Your Ultimate Guide to Facebook Business Pages vs. Personal Profiles

My students over at have a lot of confusion and fear over the differences between a Facebook business page and a personal profile.  So, a primer on business page basics is in order.  Here’s the what-you-need-to-know guide before you start:

Everything begins with a personal profile. Even if all you want is a business page, you need to start with a personal profile first.  Facebook began as a network for friends and requires you to start here.  So first, create a personal profile, which is the foundation for your account.

Create a business page from your personal profile. Your business page is linked to your personal account, but no one else knows they are connected, unless you want them to.  That’s completely up to you.  You can have only one personal profile, but unlimited business pages, which is great for serial entrepreneurs or companies with subsidiaries.  Scholastic has done a tremendous job of creating different business pages surrounding their book clubs, and each has its own business page.

Personal profiles have a limit of 5,000 friends, while business pages can have unlimited fans. Studies of human relationships show you can have 150 sincere friendships, and anything over that tends to be the six-degrees-of-separation connections.  The limit for friendships is more than enough.  Business pages have no limit, which allows you to have millions of adoring fans.  Remember, however, that having a smaller number of engaged fans is better than attracting crowds of fans who Like your page for no other reason than to win a contest.

Personal profiles offer privacy settings; business pages offer no privacy. You are in complete and total control over what information Facebook shares with people, business pages, and third parties.  Fear of companies getting too much information on your personal life is unfounded, but you need to educate yourself.  Privacy settings for your personal profile offer the ability to lockdown your information, and you can customize exactly who sees what.  My best tips?

  1. Hide your birth year and hometown, because identity thieves can guess your Social Security Number from those two pieces of data.
  2. Don’t list your address or personal telephone number on your Contact Information. Do list your business telephone number on your business page.  Remember, you’re marketing on your business page, so make it easy for people to contact you for professional reasons.
  3. Do allow everyone to see your profile photo, because more than one person in the world has your name, and without seeing your photo, people don’t know if they’re asking the correct person to be their friend.
  4. Use this quick fix to prevent your Facebook account from being hacked.

Your business page does not offer privacy protection, which is no different than posting marketing information to your blog, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  You’re putting the good stuff out there and you want people to see it.

Business pages do not display fans’ photos; personal profiles do display friends’ photos. Business pages list how many people Like your business page, but it does not show their photos.  If you don’t want to display your friends’ photos on your personal profile, you can change this in your Privacy Settings under Connecting On Facebook.

Facebook does not include Likes from other pages in the total number of people who Like your page. The big number professionals measure is how many fans their business page has, but Facebook only includes the number of people who Like your page, not other businesses.  Since the March 2011 update, Facebook allows a page to Like another page, but doesn’t include those in the total number of fans:  only people count.  Don’t be discouraged if you’re doing B2B networking and marketing on Facebook.  Those numbers don’t affect those business relationships.

Assured now that Facebook is not out to rule the world?  You are in control, and you decide how much you want to share with family, friends, and colleagues.  I encourage you to learn more by educating yourself by registering for a Facebook 101:  Developing a Facebook Business Page course over at  It’s an affordable online course you can take on your own time, and I have virtual office hours when questions pop up.  See you in class!


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