Ironically as I was trying to finish this post up, Hubspot the mighty came out with Top 5 Things Not to Do on Facebook. Which is basically what I wanted to address but wanted to add some extra information and some tips as well.
So here goes:
I thought this would be a good thing to visit (or revisit) as I still see a lot of inns and B&Bs using their personal or profile pages as their business pages, when they should be having fan pages instead.
I have seen several dozen inns just in the last week that have, “check us out on Facebook” and it links to their personal profiles. Apparently there is quite a bit of confusion out there about Fan Pages vs personal pages and it continues.
To muddy the waters are several hospitality marketing and consulting companies out there encouraging inns to set up using personal profiles for marketing means and “friending” guests and potential guests. I won’t name who you are, but you should be ashamed. Encouraging an inn to set up a profile and have them spend lots of valuable time “marketing” their inn and then have them get kicked off of Facebook for promoting on a personal profile. Not very good advice.
Second, for marketing reasons aside from above, Fan Pages can have an unlimited number of fans. Profiles can only have 5,000 friends, so you would be limiting the amount of people you could interact with long term.
Third, You can have multiple fan pages, but only one personal profile. So say you have an inn with a restaurant or a B&B but you want a separate section to focus on weddings or reunions or Pet Friendly, you would want the option of having multiple fan pages.
Fourth, Fan pages are accessible to the public eye (even if they are not fans) as well as the search engines, personal profiles are not. You may have your privacy settings on “lite” but it’s not the same thing.
Facebook in their terms of service used to say this: 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.
It now says: Why is a Page a better solution than a personal account for artists, businesses, or brands? Personal accounts are optimized for individuals, not artists, businesses, or brands. Facebook Pages allow artists, businesses, and brands to showcase their work and interact with fans. These pages come pre-installed with custom functionality designed for each category. For example, a band Page has a music player, video player, discography, reviews, tour dates, a discussion board that the artists can take advantage of. Third party developers will also build an array of applications that they will compete for Page Admins to add to their Pages. Facebook Pages are also not subject to a fan limit and can automatically accept fan requests.
And sort of sneakily worded in their Terms of Service are vaguely worded pointers here and there about not posting commercial content.
Regardless of the revised wording, you still can’t use personal pages to advertise.
While it may be too late to change the name of your personal profile that you have been using as a facebook advertising medium, take steps to transfer your current “friends” over to fans and stop promoting on your personal page entirely. A great blog post about this here with some suggestions: http://iamtallpoppy.com/2010/12/how-to-get-your-business-kicked-off-facebook/
Facebook has a fairly extensive help section for answering just about every question that one might have about personal profiles and fan/business pages http://www.facebook.com/help/?section=using
Here are some quick point outs as well:
If you have a personal profile already set up and want to create a fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
And more help here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=904
If you do not want to create a personal profile, you can set up a business profile to create and manage a fan page with it: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=12839
If you already have a personal profile you can not create a business profile.
More on Business accounts: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=721 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.
You can claim a user name for your personal profile but if you have a fan page set up, you can claim a fan page/business user name, which will shorten the URL considerably so: http:.//www.facebook.com/janedoeinn/135568223142238 can become http:.//www.facebook.com/janedoeinn/
All Pages are eligible to claim usernames if they have more than 25 fans. http://www.facebook.com/username/
Promotions Guidelines http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php, I see business breaking these all the time (guilty as well) but apparently they are cracking down, so be careful and read up on whats allowed.
Spam comments, while they don’t happen often, if you have started a fan page, even if you don’t use it much or at all, meander over occasionally and check for spam. I recently came across someone’s page that they were marketing “check us out on facebook” from their main website and blog and apparently hadn’t been there for a few months as there were 6 or so spam comments on it.
You do have the ability as administrators to remove comments (hover over the comment and to the right is a small X and you can delete) as well as permanently ban the poster from your page. http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=16082
See all posts: I see this commonly as well on Facebook fan pages: the default setting for viewing the actual fan page is not set to ALL posts. If you don’t have it set this way all a new viewer will see is posts by you as the business/administrator, they will not see any comments or postings by others and this is defeating the purpose of marketing on Facebook,
To change the settings for this, go to “edit profile” (under the profile picture to the left) and click on “Manage Permissions” change the Wall Tab Shows to “All posts”