Yesterday, I attempted to write a blog listing all of the businesses in the Lutherville Timonium zip code that have a presence on Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter. It was a time consuming venture on it’s own, but with the added bonus of my two little girls interjecting every 5 minutes, it proved to be beyond my attention span and time limits for the day.
However, in the time I devoted to it, I came up with about 15 businesses and their listings. Of those businesses, THREE were misusing Facebook!! That’s 20%!! What were they doing wrong?
They were acting as a person on Facebook.
I can see where they made this mistake to begin with (because as a person you can actively solicit people to be your friend) and why they are continuing on this terrible path (because once you acquire all of these friends, what are the chances that every last one of them will like your new business page), but it kills me that they do so! To me, it is as big a faux pas as double dipping. There is a distinct reason that Facebook has created a separation between businesses and people. It’s very simple; receiving friend requests from businesses is more invasive than robo-dialing, direct mail, and spam combined.
That same reasoning is why there are limitations when acting as a business page on Facebook. Facebook allows businesses to comment on and interact with other businesses but unless a person has a completely public profile, a business can not comment on or interact with a personal profile on Facebook, except within the confines of their business page.
And speaking of completely public profiles, many businesses that are misusing personal pages, are misusing them to such an extent that much of the information that they would like to share with the public is kept hidden by Facebook’s privacy settings. That’s because people who don’t know the difference between a personal page and a business page, often don’t know about the control they can exert over their privacy settings (which btw, are set up mostly in favor of protecting people, in my opinion).
Aside from the reason stated above, an actual Facebook business page is far more appealing for businesses than a personal page because of the huge amount of customizations that are available. It’s true, a business can not go out and actively solicit people to like them, but you do have the ability to make your page as useful, if not more useful than your website.
You can add custom tabs to a business page that are just like pages on a web site. There are several free Facebook apps that allow you to set up a shopping cart on your Facebook page. Open Table has a free app that allows you to let people make reservations right on your page. And there are free Fan-gating apps that let you create a landing page directing people to Like your page in order to receive some fan only content/benefit.
To acquire new fans you can use Facebook advertising to solicit people to like your page, at a totally affordable price!
Oh and, as a person on Facebook, you are limited to 5,000 friends, because it’s reasonable to assume that no person has more than 5,000 actual friends. As a business, the sky’s the limit on who likes you!