Sunday, March 13, 2011

I’m Facebook Friends with a Movie Theater!

A local, independent movie theater sent a friend request to me on Facebook. It happened to be a theater that I frequent, so I accepted. But who did I really friend? Is it an employee of the theater? The owner? No clue. And I was surprised when the theater “liked” a photo I posted recently. And a little spooked too. Who IS this person?

For the record, I’ve also been friends with a car brand, a restaurant, and a dairy product. The car brand wisely switched to a business page after realizing that there are limitations to acting like a business page while masquerading as a personal profile.

Why DO businesses take the friend profile route? My number one guess is that they don’t know what all their options are. Some of these businesses have run their businesses through a personal profile for a long time, and perhaps there just wasn’t good information available at the time.

But there’s no excuse now.

Seriously people, using a personal profile as your business page is limiting. Well, okay, the ceiling is 5,000 which sounds like a lot, but remember, only a small percentage of “friends” will ever see any of your posts. With a business page, you can grow to 10, 20, 30K if you like. And people can search in Facebook on key words and find you and easily like you without begging to be your friend, thus creating work on your part and theirs. Those folks are likely apprehensive when it comes to requesting becoming friends with you; they may not want you to have access to their personal lives. Of course, they can play with privacy settings, but isn’t this becoming rather confusing at this point?

And there you are, posting away about your business on your personal page. How many of your friends are really your target audience and would actually need your services? A business page would open you up to thousands of people who are indeed interested in what you do. But who ARE these people? You'll never know unless you have a business page and have access to all the stats, including demographics, that Facebook business pages provide.

Another advantage to Facebook business pages is the ability to create and place ads. I've had great success with those for my clients; why wouldn't you want to utilize this feature?

So, where’s the line between business and pleasure? Here’s my recommendations, and no, it’s not a solution for everyone. Consider it a practical approach.

Your personal profile should be for friends, family and networking. It can be for all three, or just some of those. Your choice. But it’s a place for you to share and let people know about YOU, as a person. If your passion is running on the beach, archery, or teaching your dog new tricks, I want to know and enjoy those passions with you.

I do not post about my consulting business on my personal page. I don’t even post links to my blog posts there! I have messaged a few folks that I thought would be interested, but that’s it. IF they want to know more about what I do for a living, the addresses for my sites, blogs, and LinkedIn profile are on my info page. When I land a fabulous new client, yes, I DO post about it. Not to promote my business, but because I feel joyous and want to celebrate!

Okay, now you’re saying…great Gerry, but what about my business? Now that you’ve discouraged me from running a business on my personal profile, what do I do now?

Stay tuned for my next post and find out.


Anonymous said...

This is great advice! I know a lot of people that are running a "business" profile on FB with their own personal page, and it alienates their personal friends and confuses their potential business friends. In order to market to your target audience, you must separate them! The best solution is to set up both a personal and a business page. I couldn't agree with this article more! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

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Chris @ HoundsGood said...

Several different orgs I am familiar with chose to also do a Personal page because you can't send out alerts to people as flexibly when you just have a fan page, from what I understand. Also, you can control rude people. You can unfriend someone who repeatedly violates good sense posting to your wall, but you can't really control who "fans" or "likes" you and posts to your business page unless you can merely delete the posting.

Of course, this doesn't work at all for a corporation but if you are small or a grassroots cause, some find that they do both.

What are your thoughts on that?

Bridget Willard said...

Preach it!

Gerry said...

Cosisikh, A big thanks to you and your cousin!

Chris @Houndsgood, Yes, you can message fans from a page. And controlling rudeness is easy too. You can "hide" a post, you can delete it, and you can ban the person from your page. Perhaps I need to write about that!