Many of the 1,042 articles in this blog's Social Media category share my tips and commentary on how to maximize FaceBook for your small business. This is not surprising, considering how frequently the FaceBook team adds new features, while at the same time confusing and confounding its users.
Recently, FaceBook made yet another change, one that seems to be universally welcomed by small and independent business owners who were frustrated they could not interact via their Business Pages. The new change allows users to interact on FaceBook as themselves, via their profile page (here's mine), or as their business, via their Business Page (here's mine). Like many of you, I looked forward to this change, but now that it's here, I'm not sure I'm as crazy about it as I thought I'd be. Here's why.
- FaceBook interaction is *real* life interaction. I enjoy interacting with people in my physical life. I also enjoy interacting with people in my virtual life. I don't join conversations in my physical life as INDIE Business. I join them as Donna Maria. I want my virtual interactions to reflect and complement my physical ones. Both are real life.
When I LIKE or comment on something, it's me who likes or comments on it, not my business. So while I enjoy having the option to switch back and forth between me as me and me as INDIe Business, I don't do it much because when I'm on other people's FaceBook Pages, personal or business, it's me who is interacting with them — not INDIE Business.
- Commenting as INDIE Business felt spammy. To experiment, I posted to people's Business Pages a few times as my Business Page, and stepped back to see how it looked. It looked weird. In fact, it felt kind of spammy — like I was commenting just to get a chance to promote my Business Page. I felt this even more when I posted to a page managed by someone with a business that offers products and services that are similar to mine.
I like to call people by name when I interact with them on FaceBook. I cannot do that if they are posting as a Business Page. Now that I see people posting on my page as their business, I find myself calling some people “Sue” or “Melissa,” and calling other people “ABC Inc.” or “XYZ Beauty Co.” I don't mind people posting on my INDIE Business Page as a business because my page is for businesses. But I can see how it might bug some people, especially if a competitor posts on their page as a competing business, instead of as a friendly business colleague. It's weird to have a conversation with a business, as opposed to the person behind the business.
- A possible workaround. As I considered my options, I decided to create a Business Page in my name, Donna Maria. (Would you head on over and LIKE the page so I can follow through with this experiment?) The idea is to use the Donna Maria Business Page to interact with people as a person, but through a business page that does not require me to “friend” people in order to connect with them. I have no idea how this is going to work, but you know me — I'm willing to give it a try and see how it pans out.
Want to join me by creating a Business Page using your real name, and see what happens? We can track things together.
If I like it, I'll be able to keep my profile page more private, and maintain a professional Business Page for my business as well as for myself. Of course this raises the issue of maintaining two similar FaceBook Business Pages, and that does not appeal to me much.
The other thing I'm thinking is that, even as I use the new Donna Maria Business Page, the reality is that, I am still INDIE Business and everyone knows me as such. In other words, I have the increasingly common challenge of not only leading the brand, but also being the brand. This makes me think that this won't work at all. Maybe I've been on FaceBook for so long as INDIE Business that no other business page name will make sense to people. We'll see …
Not everyone who leads a business has this issue, but many do, and frankly, I think it's a good idea for every business leader to create a Business Page in his or her name. You may not need it now, but you never know if you'll need it in the future.
I have no idea how any of this will turn out in the long run. That's why I am glad that Dan Zarrella, co-author ofThe Facebook Marketing Book will be on INDIE Business Podcast tomorrow. Join us at 1:00pm EST to get his take on this and other pressing FaceBook issues affecting your small business! Here's the link with more information. I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say about this little experiment.
Question: What you think of this approach? Do you think it may or may not work? For me? For you?