I always talk to a lot of people about Facebook on any given day in my world. It is my personal hobby of the major number of choices when I start to join social networking online. So I'm sure that if I am somewhere and someone in the room is talking about Facebook then I can hear it and integrate easily with the conversation.
Because of this I have discovered that the words page and profile are being used interchangeably when they are actually two very different functions of Facebook and they have two very different uses as well.
I hear people saying that they post things to "their" Facebook page and that they don't want their business connections to connect with them on their personal page.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to clear up some of the Facebook terminology and explain the differences and what each thin means.
This is the thing you automatically get if you go to Facebook.com and sign up for an account. This area is all about you. It asks for you name, your hometown, your current city, your birthday, who you are in a relationship with and even your anniversary.
Since none of these things apply to your business the answers should not be about your business either. These questions should contain answers about YOU, the person.
Through things like lists and security settings you can keep people from finding you that you don't want to find you and you get to choose who you become "friends" with since on a profile both people have to either accept or ignore a friend request.
Since a profile is a person it also needs to be relatively limited as to the amount of business promotion that is done on it.
A Facebook page on the other hand can be all about your business. It can be about your products, your website, your company or really anything else you want it to be about. If you are going to run promotions on Facebook then a Page is the place to do it.
When you create a page on Facebook you are asked completely different questions. Things like hours, address, website, parking information and your mission.
You can put your company logo as the picture on your page, whereas on your personal profile you are supposed to put...a picture of...you. You can create as many pages as you want to, but you can only have one profile.
Words of caution, even on a page be careful just how much you "sell stuff". People are not on Facebook to be sold to. They are there to socialize and get to know each other. So the best practice is to offer a lot of value and free information and filter in some sales offers or business announcements here and there.
In your Profile you have "Friends". This is Facebook's name for all of the people you are connected to on Facebook. This can be actual friends, family or customers and even potential customers.
It is up to you who you become friends with on Facebook. Anyone who wants to be connected with you will have to put in a friend request. You then have to option of accepting them as a friend or ignoring their friend request and basically telling Facebook that you do not want to be friends with that person.
It is the same if you want to be friends with someone else. That person will have to agree to connect with you on their Facebook profile.
Facebook Fans (or likes...)
In a Page (They used to be called Fan Pages) anyone can "like" a page. As the page owner you have no say over who can like your page and who can't. Anyone who does "like" your page will show up on that page in the list of people who like it and now any time you post something to that page those people will see that stuff on their news feed.
Also depending on that individual person's settings all of their friends will also see that they "liked" your page and they may come and investigate and in turn "like" it as well.
Someone on Facebook can like a page by going to that page and clicking the small "Like" button at the top of the page. Once they do that then your stuff shows up on their news feed whenever you post to the page.
So as you may be starting to realize Facebook has taken some basic words and changed their meaning within the context of their site. And as the site continues to grow this will only become more pervasive.
Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the confusion about what people are talking about exactly when they are talking about Facebook and you will be able to visualize exactly the right thing and join in the conversation.