One of the benefits, and downfalls, of social media is how easy it is to engage with other people online. I made a decision early on to leave Facebook as “my online oasis” for friends and family. I am sure I upset a few people when I did not accept their friend requests. But I was connected to them on Twitter and LinkedIn, sometimes Google+. Did I really need to interact with them on Facebook? And in the rare occasion when I did accept a friend request, I regretted it. They jammed my stream with marketing and sales ploys too overwhelming to even read. Sound familiar?
Well, then the social media platforms realized I was not a unique case. Several people were frustrated. So along came Facebook Pages. And then Google+ Pages for Business. And now Pinterest for Business. Thank you! While I want to interact with my business “family”, they really don’t need to know what my family is up to. Not sure they care, but I do!
If, and only if, you are going to maintain a Facebook Page, create it. Add a link to it from your website. Share content and engage in conversation. This will offer people the opportunity to “like” your page and stay updated on content you share there. If they are active on Facebook, this is sometimes an easier way to engage them than to struggle with getting them to your website. You need to have a personal account on Facebook to create a Facebook page. There are things you can do on a Facebook Page that are unavailable on a personal account and vice versa. Here’s where you can find more information.
What if I receive a “friend” request from a client?
Then they have located your personal page and are requesting to be your friend on your personal page. You can choose to accept, ignore or postpone. It does not negate them “liking” your business page.
How do I post on my Facebook Page?
You will see the pages you manage on the left side of your screen (unless Facebook changes the layout – which could happen). Select a Page, and then on the top of your screen it will let you know if you are posting as the “page” or as yourself. Always select the “page”. If you want to share, you can share it on your personal stream also, just like you would share anything else in your stream.
Once you create an online presence through Google Places, you will be asked to create a Google+ Business Page. This is separate from your personal Google+ page, but Google offers you the option to merge them if you want. Since my Google+ information tends to be business focused, I am fine with this platform merging with my personal profile. Depending on how you use this platform, you can decide whether to merge your accounts or not. Find out more here.
Pinterest for Business
Fairly new to the business world, Pinterest has taken off like wildfire, especially if you are a “visual” business. Again, you can create a Business Account here. This is one of those personal decisions, whether to combine your presence or not. I tend to pin things that are unrelated to my business on my personal page, so I want my business interests to be separate. It’s a personal decision.
Reasons for Social Business
As you can see, there are several ways to create a social presence for your business online that is separate from your personal life. Some of the reasons you might want business pages include:[checklist]
- Facebook: you can create badges, games, have contests and offer coupons
- Google Plus: more business focused to offer reviews, general information and host Google Hangouts.
- Pinterest: categorize the visual aspects of your business and offer visual representation that can be shared.