Are you under the impression that, as a small business owner, you need to have a business page on Facebook? Think again. Social Media prefers people to businesses. Your Business Page can even work against you. Away with that page and rather boost your personal profile.
Take the case of that poor freelance event planner from England. I spoke to her at a conference where I was manning the Social Media Genius Bar. She had just closed a deal with an agency that would create a Facebook Business Page for her and would use it to advertise her business.
I advised her to:
- Delete her Facebook business page and
- Certainly not to use it for advertising!
Social Media are for people, not for companies
Why is a Facebook Business Page a waste of time for small businesses and the self-employed? Very simple: Social Media prefers people to businesses. Did you know that every time you log onto Facebook, there’s an average of around 1,500 messages to be shown to you? Facebook filters and sorts these, and posts from people score far higher than business pages.
If small businesses want to be seen, this can only be achieved with paid ads. But here’s the thing: does it make you happy to see those 'sponsored posts’ in your timeline? Enough said. And it even costs you money!
What do your contacts want? Personal attention!
What is the core essence of Facebook? Connecting people. Probably you already sell your services or products primarily through your personal network. Why does that work so well? Because business is done through personal contact. One-on-one interaction. That means you not only talk, but are also able to listen. This also applies to Facebook. Technically, a business page can’t invite people, praise anyone, or reply to messages. As a person, you can.
The Personal Profile does work
So what did I recommend that event planner? Use your Facebook personal profile for your business contacts as well. Post messages that are relevant to your network. Messages that will make them laugh, teach them something, or strengthen relationships. Add your top 10 dream destinations, or tips on how to select a great event app. But above all, respond to people when they talk about events or meetings, give advice and don’t be shy with compliments. In short, share your love for the profession.
Children's Photos? Share them in a group
"But what do I do with all those great pictures of my kids?" asked the same event planner, crestfallen. There are other channels suitable for that. For example, make a Facebook or WhatsApp group for close family and friends and share your private business there. Of course, you can still occasionally share personal items, as long as it supports your professional image.
And be honest: surely as an entrepreneur you identify yourself powerfully with your work? If not, then perhaps you should pose yourself a very different set of questions rather than what to do with Social Media.
Freelance Project Manager, Entrepreneur and networker with a passion for events and Social Media. Gerrit is partner of How Can I Be Social (HCIBS), co-founder of Triqle Event Intelligence, board member of the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) in the Netherlands and professional speaker.