This is for all writers, academics, Twitter enthusiasts, blogger, forbes contributer, Linkedin influencer, wannabe celebrities, one man companies, advisors, business angels, innovators and single moms. Once you want to step out of your fb friend's inner circle and connect to the world, you are confronted with a big decision, which may seem trivial for some, but is more complex than you can imagine: Profile versus Page!
I searched for answers, googled for geniuses and binged for brothers but couldn't find anything of help, which brought me to the point to make an experiment in social media (an experiment!), which I actually always try to avoid, but as a matter of fact socialmedia itself is close to be an experiment.
Social Media itself appears to be a big experiment.
If socialmedia itself is a large human experiment, why not doing an experiment in an experiment, I asked myself. It's probably more of an authentic behaviour in social media than assuming you got control. Because actually you don't have control about social media. You may have control of the message you send out or the tool you use but not about what happens with it.
Imagine social media being a Flipper.
In the old times marketers were able to put ads on tv, billboards, and magazines receiving feedback in terms of increased sales or not depending on how well they targeted their ad (choice of magazine topic, billboard place and TV time). However, socialmedia is much more like a Flipper game, you throw in your ball, you have got some control, but you don't know what will happen with it.
Most of your balls will go down without having even enjoyed the game.
You might know this feeling when you send out a post or a tweet that you are quite happy about because it means something to you that you wrote. But then, you realize that people dont care. There may be several reasons why your post failed, but it most definitely isn't because you couldn't express yourself correctly. It's a mixture of machine, experience and of course your content. The Flipper idea is from one of my colleagues I really appreciate: Thorsten. Great guy!
Now, sometimes you may improve yourself in socialmedia, if you know about the available tools and, of course, if you apply them the right way. One of these tools, and probably the most important by all means, is Facebook. Facebook, however is special, since it is your personal network of friends and who wants to mix up social with work, right? Well, actually we all want to mix it up, but are afraid of the consequences when your boss sees your party photos and you may call yourself ill the next day. Nevermind...
Indeed, if you want to have a professional profile of yourself, you can choose to become a page. I hoped to use this page to publish my research, important things that I read about and distribute my weekly blog articles. I also decided to start sending my tweets at my page (bad idea!), but let's not get ahead of ourselves, let me first describe the reasons why I opened the page.
So, why did I decide to open a page?
1 Friends. I wanted to be able to avoid bothering my friends. It would be kind of a deliberate decision to follow my page and my research. Introducing some free will in the process had been a major factor to give it a try.
2 Privacy. Second, and this had been equally important, I wanted to create a professional profile on facebook. Maybe you don't know that, but you are able to act as a page on facebook. So, I could have been able to move around Facebook with my professional picture and link it directly to my page.
3 Data. Besides the opportunity to distribute my content, of course, I was curious to understand the quality of my content. To understand the quality I needed the statistics to tell me about the quality. In this case, a page offers a variety of insights from reach, likes, shares off and on your posts. It's fabulous but as I will tell you know, statistics won't get you any more followers.
Why did the page fail?
Simple tweet distribution hadn't been the right way to approach a facebook page. You have to write about what you see and read. Longer posts one per day were more suited, but yielded in quasi zero engagement. It was like sending out an echo without getting something back for weeks. So, if you are a single person and not a company and if you don't intend to invest in marketing you will not receive one additional follower only via content. Facebook got it right, they are in the position that they don't need to promote your page for free to maintain you engaged. They are actually able to gradually decrease the appearance of your ads whitout lowering their prices. That's market power!
Facebook pages are becoming more and more inertial.
Compared to Twitter, where content and engagement leads to follower, facebook pages are much and I mean much more stubborn. Within your friend's cycle and groups, I am quite certain that you may have great and deep discussions, but facebook pages are quite slow, dull, inertial, lazy to move for one single person.
Besides, it's not you. It's a page of you.
It may seem to be the same, but for your friends and fans, it's not. It's like creating a company page for yourself. That doesn't make sense to you? Well, it doesn't make sense to me, right now. What's the alternative?
The alternative is that people follow your private facebook account. In case you decide to publish something in public, you just do so. Then you are going to spread your message as if you would spread it via your page, but globally.
Now, this means that you are going to be public with your fb account and may have to walk as yourself through facebook, but aren't we walking as we are through our city and malls and restaurants? Of course, cities and restaurants forget and the internet doesn't forget, but isn't being remembered something we strive for in our lives?
Profile or Page? For me it's Profile.
Finally, of course, any person whose business is built around being another person, such as artist or comedians, it makes sense to create a page for the artistic figure. For the rest, I recommend to keep it real with your profile!