When I was helping a client set up a Facebook account, I asked what password she wanted to use. “IhateFacebook,” she replied, without hesitation.
She’s not alone in her aversion to the social media giant. For nearly two years, “How to delete a Facebook page” has been the most-read article at BloggingBistro.com. An average of 10,000 people per month read that tutorial in hopes of extricating themselves from Facebook.
People’s frustration with Facebook often stems from setting up their account improperly. Let’s review how to do it correctly. First, you need to understand the difference between a personal profile and a page. A personal profile — also known as a Timeline — is created under an individual’s name and is for publishing personal, non-commercial updates to your family and friends. Friends see each other’s updates in their respective news feeds. You can also activate a “Subscribe” feature that allows nonfriends to subscribe to your public updates.
Pages, also known as fan pages, brand pages or business pages, are for professional use by companies, organizations and brands. A page can have an unlimited amount of likes (fans). “Liking” is not reciprocal; your fans will see your page’s updates in their news feed, but their personal updates will not display on your page’s news feed.
Many businesses prefer to create a Facebook brand page that is not affiliated with a personal profile. Facebook provides a way to convert a personal profile to a brand page, but people who have tried it have told me this method doesn’t work well, so I can’t recommend it.
Instead, I suggest setting up an email address dedicated solely to Facebook — something like email@example.com. Then create a secure password (of at least eight characters, including numerals, symbols, upper- and lower-case letters). Share the address and password with three key people in your company and store a hard copy in a safe place.
Next, visit facebook.com and create a new account. Give your account a generic first and last name (such as “John Doe”), not your company’s name. Once you’re signed up, Facebook will prompt you to add friends. Ignore the prompts. Instead, customize the “Account Settings” and “Privacy Settings” so they’re as private as possible.
Finally, go to facebook.com/pages and create a page for your company. Whenever you log in to Facebook, publish updates solely to your brand page. People who like your page will not have access to the personal area of your account; the personal profile and brand page are separate entities that merely share the same account login.
If you have already published commercial updates to your personal profile, either republish that content to your brand page or delete the content from your personal profile. Alert your “friends” that you’re migrating to a brand page, and invite them to like your page (expect about one-third of them to make the switch). Post one update to your profile that links to your brand page.
You can appoint multiple administrators to manage your brand page. Admins log in to Facebook through their own account and “use Facebook as” your page. This allows them to post updates via your page’s persona without having access to your account’s password.
Throughout October I’ll address questions people ask about Facebook pages at BloggingBistro.com. I don’t have any affiliation with Facebook; I’m simply an active Facebook user who helps others troubleshoot. Stop by and join the conversation.
Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro (bloggingbistro.com), a Snohomish-based company that specializes in social media coaching, website creation and content writing. Contact her at 425-244-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.