How to Use a Facebook Personal Profile for Business: A Guide for Marketers
Looking for tips to help you successfully blend your personal and business identities on Facebook?
While Facebook prohibits people from using personal profiles primarily for commercial gain, you can use your Facebook profile to indirectly promote awareness of your business.
In this article, you’ll discover how to prep your Facebook profile for a professional audience and find tips to help you post from your Facebook profile to support your business presence.
What’s the Difference Between a Personal Profile and a Business Page?
When you initially sign up with Facebook, you do so as an individual. You create personal login details and share personal highlights about yourself for people you know in real life. You’ll also have the option to become friends with friends of your friends and even people you meet inside Facebook groups.
Conversely, with a Facebook business page, you’re setting up a presence that’s all about your brand, business, or cause. You have the freedom to advertise and promote your products and services on a daily basis.
While you can use a personal profile to promote your business in creative ways, Facebook expressly states that personal profiles are not to be used solely for business purposes.
Before you begin promoting your business on your personal profile, make sure to read Facebook’s Terms of Service to make sure you don’t violate them. If you do, you run the risk of having your account shut down.
#1: Adjust Your Personal Profile Settings for Professional Exposure
It can be tricky to blend your personal life with your business in a public setting like Facebook. It’s important to take precautions so you don’t share something overly personal, like a night out with friends or a family member’s private wedding.
To check and adjust your profile settings, go to your home page and click the drop-down arrow on the top left-hand side of the navigation bar.
At the top of the Settings page, you’ll see the general settings area where you can change how your name appears on your profile, add a primary email address, a mobile phone number, and even update your password.
Many women enter their maiden name as their middle name on a Facebook profile so high school friends can find them. While it makes sense for personal use, you may not want business contacts to have that bit of personal information about you. Now’s the time to remove that from your profile.
Next, focus on security settings.
Among the options here, it’s a good idea to enable two-factor authentication and to identify trusted contacts who can help you get back into your account if you forget login details.
As you move into the public arena with your Facebook profile, you’ll want to control who can see your posts, who can send you friend requests, and how people can look you up. Use the Privacy Settings and Tools section to make any necessary changes.
For example, you’ll likely want everyone to see your future posts, so set that to public. If you’re thinking about allowing people to contact you through your profile for business purposes, consider changing the settings so you can receive friend requests from everyone.
The timeline and tagging settings area is where you protect yourself from having too much of your personal life shared on a profile you’re gearing toward business.
For personal use, you’ll definitely want to let your friends post to your timeline and tag you in photos. That’s the fun of Facebook, after all. But your friends and family aren’t always going to be in a business state of mind when they’re out with you having fun or sharing an experience with you.
To make sure you can control what shows up on your timeline, enable the features that will let you review any timeline posts or tags before they show up on your timeline.
Pro Tip: Take care to revisit theses settings every few months to keep your personal activity safe and separate from people who may be viewing your personal profile for business.
#2: Put a Professional Spin on Your Profile Picture and Cover Image
Your profile picture isn’t just something your Facebook friends see. It’s always public and is also seen in any Facebook groups you manage or join, so choose a photo you’d be happy to share with customers and prospects.
To change your profile picture, hover over the current photo and click on Update Profile Picture. From here, you can upload an image file from your computer, take a new photo, or select a photo you’ve uploaded to Facebook in the past.
Currently, profile pictures must be at least 180 pixels wide and are cropped square.
While your personal profile photo is used in places like Facebook groups, your cover photo stays on your personal profile page and is seen only by people who visit your personal timeline.
Depending on the type of business you have, you can use the cover photo to convey something about your business.
If you have a family-owned business, a photo of the business with family members is completely appropriate for your cover photo. You can also show an image of an event you hosted or attended, or the interior of your business.
#3: Update Your Profile With Professional Details
If you’re using your profile to generate brand awareness and leads for your business, people will be viewing your personal timeline so it’s a good idea to fill out all the boxed details completely. Think carefully about what you’ll include.
To get started, click on the Edit Profile button found near the bottom-right corner of your cover photo.
A window will pop up with a bio field and a featured photos section.
You’ll have 101 characters to create a bio that shows at the top of the Intro section of your profile, directly under your profile picture.
Then, you can choose up to five photos to feature under the Intro section. Think about including one or two photos that show you attending industry events or spending time with co-workers.
Scroll down further in this popup and you’ll be able to customize what shows up in your Intro by checking and unchecking the boxes next to each entry. For example, you can choose whether to feature where you live, your work history, and so forth.
Finally, scroll to the bottom of the popup and click on Edit Your About Info. Make sure to thoroughly fill out the Work and Education areas with information that supports your business presence.
As you fill in the rest of the fields (Places You’ve Lived, Contact and Basic Info, Family and Relationships, Details About You, Life Events), remember that potential customers may see this information when visiting your profile so keep a close rein on it.
#4: Preview the Public Version of Your Personal Profile
When you think you have your profile ready, it’s a good idea to double-check what your profile looks like when viewed by the public or by a specific person.
To access the View As feature, you can either click on the three-dot button in the lower-right corner of your cover photo or click on View As in the Review What Other People See on Your Timeline row of Who Can See Things on My Timeline.
Either route will reveal a new view of your profile you can use to compare how friends see it versus how someone who isn’t your friend sees it.
After adjusting your settings, compare how friends versus the public see your profile.
Use what you see to keep adjusting your settings and dial your profile in for a professional presentation.
Best Practices for Business-Oriented Posts on Your Facebook Profile
If you make the mistake of continuously posting about your business every day, you run the risk of annoying the most treasured people in your life or having people ignore (or hide) your posts.
Instead, use a few of the following ideas to sprinkle things about your business into the news feed in a way that doesn’t violate Facebook’s Terms or irritate your friends and family.
Share Real-Life, Behind-the-Scenes Moments
It’s human nature to want to see something we haven’t had the privilege of seeing before. This is why reality television is such an important part of pop culture. People love to see unvarnished, behind-the-scenes activity. Here’s how you can give your friends and followers that same experience:
- Post sneak peeks of the development process for upcoming products
- Unbox new products the day they arrive to share in-the-moment excitement
- Show off your work or meeting spaces
- Publish pictures from the places you go to get inspired
Highlight Customer Satisfaction
Happy customers love to help promote your business. If someone gives you a great testimonial, share it on your profile. You can highlight some of your regular clients or introduce new customers by taking pictures with them and then tagging them when you post the photo to Facebook.
Broadcast Facebook Live Video
People with Facebook business pages are well versed in using Live video for their businesses, but it’s not a feature being used as often with personal profiles. Use your personal profile to stream video when you’re at a special event, a community celebration, or changing things up at your place of business.
Link to Your Own Content Off Facebook
Are you blogging for your business? While your friends and family may not be your ideal customers, they may still want to read about things happening within your industry or share something if it’s helpful to their own friends. Be careful, though, not to link too often.
Utilize Facebook Groups
A lot of business happens inside Facebook groups, and they’re an asset when it comes to creating brand awareness and promoting your business. You can join someone else’s group or create your own. Either way, groups make it easy to help, support, and encourage others every day, while offering a solution to their problems with your products and services.
What do you think? Which of these tips do you find most helpful? Do you have other questions about using a Facebook profile to support your business? Let us know in the comments below.