marketing on facebook Everyone seems to be on Facebook and you are ready to use the latest buzzword in Internet Marketing by creating a Page on Facebook.

It's easy, right?

Maybe. But you want to make sure you do it right. There are several things you want to watch out for when putting your business on Facebook, and I'm just starting to compile a few Best Practices for Social Network Marketing.

Keep Business and Personal Separate!

First, this cannot be stressed enough, although it is nearly always ignored even by web marketers. Do NOT mix business and pleasure. Besides it being unprofessional, on Facebook there can be issues down the road. I'm not talking about saying the wrong thing, or sharing too much info. It's bigger than that:   Ownership

Here's a dirty little secret about ownership of Facebook Pages for your business:  The account that creates the page, owns the page for life of the account. 
I'm gonna let that sink in a bit while I refresh my coffee...

Creator of Facebook Page is the Owner

I hear you asking "What's the problem with that geek-boy?"
"If it's my business, that just makes sense to own my page."  
Ah... but does it?  I'll give just 2 quick scenarios where this can be an issue:

  • You sell the business and are no longer associated with it in any way... whoops, you are, since you cannot remove yourself from that Business Page, ever. And, if you delete it, or delete your account, you take down that Business presence on Facebook.  Not sure the new owners will appreciate that.
  • You die. Hey, it happens. As a web host, I have had at least 3 people die over the years where we kept their website up for a certain period of time after. And if someone takes over the business, and that Business Page is owned by you, the dead one, what do you do? Keep the your profile up so people think you are still alive? Facebook has special procedures for Memorial profiles, but how does that affect Business Pages of the deceased.

Note: this ownership issue is current as of this writing. Facebook may come up with a way to transfer ownership, but don't hold your breath, and don't make your plans based on what you hope Facebook will do.

A more worser scenario (yes, I made up those words) is more common, and way more dangerous.  Did I use the word 'dangerous' for Facebook Marketing?  OK, that's a bit heavy, but watch how this very common pattern takes shape.  I will use my own business as a purely ficticious tale.

  • Seven Sages has their website, and barely update it. If they did, they might show up better in search engines when someone searches for Website Management.
  • Jake, one of the designers, and really active on Social Networks, especially Facebook, sees the need to have the business on Facebook. Jake even gets approval from the company, since it is a good idea. 
  • Website Management by Seven Sages on FacebookJake sets up a Facebook Business Page for Seven Sages
  • Jake creates the feeds, and has the Facebook page automatically updated when the Seven Sages page is updated. It is pretty easy by just having Facebook check the RSS feed from Seven Sages.  Brian is made an admin of the business page, so it can be managed by the company, and not just Jake.
  • Great, Seven Sages has it's on page on Facebook. Jake is happy, everyone is happy. It doesn't really bring in much extra business, but that doesn't matter. At least there is a Seven Sages presence on Facebook.
  • Uh oh... Jake gets a great job offer. We are happy for him, and wish him well on his success.
  • Brian from Seven Sages is still admin of the page, and decides to remove Jake from his admin duties. Afterall, even though Jake left on good terms, there is no reason to have him as admin. All is swimmingly good.
  • Poor Jake. He's such a great guy that he nows has a stalker. Jake decides to cancel his Facebook account just so he doesn't have to deal with the stalker. And his new job is taking up a lot of his time and he has basically outgrown Facebook. Good for him.
  • Uh oh... WTF!   Where the hell is the Seven Sages business page! Muddy Flower!  
    Whoops, it seems since Jake created the page, when Jake's account is cancelled so are all things he created. It doesn't matter if he was no longer an admin for the page. He was, and always will be the creator. He goes, the page goes.  (like some old Vampire myth of if you kill the parent vampire, all the vamps they created automatically go poof).

This is so common, well, at least right up to the stalker part. The main point is that no one person should be the 'owner' of a business page. A business page should be completely separate from any individual's account, even the business owner (since sale, merger, death can be an issue).

Facebook Profile for Businesses not Allowed?

What? But, we just went over the 'danger' of the Page being owned by an individual. Where do I get this rule?  Right from Facebook's terms of service. And policy is probably the cause for the common scenario above with the 'wrong' people being owners of a business page on Facebook.

Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization. We have created Facebook Pages to allow organizations to have a presence on Facebook. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and optimized for an organization's needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fan's recommendations to their friends. Facebook Pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence for any artist, business or brand.

If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use. If you have questions about how to best leverage your Facebook Page, please check out our Insider's Guide or FAQ.

Facebook is for Socializing, not Business

Well, that's what it feels like with this policy. I believe this is due to the original nature of Facebook which was specifically designed for people to share with people. The Pages for businesses and organizations was an afterthought.

In the real world, a business is a separate entity, seen as a single entity. But Facebook has it's rules, so don't fight the man. Play by the rules. Do not create a 'Profile' for your business, but also do not use your current profile to create the page. Instead, create a new 'account'. NOT a profile.

  • Logout of Facebook, go to the Advertising section for Pages: http://www.facebook.com/pages/learn.php
  • Create a new page. It will ask for an email address. You DO have a business address, right? Business email separate from Personal email?
    • If you are using your personal email address, like aol or yahoo or even gmail, for business, then how professional are you? Maybe you should just give up on marketing your business online since you aren't even doing the most basic of all business practices... a work address.
  • OK, we have lost the non-professionals on the last bullet, so we can continue with the rest of you... the professional who is serious about their business presence online.
  • Facebook puts restrictions on email address use. They do not allow common generic names like 'info' or 'webmaster'. But, since you have a business web address, you can create an address just for facebook marketing.  Like marketing@ or facebook@ yourwebaddress.
  • Ignore all mention of creating a profile. Remember, they told you that you cannot have a profile for the business, so don't fall for that trap. You violate TOS and they can delete your account no questions asked/answered.
  • Edit your page.
    facebook_biz_page_setup
  • Now, here the big step: Make your personal Facebook account (and maybe your webmaster) an Admin of this new page.
  • Write down, or do whatever you can to remember what your login is for this account. This is important because you may not login to this account for a long time. You won't need to, as you can do all the administration of the page from your personal account.

The end result is a Business Page that is 'owned' by the business, and can be edited by anyone you make an Admin. If you or the other admins move on, or delete your accounts/profiles, the Business Page on Facebook stays there, permanently.   If you sell the business, you can simply give them the login info for that business account. You did write it down and store it somewhere, right?

It is not as easy as it looks

Nothing ever is as easy as marketing tells you. That's because marketing is selling an idea that they want you to do, and if it's hard you won't bother. But if they tell you it's simple, that you can do it yourself without knowing your actual skill level, then they are really just selling snake oil.

Can it be done by you, or anyone? Yes. Properly? Probably not.  Read up on it a bit more before jumping in, and maybe hire someone who knows about this Facebook issue.

-Brian