remember first that Facebook users use their personal profile for social use, to chat to friends and family when they are away from home, to keep up with people they’ve met whilst travelling or who they’ve formed friendships with in the past. They may well wish to post vacation pictures or family photos for their friends and family to see, and to keep up with what their friends are up to.
More seriously for your business, not only does this mean that are you using a great social tool for something it’s not intended for, Facebook personal profiles are also FAR LESS effective at promoting and selling online. You can only have 5,000 friends anyway. That may sound good to start with but what about the longer-term? Are you just going to settle for 5,000 business contacts and that’s it? That doesn’t sound like a great plan, especially when fan pages are unlimited! It will ultimately get tedious just going out and friending everyone and also sending them a personal message, unless you share a mutual interest with them and are likely to come into contact with them from time to time. Not only that, “real” friends will soon get annoyed when receiving endless marketing status updates from you. Using your personal profile as an outright business page is contrary to the nature of social media, which is after all, to be social.
It’s certainly great to connect with likeminded people through your personal profile, provided that contact through that profile is largely confined to freely sharing information and ideas with them and maybe organising get-togethers and other genuine networking. I enjoy learning from new contacts and keeping up with their news. If there are no strings attached, I’m also happy to share that on my Social Media platforms and am pleased if that helps them a little, especially if they reciprocate and do the same for me. The new “Lists” feature on Facebook will certainly enhance that, but attempting to sell directly to your contacts through your personal profile or aggressively adding them to groups without asking them first and then bombarding them with those same spammy affiliate links is just wrong. If people don’t leave those groups it’s likely to be only because they ignore what’s being posted to them from those groups anyway.
Facebook’s Terms and Conditions expressly prohibit personal profiles being used for direct business use. If flagged up, there is a strong danger that Facebook will close your page down. They can and have done this overnight if they interpret that a page is being mis-used. All the connections to that page have then been lost unless you’ve found a method to back up all those names.
Far better then to leave business activity to your Facebook business page, or pages (more commonly still referred to as fan pages), the place Facebook intends it to be in and where people will expect it to have business content. It’s way more effective and it lets you separate business and social life…which is hopefully a goal that you have in the first place.
Facebook have now made it very easy for users to switch from their personal pages to their business pages and back and post your updates. Simply go to your business page and on the top right side there is an option to use Facebook in that business’s name. You can click that option and then you can use that business page to post updates in that name, reply to comments about your previous posts and choose other pages for your business page to “like”. When you’ve finished there’s an option in the same place to revert back to your personal profile. From there you can go to your other pages and post in those names and choose which other pages to “Like” should the need or wish arise or proceed with using your personal profile.
It’s great to have your own Facebook personal profile if you have an online business. I certainly am very reluctant to do business online with anyone who is invisible on Social Media. But if you want to put Facebook to work properly for your business you need to go a stage further. So if you want to create the structure to put Facebook to use properly for your business, and haven’t yet done so, take that step now and create a Facebook Business profile too.
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