I’ve seen quite a few tech groups talking about Facebook pages lately. These discussions have come about because members of the various communities I participate in online have been impacted negatively by following this advice from a number of online “influencers” who are encouraging anyone setting up a business to do this via a Profile. This could mean running your business through your personal profile or creating a business-specific profile. An example of using a personal profile would be if Joe Bloggs sells his homemade cosmetics under his own name or creates a separate business profile called Joe Bloggs Cosmetics. Whether you do one or the other of these things, neither is recommended. In fact, you absolutely should not be doing either of these things.
The reason this is an absolute no-no is because the Facebook terms and conditions actually prohibit using Profiles for business purposes. Use them to share information about your family, friends, hobbies, whatever – but it has to be personal information.
To comply with the Facebook Ts & Cs, if you’re running a business it should be via a Page or a Group. Failing to do this is resulting in some small businesses built entirely around Facebook having their profiles shut down by Facebook. Usually if this happens they notify you – but once it’s done there’s almost nothing you can do about it. If this happens, just like that all your business contacts, all the information you’ve shared, the reputation you’ve worked hard to create – along with any personal information, such as images and updates – vaporise. For any small business this scenario would be a disaster.
So how can you avoid this happening to you?
First and foremost, do not use a Facebook Profile as the primary online platform for your business. For Facebook you must create a Page. It’s really very simple to do and also has the advantage that you can manage it via the Facebook Page app, making it easy to separate work and home, reduce distractions (you’ll only see alerts relating to your page not that your Great Aunt likes your cat photo) and also keeping your personal information hidden.
In my view the safest way to use social media is to own the data yourself and use social media as a way of sharing it, not as the main show. So create a website that you own the content for, that you control, that you can back up, that you can build a following around, and use social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, as a way of sharing that information and building a buzz around it. Even with a Page rather than a Profile, Facebook still own all that information and can take it away just like that.
It’s so much part of life these days that we take it for granted. If you’re going to put all that time and effort into marketing yourself online you also owe it to yourself to ensure that effort is futured-proofed as much as possible.
Image credit: iStock.com/marchmeena29
If you need help with this or any other aspect of your home or business IT, contact me to arrange a free consultation.