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Facebook provides multiple ways to use its site. Personal pages are vast and numerous and usually very simple to manage. You can also set up a business site, but that might seem impersonal or even limit what you want to achieve. The truth is, a business page may be more effective than a personal profile when it comes to applying yourself to an online social outlet. There are several reasons why a business page trumps a personal profile. It’s always about opportunity and what you do to make the most of it.

Know the Ropes

To start, you can be liked – you don’t have to worry about friending. Friend requests slow down how fast your image spreads. Additionally, when searching, personal profiles are not as likely to come up as a business profile. When you are discovered, all the viewer has to do is like you (plus this appears on their personal site for their friends to see). This works well for word-of-mouth marketing strategies.

Then you have other strategies that are open to business but restricted from use by personals. You can run contests and operate uniquely as a business. You can also provide special offers through your business profile. When offers are accepted by a customer, their friends see what it was and who it came from. You can’t do that with “friends.” Additionally, personal profiles tend not to look as professional. You want your business to appear established and thorough.

Make the Most of Opportunities

You must also consider limiting opportunity – personal profiles have a cap of 5,000 friends, but business profiles have no cap. Anyone and everyone can become a viewer of your business profile. Then consider how Facebook functions. Profiles are initially set to default to view “most” of what their friends post (most individuals are not aware of this). This isn’t the same for business pages. You can reach more people with a business page than with a personal profile. More visual opportunity opens new doors for potential customers.

You’ll also have connection to Facebook Places. Give yourself a marker on the map. Personals rely on “places you’ve been,” so why not make your business one of those places that your clients have been. This is a tool that is often underrated, but works incredibly well.

Consider Your Audience

When a personal profile friends another, personal info is made available to them. Customers may not want to provide their personal info to a business. This makes it more difficult for an individual to “friend” a business. You may have individuals who appreciate your business but don’t want you to see or know everything about them.

A business profile also allows you to maintain business relevance. Friends see random postings, videos and personal information. A business profile allows for open discussion and reaches a larger group of people (even those who haven’t “liked” your page yet). Business pages provide a better stage for discussion and sharing.

Facebook has two faces: personal and business. It’s always good to separate the two because they are so very different. If you’re going to use Facebook for business, be sure you apply your strategies and tools the right way so you can make the most of your social outlet opportunity.

Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks | a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz. She facilitates online visibility services and word-of-mouth coaching and workshops – taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy,

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