Should I Be Using Facebook as Myself (Profile) or My Business / Brand (Page)?

When you spend time using Facebook as both yourself and as your page (your actions are tagged and linked to either your profile or your page, for everyone to see), you’ll learn how Facebook allows you (technically) to engage different audiences in different ways when you’re using Facebook as yourself (profile) or as your business (page). From there, test your activities for a week and note which makes you more comfortable and happy with the business results.

Most people (consumers) are on Facebook first and foremost to connect with their friends and family and if you were to ask them if they want to connect with businesses on Facebook many people would say “No!”. Why? Because historically businesses are only in their face to SELL to them and many people see advertising as corporate insincerity.

Ditch The Marketing Speak
To get people to Like your business page you have to first show them that you are a person, with passions, friends and communities and that YOU as a person Like and trust your business (Page). So on your profile, connect your business Page and proudly share to your profile circle of friends & family what you are most happy about with your business. If you’re having a hard time connecting your Page on your Profile, try this help tutorial from Mari Smith (I’ve always found it works).

On your business Page, be human & personable. People don’t want to connect with businesses, they want to connect with people, so they’re more likely to Like your business Page if you’re there speaking to the community like a real human being, in your own voice, honestly enthusiastic about your business community.

Keeping Your Private Content Private
If you are self-described as a “private” person, then the answer is just don’t post private items to Facebook. Honestly it never was private anyway, so you were always kidding yourself by posting items and discussions you thought you were in control of. Even if you’re 100% sure you could sue people for taking your content and spreading it, if it’s truly private, once it’s out there you’ll never be able to get it erased (easily), so if you want it to stay part of your private life just. don’t. post. it. period. Have I made my point? If you want more info, visit Facebook’s Privacy center here.

Be Your Own Publicist
As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, I recommend all my Social Media Concierge clients treat Facebook like the world’s biggest newspaper where you have control over publishing and editing your own section of the paper. Post and publish EVERYTHING you want mass media and traditional media publicity to cover. There are likely more media owners, publishers, journalists, bloggers and teachers on Facebook than on any other social media channel combined, so you’ll have the opportunity to reach the largest potential audience as your own publicist on Facebook.

The Toronto Star Rule: In my mind, I pretend everything I publish to Facebook is going to be leaked in a security breach and published to the front page of the Toronto Star, with about a million readers on Saturday. Worst case, I’ll be a little embarrassed and mortified, but ultimately what gets shared out of my control won’t damage my business or reputation.

If you’re just getting started, you can have a personal profile and just add each “Facebook friend” to special access lists or only friend your real closest friends and family. What you post to your profile can still be spread beyond your control, but it might make you feel less exposed than friending everyone and anyone.

If you don’t think you’ll have the energy to promote both your profile and your page, you can choose to test promoting just your page, but be sensitive to the reality many people want to know the human, fallible, likable person behind the business before they’ll consider spending time or money with you.

When I Started on Facebook, in 2007
I was active and using Facebook to promote my business activities before we could have pages, and my Social Sparkle & Shine page on Facebook is still less than 18 months old, so the first few years I was on Facebook, I literally friended everyone. Now that people can “subscribe” to the public updates of my Facebook profile, unless I recognize a person’s name or they have a lot of friends in common with mine, I won’t accept them as a friend. That might change as I learn more about the current privacy settings (before they change again), or it might not. Facebook success is about being open to change and reserving the right to change your mind.

Ultimately, you are in control of what you choose to publish to Facebook. Once you post it, you can encourage it to go viral or you can try to bury it, but it is out of your control. You’ll likely enjoy Facebook more when you accept that fact and use it to your business advantage.

This is part two in my series of articles about Facebook Engagement 101. Previously I have covered:

I’ll be back again (likely tomorrow) with another post, on The Virtual Currency of Facebook: Likes, Comments & Shares

Whitepapers and Playbooks referenced in this blog post are available free to download and share in my Social Media Concierge Public Resource Library on Google Docs.

Want me to attend your event, review your document or plans? Email me at debbie [at] theSparkleAgency [dot] com.

You can also request to participate as an expert or receive a free assessment of your social media activities on my new social media business show, Sparkle SOS on Google+ Hangouts on Air by emailing debbie [dot] horovitch [at] gmail [dot] com and don’t forget to add me to your G+ circles!

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