Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool for small business owners. Just as networking and personal recommendations in the “real world” help your business grow , Facebook provides the online equivalent of a deeper, richer connection with your target audience.

So if you’ve decided to tap into the power of social media via Facebook, you’ve made a smart decision! But you still have one more important decision ahead of you:

facebook-round-logoShould you use a business or personal account?

If you already have a personal Facebook page, there are several benefits to using it for your primary marketing efforts:

  • If you’re the sole owner and operator of your business, it may simply be more appropriate to use a personal page rather than creating a business page. You are already the face of your business.
  • You may have already built a “warm market” for your business. This means that your existing family and friends already trust you and your expertise, so you should tap into that market and take advantage of the opportunity for growth.
  • You probably already post a lot about subjects related to your business, because you’re passionate about it! You can easily build on that momentum by posting links to your blog.

At other times, it may be more appropriate to create a separate Facebook account for your business, such as when:

  • Your business is better known by its own name, not yours
  • Your business consists of multiple owners and/or higher-level managers (it’s more of a group effort)
  • You want to create a brand, or image, for your business that is separate from your own
  • You prefer to use your personal Facebook account to air political views, post slightly offensive jokes, share pictures of your family, or any other personal activities that would appear unprofessional when mixed in with posts about your business
  • You need to reach a new audience outside of your family and friends. Remember that you can build your business page by creating valuable content and then paying to boost them. This means that you select a target demographic, such as people who live in your town, and Facebook will display your content to people who match your criteria.

Just remember the philosophy behind social media marketing. You should strive to provide something of value to your audience, so that they feel compelled to connect with you and pay attention. You will build your reputation and boost your website traffic by giving your audience what they want or need. But you don’t want to use your personal Facebook account (or a business page, for that matter) to post endlessly about your business or hard-sell your audience. This will only bore or annoy them. Remember at all times that you are one click (of the “unfriend” button) away from losing your audience!