I’m Sorry… I Can NOT be your “Friend” on your “Chamber of Commerce” Facebook page

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Ok… before this gets out of hand and everyone gets the wrong idea… let me say that I’m, quite possibly, the friendliest guy I know.  So what do I mean?  I’m talking about your “Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page”, and the simple method used to become an interactive part of it.  Actually, this is applicable to ALL businesses who have a presence on Facebook. 
 
The question: Can I “Like” it?  Or do I have to click the “Add as Friend” button and wait for you to accept me? The difference is night and day… and can mean the difference between success and failure for your Facebook page. 
 
I did a quick Facebook search for “chambers” and I stopped counting after I found more than 150 Chambers across the country with personal pages rather than Facebook Business pages.  Your next question is, “Why does it matter?  I’m on Facebook!”  Allow me to answer that. 
 
First of all, Facebook personal pages or “Profiles” are intended for people… not businesses.  Technically it’s against the rules where Facebook’s privacy policy is concerned although they don’t appear to be cracking down on this at the moment. 
 
More importantly, here are a few key reasons why your Chamber needs a “Facebook Business Page”:
  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Business Pages are indexed by search engines.  Personal pages are not.  So here, you’re missing out.  Do a “Google” search for “apple valley mn chamber of commerce”.  Note that their website is #1, and their Facebook page is also further down the list on page one.  View Here (Note: Since the original writing of this article, their Facebook Page has dropped in ranking.  This will generally happen when a Facebook Page is not being used effectively.)
     
    Now… do the same exercise for “destin fl chamber of commerce”. Note that their website is the top listing, however, their Facebook page with more than 3,500 “friends” is nowhere to be seen. 
    View Here  (Note: Since the original writing of this article, they DID change over to the correct Facebook Page format.)
     
    I did a variety of searches for a variety of Chambers across the country.  In some cases, their website had a poor ranking, but their Chamber Facebook pages topped the list!  In this day and age, with the unfathomable amount of pages and websites on the Internet, you need to be doing everything possible to improve online visibility. 
     
  2. “Friends” verses “Likes”… or “Fans”: There is NO limit on the number of fans… or people who can “Like” your Facebook business page. However, there’s a cap on the number of “Friends” you can have on a profile page.  That cap is 5,000. Do you really want to set limitations like that? 
     
  3. One “Profile”… many “Business Pages”: You can have multiple business pages… however, you can have only one profile page.  Why is this important?  Think outside the box for a moment.  When I was CEO of a county Chamber of Commerce, I set up a business page for that Chamber.  I also set up a page for our annual “Women’s Expo”, our “Leadership” program, and a page for each of the individual communities within that county.  Within two months, those pages ALSO occupied listings on page one of the search engines.  At one point, that Chamber occupied the first seven spots on page one of Google when doing generic searches for a variety of information regarding that area. 
     
  4. Statistics and Monitoring Activity: Everyone loves statistics… hits… visits… etc.  Facebook Business Pages have such a thing.  It’s called “Insights”.  These powerful statistics display in a graph format and include “Page Overview”, “User”, and “Interactions”.  How many people viewed your posts?  How many people “Liked” your posts?  How many people “Commented” on your posts?  How many people “Liked” your page on a certain day?  And much more!  This information is invaluable when it comes to making your Facebook Business page more useful and successful!  There’s no such information available on a profile page. 
     
  5. “Landing Pages” and additional “Tabs”: Technology exists now for you to turn a Facebook business page into a mini website.  For example, you could integrate your business directory right into your Facebook business page.  You could introduce an additional tab which might have printable coupons and special “Facebook Only” promotions.  This could be a tremendous source of additional “non-dues revenue” for your Chamber.  This is impossible with a personal page. (Note: Since the introduction of “Timeline” for Facebook Pages, “Landing Pages” are no longer available.  However, “Timeline Cover Photos” are now important. Read more on this!)
I’ve really only touched on a few of the key reasons as to why it’s important to be using Facebook the right way.  There are more.  The reality is… you’re spending time on your Facebook presence.  This is good.  There are still Chambers out there who haven’t even started.  But are you getting everything you possibly can out of it?  If it’s a personal profile page, you’re not even close. 
 
So the truth is, I’d MUCH rather “Like” your Chamber Facebook page than become one of your “Friends”… because I hate to see you limit yourself while knowing that the same efforts you’re putting forth now could be so much more fruitful and lead to so much more success for both your Chamber AND your members!
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