by Brian Shreckengast, SelfStorageDeals.com
So you’ve created a Facebook Profile for your self-storage business. You’ve plastered a pleasant photograph of your facility across the cover page and uploaded a stock photo of smiling models carrying boxes as your profile pic. You’ve made a few friends— or even more than a few. So what’s the problem?
You’re doing it wrong. The thing is, you aren’t using Facebook as Facebook wants you to. It’s not that founder Mark Zuckerberg is some kind of scrooge who wants to boot your facility off his site (we’re not sure that movie’s portrayal of him is all that fair), he just wants you to use it the right way. You see, a little while back, Facebook made a few changes to how they want businesses to use their site. Facebook makes little changes all the time, but this one was pretty big: They want businesses to create Pages rather than Profiles.
Pages vs. Profiles. What’s the difference? Aren’t all Facebook entities created equally? Not quite: Pages, Profiles, and Groups each operate very differently with their own capabilities (we’ll leave Groups out of the discussion, as they’re a separate topic). Facebook Profiles are for people. Profiles can be used to connect with friends and family as a representation of yourself in your social network.
Facebook Pages are for businesses, or celebrities/public figures. Pages are to be used as the social “face” of your company, and to communicate with your fans. If that sounds vague, let me break it down for you:
Facebook Pages can’t:
- Add friends (others must “like” your page and become “fans”)
- Upload content that directs users to “like” your page
- Post on Facebook Profile walls or send messages to other users
Facebook Pages can:
- Post photos, videos, links, status updates, polls, contests, and host discussions (as Profiles can)
- Write on other Pages’ walls
- Create Facebook Ads
- View your page’s “Insights,” or Facebook’s analytics
So why should you make the change? Technically, it’s not optional. It’s against Facebook’s user agreement for businesses or services to create Facebook Profiles. While Facebook hasn’t yet been stringent in enforcing this policy, it will strip businesses of their Profiles should they too aggressively promote their products or services. After all, this is why they divided Profiles and Pages in the first place. Otherwise, businesses could over-promote or “spam” Facebook and ruin everyone’s experience.
You might be thinking that transferring over to a Page is a downgrade, what with its limitations – particularly the inability to go out and actively add friends – and that since Facebook hasn’t penalized your Profile yet, you might as well keep on as you’ve been going. After all, switching to a Page will be like starting all over again— you’ll no longer have any friends. But then you’d be wrong, because not only does switching to a Page now prevent any future problems should Facebook decide to be more stringent in its enforcement, but it offers important advantages for marketing your facility.
How does a Facebook Page help me market my self-storage facility? The first advantage of a Page is that, just as a business can’t create a Profile, a private person can’t create a Page. Facebook will verify that your Page is actually – and accurately - representative of your business. This lends your business a legitimacy that a Profile can never grant. Users will be able to tell that you’re a real, actual business and not some scam that’s created a fake Page. And trust us, savvy Facebook users will definitely be quick to discern Profiles from Pages.
The second advantage is the ability to create Facebook Ads. While a Page can’t go out and actively add friends, it can use Facebook’s advertising tool to target a specific audience— you’ve all seen those ads in the margins of your screen and have probably noticed that they’re catered to your likes, interests and actions on Facebook. While you might think of Facebook as a free advertising platform, Facebook Ads vary in prices and can be very affordable depending on how you use them. Because they’re so specific in their targets, they’re also typically quite effective when used to drive more fans to your Page.
The final – and likely biggest – advantage of a Page is its ability to view Insights, Facebook’s analytics tracker. Facebook will keep track of how many people see your posts (including friends of your fans), how well each post performs (how often it’s shared and liked), how many different people viewed your page, and the gender and location of your audience. Insights puts all of this into a series of easy-to-read graphs. None of this is trivial information, as it basically tells you how well you’ve been marketing your page, so you can discern what you could do better.
Alright, I’m sold. So how do I transition from a Profile to a Page? Log out of Facebook. At the bottom of the main login screen, just under the green button that says “Sign Up,” find the blue link that reads “Create a Page for a celebrity, band, or business” and click it. The next page will show you a grid of six different choices; you’ll want to choose the upper-left hand one that reads “Local Business or Place.” Fill in all of the fields accurately.
On the next page, choose “I already have a Facebook account” and log in as you would to your Profile. Then Facebook will take you through the steps of adding your pictures and information, much as you would a Profile. By clicking “Edit Page,” you can access a drop-down that will allow you to give other employees the ability to act as your Page. Finally, you can easily switch back and forth between posting as your Profile or Page by clicking the downward-pointing triangle just to the left of your “Home” button.
Marketing your switch. It might be a pain to start from scratch, as you’ll no longer have any friends. But Facebook at least sympathizes with some of your pain. They’ll allow you to invite all your old friends to like your new Page, but only once. If a friend ignores your suggestion or simply loses it to their constant stream of other notifications, then you’re out of luck. That’s why we suggest announcing your change to your friends on your Profile and explaining the situation to them. Though using your Profile to encourage your friends to become fans of your Page isn’t exactly couth with Facebook, you have been breaking their rules this entire time and are at least trying to do the right thing now, so we encourage it. Just don’t be too aggressive about it.
Image courtesy of ConstantContact.com