If you’re a business owner who has a Facebook page, here’s a primer that clarifies who sees what you do on both your personal profile and your business page, and how you can control all of it, at any time. What follows is an infographic and a deeper discussion of each section:
Personal Profile vs. Business PageYour personal profile is your personal account on Facebook.
You can have only one personal account, and it’s from here you invite people to be your friends. You can have up to 5,000 friends. You also have Privacy controls on your profile. You control who sees your posts, photos, and when you comment on a friend’s post. Your business page is where you market your business on Facebook. You create your business page from your personal profile, and you can have unlimited business pages (although having too many gets cumbersome to manage).
When someone clicks Like on your business page, they become a Fan, and your page has no limit to the number of Fans it can have.
You also have no privacy controls whatsoever on a business page. That’s as it should be, since you’re marketing here. It’s not where you share your vacation photos!
How-To Tip: if you are planning to use Facebook only for business and not socialize using your personal profile, you have little chance for success. The people who use Facebook to the greatest success use it for both personal & business. If you’re not on Facebook consistently, you won’t generate much interest here.
Who Sees My Personal Profile?Everyone can see your name and headshot (called your profile photo) on Facebook. Beyond that, you are in complete and total control of who sees your personal information.
You can make your personal profile completely private, share it with your friends, with your friends and their friends, or customize who sees your profile.
Who is a friend on Facebook? Someone who you’ve invited to connect and they agreed. Or someone who invited you to become a friend and you said “Sure!”
Facebook friends require permission to access your profile. Your friends see your posts, your photos, and pages you like.
You can also override the privacy settings on any post as you write it using the Audience Selector.
You can also review your past posts using the Activity Log from your Timeline. It shows you your previous posts and who you shared them with.
Anytime you need to change your Privacy, go to the Settings gear icon on the Facebook main menu, and select Privacy Settings.
Who Sees My Business Page?Business pages don’t require your permission for people to view them: anyone can see your page.
People who Like your page are called Fans, and they will see your business posts in their NewsFeed.
The number of fans who see your posts is called Reach. In 2015, Facebook reach is in the single digits for the average business page. The more a fan engages with your posts, the more consistently they’ll see your posts.
Why is reach so small? You have limited space in your Facebook NewsFeed: most people like 150 brands on Facebook. If they saw posts from every brand, there would be no room for their friend’s posts.
Facebook also limited your reach once it went public and needed to generate higher revenues. So it makes sense to use Facebook ads, which done wisely, is the cheapest advertising you’ll ever do. You also get detailed metrics of who your ad reached and who clicked on it.
Also, when your fans engage with your page by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it, their friends will see your page. The higher your fan engagement, the higher your reach.
The best engagement, in order, is a Share, a Comment, and a Like on your posts. When a fan shares your post, their friends see the post in its entirety. When a fan comments on a post, their friends see the comment and a link to your business page. When they like your post, their friends see that they liked the post and a link to your page.
When I Like a Post, Who Sees It?As you’re scrolling through your Facebook NewsFeed, you can click Like on a post to show you enjoyed it, agree with it, or just found it hilarious.
But who sees that interaction?
When you like a friend’s post, people who are friends with both you & your friend see the post. However, if you’ve set your Privacy Settings to Public, then anyone can see it.
When you like a business post, your friends see it (or whomever you’ve identified in your Privacy settings). When people visit that business page Timeline, they’ll be able to see that you liked that post as well.
What’s My Timeline?Your Timeline is one main page all about you. Its a collection of what you’ve shared on Facebook, including your:
What’s My NewsFeed?Your NewsFeed is your Home page on Facebook. Whenever you login, you’re taken to your NewsFeed, which displays one long page of posts, photos, and videos from your friends and businesses you’ve liked.
It’s also here that you’ll see ads in both the NewsFeed and on the right side of the page.
Your Action ItemAction Item: Want to see your page as others do? You can! Go to your Timeline Cover, click on the Settings gear icon, then View As. Facebook will then let you choose to see your Timeline cover as the public does or as a specific person.
Now you have a much better grasp of what happens when you engage on Facebook, where those interactions appear, and how you can best use Facebook for both personal and business. Bookmark this post and the infographic so you’ll have a go-to reference whenever you’re wondering “who sees what I’m doing on Facebook?”