According to Facebook’s ‘Key Facts’ page, there were 1.23 billion monthly active Facebook users as of December 31st 2013. The site is immensely popular with people sharing various aspect of their personal lives, and with businesses aiming to reach that massive user base. Even if a company were able to reach just 0.1 percent of Facebook’s users we would still be talking about an audience of over a million people.
So Facebook is, obviously, an attractive prospect but there’s a simple decision that can have serious consequences for your business: do you set up a Profile or a Page?
What’s the difference?
A Facebook Profile represents an individual person, and cannot be used for commercial purposes. When you create a personal account you commit to providing your real name and information, which precludes the prospect of creating an account in the name of an organisation or company.
Facebook’s Terms of Service say that you cannot create a personal account for someone other than yourself without permission, and that you cannot create more than one personal account. I guess the scenario might arise where a family member could want you to create a profile in their name but, on the whole, the idea is that your personal account and profile are just that: personal.
A Page, on the other hand, is intended to represent something other than yourself, whether that’s an organisation, business, celebrity, or a place. You can create a page about someone else, like a celebrity fan page, or use a page to promote your business.
Aren’t we splitting hairs here?
Yes. You and I probably don’t care that we have a ‘friend’ who calls themselves ‘Bob’s Discount Mattress Co’. We all know it’s a commercial venture, even if it is a bit strange being friends with a company.
The thing is, Facebook does care, and sometimes it gets rather zealous with enforcing the rules. If you’re using Facebook as a way to drive business, and Facebook decides to shut your account down because you haven’t followed the Terms of Service, you’re facing potential loss of income. You can usually appeal against Facebook’s decisions, but who knows how much business you may lose while doing that.
So, what’s the short version?
In short, if you want to represent you, personally, use a Profile. If you want to represent something other than yourself, like your business, use a Page. It’s the best way to stay on the right side of Facebook’s Terms, and avoid any likelihood of losing your account.
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