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?
Thanks! My book is coming out in October, and I’ve been hemming and hawing over whether to get a Fan Page. You’ve convinced me to go ahead. I also really look forward to you future articles on this topic.
Your article is very informative.. I never could tell the difference between a Profile page and a Fan page. I look forward to your subsequent articles on this topic. Thank you.
Monde, we’re glad we were able to clear up the issue of profile vs. fan page for you!
Thank you for your informative article.I have no Fan Page on my Facebook only Profile page. How do I create one? Thank you for your help.
Thank you. This explains Facebook in very clear points. For those who want to know more about building their author platforms with Facebook, I have an article about it here: http://www.ninetydegreesmedia.com/?p=222
Nice summary, thanks. I agree with your recommendation that authors who want to use facebook to connect to potential fans should create and promote their fan page. I hope in your upcoming article you’ll include some of the techniques that I’ve found effective for my clients: tightly targeted ads, converting a personal page to a fan page, and adding custom applications.
You suggest sticking with just a profile page if you want to network; I think that an active fan page offers just as many opportunities for networking: readers as “fans” are often more outspoken than readers as “friends.”
Didn’t know there was a difference between Profile page and Fan page. Thank you for the information. I would like to set up a fan page…help. Looking forward to subsequent articles on this topic.
Thank you for this informative post. I have wanted to make a fan page and look forward to your next article.
Fan pages are a wonderful tool. I have secured both the number one search result on Google and Bing and starting only a few months ago I have over 15,000 readers from all over the world. I have had chapters, revisions, cover art polls and just plain ideas posted. The book has actually been written while the readers watched – the first of its kind. Well it is called Facebook isn’t it? I highly recommend it to all authors! Do it now. Build your platform while you are writing and your readers will be there when you have completed your novel.
You can get started creating your fan page right now!
This is Facebook’s link to start a fan page:
We will be writing a follow-up article soon. So stay tuned for more information!
I have a Facebook fan page (and a Facebook profile too) but I have trouble keeping it lively, active, and updated. Tips are welcome!
This was an excellent post on the topic of profile vs. fan page. Anyone reading it will be clear on the differences and can then move forward.
Celebs (famous writers) probably prefer to interact via fan pages since they don’t have to worry about cutting any friends as they get closer to that 5K limit. I’ve had actors ask fans to “unfriend” their personal account, and they feel upset about that. A fan page takes care of that.
Thought Facebook is free. Disappointed to find out fees for advertising a fan page. Thanks for info on making use of the free routes to exposure. It’s like throwing stones into the air, and have your fingers crossed until somebody out there will get hit or have his hands wait for a stone to fall.
This article is very enlightening. Hope to read more updates.
Facebook is always a free service. You can advertise whatever you like on your fan page at no cost, however, if you wish to have Facebook advertise for you, then you will have to pay. Our article was pointing out that Facebook does not allow users to advertise on their profiles, rather, Facebook wants you to do all promotion and advertising on your page.
So, if you create a fan page for yourself, advertise away! And thanks for reading!
Thanks for the great info! I set up my FB fan page in less than 30 minutes!