Recently, a few readers have emailed me asking about Facebook and some of the different ways to use it. Facebook has changed a lot over the years, so it can be a lot to keep up with. Today I’m answering a few questions from real live Biz BFF blog readers, including, “What’s the difference between a Facebook business page and just my regular Facebook?” and “What’s the difference between a facebook page and a group?”
So WTF is Facebook even?
Facebook is a social media platform. You can think of it like a place–a really really big place–where you can show up and interact with people in different ways. We communicate through posts, comments, and likes (now we can even love, laugh, cry, and show anger at posts with just a click!)
There are 3 main ways you can show up and connect with people on Facebook: your profile, your business page, and in groups. Let’s dive into each of these!
Your Facebook Profile
Your profile represents you as a person on Facebook. When you first join Facebook, you’re asked to set up your profile with your name and a photo and a little bit about you. Profiles represent you. The person, the mom, the sister, the friend. Facebook profiles aren’t meant to be about your business (we’ll get to how you can represent your business next!) They’re really meant to be a way for you to connect with your friends and family.
People connect with your Facebook profile by sending you a friend request. And then you accept the friend request to make it official–it takes both of you saying “Yep, we’re friends” to make that connection. (If someone sends you a friend request and you don’t know them or don’t care to know them, you can ignore or decline it. We all have boundaries!)
With your profile, you have control over your privacy settings, so you can decide who sees your posts–you can make posts public, make them visible to only your friends, or even make posts private so only you can see them! Your posts will show up in the feeds of your friends and when friends visit your profile, they can scroll back and see your history of posts and pictures.
Your profile represents: you as a person
People connect with you by: friend request
Who can see your posts: friends
Your Business Page
A business page is a way to represent your business on Facebook. It has some similarities to a profile–you can write posts, share images and videos, and like or comment on other posts. But it also has some differences! You can include more info on your page, like a map to your store or a link to book services. You can create a button that invites page viewers to shop or sign up for your newsletter. And you can create paid ads to get in front of new people.
People connect with your Business Page by liking or following it. Anyone can see your page’s posts–they’re public–but when someone likes your page, some of your posts will come through their feed and they’ll be reminded of your business!
Your page represents: your business
People connect with your page by: liking or following
Who can see your posts: anyone
Groups came on the Facebook scene a few years ago and really took off! They’re now one of the most popular ways to interact on Facebook. You can find a group about pretty much anything on Facebook–groups of people who have the same kind of dog that you have, local groups to trade old baby clothes, shopping groups to get first dibs on your favorite artist’s new work, private groups to get support for e-courses you own, public groups to get updates about what’s happening in your neighborhood, even secret groups of friends who just like to have a place to gossip! Groups are a way to connect with people who have a shared interest.
People connect with groups by joining. Some groups are open for anyone to join and others have special requirements and you need admin approval to join. And groups can be public, closed, or secret. In public groups, anyone can see the posts. In closed and secret groups, only group members can see the posts. So if you’re in a closed group and post something that you don’t want your mother-in-law to see, don’t worry, she won’t see it unless she’s in the group!
A group represents: a community of people with a shared interest
People connect with a group by: joining
Who can see your posts in a group: other people in the group (unless the group is public–then anyone can see your posts.)
How do profiles, pages, and groups all work together?
Just like you as a person are the owner of your real life business, you as a person manage your Facebook business page. You have to have a personal facebook profile to create a business page. Then once you’ve created it, you can post, like, and comment AS your page (just make sure that setting is checked!)
You also interact with groups with your personal profile. If you start your own group, you can connect your business page and post, like, and comment as your page. Or you can interact as you the person, whichever makes more sense for you and your business. But you can’t join someone else’s group as a page, you can only join as a person.
I bet you have some questions
“But I still want my friends and family to see what my business is up to!” That’s great! They probably do want to know what you’re up to! So you can invite them to like your page. And then you can also periodically share posts from your business page to your personal profile. (I would keep this to once a week, tops. Your friends want to see your kid’s halloween pictures, wish you a happy birthday, and read your political rants. They don’t want to see your new products every single day.) Sharing your posts to your personal page, also boosts engagement and tells the magical robot Facebook algorithms that your posts are interesting and they should show them to more people.
“How can I use groups to help my business?” In so many ways! First, there are tons of groups for business owners. You can join local networking groups, worldwide entrepreneur groups designed to give support and advice, groups of other people in your industry–whatever group you’re looking for, it probably exists! When you interact in these groups, you make all sorts of connections with people who can help you in your business. You can get advice, you can meet people to partner with on joint venture projects, you can even find customers! Aim to connect and make real relationships, offer useful advice, and enjoy the ride. Don’t just pop into groups, drop a link to your thing, and bounce out. That’s spammy and not that effective.
You can also start your own group! If you sell a product, you can create a VIP shopping group of raving fans who want first dibs on your new stuff and special deals. (This works great for handmade products as well as direct sales companies.) If you provide a service, think about how you might be able to help your clients and potential quiets in an online group setting. A postpartum doula could start a Facebook group for new parents. A copywriter could create a group for members to share their work and get writing tips. A health coach could start a group to post daily workouts and for members to hold each other accountable for reaching their goals. Facebook groups lend themselves especially well to info-based businesses. If you teach a course, you can create a private group for your students to post their work, ask questions, and get feedback. If you write e-books about cats, you can start a group for cat lovers to post all their cat-related anecdotes and questions! You’ll get ideas for future books and blog posts and establish yourself as a go-to cat expert so that when your next book is available you have a pool of interested shoppers ready to buy!
Woah, this was a lot! Here’s the recap:
Profiles are for people and you need a profile to interact on Facebook. This is where you connect with your friends and families and share personal posts.
Pages are for businesses and that’s where your business-related posts should go. You use your personal profile to start and manage a business page, but your posts show up as coming from your business.
Groups are a great way to connect with people who share common interests and provide value for your customers and audience in a creative way.
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