A Facebook fan page is a great way to connect and engage with people who “like” your product/service/company.   There are a lot of cool properties such as an unlimited number of fans, SEO properties, landing pages, etc… This is very helpful for businesses to promote their content and send status updates to their fans.  However for a young business that doesn’t have a lot of content, budget or existing customer database this may not be the best first approach.

You might want to consider using your own Facebook personal profile.

Yes, you read that right.

A Facebook personal profile allows you to proactively market and interact with people thus developing relationships.

A Fan Page, shouldn’t be mistaken for being “social networking” it’s really more of a static, passive promotional tool, similar to a blog in which you post content and it reaches those that are Fans.  You’re hope of course is that people comment and interact with you on the Fan Page, thus showing up in their own feed to their network of people.

Networking by definition is to socialize for professional or personal gain, you might want to consider using your Facebook personal profile which allows you to proactively develop relationships, and interact with your connections.  Once you establish a rapport and a core group of people that are interested in your business, this is a good time to then launch or direct them to a Facebook Fan page.

So, I know what you’re thinking.

But won’t that professional contact see me at the Saturday night margarita social with a lamp shade on my head, dancing on a table?

They could, but you can define your personal privacy settings, segmenting out specific friend lists so personal status updates don’t go to people you are not personal friends with.  On my Facebook, I have a group of people called “PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS”.  This has allowed me to interact, build and engage with new people in my network, and still authentically share personal information without compromising relationships.

Another strategy is to take advantage of Facebook groups to meet new people and direct them to your fan page or personal profile.  I actually think this is a great way to connect with people that you would not traditionally have the opportunity to meet of find organically.

Why don’t I set up a personal profile with my business name?

One word of caution, there has been a number of businesses lately that have set up a personal profile page as the name of their business.  Not a bad idea(at first)… but (and it’s a big one), this is against Facebook’s terms of service, and they in reality own ALL of your data online (your friends, pictures, contacts, posts etc…)  They can decide one day to freeze the account, and in the end you lose all of that incredibly valuable information.    It’s just something to think about.

If I haven’t convinced you … think of it this way, wouldn’t you rather tell people, Oh I go to this restaurant all the time, I’m a friend of the owner on Facebook.  Talk about personal ownership of relationship building.

So, if you get a “Friend” invite from me, please accept :) and feel free to send me one as well http://www.facebook.com/kaaren.thompson

You can of course, give me a thumbs up on my Facebook Fan page as well :)