This is a question that gets raised a lot on Google+ and Julianne Boyle (of Aussie shout-outs fame) raised it again today.
She gave some excellent tips for how to be personable using your business page and it made me think about the recommendations I’ve made in the past about interacting on Google+.
I came up with the following ‘flow-chart’ that I’m going to use going forward:
1. More than one person in the business? Or plans to expand the business? Use a business page. Personalise it by:
- putting an image on the profile instead of a logo – something that reflects the nature of the business rather than your brand. Don’t be scared of mixing it up and changing both the profile picture and the cover photo regularly.
- replying to posts under the business name but sign off with your name so people know who’s written a particular update.
- sharing bits and pieces about the team members rather than just keeping to a dry corporate profile.
- participating in meme days where they apply to your business – for example, if you sell cat/pet related products/services, #caturday is a good day to get involved with. If you sell Lasik surgery, not such a good idea.
2. Are you the sole employee but use a different business name to your given name? Use either your personal profile and/or business page. If it is a local business go for the Local page option rather than the Brand page option as a Local page shows up in Google search results. Customers / clients are also able to leave reviews on a Local page, which they can not do on a Brand page.
- If using a business page as well as a personal profile, share business related information there first, that can then be re-shared on your personal profile to expand your reach. (Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat does this very well.)
- In the business page’s “About” section add your name and a link to your personal profile and in your personal profile add links to your professional page.
- If you’re going to use the Business page in preference to your personal profile, add a post that indicates people should circle your Business page and link to that page.
- Remember that what goes on your personal profile will reflect on your business’ reputation, especially if you’ve got links from your profile to your page and vice versa.
3. Are you a sole trader that uses your own name as your business name? Use your profile as having both a profile and page with the same name will just confuse people. Unless you’re a local business in which case add that Local page for the reasons above. And if you do have a Local page:
- Make your Local page interesting and keep the details up to date.
- Add a post that indicates the majority of your social activity occurs on your personal profile and link to that profile.
- Remember that what you share will be seen in both a personal and a professional light.
Melinda Samson of Click-Winning Content pointed out on Google+ that only a Business Page can be listed as a publisher for your website which is another good reason to set up a Business Page (Brand or Local) even if you intend to do most of your work on your personal profile.
So, that’s where I currently sit on the thorny question of “Profile vs Business Page”. Thanks for the tips Julianne and for making me really think about the topic in more depth.
What do you think? Let me know over on Google Plus!
Original image via Flickr