Hopefully we’ll all in agreement that you should have a presence on Facebook – it’s the most popular social network in Australia, and is the second most visited website in Australia (behind Google.com.au).

Buyers and sellers of property are on Facebook – they’re discussing and researching property, and you should be there too.

But should you use a profile or a page?

There’s definite advantages of one over the other – but first let’s discuss the options.

You really have 3 options to set your business up on Facebook so you can connect and engage with consumers.

  1. Your own personal profile – eg: John Bratt. It’s probably the account you setup when you first joined Facebook, and is the account you use to connect with family and friends, old work colleagues, school friends, etc.
  2. A new profile, setup as your business – eg: John Bratt Real Estate. You may not want to share too much personal information with potential prospects, so you created a new Facebook account, branded as your business. You may plan to use this account to add prospects as ‘friends’ and engage with them that way.
  3. A Facebook Page – eg: John Bratt Real Estate page. Facebook pages allow users to Like the page. By doing so, the wall updates on your page will appear in their News Feed.

What should you use for your business? I’ll cut straight to the chase and tell you – a Facebook Page. And there’s a number of reasons why you should use a Page instead of a Profile.

Why you should use a Facebook Page

1. Facebook Page content is ‘public’, while profile content is private

This is especially important for displaying your Facebook feed on your rp.connect site. If you setup your business as a ‘profile’, then your content is only visible to your ‘friends’. rp.connect follows Facebook privacy settings – so if your posts and status updates aren’t visible to people outside your friend list, then your status updates won’t be visible on your rp.connect site.

Facebook Pages on the other hand, are by default visible to anyone – they can view your page ‘Wall’ and your status updates can be retrieved and displayed in your rp.connect Facebook widget.

2. Separating your business brand from your personal life

While it’s good to show your personality on your business page, you don’t necessarily want your potential prospects and consumers seeing photos of you drunk at the work xmas party. Facebook pages allow you to keep your personal profile separate, so you can still connect with your family and friends, while allowing you to maintain your business  brand in a more professional manner.

3. Consumers are more likely to Like a page than to become your friend

Similar to the reasons above, a consumer may not want to ‘be your friend’, because it means you will see all of THEIR status updates, photos etc. I don’t necessarily want that type of relationship with my real estate agent.

However I’m far more likely to ‘Like’ a page – because I’m not sharing any personal or private information. I can still get the photos, events and status updates from the Page displayed in my News Feed, and still post questions or comments on their wall.

4. Facebook Pages have Analytics

This is important for measuring the success of your social media marketing activities, and seeing what type of status updates generate the most interest. You can also drill down into the demographics of the fans who ‘like’ your page.

Facebook Insights and Analytics
Facebook Insights and Analytics

The screenshot above is only a sample of the type of insights you can get. You just can’t get any of this with a profile.

5. Facebook Pages have Like Widgets

Facebook has a nice array of Share Widgets, including a Like button among others, that can be embedded on your company website or other websites (coming to rp.connect soon!). This helps to drive more traffic to your facebook page, get more ‘Likes’, and therefore, allow your message to reach more people’s News Feeds.

6. Pages can have unlimited fans

A profile can only have up to 5,000 friends – whereas a page can have unlimited fans. It may take a while before you need to worry about that, but it’s worth worrying about. You can’t convert a profile to a page either, so once you hit that limit as a profile and need to create a page, there’s no way to automatically transfer your ‘friends’ into ‘fans’.

What if you’ve created a business profile already? All is not lost.. keep reading below and I’ll discuss this.

7. Business Profiles are against Facebook TOS

Importantly, Facebook makes the distinction that profiles are for individuals, and pages are for business. It’s possible that your profile could be shutdown for violating the TOS, and you’d lose your friend list with it.

How To Create a Facebook Page

To create a Facebook page for your business, make sure you’re logged in as the account you want to administer the page, and simply go to the Facebook Create a Page link.

Creating a Facebook Page
Creating a Facebook Page

You want to use the right-hand-side – select “Local Business”, choose the type of business, enter your business name, eg: “John Bratt Real Estate”, check the box that confirms you’re an authorised representative, and click the “Create Official Page” button.

Now you go ahead and customise your page – upload a photo, add information etc. Facebook has a nice wizard to help you through it, and once your page is setup, you can start promoting it to your friends, contacts and through your normal marketing channels.

Setting up your Facebook Page
Setting up your Facebook Page

Of course you can now use your Page ID in your rp.connect Facebook Widget settings, so your status updates can be fed into your Facebook Widget. Use this Getting Started Guide – How do I find my Facebook ID? – to help you find your page ID and set it in your Facebook Widget.

Help! What if I’ve already created a business profile?

Unfortunately there’s no way to convert a profile to a page. Your ‘friends’ will need to manually ‘Like’ your new Facebook page. You can help them along by:

  1. Posting a status update to your profile – direct them to your page and ask them to ‘Like’ it
  2. Sending a message to your ‘friends’ – as above
  3. Use the ‘Suggest to Friends’ feature on your page to prompt them to ‘Like’ your page.

While that’s a bit of a hassle, there are more benefits of having a page for your business rather than a profile.

Good luck creating your Facebook Page. Feel free to post a link to your Facebook Page in the comments section here so we can see how it turned out!