Facebook Profiles v/s Facebook Pages for the PI Industry

Back in 2006 our Facebook life was fairly primitive. We had Facebook Profiles & a poke button. Then, in 2007, Facebook completely revolutionized our social media experience by introducing pages! Wild, I know! But instead of making things easy on people, it confused everyone – especially businesses – I’ll focus on our profession: private investigators & bail bond agents. Which one should they use to promote themselves? Business pages, or personal profiles?

Unfortunately, a lot of private investigators & bail bond agents chose to go with the latter … personal profiles.

As a matter of fact, if you look at your friends list – yes, your friends’ list – you’ll find several friends that are businesses and not actual people. From XYZ Bail Bonds, XYZ Private Investigator, XYZ Experts, etc. I have 14 of them on my friends list alone.

So, which option should you use to promote your business? The answer should be simple, and hopefully by the end of this article the reasons should be clear. Your profile should be used to share your personal life, not your business life. If you are using your profile for any kind of commercial use, it will get shut down due to violations of Facebook’s policy – maybe not now, but soon. It’s only a matter of time.

Today we’ll look at the fundamental differences between the two options. Then we’ll look at the advantages of using the two of them. But first, let’s look at what Facebook says and recommends.

Facebook has expressed their view on Profiles v/s Pages multiple times. They even wrote an entire chapter dedicated to proper use of their accounts. You can find it by visiting Facebooks official policy on the difference between profile and pages; click the box below to see a quick synopsis of the chapter. As you will see from the information. They are very clear on what you can and can not do on their system. Using your profile as your business page is not an acceptable option.

[Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization. We have created Facebook Pages to allow organizations to have a presence on Facebook. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and optimized for an organization’s needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fan’s recommendations to their friends. Facebook Pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence for any artist, business or brand.If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use. If you have questions about how to best leverage your Facebook Page, please check out our Insider’s Guide or FAQ.

The fundamental difference between Facebook Profiles & Facebook Pages

Profiles: have friends and let you friend other members with profiles of their own. Profiles are reserved for individual people. A person can only have one profile at a time.

Facebook Pages: have likes, fans, and followers. They also have special tools that allow you to connect with people and other pages. Pages are reserved for businesses, brands, and organizations. These pages are managed by people that have profiles. Pages can be managed by as many people as necessary.

What if I am my own brand? I’m a PI and people follow me for advice or services?

Your profile should have your First & Last Name. If it has a name like “My Name Bail Bonds” – “My Name Private Investigator” – “My State Private Investigator” – “My Consultation Business” or any combination of the above, it does not belong in the profile section. It should say “John Doe.” Nothing else.

If you are your own brand and people seek you out, you can opt in to be followed by people. Being followed allows people to see your status updates while still keeping your account as a profile and your friend list at a minimum. This, however, should only be used to share your life events. Not your consultation services – or any other business service you offer. If you post a status that says “I’m a private investigator in My State and I’m here to help you out with any service you have” or “If you go out tonight and get arrested, call our bail bond company” you are using your profile in a commercial manner and run the risk of getting shut down.

The Main Advantages: Business Pages v/s Profile Pages

SEO Optimization: Profiles are not SEO Optimized the way business pages are- I can only hope that if you’re going to market your company, you’re doing this to get more business. If that’s the case, then you’ll agree that having good SEO ranking is important. If you’re in the Private Investigations industry you already know how cut throat it is. Why not try to take advantage of everything available to you?

Friend & Follower Limitations:  Facebook pages can have millions of likes and followers. Facebook profiles have a limit of 5,000 friends. So, unless you’re trying to reach a very limited number of people, you need to stop wasting your time reaching your friends, and start trying to reach actual customers. – But I only have 800 friends, that’s more than enough for me! – Maybe. But most of them are other Private Investigators who update their statuses with the same information: “Call me for work” – “Message me if you need a PI on XYZ State” – “I’m here to help”. I see dozens of updates similar to that one on the regular basis. You’re not reaching out actual customers; instead you’re reaching out to people trying to reach out to you for work.

Page Analytics & Follower Insights: When you post a status update, you will see on the bottom of right the number of people who saw your post. Who, exactly? There is no way to tell. Facebook pages, in the other hand, have a vast array of tools that let you see the demographics of your visitors. Who is commenting on your pages, where they came from, what times of day you get the most engagement, what they like, what works, and what to scrap. Overall, page analytics give you a clear view as to how your visitors are engaging with your business or brand.

Facebook Pages & Applications: Facebook profiles have apps, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Farmville, Candy Crush, Poker Games, Restaurant Mania, Games, Games, Games, GAMES. Facebook pages have apps as well. Marketing Applications, Developer Tools, Business Tools, Messaging Tools, or my personal favorite – page builders. Facebook pages have the ability to host custom applications. Applications that allow you to build webpages inside your Facebook pages – look at our page for an example – you can also get e-mail capture forms, and membership applications. Literally opening up your business to millions of late night stalkers.

Direct Calls to Your Company: Facebook mobile is perhaps the most widely used application on the market. A lot of the times people do stumble upon your page and need to get a hold of you. Unfortunately, if you have a Facebook profile, all they can do is message you. For a dollar. Do you think they’ll want to pay to try and contact you? Another thing, If your page is set to private, Good luck on getting that message from a prospective client since they can’t even find you.  Facebook pages allow you to simply click a phone icon and your clients are instantly being connected to your mobile phone. Fans and Followers can also e-mail you for free.

Access to Advertisement Modules: Do you want to promote your page to gain more followers? Simply click on “promote my page” and you’re set. You’ll have to pay a small fee, but it might be worth to have a few hundred more likes. Facebook profiles don’t get this luxury. You can promote your posts, but that’s only going to reach your friends, not your clients.


The Bottom Line

Facebook profiles are for people. Facebook pages are for businesses. And considering that Facebook has now opened a way to track down and shut down non compliant accounts, it doesn’t take much for a person to report your account and destroy all your energy and effort building your network – in a matter of minutes. Your competitors can report you with 5 clicks, no need to be friends with them either.

So what if you have setup your business account as a business page? You can to do it on  your own. Here are the steps for this process. It takes less than 10 minutes and you’ll be back in the right ground. If you still need help, send us a message, we can take care of it for you. We’ll turn your Facebook profile “business page” into an actual business page. You’ll be able to transfer your friends and turn them into likes: before it’s too late.