One of the questions I get asked all the time is, “What is the difference between Facebook Profiles, Pages, and Groups, and which one should I choose?” It can be a bit confusing, some of these look similar (at least in their default form), and it’s important to understand the difference in order to both comply with Facebook Terms of Service, as well as market your business effectively. So today, let’s look at the differences between Profiles, Pages, and Groups, and when you should choose to use each one.
A Facebook Profile is a personal account on Facebook, and everyone that uses Facebook must have one. Every individual is allowed one (and only one) Facebook Profile. Just because you CAN set up a 2nd profile using a different email address doesn’t mean you’re allowed to. If you have more than one Facebook Profile, you are actually in violation on Facebook Terms of Service, and if Facebook discovers it they will shut down your account, no questions asked. Not worth the risk in my opinion.
So what’s the benefit of a Facebook Profile for business? In my opinion, your Facebook Profile is your greatest asset on Facebook. It’s the place where you network, meet people, develop relationships. This is not the place for spammy business messages. Rather, it’s a place to provide value and truly enjoy other people. It’s a way for people to get to know you as a real person, instead of just another direct sales consultant trying to sell them something.
Now I know some people like to keep their personal and their business completely separate. While this is of course your decision, I don’t think it’s in your best interest. People like to do business with PEOPLE. That’s the beauty of direct selling, and why social media works so well with what we do. By giving people the chance to get to know us as an individual (sharing carefully selected personal content), we become so much more than just a consultant. We become someone that people know, like, and trust. And that leads to long term business relationships. That’s the purpose of the Facebook Profile when you’re using it for business.
A Facebook Page is a business presence on Facebook. In order to create a business page that people WANT to return to (so that it does you any good) you need to update this regularly, and provide engaging content that people want. Those that read this blog regularly or who have been through my training know that while I believe that direct selling companies should have Facebook Pages, I am not convinced that individual direct sellers need them. (I know there are those that disagree with me.) My reasoning is this: the main job of a direct seller is to network, book (in party plan), sell, and recruit. It is not to spend all day on social media creating engaging presences. I believe that you can engage people just as well using your profile and a Facebook Group (which we’ll discuss in a minute) as you can spending all the time necessary to create an engaging Facebook Page. I’d rather see you spending the extra time selling product and recruiting new distributors.
The cool thing about Facebook Pages is all the customization you can do with them. You can add custom applications, contests, etc. to make them highly engaging. This is why all direct selling companies should have one. They are a great way to help customers and prospects engage with your brand, while also providing resources that consultants can use. They also provide visibility to the company, when done well.
Because Facebook Pages are strictly business, you can be more overt in your marketing messages (with the understanding that you shouldn’t overdo it…people don’t opt in for ads.) But you can treat your Facebook Fans sort of like an opt-in list, and provide more specific messages about your business, specials, etc. Facebook Page updates appear in the news feed of all fans, and you have the option of messaging all your fans (although those messages go into the “Updates” section of the inbox, which I’m not sure people look at regularly.) And when people become a fan of your page, it appears in the news feed of their friends, increasing your page’s visibility (groups do this too.)
One other nice feature of Facebook Pages is the analytics Facebook provides for them. You can see the way that people are interacting with your content when you set up a Facebook Page.
Groups has been sort of the stepchild of the Facebook offerings, but I think they provide some wonderful benefits for direct sellers. A group is a place to build a community where you can interact with people on a regular basis. While you can’t add all the cool bells and whistles like you can with a Facebook Page (so you don’t need to spend that time) what you can do is create a community around your business that keeps people engaged.
The key to a successful group, again, is providing value. I recommend that direct sellers invite every single customer to join their Facebook Group (you can keep it closed, so people can’t see who all your customers are…something you can’t do with a Page) and tell them that you’ll provide information on how to use products, specials, articles, and more. It becomes a way to set yourself up as an expert that people turn to for advice. It’s also a place to provide your contact info, so people don’t need to go hunting for your receipt the next time they’re ready to reorder from you.
One of the features I like very much about the Facebook Group is the opportunity to message all members. Now this is not the same as your newsletter, and you should never confuse the two. But every 2 weeks or so you can send out a message that goes to the INBOX (instead of the updates) with an update on what’s happening in the group. I also like to provide a direct link back to the group using the Memorable Web Address application within Facebook. This encourages people to return by highlighting the value of the group, and keeps you fresh in people’s minds. All of which can lead to repeat business and referrals. And Groups can also be considered an opt-in list, which means you can judiciously provide more specific business messages (always keeping in mind that it must be framed in terms of what’s in it for the member…people don’t opt in for ads.)
So that, in a nutshell, are the differences between Facebook Profiles, Pages, and Groups. While I have not covered EVERY detail of each function, this should be enough information for you to make the decision about the elements that will best support your direct sales or network marketing business.
Would love to hear how you are using Profiles, Pages, and/or Groups to promote your direct selling business in the comments below!