Facebook profiles are not for businesses

Facebook page Vs Facebook personal profile

Today I received two interesting Facebook invites. One was to be come friends with a business i.e. a business setting up a personal profile on Facebook instead of a Facebook page. Instead of sending a message to the person behind this error, I’m writing this blog post. I want to help them but there’s so many others that require help too.

It’s a common mistake and it is one that has been many a time and is being made over and over again. It’s also been written about before and here’s one good example of a previous post.

Ditch the Facebook profile for business

I’ll keep it short and sweet. Facebook profiles are for people. Facebook pages are for businesses, brands, products, organisations, artists bands and public figures.

The other message I received this morning via Facebook was  from a “friend” that is actually a business asking me to “like” a certain Facebook page – which, yes you’ve guessed it, has the exact same name as the profile. This business is just one of many that’s facing the hassle and realization of moving friends over to pages. Social media migration may be a new business in its own right, separate to social media management. The problem with migration is of course losing a few along the way, so there is that risk, but the benefits outweigh losing a few people that didn’t like your business anyway or don’t know how to use Facebook.

Mistakes you may have made

If you’re in business the reasons you might like to have a Facebook profile rather than a Facebook page to represent your business include:

  • You didn’t realise there’s a difference.
  • You enjoy breaking rules.
  • You find it easier to raise awareness of your Facebook business profile by inviting people to become friends of your business profile.
  • You’re scared that people may not ‘Like’ your new Facebook page for business.
  • You like looking at other people’s holiday snaps and personal info, because chances are they haven’t filtered their privacy settings.
  • You’re scared of success.

Moving over to the other side

Well here are some reasons to go and start migrating your friends on your business profile to your new Facebook business page. (Tip, people are no longer “fans” of Facebook pages – they are given the option “like”.)

  • Your page’s news, status updates, photos, links to interesting articles, competitions, whatever you choose to publish to the people who like your page, will appear in their feed (unless they decide not to receive info from you, but they can do that to anyone’s profile anyway).
  • You will get updated on how people interact with the page through Facebook Insights.
  • You can try and bring people to the page using ads.
  • You may find more people will organically come to your page and like it – perhaps because they saw a friend liked it.
  • You’re playing by the rules.
  • You want to have a social media presence for your business.
  • You don’t want to be limited – profiles can only have a max of 5,000 fans. Pages seem to be unlimited.

So what’s keeping you? Get going. Set up that Facebook page now and start migrating people over. Or get someone who knows how to do it to sort it out for you. Would love to hear any comments or questions!

Overwriting and knowing when to stop

A few tips on making your content more shareable

Just look at the headline above. It’s neither here nor there. The word shareable is all on its own on the second “deck” of the H1 headline.

Now take out today’s paper or any newspaper and you’ll see that in all likelihood that there are no lone words on second or third decks of headlines. They tend to be filled out across one or a few decks and tightly written to fill the space (with a little help from layout programmes such as InDesign or Quark to increase or decrease the space between letters/words very subtly).

If you’re putting any sort of a heading, sub-heading etc on your website, blog or email newsletter, think about how it many characters as opposed to words will fit across either one or two lines before writing. It’ll look tidier. *

Fitting concise messages into Twitter

A handy way of practicing writing within a confined amount of characters is by using Twitter. 140 characters. Wow, that’s short you may think, if you’re not a regular Twitter user. But if your message is something other people might like to share by retweeting (RT) it, you may need to consider writing a 100 to 120 character tweet.

This morning I saw a tweet from a Bus Eireann twitter account which I thought would be worthwhile retweeting for another account I manage @housemates. I prefer manual retweeting, where you can edit the tweet or add a comment after it. So, in Hootsuite, the Twitter programme I use a lot of the time, I hit Re-Tweet and I saw the message was 156 characters long – 16 too many - because it included “RT: @buseireanndeals: ” Including spaces, that’s 22 extra characters to RT something from @buseireanndeals manually. I didn’t RT it. I didn’t want to go to the bother of editing it. Other days I may have, not today. At least not yet.

If you want your tweets to be more shareable and retweetable then you have to take into account the number of characters in your usernname and the space taken up by the other stuff. The other stuff, to save you counting, comes to 7 characters. If I am tweeting from @elainelarkin I know that anything I think could be retweeted should come to 140 characters minus 7 characters (the other stuff) minus 12 characters (username) = 121 characters. Make it short enough and you make it shareable.

*Disclaimer: Sometimes we’re in a rush too and to prove we’re human and not robot, there have been occasions where we’ve left one word hanging on its own on the second deck of headline in previous blog posts.

Have you checked your Facebook privacy settings?

About a year ago I went about making a list with 17 points on how to ensure your privacy on Facebook (see below).

Now I have just one: Have you checked your privacy settings lately? You better go check ‘em because since Facebook made some changes to the privacy settings I’ve heard of people who assumed their profiles were completely private being not so private.

Here’s the original 17 points:

  1. Click at the top of the page, Friends.
  2. You will see a list at top left of page: Friend Lists.
  3. Not sure if Limited Profile is there or you create it, but go into it or create it and start adding people who are distant/not really in your life.
  4. Then on very top of page go to settings, there’ll be a drop down menu.
  5. Click Account settings.
  6. Go down to the fourth option: Privacy Controls. On the right hand side of that line will be manage in blue.
  7. Click on manage.
  8. Click on Profile.
  9. There is a range of dropdown menus, you can change what people see here, I’d recommend, friends, or friends of friends but never My Network – anyone in Ireland network can see your stuff.
  10. To be really selective about your privacy go into each drop down menu and click customise.
  11. There you get the option to choose who doesn’t see your stuff – ‘except these people’
  12. Rather than choosing a load of individuals make sure you have your Limited Profile or whatever list made up, type in that list name, and hey presto you’re on the way to privacy. You could even make up a list Schoolfreinds or People I don’t know that well or Professional contacts or whatever and stop them seeing silly drunken pics etc…
  13. Save Changes
  14. Click on the Privacy link towards top left of page.
  15. Now click on News Feed and Wall.
  16. Tick or untick whatever boxes you want to.
  17. Save changes.

Identity theft or identity found?

A few months back it was published in the national and international press that people could be targeted by burglars if they had status updates indicating they’re on holidays or away.

We mostly giggled, as if the common garden cat burglar was that tech savvy.

Status update: steal my identity

Theft of possessions is one thing but throw in the word identity and the giggling stops. According to an article in The Irish Times “People posting apparently innocuous information on social networking sites could leave themselves open to identity theft”.

It’s not too difficult to give away personal details through conversations and status updates on Twitter or via Facebook if your status updates are public – you can set them so just your friends can see them (I have).

We might not like to give away our ages, but having your birthday (and year of birth) publicly available online is not a good idea, same goes for your home address.

Information others control online about you

But even if you’re personally careful online, you have to be conscious of details friends, family and colleagues may have innocently posted online about you.

Case study:

For example, I know of one sole trader facing a bad debt who wanted to find out more details about the company director who had stopped taking their calls about the bad debt, and wanted to know more about them. No combinations of the individual’s name in search engines came up with anything like a photo, a news story, a Facebook account. They were essentially faceless.

The bad debtor had a video on their company website, hosted on YouTube, with an unusual username. Once this username was Googled it threw up results including the individual’s Facebook account and other online accounts they had with this same username. However, the Facebook account was private and didn’t feature a photo of the person in question.

But, on clicking on ‘View Friends’ and then on the profile of an older woman with the same surname, the person chasing this bad debt was finally given a picture of the bad debtor. His mum, a woman in her 60s who doesn’t know a thing about Facebook privacy options, had her profile public, along with captioned photos of her son the bad debtor on his wedding day with his wife and son.

The person went away happy – rather than identity theft, it was a case of identity found: they’d a face to the person who wasn’t available on phone or e-mail and who only had a vague business address registered with the Companies Registration Office.

Choice

We all have the choice to protect the information we give out about ourselves online and the information that others innocently share about us online. It may be called ego or vanity searching, but there’s no harm in searching online regularly for your name, or indeed, phone numbers and addresses, and common usernames you use to see where you’re mentioned and what you can do about it. It might be an idea, before someone else gets to it, or gets to you.