Profiles are for people, not businesses.

By Steve Scheidecker -- Get free updates of new posts here

This weekend I received a friend request from Camden West.  While the name could be construed as a person, in this particular case it represents a local housing development.  In order to create a presence on Facebook the curator of the housing development registered a completely new Facebook account with the first name “Camden” and last name “West.”  Many people figure out they are in the wrong place when there are so many people-specific terms when creating a Facebook profile.  Or maybe I’m wrong and there really can be a FEMALE housing development that is “looking for friendship.”  However, there are a lot of businesses that still fall into this pitfall.  They don’t understand the Facebook structure for managing different types of entities, so they go through the same steps taken for establishing their personal account.

In this particular instance the problem is that Camden West was created as a Facebook profile instead of a Facebook page.  Creating a profile instead of a page represents several problems, the biggest of which is that it is banned in Facebook’s Terms of Service.  That’s right, creating a profile for a commercial interest is banned by Facebook and could get you booted.  Outside of the rules aspect, setting up a business as a profile reduces visibility by not allowing the public to view the entity’s presence on Facebook.  Profiles are private, pages are public.  Lets say a prospective home buyer wanted to look at pictures from Camden West.  The flawed setup would require that the prospective buyer request to be friends with Camden West and wait for Camden West to approve the friend request before they could look at pictures.  When Camden West gets setup correctly as a page the prospective home buyer can pull up pictures without being a friend, the page can be viewed publicly by anyone.

UPDATE: I contacted the Realtor responsible for Camden West and found out the intentions behind this account.  They were intending to create a place where residents of Camden West could connect with each other and organize events within the development.  After hearing my input they deleted the Camden West profile account and created a group for this purpose.  By having a closed group Camden West can allow residents to connect in the proper fashion.

Here’s some resources if you are wondering about the differences between profiles, pages, groups, and places:

(1)  Brief run-down on Info2go about Profiles, Pages, Groups, and Places

(2)  Facebook forum post about difference between Pages and Groups

(3)  Facebook profiles, pages, and groups explained by Aliza Sherman

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