To those who know me, it’s no secret I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook. Currently, I use just a Facebook profile (the normal accounts for individuals). But if one was necessary, I didn’t want my inability to love Facebook holding me back from utilizing a page (the accounts for businesses).
Luckily, I knew just who to talk to: the Facebook Guru. At WANACon, Lisa Hall-Wilson gave a fabulous presentation about how to choose between a profile and a page. One slide in particular was brilliant at pointing out how there’s no “one right answer.”
As with so many things, the right answer for us will depend on our goals. I asked Lisa to stop by and share that slide from her presentation so we can all judge for ourselves.
Thanks so much, Jami, for letting me hang out here. Facebook is my happy place, and I’m always excited about an opportunity to help writers make Facebook their happy place too. Maybe I can convince Jami to love Facebook more than Twitter?
I presented a workshop at WANACon on whether you should have a page or use your profile to help build platform on Facebook. This is — by far, the question I am asked most often by writers. And my answer is always the same: it depends.
Helpful, right. Let me explain a little.
Traditional marketers will tell you a page is always your best bet because of the built-in marketing tools, but I’m not sure there’s a one-size-fits-all answer. When Facebook opened profiles to Followers (formerly known as Subscribers) for celebrities and public personalities, and mentioned writers and authors specifically, I think we’re wise to objectively consider our options.
What do you want Facebook to do for you?
For writers/authors Facebook does some things really well, and is really terrible at other things. Facebook is great for building a community or tribe, driving traffic to your website or blog, and capturing emails. Facebook, at this point, doesn’t seem to work well as a commerce site for writers and authors.
I shared a graphic in my class I’ll share here too. These are probably the most common ways writers and authors are using Facebook.
Name/Email Acquisition – Page. Traditional marketing says emails are gold. I know a lot of authors who run contests and sweepstakes with the sole purpose of growing their email list. The idea being that your email list is, theoretically, a collection of your most engaged fans. You must have a page to do this because it violates Facebook rules to run contests from a profile, and to capture the emails you need to use a third party app, which are only available on pages.
Drive traffic to your blog/website – Page/Profile. A profile and a page will do this equally well in my opinion. Profiles often have better Edgerank than pages, so your content will be shown to more of your friends than the fans on a page. However, a page offers demographics and insights (analytics) profiles don’t.
Connect and build community/tribe – Profile. Profiles are better at this than pages, not that it’s impossible on a page. The communication on pages was severely limited by Timeline to be mostly one way. I talk, you listen. On a profile, communication is two-way. You can tag other profiles (you can only tag pages with a page) and keep conversation going. Now with the Follow option (previously called Subscribe) you’re no longer limited to 5000 friends. Profiles are more personal.
Social Proof/Authority on a subject – Pages and profiles can do this equally well if you’re strategic about how and what you post. The difference is that your page can focus entirely on a subject or theme and give a polished professional impression, whereas a profile is informal and must be more personal in nature. Decide which approach is a better vehicle for your subject matter and your personality.
Brand Recognition – Pages are better for this. Profiles get better Edgerank (rank better within Facebook) but pages rank better with search engines. With a page you can use custom apps to help promote your work without being spammy, appear professional, and link your page to sites outside of Facebook. The easy, built-in widgets and buttons, like boxes, etc. available on WordPress are connected to pages, and unless you’re html code savvy, this won’t be available if you’re using your profile exclusively. You can also run ads with a page, that’s not available to profiles.
I think the days of one-size-fits-all answers for writers concerning marketing and publicity are gone. Know your options, know your brand and your audience, and make a smart decision. If you’re concerned that you might want the insights and marketing tools available on pages later, you can create a page and grab your custom url. Then, just leave the page unpublished. That way you have the url if you decide you want a page later on.
Have any Facebook related questions? I’ll hang out here for the day and answer as many as I can
Lisa Hall-Wilson: I’m passionate about making the world a better place one get-off-your-butt-and-do-something article at a time. I’m a call-it-as-I-see-it truth teller & freelance writer, history nut & dog-owning cat lover. I write dark fantasy fiction, make Facebook a happy place for writers, and blog Through The Fire because no experience is wasted when you share it to help others. I tweet but Facebook is where I hang out.
Thanks, Lisa! After hearing her presentation at WANACon, I knew my decision to stick with a profile was right for me. My website handles all the brand recognition and email collection aspects, and I don’t want to split my efforts with a “mini-website” on Facebook, so a page makes no sense for me.
However, for others, a Facebook page might be the perfect method to reach their audience. As I said, Lisa is a Facebook expert and recognizes that there’s no “one right answer” for everyone.
Her Facebook class starts next week:
The Facebook for Authors and Artists course is 6 weeks of interactive online goodness where you’ll learn the many features of the platform, receive personalized feedback, daily FB tips, and take part in weekly recorded digital classroom sessions.
Start at the beginning with the basics of building profiles and pages, understand Edgerank and newsfeeds, learn best practices, create custom tabs, and other tips sure to get you noticed.
Class will be conducted on Facebook via a closed group. You receive a lifetime membership to this group, with the option to audit future classes as often as you like (because you know Facebook is going to change something).
Edited to add: Facebook just announced yet another change, so lifetime membership to Lisa’s group alone makes this class worth it. One thing we can count on: Facebook will always change. *smile*
Lisa here again! I’m doing a Facebook blitz this week to help promote my six week class Using Facebook to Build Author Platform. On Tuesday I was over at Jenny Hansen’s More Cowbell talking about driving traffic to your blog with Facebook. Yesterday I was over at Marcy Kennedy’s blog talking Facebook etiquette.
As thanks for hanging out, I’m giving away a free written critique of a Facebook author/writer page to one commenter on each blog. Leave a comment on each blog to triple your chances of winning! Winners will be selected on Friday.
Are you on Facebook? Do you have a profile, page, or both? Did this article help you decide which way to go? What are your goals for your Facebook platform? Which approach is a better match for your goals? Do you have any questions for Lisa?Pin It