So there I was, sitting in front of my computer, on Facebook of course, when I get a friend request in the name of a business. Yes, this is a business I am familiar with, which means one of my friends decided to get their business on Facebook. Unfortunately, they never took the time to talk to me or any other expert before doing so.
“What’s so bad,” you ask, “about using a profile for my business? Other people are doing it.”
Well, just because other people watch Walker, Texas Ranger far from means that you watching it is okay. Especially when reruns of Quantum Leap run opposite of it. Come on people!
Problems abound with using a Facebook profile to promote your business. First, Facebook’s terms and conditions allow for a person to have only one profile. If you have a profile with your name, and another profile with the name of XYZ Business (XYZ is the first name and Business is the last name; silliness), you are in violation and subject to being removed from the Matrix.
Second, positioning your business as a person is disingenuous. Imagine seeing in your Facebook news feed that your “friend” called Beer Emporium has activity. The notifications come across as “Beer is now friends with John Smith,” and “Beer likes XYZ Business.” It appears rather silly, and while Beer is certainly lovable, how can it be friends with anyone?
Third, and perhaps the biggest violation, is the fact that this act passes over natural relationship barriers people have with businesses. By this I mean that the process of “opt-in” marketing never took place. When someone “Likes” your page, they are opting in to your message or your activity, but there is a barrier there. You have no access to what they are doing, since you have no separate news feed for your page. You must be friends with them personally (which I recommend, if you have a relationship with them) to have access to their activity.
Facebook profiles have the ability to send messages to their friends, something pages lack. Profiles can also tag other people and comment around the site as people would. It is wrong for a business to interact with other users the way a person would. When a business has a profile and takes part in “Liking” comments or playing Farmville, it gives the impression of some strange corporate anthropormorphism.
Do the right thing. If you created a profile for your business, transition those people as quickly as possible to a page. I shudder to think what Chuck Norris would do to you if you continue to use a profile.