The new developments to the Facebook Business Page model is stirring a lot of excitement in the business world and it's easy to see why.
No one can deny just how popular Facebook is becoming- and in a relatively short period of time. It is recorded that some people spend up to 6 hours EVERY DAY browsing facebook. This audience is not only limited to teenagers, but to every demographic.
Can you imagine being able to tap into this massive gathering?
In the past, Facebook Pages have been fairly neglected whilst the programmers focused on making Facebook a more socially friendly place. However, it seems that the Facebook developers have now turned it's sights to business and the potential of earning a lot of money from it.
This is good news for us!
Their new focus has caused them to start making some great changes to the way the Facebook Business Page works. Here are some of their latest developments:
Use Facebook as a Page:
This is probably the most exciting development. Whenever you used to comment on other businesses pages, you would have to do so from your personal account. If you wanted to advertise your page on someone else's page, you would have to post a link.
Not anymore. Facebook now has a "Use Facebook as a Page" option. This is already a huge feature in many ways. When you use this option, it changes your facebook so your page identity becomes somewhat like your personal account.
So now, when you visit other pages, instead of posting comments as yourself (eg. Amanda Day) you can now post as your page (eg. Doll Makers Dream). This is a great tool because every time you comment on someone's page, you are giving your page exposure. This is an invaluable asset as it lets you market your page without coming off spammy.
New Notification Features:
Another wonderful feature! Now, when you use Facebook as a Page, a few of your usual features change. Where you would normally see your newest friend request notifications, you now see the names of the people who most recently "Liked" your page.
Also, where you would normally see general notifications of comments on your wall etc, you now see notifications of comments etc that have been left on your page. No more scanning through all your posts to see which ones have new comments.
A "Pages" News Feed:
Thank goodness. I can't express enough how frustrated I was getting at the fact that if I wanted to see new posts from other pages, I would have to take the time to go to each of their pages to check. Amongst all of my friends, pages updates were simply getting lost! This is also a thing of the past...
When you use facebook as a page your news feed has recent posts by other pages; instead of seeing recent posts by friends. What a great way to keep up-to-date with all those pages you like! It's also a good way to browse through what pages you can contribute to so you can give your page more exposure (because remember, when you post on their page, you post with your page name, not your personal name).
"I think I'll just keep using my personal account- it works fine"
A lot of people reason that they have a lot of friends on their personal account and that they are already getting plenty of exposure. Some also reason that their business is still in it's early stages and they don't think many people would "Like" their page.
The problem with this thinking is that Facebook is changing the way Pages work and it's going to have a huge impact. Everything is still new and they're still ironing out kinks and adding things, but this huge development IS happening.
Using a Facebook Business Page will become a community all in itself, people using it just like they did with the personal accounts: commenting, liking, linking... the list goes on. Especially in an artist community, most artists and doll makers will have their own pages and this allows us to communicate with them in a more on-topic environment.
No more Farmville posts and other off-topic posts bumping all our important information down the wall.
Not to mention Facebook Business Pages have (and will be getting) many more exciting features than a personal account. There is a Traffic Tracking program that enables you to see how much traffic growth there is on your page (amongst other things). There are also many other plugins such as Discussion boards and notes which I have seen a lot of people using very effectively as almost a forum-like environment.
Putting all the wonderful developments aside, if you don't make a facebook business page you could be hanging yourself. Not only is it against the rules to use a personal facebook account for business (at risk of them closing your account) you can also only have 5000 friends. I know it sounds like a big number, but I know myself that friends start pouring in once you get a couple hundred friends (I imagine it's because of the "People you may know" feature that offers extra exposure).
Please don't wait until you have hundreds of friends on your personal account. It is a painstakingly slow process trying to get all your fans to move from your personal account to your page. There is currently no easy way to send bulk emails out to let them know about your page, and sending them one by one is painful when you have hundreds of friends.
So don't wait to try out the new Facebook Business Page model. It is worth trying out. If you have any strong opinions about Facebook Business Pages, please contact me, positive or negative. I would like to hear what the views are on all the new changes out there.
Facebook have created a new way to make money for themselves. People can subscribe to your facebook business page, but only a randomized portion of those people will receive the updates that you post on your page. In order for you to reach everyone who has subscribed to your page, you are now given the option to pay for advertising so that your posts show up to more people. This however can become very expensive very quickly, especially if you have a lot of subscribers. There is an option for your subscriber to make your posts a priority so that they receive most of your updates, but not everyone knows how or is inclined to do this.
What a frustrating development for Facebook Small Businesses! More research is needed to find out just how this is going to impact on the Doll Makers, but one thing is known... if you plan on building out your business past 5000 people, you will need to ultimately have a Facebook business page. Also, to conduct business on your private account is against Facebook policies so you're running the risk of getting your account deleted by using it this way. So whilst the new development is frustrating, I still recommend using a business page over a private account and try to develop it the best you can. One thing Facebook is best known for is change, and lets just hope that this is one thing that will go on swift tides.