At Writer’s Relief we are often asked about social networking and particularly about Facebook: What can it do for a writer? And what’s the difference between a profile page and a fan page?
There’s no question that Facebook can help you connect with an audience. With over 500 million users, it’s free, easy to set up, easy to navigate, and did we mention it’s free?
But as a writer, is it better to have a regular old profile page? Or a fan page?
Facebook: Profile Pages vs. Fan Pages. What’s the difference?
A profile page is for personal use—a way to communicate with friends and family. It represents you as an individual—your interests, your family photos, your opinions, your mood.
Fan pages can be used to promote your writing—a way to “brand” yourself as a writer.
Both profile pages and fan pages allow writers to interact with friends. Writers can keep everyone informed of new publishing achievements, post links to websites (including their own), and stay in touch with readers.
Profile pages are more private. The user is required to accept (or deny) friend requests, with a limit of 5,000 friends, and you have to be a member of Facebook to access a profile page.
On a fan page, you can have unlimited followers; anyone can access your page whether they’re a member of FB or not.
Note: You must have a profile page in order to create a fan page. But if you want to, you can pretty much ignore your profile page and just update your fan page.
Purpose: Business or Pleasure?
Both profile and fan pages are designed the same way. They both have a “wall” for posting content, and both have a separate page for your general information.
Profile pages are set up under your own name, but fan pages usually are named for the business or entity they represent. Your personal profile might be filed under “Jane Smith,” and your fan page might be called “Author Jane Smith.”
You can create a separate fan page for each of your books or genres (for example, a separate page for your poetry if you’re a mystery writer), but you may only create one profile page. Keep in mind that the more pages you have, the more pages you will have to maintain. Plus, splitting up your fans on multiple fan pages might result in a decrease in the sense of energy surrounding your work.
Which Will Get You More Facebook Exposure: Fan Pages Or Profiles?
Fan pages are very search-engine friendly. Profile pages are not.
On profile pages, your friends can “like” your video or status, but they can’t “like” you personally.
On fan pages, your followers can “like” your entire page. Pop the “like” button onto key pages of your website or blog posts, and your fan numbers will grow.
As an added bonus, when someone “likes” your site, information about your site is automatically posted on their wall, increasing your visibility to their network of friends as well.
It’s against Facebook’s terms of agreement to use a profile page for business purposes, so you can’t try to sell your books or other services on your profile.
Fan pages, on the other hand, are specially designed for business interaction and provide some great tools for promotion.
Ask yourself: Do you want friends or fans?
Play it safe. Avoid posting controversial opinions or news—your stance on immigration or your child’s potty-training achievements—unless these are your niches in the writing world. Your readers might not be impressed by a picture of you hanging off a stripper pole. A literary agent definitely won’t be inclined to respect your professionalism if you’re bashing other people in the industry.
Personal profiles may better for networking, but don’t give up entirely on fan pages. Having an energetic fan page with substantial followers can be a great way to show literary agents and editors that you’re willing to do the hard legwork of marketing. And THAT might make them want to network with you.
Fan Page Bells and Whistles
Fan pages one-up profile pages when it comes to first impressions. If someone Googles your name and finds your fan page, the person finds a landing page—a home page where you can introduce yourself, feature your website links, and promote your writing. On a profile, users are limited to walls.
Plus, fan pages offer a sidebar, where fans can sign up for a free newsletter, take a poll, or follow a link to purchase your novel. There is also an option called Facebook Insight, which allows you to monitor how many active users you have and how they interact so you can better manage your marketing tools.
If you want to move people from Facebook to your website, fan pages may be the way to go.
So Which Is Right For You? A Fan Page, A Profile, Or Both?
If you’re hanging out on Facebook because you want to network, stick with your profile page.
But if you’re hoping to use Facebook as a way to get connected to potential fans, now is the time to start building up your fan page. And we can help! Stay tuned for our upcoming article FIVE WAYS TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL FAN PAGE ON FACEBOOK. More soon!
P.S. Find Facebook’s official fan page tutorial right here and get started today!
P.P.S. Ready for an author website to build your online presence? We’ve got your back! Check out Web Design Relief!
QUESTION: Do you have a fan page? Or are you going to stick with your profile page alone?