“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
- Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder, CEO & President of Facebook (via Gigaom)
People often ask me why they can’t have a Facebook Page for their business without having a personal Profile first. I usually try to explain that Facebook has made this mandatory (with one exception, see below) to encourage people to be as transparent as possible. I think Mark Zuckerberg’s quote above expresses this sentiment even more accurately. Facebook (or at least their CEO) believes that everyone should “be themselves” on Facebook, and not hide behind a brand or logo. Facebook also probably wants as many people to be on Facebook as possible (for advertising revenue of course).
Facebook explains the difference between a Page and a Profile here.
“Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook…In addition, Pages are managed by admins who have personal Facebook profiles. Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from your profile. They are merely different entities on our site, similar to how Groups and Events function. Once you have set up a Page within your profile, you may add other admins to help you manage this Page. People who choose to connect to your Page won’t be able to see that you are the Page admin or have any access to your personal account.”
You can see how Facebook is encouraging the fusion – NOT the separation – of Pages and Profiles. The creator of a Page has to use his/her personal account to build a page for a business or organization. And the promotional features of a Page are not nearly as “personal” as your Profile features. No messaging to fans is a rule that many marketers despise, as outlined here:
“All personal site features, such as friending and messaging, are also for personal use only and may not be used for professional promotion. If you add a user as a friend, for example, this person will be invited to be a friend of your profile and not your Page. Using personal site features for professional promotion, or creating unauthorized Pages, may result in your account being warned or disabled.”
But would you want it any other way? Millions of people use Facebook because they feel safe (relatively) in the space. Facebook wants to protect that feeling of privacy and choice. Allowing marketers to bombard their fans would surely drive users away. Besides, we have learned over time that “opt-in” social marketing is much more effective in the long run. Let the user choose to listen to your brand. The use of force and interruption is ineffective and despised in the social realm.
There is a way around the Profile-before-Page rule. If you are creating a business Page on Facebook you can create a Business Account and avoid making a personal Profile for yourself. There are some restrictions to these accounts, which is why many of us break down and use our personal accounts for business:
“Business accounts are designed for individuals who only want to use the site to administer Pages and their ad campaigns. For this reason, business accounts do not have the same functionality as personal accounts. Business accounts have limited access to information on the site. An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Social Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer. In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests.”
Another important restriction to note: You cannot add applications to your Page if you are using a business Profile in lieu of a personal Profile. From the Facebook Help Center:
You will not, however, be able to view the profile information of any other users on the site, or add any other applications to your account. Your account will not be visible in search and other users on the site will not be able to find you and add you as a friend.
That means no Static FBML application for you!
Learn more about how to set up a business account here. We do not recommend this strategy to our Clients, but it could be the right approach for your brand if you do not need any of the personal Profile features.