Facebook is one of the only social networks that allow for the same login to have both a professional persona and a personal one. While you may have the urge to make a comment about Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy or share your thoughts on the President (and by golly, you can) – your professional brand won’t be helped by such Tweets. Facebook lets you separate the politico and TMZ from your life into appropriate areas like your personal newsfeed. This is why it’s important to ask yourself whether your personal page is asking for a professional re-brand – Or a separate page entirely.
Your personal page
A personal page is everything that you’ve been keeping up with since you created your Facebook account back in your college dorm. Timeline, embarrassing tagged photos, status updates, work history, etc. Believe it or not, you can actually convert your personal page to a business page. Maybe you’ve been using your business as a personal page for years now and want to finally switch (that’s probably a good thing as that breaks Facebook’s Terms of Service). Maybe your name is your brand and you want to use a more professional format to show off your brand. There are purposes of converting your page to a business page and it’s important to weigh that decision as it’s irreversible. Your friends will turn into fans and Facebook’s algorithms will now treat your posts as any other business (often meaning only highly engaged users will begin seeing your posts). You may reach more people, you may reach less people, you’ll certainly get a lot of likes here! What’s the problem?
Your friends may not be your fans. Just because I’m your kinda-sorta friend doesn’t mean I want to hear every little status update about your freelance dog grooming business. When your friends accepted (or requested) your friend request they didn’t opt-in to like your business. This breaks conventional social contracts. Instead of shotgun approaching your fan reach to every friend, create a separate branded page for your professional pursuits.
Questions to ask yourself about your personal page:
- Have I been using a personal page as a professional brand for awhile? Consider converting your personal page to a business page. Consider the relevancy of whether your friends will appreciate being turned into fans. Usually the longer you’ve been operating your page on a professional basis, the less likely your friends will care about being converted to fans. Just be aware that this is only an appropriate option for converting your page on a personal branded basis. I don’t care if you’re my first-born, ASK ME or invite me to like your page – Don’t arbitrarily convert me from friend to fan of your business.
- Am I an opinion-leader in the spotlight or content-creator but don’t want a brand page? Enable subscribers to your personal page, that way you can
- Are my latest pictures of me at Spring Break in Panama City? Keep your professional and social lives separate if you live a vastly different than what you want your brand to say about you. Save the mushy stuff for the personal brand or business page.
Your brand page
Your brand page can be anything from a lemonade stand to your 10 person LLC operation. This is where you have the ability to create content that doesn’t involve you shotgunning beers but instead bringing highly relevant content to readers. For businesses, you have the power to engage with any user that likes your page or through a fan that engages with your page. A fan page is highly relevant towards bringing new interest to your brand. The disadvantage with creating a brand page is that you may come across as impersonal. First build that audience by inviting a target of friends and business colleagues/clients that would be directly vested in the work you create. Let your work and professional posts speak for themselves.
Use your personal page to springboard your fan page by periodically sharing posts that are interesting to a wide audience – or if you really want to show off the work. Anytime you’re creating content, people at large may be just as interested as your fans. Just don’t make a habit of sharing everything out or your friends will unsubscribe from your updates. Maybe I’m not directly vested in your career in cartooning but I’m certainly interested in a cool doodle that you made and wanted to share out. That might even encourage me to click the picture and go to like your page.
Questions to ask yourself about your business page:
- Is my personal brand separate from my professional brand? Operate both types of pages and use the former to springboard the latter to a wider audience. Just be aware of who you’re trying to reach out and make sure those friends are targeted. Invite those targeted fans and share out the occasional interesting content you post on your brand page.
- Do I operate a business that’s not a personal brand at all? Keep the pages separate entirely. It’s good to bring personal flair to your business page so fans know who they’re dealing with but that doesn’t mean fans need to know that you won a beer pong tournament this weekend or what your opinion of the President is.