One of the great debates we’ve heard from some of our small business and non-profit clients is: Facebook Fan Page vs. Facebook Profile Page. As many articles as there are on the topic, it still seems unclear to most.
The simple, play-by-the-rules answer is: Profiles are intended for people, Fan Pages are intended for businesses. It’s actually against the Facebook terms to use a profile for a business. The folks at Social Media Hound say it best: If the Facebook gods find your profile set up like this, it’s possible they may delete the entire profile, along with all the work you’ve put into building your fan base.
Whether you choose to follow the rules or not, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to up your search engine rankings if you don’t set up your Fan Page properly. Facebook Fan Pages are indexed by search engines. Profiles are not. If you set up a profile in your business name, you’re not maximizing your exposure. Sure, your Facebook friends will be able to see your page, but new people won’t find you all that easily. And with 500 million possible “likes”, this is all about getting as many people to join your community as possible.
The concern of course is that many find promoting a Fan Page much more difficult than a Profile Page. And I’d agree. It does take more work. No matter how great your company, product or service is, most people will not come to like your Fan Page by simply searching for you in Facebook. If done right, they’ll most likely be redirected from another source, like an e-newsletter, an email signature, a website, Twitter, via word of mouth or editorial content—making all of your other digital platforms that much more important. And while it will take some extra time to get those fans racked up, the pay off for an organization can be much greater: You can engage your community on Facebook in ways you can’t do anywhere else. You can host contests (though be sure to check out Facebook’s promotion guidelines). You can post polls. You can share video, presentations and podcasts. You can event send text messages.
And so to give you a quick overview of all the things you CAN do on a Facebook Fan Page, here are a few of our favorite tools.
Podcast Player App: Podcast player is an easy and powerful way to share your own audio and video Podcast in Facebook. In just one click, your friends can subscribe your Podcast to iTunes and download your audios and videos to their iPod and iPhone.
SlideShare: SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. You can:
- Share presentations and documents with your Facebook network
- Upload portfolios, resume, conference talks, PDFs, curriculum, etc
- Embed YouTube videos in presentations and add audio to make a webinar
If you have a SlideShare.net account, you can import your existing presentations into Facebook. If you don't have one, sign up by clicking the link above.
Networked Blogs App: This app lets you import your blog feed to your profile or public page.
You can promote your blog on Facebook and connect with others who read and write about subjects you like. An easy way to improve integration among your branded platforms.
My LinkedIn Profile: Once people land on your Facebook Fan page, give them reasons to stay and learn more about you, beyond just what’s on your wall. With this app, you can display your LinkedIn Profile or Company profile on your Facebook Page.
Polls: Who couldn’t use a little feedback once in awhile? On Facebook, it doesn’t get any simpler than the free Poll app. All you need to do is name your question, list your choices and select your publishing options. The poll can live right on your page, and gives you a fast, easy way to get a read on a new product, menu item, service or program.
Pagemodo: Custom landing pages like the one over at McDonalds can be beautifully executed, and strengthen your visual identity on the Facebook platform, but not many small organizations have the skills, the budget or the time to create these custom pages, right? That’s no longer an excuse thanks to the creative folks at Pagemodo, which is becoming the Constant Contact of Facebook pages. With several template designs to choose from, including the ability to embed video and photos, Pagemodo is a no-brainer for any organization trying to up the visual aspect of its Facebook page.
OfferPop: Everyone loves a good contest, and they are one of the easiest ways to acquire new fans. But if you’re a beginner, don‘t try to execute a contest on your own, especially when there are so many good tools to help you succeed. Here’s a quick synopsis by appbistro.com: “Offerpop’s Photo Contest application has an easy to use content management system which, once ready, can push your contest live, right within your Fan Page. Each Fan who submits a photo is prompted to share with their friends, helping direct highly targeted traffic to your Fan Page. Fans can then vote by commenting on photos, and each comment is posted to their Facebook wall – an easy and innovative way for creating viral content.”
Textual Ads: Also according to the truly fantastic site, AppBistro, TextualAds is going to be a “game-changing application”. It allows you to collect your fan's mobile numbers and send them SMS (text) messages about current marketing campaigns. The nicest thing about it, especially if you have a big list, is that you can target based on gender, age or geo-location. Based on each category you choose, the app shows you how expansive your marketing reach will be with each campaign.
The North Social Family of Apps. The team at North Social have a huge array of simple apps that make a big impact for businesses and non-profits. Their Donate app allows you to upload a large image for a clear cause overview and call to action, and their custom share settings allow you to manage the content that is spread by users who click the "share" button. Outbound links enable you to send donors to a secure, third -party site of your choosing, like PayPal. With their Exlusive app, you can create your own version of a group-buying deal, by incentivizing your fans to share exclusive content with their networks, and by doing so, you can “cash in” social currency for digital goods like songs, videos, documents and more. Like them on Facebook and enjoy your first exclusive deal.
Facebook Insights: So not an app necessarily, but if you’re still on the fence about Facebook Fan Page vs. Profile Page, don’t discount all of the incredible measurement tools you’ll have access to when you’re set up as a company on Facebook— none of which you can access with a Profile. Gain immediate insights into how many people are seeing your posts, how many are sharing it, and the demographics behind your fans. For any business or non-profit, the work you are doing in building up your Facebook presence should be paid off at the end of the day with some nice ROI. Facebook Insights can paint a powerful picture for your President, Executive Director or Board Chair, and are alone well worth the time to make the move over to a Facebook Page.
We thank the creative geniuses at Appbistro, who have helped us uncover some of our favorite Facebook apps. They scour the web for the best apps, test them, and rate them so you don’t have to. Have an app you can’t live without? Send us a note, or post a comment on our Facebook page.