As more organizations get on the social media bandwagon, it becomes more and more obvious that there is some serious confusion as to what type of page they should use for their online presence.
Whether on LinkedIn or Facebook (Google has only allowed a few organization to test the Google + business accounts and is seriously enforcing their policy of not allowing businesses and organizations using personal accounts), users are confused, misinformed or uninformed about the differences between profiles and pages.
Few users read the TOSs and who can blame them, pages after pages of boring legal mumbo jumbo that would put to sleep a toddler on a sugar high.
Not knowing the differences can have costly repercussions.
Before going public, LinkedIn was notorious for enforcing its TOS, especially when it comes to organizations using personal profiles. Facebook was enforcing as well, but with the vastly higher number of users, enforcement was spottier.
One can expect that enforcement will become stricter again in the future as the companies start focusing again on quality versus quantity.
What is the big deal? You might ask.
The big deal is choosing the wrong format can be costly in many ways. Imagine logging on to your page only to find out that your account has been suspended and there is nowhere to turn to have it restored. Imagine having to do the work all over again, rebuild your network of followers, your content, earning comments and ratings.
What figure can you put on rebuilding your social media presence? What is the cost in term of time wasted, lost goodwill, lost followers?
Generally speaking (most social media platforms use the same basic principle)
- A “profile” is a “personal profile”, a live individual, not an organization, not a company.
- A “page” in the Facebook lingo is for an organization, company, brand. Public personalities, artists, athletes… when using the account for business purpose should use the “page” versus “profile” for one good reason, they are usually doing it to promote their brand. LinkedIn has its own version of the “page”
Using the wrong format will also limit what you can do.
Due to their original design, pages and profiles have different built in tools and using a profile for a business entity can seriously limit your reach in term of communication, exposure, engagement, measurement and visibility and that’s the subject of an upcoming post.