Like many other web professionals, I have my portfolio website linked to my Facebook profile. Facebook has become the latest go-to place to advertise one’s business on the internet. I send work-related posts and other work updates to my fb profile and this setup has worked very well. Next to Google search, Facebook is the second biggest source of traffic referrals to my site.
I have always been aware of one big mistake in this setup. My Facebook profile friends are a chopsuey mix of freelance clients, colleagues from past jobs, relatives, friends, and even total strangers. In real life, nobody would want to mix private life with business, but my Facebook profile is exactly that. There have been a few cases where I needed to delete embarrassing comments or untag photos made by friends which I thought were inappropriate for work (or just plain inappropriate, period).
I considered two solutions to this problem: setup another Facebook profile just for freelance work, or setup a business page under my current fb account. The first solution was not particularly attractive. I do not want to maintain two separate accounts. The second solution sounded better. After all, Facebook pages were created exactly to promote businesses on Facebook.
And so this week, I went ahead and created a page for my freelance work.
For some time now, I have been reading articles on the Facebook Developers website and have tinkered with using fbml and iframe tabs. I decided to apply what I have learned so far to give my page a customized look and make it stand out from the boring Facebook default. This is another feature that made me decide to go for a page instead of a separate profile. Facebook pages allow tabs with content that can be customized using plain html and css.
I created a simple welcome tab, a navigation menu linked to other tabs on my fb page. I configured the page setting to direct everyone who visits the page directly to my welcome tab instead of my page wall. Using my mad fbml skillz further ;-) I also embedded a Slideshowpro player for my photos and a blog section containing the latest posts from my portfolio site. I created my own blog tab vs using readily available rss/blog apps because I wanted to bring my own stylesheet and also to be able to embed affiliate links.
Recently, Facebook made an upgrade to pages that I find really useful. It is the ability to interact with other Facebook pages as a “page”. I can now switch from using Facebook as my profile to using fb as my page–“Jasper Espejo – Web Design”–and “like” or leave comments on other pages as “Jasper Espejo – Web Design”. I see in here an opportunity to promote my business page when I leave comments on other pages with similar interests. My avatar and fb user name are linked back to my business page instead of my profile.
Another thing I like about a Facebook page is that it is viewable by the public, including non-friends and even when you are not logged in (although there seems to be a bug with the latest implementation of iframe tabs, where iframes are currently not visible when a user is not logged in). A feature that’s great for promoting a business to everyone, but definitely scary when applied to a private individual profile.
Other features that are available only to pages, and not to profiles include:
- Insights – Insights provide useful data about user activity on my page, including how many likes and comments I received each day, demographic break-downs and much more. Any business will find this data useful for understanding customers.
- Like box – Profiles don’t offer a way to embed a Like Box on a website.
- Unlimited fans – Profiles limit your friends to 5,000 (seriously, who has that many friends) while pages get unlimited fans.
And here’s my brand spanking new Facebook page. Hope you “like” it.
I will be reading some more articles from the Facebook Developer page with the goal of further improving my skills in custom page building. I want to make a business out of this new skill. I learn best by hands-on training so I am thinking I will contact 5-10 friends and offer to create a custom business page for free and add then later to my portfolio.