For those who are new to Facebook, and even some more experienced users, there is a lot of confusion over the different ways to interact with others, so this post aims to help explain the three main ways to do that: Facebook Profiles, Pages and Groups. Though there are countless different ways to interact with others on Facebook, those are the three main frameworks which all other interactions fall under and each has different purposes and features.
1. A Facebook Profile
This is what every person in the world may create and is designed to be a representation of you personally on Facebook. As there is only one of you, you are only allowed one profile and the idea is to use your legal name (though I know many people use a variation of this). As outlined clearly in Facebook Terms and Conditions (which you can read in full here: https://www.facebook.com/terms.php) “you will not create more than one personal profile” (section 4, number 2). This is an example of a personal profile:
One big mistake some people make when setting up a profile is to create one in the name of their business, which is also agains the terms and conditions – you should be using a page for this (see below).
It is up to you how you represent yourself on your personal profile and how much information you choose to share with others. This is mainly controlled by the account and privacy settings (click on account in the top right hand corner).
You would use this personal profile to connect with friends and family (add friends, send them messages, write on their walls and more) “like” and comment on pages, join groups and basically interact with facebook as an individual. You can also then create pages and groups….
2. A Facebook Page
Creating a Facebook page is something I recommend for all businesses and organisations. It is your valuable “real estate” on Facebook and an additional marketing tool alongside (or sometimes instead of) a website, blog and other internet marketing methods. It is a public way to not only promote your products, services or cause, but also interact with your potential customers, clients, staff, volunteers and the general community. This feature has taken off in the last year and it seems that those who don’t already have a Facebook page are in the process of considering or creating one. If you don’t yet have one, click on the link above for a step by step guide.
Once you reach a minimum number of 25 followers of your page (currently called “likers), you can even set up a unique Facebook URL (to essentially give your business or organisation a Facebook domain name) such as www.facebook.com/zesteeconcepts
Every Facebook page must have at least one administrator (and can have many). You need a Facebook personal profile to be an administrator – however you can choose whether you share any of your personal data at all on the page. Even your name is not shown on a page you have created unless you choose it to be (there is a neat tool you can use to show people you are the administrator if you wish under edit page & featured). Any posts and comments you write on that wall will show as the page name, not yours, though this depends on your settings. There is also recently a feature (use Facebook as a page) which allows you to post elsewhere on Facebook as your page name – more about that in another post.
You cannot send direct messages to all members of a page, however you can encourage their interaction via posting on the wall and create and broadcast events.
This is an example of a page:
3. A Facebook Group
As the name suggests, this feature is for any group of people who wish to join together to interact with each other on Facebook. Anyone with a personal profile can create and join a group. Some groups are public and others are private (so only those invited by the administrator will be able to join, and their membership needs to be approved.)
Why use groups? It’s a way to bring together those with a similar interest and keep discussions and interactions in one place. Group sizes can vary from 2 to hundreds or even thousands. From my experience, groups work best when you all come together with a specific purpose, and the size is manageable (say approximately 10-25). As in real life group situations, it often seems a couple of people will dominate the conversation and others may not contribute at all. It’s up to you to decide if creating or being part of a group is valuable to you and your purpose.
This is an example of a group:
That is the introduction to the three main ways of interacting on Facebook. Questions and comments most welcome!