Facebook Identity Crisis

It all started with profiles. Then came groups. And then came fan pages; designed for businesses to have a piece of the Facebook action and allow their clients (or prospective clients) to follow and connect with them. With every innovation our love affair with Facebook has become even more intense.

Facebook didn’t create the different pages to confuse us, but they’ve managed to.  And they’ve made it even more complicated by making it impossible to convert one to the other. So you’re best getting it right from the start.

There is no ONE guide to marketing in the social realm, including what’s offered up by Facebook, because it is moving, shifting and evolving, driven by companies that are optimizing their networks for the core users – the people. However, it is clear the type of page you start with will shape the type of interaction you have with your fans, friends or members in the future. 

Here’s how Facebook defines each type of page:

·       Profile – a place for an individual to communicate, connect and socialize with friends.  These pages have the ‘Add as a Friend’ at the top of the page.

·       Business/Fan Page – a place for a business entity (yes, a person can be a business entity) to communicate with customers and fans by creating and maintaining an official page.  For example, a stylist could still create a page if he or she intended to do business on the page.  These pages have ‘Like’ at the top.

·       Group – a place to communicate directly with other Facebook members who share a professional interest or hobby.  Like a club.  Some beauty schools use this to communicate with existing students or alumni and salons can use this function for VIP club members.  These will have a ‘Join’ at the top.

Hands down – never use a profile for your business.  It’s against Facebook terms of use and Facebook can (and will) deactivate the profile without warning.  Leaving you without access to all of your fans and content, not to mention needing to start from scratch!   If you have a profile that you use to post content about your salon, try some of these tips to move your fans over from your profile to a new Facebook business page.

You have to create a personal profile first before you can spawn either of the other two, but which of the two – if any – will you choose? Facebook created fan pages so businesses could interact with their fans on the network. They offer an experience similar to that of the profile, but with added categorization, different privacy options and loads more applications to run cool campaigns like Sweepstakes, Group Deals and other viral promotions.

In contrast, groups were created to provide a forum for like-minded people. Group pages have the option to be closed and exclusive and a request to join must be posted, whereas fan pages are open and the action is by the fan, who only has to ‘like’ your page to be part of the community. Nice and simple. But the differences don’t stop there. You can mass message group members, an option not available for fan pages. Instead, updates go to a separate inbox titled ‘Updates’.   When was the last time you checked that inbox? Never? That’s what we thought.  It’s kind of a bummer, but the real power from a Facebook fan page is it’s viral abilities.  Viral being something that is spread quickly across the population like a cold, but in this instance it’s about how amazing your salon is!  Your posts are aggregated on a public wall that is easily viewed and shared. 

Pages are also enabled for analytics and tracking, can host cool and useful applications and have ads that highlight the fan page to friends of the fan.   This makes it really the only choice for a marketing strategy on Facebook.

All that being said, Linkup has some clients that use both types of setups strategically.  For example, you manage a page for connecting with clients and attracting prospective clients and then have a separate group for your VIP clients that provide them with exclusive offers and information and it’s also a safe, enclosed environment to discuss topics about how to improve your business.  Who better to give you feedback than your most loyal clients? 

As long as they have a purpose and the strategy behind their use is based on a solid grasp of what each page type does, each can benefit your business.  A personal profile, however, cannot, so it’s time to make the switch!

Valorie Reavis is an online and social media marketing guru with Linkup Marketing focusing on search engine marketing, salon email marketing programs and social media marketing for salons and spas. If you have any queries for Valorie email her at [email protected].


Image courtesy of Linkup Marketing.

Related:   Top 5 Questions about Facebook  |  Get Started with Email Marketing  |  Reaching Consumers Using Local Search Engines  |  Strategic Positioning of Keywords for Salons and Spas  |  Online Marketing Tips for Salons & Spas  |  Give Your Salon Website a Soul 

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