Confused about what kind of Facebook presence your business needs? Wondering which is best for you? Want to make sure you’re doing it the right way? Or are you thinking that there’s got to be a better way?

With over 13 million Australians active on Facebook, it’s no wonder that businesses are moving to the platform. Regardless of if they intend to sell through it, use it as an adjunct to their existing marketing strategy, or as their sole online presence there are many great reasons to be there. The thing is – it’s confusing. Business owners are hard pressed for time as it is running their business, let alone adding a social media presence. The smart ones know they need to be there and it needs to be done the right way to meet their clients’ needs.

There are three main ways you can get information out to people on Facebook. You can have a Profile, you can have a Page, and/or you can have a Group. All of them allow you to post photos, videos or text posts. All allow some degree of messaging. All require work to maintain. All have cover photos. All can be used to educate, entertain, and maintain a front-of-mind presence with your client.

Facebook Profile
Let’s get one thing absolutely clear – Profiles are for people, not businesses. Businesses are prohibited from having profiles on Facebook. People are prohibited from having more than one profile. I know people do it, but when Facebook find out they will shut it down. When they shut the profile down, you WILL lose all of the friends you had. Why does that matter? Well you lose all of your client contacts.

Ok, so say you’re not much of a rule person and decide to set up a business profile, what are the benefits and bugbears?

Benefits of a business profile
– You choose who you are going to interact with. You can friend request all of your clients who have a Facebook account. It’s certainly a quick way to gain traction.
– You have control over who sees the photos you post on your profile.
– You can interact in Groups as your business, giving you increased traction and increased anonymity.
– You can send a message to a group of friends.

Bugbears of a business profile
– When reported to Facebook, it will be deleted.
– You can not promote or run sponsored posts or other ads. This means you can’t reach people outside your circle of friends.
– You are dependent on the people accepting your friend request.
– People are always interacting with you as a business, this means that if you are using it in networking groups you don’t get known as an individual.
– You feel like you are ALWAYS ‘on’ or working.

Facebook Page
So a Facebook Page is a place, kind of like a website, where you upload (post) photos and details of your business. People who come to your page can see a variety of things about your business, including: opening hours, website details, photos, location, overview, and reviews. Of late, it is the last thing that many shoppers rely on, Reviews. You can have a star rating system, or rely on people leaving feedback on your page. Shoppers will visit your page and use these endorsements to help decide if they will use your business.

Benefits of a Facebook Page
– You can change many details about your page.
– You can advertise to promote your page, event, product, or website.
– You can add Applications (Apps) to your page.
– You can interact with fans and other business pages as your business page.
– You have access to analytical and statistical tools to assist you to target your audience and manage you Page.

Bugbears of a Facebook Page
– You can’t restrict who sees your photos.
– It takes effort to keep them active.
– Inactive Facebook Pages are off-putting to prospective customers.
– You can’t send a bulk message to your likers.

Facebook Groups
These areas can be as open or closed as you like. You can use them to promote or sell items or events. You control who is accepted into the group. It works like your own business fandom and is perfect for growing a ‘tribe’.

Benefits of a Facebook Group
– You set the level of privacy on the Group, this determines how much non-members can see of or in the Group.
– You can send messages within the Group membership.
– You can sell items in the Group.
– You can set behaviour codes for the Group.
– You decide you to admit to the Group.
– Members want to be there.
– Membership can be used as a bonus or selling point to a product.

Bugbears of a Facebook Group
– You can’t run paid ads to promote a Group from a Group (this is only available to Pages).
– It takes effort to keep them active.
– Privacy levels can be difficult to negotiate between allowing people to find the Group and allowing non-members to see what is being discussed.
– You rely on Members turning on Notifications for your Group or regularly checking in to see your posts.

Personally, I do not endorse a business profile and I maintain 2 Facebook Pages and 2 Groups for my businesses (and Pages for my clients). I use my Pages to educate, entertain, build relationships, and market. I use my Groups as exclusive resources, educate, network, and to promote. I also use one Group to sell. I find Groups particularly useful when you want to engage a niche clientele or wish to provide a private area to interact. At the core should be the decision on what your client needs and what you are prepared to provide.

Write to Right is here to help provide you with the training or coaching to assist you in moving your business online. Training can be done self-paced, in a group setting, or as individual sessions. If you decide that your time is better focussed on your business, then we provide Social Media Management. This frees up your time, but ensures that you have a Facebook presence meeting your client’s and your business needs.

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