This is often a question asked by small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to market themselves using Facebook as a platform. Which is better, when the choice is between a Page or a Profile? The answer is entirely subjective and depends on what your precise goals are, regarding growth in particular.
Facebook Page Details
When we talk about Facebook Pages, we’re actually typically talking about a Business or Organization. In reality, there are a number of different types of Facebook Page. Here’s a rundown of each and what you can expect from them.
Local Business or Place. Many people blindly choose this option, because it has the word “business” in the name. Unfortunately, it’s not ideal for all businesses. It’s actually much better suited to a specific kind of business. If your business has a physical location where you do business, you want this type of page. If you’re a work from home entrepreneur with an online business, you might claim a home office, but it does you no good to advertise it as a place customers can come to see you.
When you choose a local business page, you then get to choose a category. You can pick from dozens Facebook lists, and if you don’t find what you happen to be, you can just choose the generic “local business” from the list.
This category allows you to fill in the street address for your business, which helps for local SEO and a unified presence with Google+, Yelp and other directories.
Company, Organization, or Institution. This category is more useful for businesses that are based entirely online. It’s also preferable for businesses with numerous locations, such as large franchises or local businesses with several branches. Again, it gives you the long list of business categories to pick through. This is the ideal choice for online businesses that don’t sell their products through other storefronts or through affiliates.
Brand or Product. This is a category for businesses that want to sell a single product or want to promote their brand without promoting their products or businesses specifically. For example, Apple can create a Brand page focusing on the iPod overarching brand, or even on the overall Apple company itself. They can also create individual Product pages to promote new products, like the iPhone 12 or whatever iteration is inevitably coming out this year.
Unlike the previous types, you choose a category for your brand or product, including such specific options as “furniture” and “electronics.”
Artist, Band, or Public Figure. This is an option more for entrepreneurs, musicians or other public figures, which tend to include high-profile positions like politician and author. It’s a good place to go to promote yourself, rather than your business. If you’re a single entrepreneur who manages a number of different businesses, this would be the way to promote yourself.
Note that this is your best Page-type alternative to a personal profile as a single person, entrepreneur, author, businessman or other high profile individual. It’s also ideal for, obviously enough, small organizations that are not businesses, like bands, comedy troupes, artist collectives and so forth.
Entertainment. This category is less about businesses and more about specific entertainment offerings. It can be ongoing or recurring entertainment events, or it can be for one-off events. For example, you might create an Entertainment Page when you’re promoting a new album you’re releasing as a band. You might create one if you’re a radio station, with 24/7 broadcasting. You might create one if you’re an annual concert, like Lollapalooza. In general, if you exist to entertain people and are not a brand or business, you choose this option.
Cause or Community. This is where all of the non-profits out there go. Groups like the ALS, sponsors of the Ice Bucket Challenge last summer, would use this option. It’s also good for churches, local communities like HOAs, hospitals, schools or unions.
Of course, there’s the final option, which is the personal profile. You’re strongly encouraged to have a personal profile before you make a Page, because you then use your personal account as an admin account within the Page, without tying yourself to the Page with your login information specifically.
Personal profiles are easier to manage than Pages, but they also lack some of the more detailed options available to Pages, including advertising, promotion, some Insights and a lot of networking options.
Generally, a personal profile is only useful for casual personal use. You can use it in a professional capacity, as an alternative to the “public figure” Page type. If you don’t plan to use any of Facebook’s advanced features and only want basic networking, app access and personal usage tools, using a personal profile is just fine.
On the other hand, if you want access to the detailed Insights Facebook allows you to see, or you want to run Facebook ads without jumping through hoops, or you want additional information fields such as those available to businesses, you’re going to need to create the Page version.
In every case, if you’re anything other than a single entrepreneur promoting yourself, you’re going to want to choose a Page of the appropriate type.
Additionally, according to Facebook, you cannot in any way use a personal profile for commercial use. This is supported in numerous ways. For example, as a personal profile, you can’t create tab apps. There is no place on your profile on which to display them. Profiles can follow pages, but pages are more limited. Pages cannot send out personal private messages without being messaged first; it’s considered unsolicited information.
Finally, any given person can only have one Profile, but can have as many Pages as desired. If you’re an entrepreneur, who owns two businesses, hosts an event, and is developing a product, you can create a personal profile, two business pages, an entertainment page, a brand page and a product page. This gives you far more options than simply creating a personal profile and trying to run everything from one location.