Facebook business pages: necessary or optional?

After taking a closer look at my social media activity, I am giving some thought to taking my Facebook business page offline. I regularly post there, but I wonder if I could put my time to better use.

Here are my thoughts on this so far:

Reasons to keep my Facebook page

  • Pages allow a clear distinction between personal and professional. Whoever follows the page will get business-related updates only. And my Facebook friends on my personal profile don’t have to wade through my business posts.
  • Pages allow me to build a following without forcing people to friend me.

Reasons to kill my Facebook page

  • Facebook pages are less interactive than personal profiles. To join professional groups, I need to use my personal profile, which means that personal and professional aren’t neatly divided anymore.
  • Facebook doesn’t notify me if there are follow-ups to comments I leave as a page. I have to manually return to that post and check – very time-consuming. Because of this, some translators use their personal profiles to comment, essentially covering the same ground twice.
  • The lack of a proper search function and the constant changes in how my feed is displayed are annoying (to say the least).
  • Most people who follow my Facebook page know me from other social networks, so I wouldn’t be deleting important contacts. It’s a sad fact that my Facebook page isn’t really attracting a unique target group.

Am I missing something important that could influence my decision? This is an actual and not a rhetorical question for a change. I would welcome any insights you might have.

Possible courses of action

I am currently weighing 4 options:

  • leaving the page as it is
  • simply deleting the page
  • taking the time to customize the lists and privacy options on my personal Facebook profile so that I can use it for professional purposes (which I already am to some extent)
  • creating a new personal profile just for professional contacts, which will save me the fiddling with my privacy and list settings

What do you think? Has anyone ever deleted a profile and suffered unforeseen consequences? Or heaved a huge sigh of relief? Will I be condemning myself to online obscurity without my Facebook page?

PS Did you see my guest post on Caroline Alberoni’s blog? It’s about why I think that blogging for other translators can be a good use of your time (maybe more useful than a Facebook page).

There are 16 comments on this post

  1. Nikki Graham

    Hi Else. I wonder whether my Tranix Translations page on Facebook is worth the effort too. However, just before Xmas I made the decision to create a second account on FB so I could separate personal friends and family from translation colleagues as it was all getting too much. Instantly I regained control of my personal page without having to worry who I wanted to see a post and who I didn’t. I could also happily accept friend requests from fellow translators on the new account without worrying about them seeing any personal info or photographs. This meant I was able to connect rapidly with lots more people, who in turn have followed my Tranix business page, thereby making it more effective. I added my new account as an admin for the business page so I can access it from both accounts (very convenient). Before deleting your page, why not give this a try. I felt a huge sense of immediate relief when I did this and it seems to have solved quite a few problems and been a positive experience.

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Hi Nikki,

      This is exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for! I’ll have to mull everything over for a while before I do anything but your options sounds doable. Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  2. Caroline Alberoni

    Hi, Else!

    First of all, thank you for linking your guest post on my blog!

    The problem with notifications on Facebook pages is indeed an annoying problem. If I want to comment on a page I simply do it with my personal account, otherwise, I have to follow up the post to see if someone replies, which is definitely not convenient.

    I have already noticed that Facebook pages seem to attract less followers than Twitter, for example. However, followers from both platforms (and others like Google+ and LinkedIn) are different from each other and they engage differently. Although Facebook still lacks features, I wouldn’t delete my account. In my opinion, a personal profile – even if created for business purposes – lacks “seriousness” and professionalism. But this is my opinion.

    If you really decide to deactivate your page, I suggest you delete it altogether. Leaving a page as it is, simply stopping to update it, can show lack of care and abandonment, and I’m sure that’s not the image you want for your company, right? At least that’s the feeling I have.

    Creating lists with different levels of privacy is the best feature Facebook has. I use them a lot. For example, some of my lists are “Family”, “Best friends”, “Work”, etc. Each one of them has a different privacy setting, so I don’t need to worry about what I post. It may take some time in the beginning to create and set up theses lists, but after that you only need to add a new friend to a list and you’re all set.

    I hope my humble opinion helps you on your decision. Good luck with that!

    Carol

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your comment! I have a basic set of lists for my personal Facebook account, but I could definitely put them to better use. Interesting to see that everyone has a different way of using Facebook 🙂 I’m going to let all the suggestions I get percolate for a while and then we’ll see which way I go.

      Reply
    2. Nikki Graham

      Hi Carol,

      The idea of having two accounts on Facebook is to keep your private and business lives separate. I use the non-personal one to follow other translators’ business pages and to join groups discussing the profession, etc. This means I can decide when I visit Facebook whether to do so as a translator with a public profile or just me. I don’t see why a personal profile used for business purposes can be viewed as lacking seriousness or professionalism. A lot of colleagues do it.

      Reply
  3. Kathrin Bussmann

    Hi Else,

    I wanted to chime in here. Like Nikki, I’ve created a completely separate FB “Kathrin Bussmann” profile for business purposes. I go so far as to avoiding any overlap between the set FB friends I have on my “business” profile and “private-life” profile (which I already had before I started my business). There are two reasons why I did this, even though it is apparently against Facebook’s rules. (Apparently, you’re only allowed one profile per person. So I may be blowing my own cover here.)

    Firstly, some of the people I meet in a business context want to connect with me via Facebook. They’re either not on LinkedIn at all, or they hardly use it. So I connect with them via my “Kathrin, the business woman” FB profile. In many cases, once I’m FB “friends” with them, I’m suddenly able to follow the details of their personal lives (private stories, photos of kids, pets, weddings, holidays, etc.), when I’ve only ever met them in a professional context. It’s a bit awkward, to be honest. Maybe it’s the German in me, but I’ll never feel comfortable giving business acquaintances that much access to my private life. Even my “Kathrin, the personal friend/relative” profile is highly curated, because I know that at the end of the day, anything you post on social media has the potential to go public. Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. So I always ask myself: “Would I be upset if this post became publicly viewable?” If the answer is yes, I simply don’t post it. Anyway, I digress.

    The other reason I have a “Kathrin, the business woman” profile is that I use it to administrate my Verbaccino business page on FB, as well as a few other FB pages that I manage for other organizations. I don’t want my “private-life” profile linked with those pages because there’s way too much potential for blurring the lines between my private and professional lives.

    As for my own business page, Verbaccino, I try to update it several times a week, but I feel the same as you, Else. I wonder whether it’s worth it. For my own business – which is completely B2B, not B2C – a Facebook page is probably not essential. But I think of it as a good place to post fun, entertaining or interesting content that has something to do with language or culture. The idea is to get people thinking about what a big, diverse, fascinating place the world is. (Which is why content needs to be localized!) If people find my FB page worth following and it eventually gets them curious about my actual business, all the better. But maintaining the Verbaccino FB page is more of a labour of love. I’m certainly not planning on paying for ads there. People don’t go to Facebook to do business. They go there to connect with friends and family, and to be entertained. Depending on your target client, you’re much better off developing contacts on Twitter and LinkedIn. And In Germany, I guess there’s also Xing and Viadeo, which I have yet to investigate.

    Anyway, that’s my take on things. Hope it’s helpful!

    Cheers,

    Kathrin

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Hi Kathrin,

      You and Nikki have both touched on the critical issue that I would like to avoid overlap between my personal and professional Facebook activity. Facebook’s privacy options change so often that it’s difficult to be sure that your setting are always up to date and do what you want them to do. A second Facebook page might solve that problem.

      My professional use of Facebook is mostly to connect with other translators. There aren’t many German B2B clients that really use Facebook for professional purposes. Germany is small enough to make face-to-face networking a viable option and even XING is used a lot to plan real-life meetings.

      I really wish that I had had a clearer understanding of the different Facebook options when I first started the page. Then I would have chosen a better setup from the start.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Kathrin!

      Reply
    2. Nikki Graham

      I had no idea that having two personal accounts was against the rules. How very annoying, given that I think this is a perfect solution for translators, and let’s face it, we are a particular breed.

      Reply
      1. Else Gellinek

        Yeah, that makes that option less attractive. I don’t want my Facebook account shut down.

        Reply
  4. Nelia Fahloun

    Hi Else and everyone,

    Great post, especially considering that I’m currently asking myself the same questions!
    Initially, my FB profile was for my friends, and then about 2 years ago, fellow translators started to add me and I felt the need to create lists. It is a great feature indeed, but I am beginning to find it a bit cumbersome. Plus, you can never remember exactly who is in which list, and there is some overlap as some of my translator friends are also real friends. The result is that I almost don’t share anything personal at all.

    I am seriously considering creating a new personal profile that would be *really* personal.
    As to my Facebook page, I don’t use it as much as I did, as I tend to post more on Twitter and LinkedIn now, and most people also follow me there, so I feel it might be too much. Not sure what to do about it!
    Else, I’ll be glad to know what you decide, it might help make a decision 😉

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Hi Nelia,

      It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one wrestling with these decisions! A second profile just for personal use sounds nice, but I’ve read some cases where Facebook cracked down on people with two profiles.

      One good outcome of this post is that I finally took the time to set up my lists and make sure that all my contacts are properly categorized. A little housecleaning was definitely in order.

      However, a newish factor has cropped up that is making me hesitate about nixing the Sprachrausch page. People are suddenly telling me how much they enjoy seeing my updates in their feed. I didn’t really have the impression that people were engaging much with the content I share on my page. Food for thought…

      If I ever manage to come to a decision, I’ll share it 🙂

      Reply
  5. Daniela

    Hi Else, hi everyone!

    I’ve kept this article in mind since you posted it, and I’m still asking myself the same questions. I have two personal profiles, too in order to be able to interact on business pages and to avoid the overlapping you all mentioned, but it’s getting quite messy for me now. Thing is, I’m working on a son-to-be environmental ONG, and Ecology is one of my specialization areas as a translator. Now, to make matters more messy, a bunch of friends on my personal FB page (where I publish my environmentalist things) told me they could lead me to potential clients on this area, so… I haven’t a clue about what to do now with all my profiles. At the moment, I’m doing a clean-up of my contacts and segregating them into lists, so perhaps I’ll end up closing my recently opened professional translator profile. Sounds like a tongue-twister!

    Same here, I’ll be glad to know what you decide.

    All the best,
    Daniela

    Reply
    1. Else Gellinek

      Hi Daniela,

      I’m still humming and hawing about what to do. After I wrote this post, I did take the time to sort through the lists and privacy settings on my personal FB profile. That’s something I guess 🙂

      Germans are still getting used to using FB for professional purposes and quite a number of business contacts have friended me there. I notice that they don’t have this compunction about mixing personal and professional, or maybe they need to take a closer look at their privacy settings. My personal profile is slowly turning into a professional profile because of how these contacts choose to connect with me.That leaves the question of whether my translator page still serves a purpose. A commenter on Google+ raised the very valid point of keeping the page alive to make it easier to be found via Facebook Search, but I’m not sure how many people really use that yet.

      The more I think about it, the more complicated it gets – and it’s nothing compared to your Facebook situation!

      Reply
  6. Satu Wiren

    Having two accounts (profiles) certainly is against FB rules. And you are supposed to use your real name on profiles.
    Also there are many occasion when FB has forced a business like accounts (for example election candidate’s profiles) to revert to a page. In those instances a lot of information has been lost and even in one case the page ended up with no admin. FB never corrected their error, so this friend of mine has a page with no admin at all.

    I keep my FB profile private and have a page, actually two. I mostly publish useful articles I find, so the pages don’t really take that much of my time. I tend to like many updates using my page profile, just to get it noticed.

    Reply

Leave your thought