If you are connected to me on Facebook or Twitter, if you have taken my classes or been a client, or have been reading my blogs for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about the faux pas of business having a personal profile page before. A business having a personal profile page is currently a Facebook TOS (terms of service) violation, however; even if it was not? It still would be bad form.
Why is this bad form? When you have two personal profile pages connected on Facebook, those two people get access to very personal information and all of your personal activity. This level of access is a marketing and data mining goldmine for a business, and frankly, no business should have that level of access to your personal life.
By having a fan (or like) page instead, business is able to connect with customers and colleagues with a level of separation that keeps transactions on the up and up. They can see who you are and your avatar but don’t have access to your most intimate details. This is a much better arrangement, more similar to walking into someone’s store and interacting with the proprietor, and much more appropriate.
Why does the error of having a personal page for a business or professional persona keep happening? There are several reasons:
1) Bad advice being given by fly by night consultants to unsuspecting businesses.
2) Businesses new to social media trying to DIY their efforts without educating themselves first.
3) The fact that Facebook makes the company page creation link so hard to find.
4) The fact that regular people keep accepting friend requests from businesses (seriously, folks, stop that).
5) Businesses not wanting to do the hard work of building a fan page when personal profiles are so much easier for the lazy since they allow you the inappropriate level of access that allows messaging people with your marketing spam.
Are there repercussions for businesses who have a profile page and not a professional page? Yes. You can be reported for spam by savvy (or simply by annoyed) customers and your page can be deleted, in which case you will have no recourse.
If you are a business or professional persona (like an author, etc) who has erroneously set up a personal profile page for your business, or who has erroneously allowed a fly by night “consultant” to set one up for you, I recommend creating a fan page instead and deleting the personal profile page as soon as possible.