This post, by Bill Walker, originally appeared on his site on 7/7/11 and was originally entitled "Businesses: Do you create a Facebook Profile or a Facebook Fan Page?" While the piece is targeted to small businesses, it contains information equally valuable to authors who use Facebook so we’re including it here.
Do you own a business and want to have a presence on Facebook? Everywhere I go I hear people talking about the importance of Facebook for businesses. In fact, I am one of those people telling business owners that it is important to have a presence on Facebook.
When a business sends me a friend request, I applaud that business for wanting to create a presence on Facebook. However, I feel the creator(s) of that profile don’t really understand what they are doing or they wouldn’t have used a Personal Profile for their business. At least that’s what I’m hoping, because I can’t imagine why anyone would knowingly use a Personal Profile as their business page as part of the internet strategy.
I’ll get off my soapbox so we can continue…
So, how does one promote a business on Facebook? The first thing to do is to create a Personal Profile on Facebook. Once that is done then you as a person can create a Fan Page for your business.
There seems to be much confusion about this so let’s begin by going over the differences between a personal profile and a fan page:
Personal Profile vs. Fan Page
First off there are some very important differences between a Personal Profile and a Fan Page.
The biggest difference is that Personal Profiles are for people. Real people that put their face (i.e. personal photo) in the section for profile photo. Even if the primary reason you are joining Facebook is to gain visibility for your company, it is very important to keep your Personal Profile current. This allows you to build and maintain relationships with family, friends and potential clients.
Fan Pages are for businesses, organizations, places, brands or products, musicians, authors, speakers, public figures, etc. Facebook set up this ability to create a Fan Page for the express purpose of promoting your business, brand or product.
In fact, it is actually against Facebook terms and conditions to use a Personal Profile for a business. If Facebook finds your Personal Profile set up as a Business Profile, it’s possible that they may delete your profile. Any friends gathered, status updates, photos, events, games (i.e. farmville) will be lost. All that hard work will have been wasted.