Although Google+ just reached the 20 million visitors in 21 days mark, Facebook remains the focus of Social Media Management groups in their efforts to get you to use Facebook effectively.  Google+ has not proven its usefulness to business and non-profits yet as it is still in its testing phases.   I am on google+ now and surfing around to see how I like it.  In 3 weeks time, I will give my insight on the social media tool.

As I mentioned before, Facebook is still number 1 in the social media kingdom. However, people still are not exactly sure about the differences between Facebook Profiles and Fan pages.  The following are some graphics I prepared that I hope can give a visual context of these two profiles.   .

Facebook Profile

The most basic page: You cannot be on Facebook without one.

First and Foremost, Your Profile Page is YOU.  It is where you are represented as an individual. Where you can share with your friends your own interest as you see fit.  This is where you can Customize Privacy as you wish.

You can decide that only your friends from your neighborhood can see pictures of you at the local BBQ.   You can share with your extended family the funny ways your children beg you to take them to the park.  Or you can share interesting articles with co-workers about the new trends in housing prices.

The drawback to the Facebook Profile when it comes to branding is people cannot see who is behind the brand.  Facebook is about building relationships and if you are using a personal profile to promote your brand, you are losing out on some of the features offered by Fan pages that can aid you in your social media strategy. Not to mention that soliciting your friends violates Facebook terms of agreement and they can shut your profile down.

Facebook Fan pages

Yellow is the brand, Red are the administrators, Shades of blue are all potential fans, clients, volunteers, and donors.

Facebook fan page is the next level of you as an individual page. The focus is the Brand (in yellow).  You and your team members are the administrators (red), the ones who advance the goals of the brand.   The blue circles are the friends of the administrators that choose to become fans of the page.  As you can see, fans can come from anywhere, even if they are not fans of the administrator that choose to follow your brand.   There is no accepting fans here, they just choose to “like” your page.

The major focus of the fan page is that it focuses on the Brand you are promoting and not the person.   So even if people know you are behind the fan page, fans cannot access your personal profile unless you they are an accepted friends of yours, thus protecting your privacy.

You can measure ROI by looking at the Facebook Insight. This provides details about how many active users you have and how they interact with the page.

It is easy for fans to interact by sharing articles, pictures and videos that the fan page post.  They can also post their experiences when they volunteer and/or give to the cause.

The drawback is that you must have a personal profile to create a Fan page which means you must be sure to take advantage of the privacy settings to make sure your boss doesn’t check your Facebook profile and see pictures that are meant for your friends.

Both are powerful tools to spread your message but I suggest you create a fan page separate from your personal profile.  This way you can have a fan page (with its own url)  for your non-profit and/or business while keeping a personal presence.  Do these graphics give you a better picture of the difference between Personal Profiles and Fan Pages?