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I’ll get straight to the point…one of the biggest social media mistakes small business owners make is setting up a personal profile on Facebook or LinkedIn in a business name.  This is against the terms and conditions of use, and you’re likely to have your profile deleted.  So don’t waste your precious online time – set it up correctly in the first place!

Other social media tools like Twitter and  Pinterest are a little different – you can use whatever name you like – personal or business – but for Facebook and LinkedIn, personal profiles are only for personal names.

Why do people do this?  Probably either as they just aren’t aware, or are making an  effort to keep personal and business identities separate online.  That’s understandable – but this isn’t the way to do it.  Instead, you may wish to read these two blog posts I’ve written on this topic:

To repeat – if you wish to use your business name as the actual profile name, you CANNOT do this on a personal profile on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Terms and Conditions and risks

I’d highly recommend that if you are using social media for business, you take some time to read the terms and conditions of the social media tool you’re using. If you think you don’t have time for that, then you may like to make sure you keep up to date by signing up for the Zestee Social Media School, reading blog posts like this or finding other ways to educate yourself.  The alternative is that you spend many hours building connections and then your profile is deleted.  Then, you lose all your connections and hard work (I’ve seen it happen to clients!), you’ll wish you took the time earlier to make sure it was set up correctly.  Also, you are missing out on potential connections as though many people will accept your request, others who are more social media savvy won’t – I don’t want to allow a nameless/faceless “person” connect to my personal profile. It’s like trying to have a personal conversation with someone wearing a mask.

Some quick tips

Here’s a few quick tips to get you started and help you avoid making one of the biggest social media mistakes small business owners make.  However please keep in mind that things can change regularly online and though I love to assist business owners learn more about social media, ultimately it’s your responsibility as a user to comply with terms and conditions.

Facebook

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Have you had a business name request to “be your friend” on Facebook?  Then their profile is set up incorrectly.  A Facebook (business) page cannot have “friends” – they have “likers” or “followers”.  You can read more about this in a blog post I wrote here:

There are links within that article to even more posts I’ve written on this topic (as it is one of the biggest social media mistakes small business owners make. I’ve been a social media trainer for about 5 years now so I’ve had to say this a lot!).  In summary though – Facebook is made up of 3 building blocks:

  1. (Personal) Profiles – for PEOPLE – You cannot use a business name!
  2. Groups – you need to join and participate as a person/profile
  3. Pages (for business) – you can use your business name here!

Do NOT set up a personal profile as a business name or you are likely to lose it.  For more on how to use Facebook correctly, visit the Facebook Help Center.

Linked In

Very similar as the Facebook set up.

  1. (Personal) Profiles – as per the screenshot below – you cannot use a business name!
  2. Groups – you can set these up in a business name if you wish but still need a personal profile to administrate it
  3. Company Page – you can use your business name here!

To find out more about how to use LinkedIn correctly, visit the LinkedIn Help Center. 

Setting up a personal profile in a business name

Twitter

Now Twitter is a little different.  When you set up an account on Twitter, you can choose whatever user name you like that is available.  You can choose whether this is personal or business.  It is often a dilemma as to whether to set up one in each name and that’s a whole other blog post I need to write!  However for now, safe to say, you can choose.  People and businesses are all on equal footing on Twitter.  Personally, I first set up an account in my own name @reneeveldman then later decided to also create an account for @zesteeconcepts.  You’ll notice in the description though, I “link” them by highlighting my other user name/s.

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For more on how to use Twitter correctly for business, check out their great Twitter 101 for Business guide.

Pinterest

Like Twitter, when Pinterest launched to the general public in 2012, you could decide to call your Pinterest accounts and boards whatever you like, be that personal or business.

More recently though, Pinterest bought out Pinterest Business accounts which have slightly different features.   Pinterest does offer the opportunity for those who first set up a personal account and would like to convert it to a business account.  My recommendation would be that if you’re setting up a new account, for personal, go here and use your name:

http://pinterest.com

and using it for business, just go straight to:

http://business.pinterest.com

You can read the Pinterest Terms here.

I hope that’s helpful for those of you who have been making one of the biggest social media mistakes – it’s my personal mission to hopefully never have a LinkedIn profile or Facebook friend request in a business name again!

Renee