Recently I sat in on a sales training seminar and when the topic of marketing came up, the instructor asked, “How many of you have personal Facebook pages?” All twenty students raised their hands. The instructor then asked, “How many of you have Facebook BUSINESS pages?” 

One hand slowly went up. 

As a member of a marketing department at an IT company, I wasn’t surprised that only one in twenty, (5%), of the students in the room, (who are all sales professionals, by the way), did not have Facebook business accounts. In fact, it confirmed what I already believed – that the majority of salespeople do not know how to utilize Facebook to generate leads. Unfortunately, salespeople need as many leads as they can get, and not knowing how to use valuable social media tools will work against them. 

Some of these salespeople might say, “But what’s the difference? I have lots of friends on Facebook. Doesn’t that count?” You might be the most popular person in your circle of friends, however, in business, you don’t want “friends”. Instead, you want contacts, clients, insiders, and most of all, leads. This is an important delineation: you have friends in your personal life, and you have leads in your business life. 

Now I’m not saying you can’t be friendly with clients or even develop friendships with them down the line. Of course, that happens all the time. What I am saying is that you must not treat everyone you intend to do business with like you would with someone you met at a nightclub or shared a beer with at your buddy’s baseball game. By this I mean you don’t add business contacts to your personal Facebook page. What do they care if your aunt Mimi is turning 70, or if your dog ate the carpet? They don’t care because things that are personal to you have no value to them. 

And if you intend to do business with them they must value their relationship with you. That’s why you need to create a Facebook business page. Keep your personal and professional lives separate. 

This should be a no brainer because it’s so easy to do. Once your business page is up you can focus on branding and marketing yourself and your business. Post those ads you want to promote the event you’re holding next month. Post that article or blog you wrote, (or found), and let your clients know that you can help them if they have any of the issues the post brings up. Your clients will be happy to see your professional approach to social media, and they’ll really appreciate not having to wade through 17 cat videos to find information that’s important to them. 

Using Facebook for business is a double-edged sword: using your personal page will tell everyone how unprofessional you are, and creating that business page will tell them you’re both on the same professional level. You want them to see you as an expert in your field, so be careful swinging that sword.