Are you an aspiring entertainer or a founder of a small business?
Well, it’s a crippling choice to use your personal Facebook page as your public relations destination. Stop doing it, right now!
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On Facebook, there are four main places of interest: Personal Pages, Brand Pages, Community Pages, and Groups. The majority of use occurs in those first two locations. If you are a small business owner, entertainer, author, or have some other commercial enterprise, you may have been tempted to just use your Facebook Personal Page to advance your business goals. You may have even gone so far as to rename that page to reflect your business. Well, don’t do it anymore.
Stop using the Personal Page as a business front. Make a Brand Page.
Now, there are several reasons why people stick to Personal Pages. They think it means less log-ins or usage changes or that it allows the mining of the current contact list. They may think it makes it easier to be found online or perhaps they’re simply too lazy to switch. However, those reasons are largely hollow and ultimately pointless. Personally, I wouldn’t need any further convincing after reading about reason #1 to use a Brand Page:
- PERSONAL PAGES ARE LIMITED TO 5,000 FRIENDS. [It has been called to my attention that Facebook lifted the 5K limit a while back. Ah, well. There goes that argument.] So, for the vast majority of markets, if you crack even 0.1% of it, you won’t have enough room on your Friends list to accommodate your potential audience. Sure, people can subscribe to your feed but wouldn’t you rather have a single pool of numbers on which to draw? Isn’t that why you’re stubbornly holding ground on a Personal Page, anyway? And what if you’re already at 5,000 and you’d like to befriend a real life contact? Are you going to keep randomly removing people from your list in order to make room? Brand Pages may have a limit but, as far as I can tell, they don’t. According to this Inside Facebook report, the top Liked Page on Facebook is [drum roll] Facebook (surprise!) at over 54 million. So, I’m pretty sure you won’t have problems with any limit. This alone should be enough to tell you it’s time to make the switch. Speaking of time…
- TIMELINE FUNCTIONALITY. Now, by and large, Timeline may seem to be the same thing regardless of whether it’s a Personal or Brand Page. In fact, I’ve seen some of those in the Timeline Resistance Movement say precisely that but they are wrong. Brand Pages now have increased functionality and built-in statistical tools (the term ‘stratics’ can bite my arse). Having used Personal Timeline for a while (shortly after I left the TRM) and Brand Timeline since it was publicly available, I can assure you the experience is different. I can go over the functionality details but a gajillion more reputable sources already exist (like Mashable), so let’s quickly knock a few out for those who are still cynical.
- Basic Statistics: Where are your followers from? How old are they? What’s the gender split? What is your engagement level? How far is your brand reaching in the Nation of Facebook? Et al.
- Distribution Management: Do you have multilingual needs? Tailor your ‘broadcast’ settings to English-only and post your English content, then switch to Spanish and post the Spanish content. Have mature material and want to remain respectable? Exclude an age range and post away. And that’s just the tip of James Cameron’s ego, er, I mean, of the iceberg.
- Safer Delegation: Need someone to assist in administrating/moderating your online stuff while you go about more pressing business? Then you no longer need to give them access to your Personal Page and thus personal communications (which may include private conversations about Uncle David’s drinking problem). Just make them an Admin of the page. They have 98% of the same control of the Brand Page and 0% access to your Personal Page.
- SAME COMMUNICATION OPTIONS. Brand Pages now have a messaging feature which is enabled by default. So you can still have those private discussions with fans or customers. Brand Pages can also interact with the rest of Facebook in much the same way as Personal Pages, whether that means posting comments, sharing content, or handing out Likes.
- SEPARATION OF BUSINESS AND PLEASURE. There are dozens of well-documented reasons why it is safer to keep those two lives apart, especially if you’re an entertainer. It’s tempting to keep all your family, friends, fans, and business contacts in one easily accessible format. Don’t fall for it. Separate them, and do it before your Aunt Catherine responds to an angry fan by going all Samuel L. Jackson on them. Sounds mildly entertaining until Aunt Cathy reveals her archaic racism. Then the news media steps in and the swirliness progresses until people in FOX News are calling you a supporter of hate crimes. Okay, that’s just one example (which you might find amusing) but there are 10,000 more which you won’t.
- INCREASED SECURITY. Half of staying safe on the digital battlefield is strong armor and countermeasures. Another element is stealth or, at least, concealment. You do not have to reveal even so much as your name as the account administrator of a Brand Page, so the low-level Black Hat isn’t going to get at your Personal Page. If they can’t ascertain the identities of the page Admins then they can’t hack into those accounts and commandeer your Brand Page. They’d need to do more fact finding in order to complete their missions and even in internet security the old adage remains true: Black Hats are more likely to move on to easier targets. You don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your friends.
- Related Warning: Speaking of security, be wary of pages, people, and programs which claim to get rid of Timeline. When something is popular on the interwebz (like hating Timeline) it’s a window for scammers.
[Again, with the removal of the 5K limit, the argument below is invalid. I stand by the rest, though.]
And those are just five reasons to make the switch, with the first one being the most important because if you, as a brand, hit that 5,000-Friend limit, you’re probably going to think about starting a Brand Page anyway. By then, you’ll have to migrate your followers from the Personal Page to the Brand Page and hope you don’t have spillage in the process or, worse, alienate some people.
If you think you’re already 3,000 Friends deep and it’s too late to make use of the switch, think again. You’re still approaching the 5,000 limit and will have to make the switch anyway. Putting it off simply means that tomorrow, when you gain 100 more Friends, you’re 100 people closer to critical mass. You’ll have the same problem as you had today, just with 100 more pieces of kindling sitting on the pyre.
As for the follower migration from your Personal Page to your Brand Page, there are several things you can do to conduct it in an effective way but that’s for another day. As it stands, much like this article, there are a great many other places you can get that information. They might even be less smarmy about the whole thing because they’re, y’know, professional and stuff.
I’m just nuthin’, nobody, nowhere.
Besides, I’m busy trying to practice what I preach.
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Angelo Barovier has been on the internet since the time when most people on the internet knew what Baud Rate meant and the world’s idea of a hacker was Matthew Broderick in Wargames. He is also qualified by being in college during the CD-ROM revolution even though he dropped out of that institution due to, among other things, a strong desire to not live his life in front of a computer. That didn’t exactly work out as planned.