Friday, March 24, 2017

Personal Profile or Author Page - Which is Better?

by Lori Hatcher
@LoriHatcher2

Did you know there are different types of Facebook accounts?

If you’re an author who hopes to sell your book using this powerful social media engine, you need to know the difference. If you’re a speaker, agent, coach, or Mary Kay consultant who markets your services or products via Facebook, you also need to know. If you’re a grandma or grandpa who only uses the internet to post cute pictures of your grandchildren or pets, you’re safe. Permission to take a coffee break and come back tomorrow.


Facebook offers two types of accounts—Facebook Personal Profiles and Facebook Pages. 
A profile is just what it sounds—a personal account designed to connect you with friends and family members, allow you to communicate on a personal level, and share photos, videos, and status updates. Everyone who joins Facebook gets a Profile, and you can only ever have one under your name.

A Facebook Page, on the other hand, is an account that represents a business, ministry, group, or organization. It allows you to offer products and services for sale, advertise, and connect with interested customers. Authors often have Author Pages or Book Pages to market their products and connect with potential readers. Behind the scenes, a FB Page provides insights into page views, clicks, and shares to help you gauge which content your audience interacts with most.

A Facebook Page also allows you to boost an already popular post, take out an ad, and target a specific audience by age, demographics, or interests. Best of all, it allows you to invite personal (profile) friends to like your business page and invite people who Liked one of your posts to also Like your page. (I’ll share how to do this next month. It’s a valuable but under-used tool for growing your platform.)

I have a personal profile, Lori Slice Hatcher, and a ministry page, Hungry for God, Starving for Time. These two appear similar in my feed, but are vastly different in the ways I’ve described above. On my personal profile, I post grandkids photos, Scripture verses, and posts I find helpful. I also share occasional updates on my book and special sale days on Amazon. I’ll mention if I’m speaking at a writers conference of women’s ministry event, but the greatest percentage of my posts on my profile are personal, not sales-oriented.

On my ministry page, I share helpful blog posts (including my own), Scripture verses, and memes, but I also include information about how and where to buy my book. I share Amazon, KDP, and Lighthouse Publishing links whenever my publisher or Amazon is having a special sale. The goal of my ministry page is to reach my target audience so I can minister to them through my blogging, books, and speaking ministry.

It’s important to know that Facebook could punish you for using a personal profile primarily to promote a business, product, service, or ministry. The Facebook Help page explains:

“It's against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself (example: your business), and you could permanently lose access to your account if you don't convert it to a Page.”

Facebook has been known to shut down Personal Profile Pages because they’re too “spammy.”

Scary, huh?

Bottom Line
To recap, a Facebook Personal Profile enables you to grow your friendships, relationships, or community. A Facebook Page provides a platform and valuable tools to help grow and promote your business, group, or ministry. As Christian writers and ethical businessmen and women, it’s important to know the difference.

If you need further clarification, check out the very helpful  Facebook Page vs Facebook Profile: Do You Know The Difference?” by Juan Ramos at Hootsuite.

Now it’s your turn. How do you separate your business life from your personal life on social media? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

TWEETABLE
Personal Profile or Author Page - Which Facebook Option is Best? @LoriHatcher2 (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for your post, Lori. I’ve been wondering whether or not to close down my personal page and keep only my author page. Of course, it depends on one’s goals, but if an author wants to maintain only one page, what do you think is the better page to maintain--personal or business? Thanks!

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    1. Tough question, MaryAnn. As best I can tell, you can't have a business/author page without it being connected to a personal profile, so be careful. Don't start deleting things without doing your homework :).

      I really like features of both. I like that I can invite my Friends on my personal page to Like my ministry page. People I meet in real life, through conferences, and at work, are more likely to accept a personal Friend request (or friend request me). THEN, once we're connected and we've established a bit of a relationship, I can invite them to Like my ministry page if I think they'd benefit from it.

      On the flip side, I love how I can invite people who have Liked one of my posts on my ministry page to go one step further and Like the page itself. That ensures that they'll see more of my posts on a more regular basis. You can't do that on a personal profile.

      I haven't found it difficult to maintain two, since the purposes are different. On my profile page, I post primarily personal stuff, with an occasional mention of a book special or speaking event. This is my casual Facebook use.

      I'm much more business-like about my ministry page. I regularly schedule posts in advance, which you can do on a business page, but not on a personal page. This is HUGELY helpful, because it allows me the freedom to schedule all my posts for the week/month at one time. Personal profiles don't allow you to do this. You can only post in real time.

      I really think it's OK to concentrate more on your author page if you're actively promoting a book or writing career and post on your personal profile only occasionally. I wouldn't do this in reverse, however. People have no reason to follow a dormant author page. Hope that helps.

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    2. Thanks so much for this, Lori. It’s very helpful.

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    3. MaryAnn, you actually can close down your personal profile after you have an established page. BUT that means you can't join any groups or open another page. It is possible to hide your profile if you wanted. But I'm like Lori, I love having both because they each serve a different purpose. Blessings, Edie

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  2. Lori, Thank you for this vital information. I'm still praying about an author page on Facebook. Is it worth the work? Thanks for your help. Hope to see you and give you a hug at BRMCWC

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    1. Facebook can be a very helpful way to build your platform and connect with potential readers, Cherrilynn, but it does take work and time before you really begin to see some results. If you decide to take the plunge, I encourage you to set aside a particular block of time once a week and schedule all your posts for that week. Then you can set it on autopilot until the next week, with the exception of responding to comments. It doesn't have to be overwhelming or time consuming, but you need to have regular content going up. This can be something as simple as a Bible verse, quote, blog post, or meme once or twice a day. Let me know if you decide to start one, and I'll be sure to hop on over and LIKE IT!

      Unfortunately I won't be a BRMCWC this year, but I hope the Lord brings our paths together somewhere else soon ;)

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  3. Lori, this is helpful. I have both, but I'll be honest. When I've posted on my author page, I haven't seen great results, so my posting there has been infrequent. It's hard to spend the little time I have on something that doesn't get much reach. I'm planning to keep my author page, but I need to find out how to make it more effective.

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    1. Jeanne,
      I'm all about efficiency, so I understand your frustration. Life is too short to waste time with no rewards. Be encouraged, though. I does take a while for an author/business/ministry page to gain traction. In the next few months I plan to share some tips for helping your page grow. And there's quite a bit of helpful information already here in the TWC archives to jump start your page. Stay tuned. We'll get you off the ground :)

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  4. Your post is very timely for me, Lori. This week I’m adding a Facebook page that should increase the impact of my two author websites (a history site for teachers/homeschoolers about the period of my Christian historical novels and a more personal author site that includes my blog). I know I should have made the Facebook page much earlier to boost the discoverability of both my published novel and my author sites, but better late than never.

    I bought Facebook for Dummies to get me started. It’s worth its weight in dark chocolate just for the discussion on how to handle privacy on both the profile and page. I want everything on my page to be God-honoring, which means I’d better moderate what others can post. The book is crammed with detailed instructions and clear examples on every possible setting you can use for everything Facebook can do. I heartily recommend this book for anyone wanting to create an author page!

    If anyone is using WordPress for their blog, that Dummies book is great, too. It even trained me enough that I’m my own webmaster using the WordPress.org version to manage my sites!

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    1. Good for you, Carol! You are the perfect example of someone who isn't afraid to jump in AND isn't afraid to ask for help. I'm delighted you've found some good resources. Social media changes so much that it's hard to keep your finger on the pulse. Look for a chapter on Facebook Groups in your resource. A FB Group is a great way to stimulate discussion and find people who are interested in what you're writing about. Let me know how it goes :)

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  5. Thanks, Edie. :) You and Lori have given me good food for thought. :)

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    1. You're wise to carefully guard your social media time, Maryann, and make good choices how to spend it.

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  6. Thank you for the helpful information.

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  7. Good job, Lori! We need to keep on learning about FB.
    Elva Cobb Martin
    Pres. ACFW-SC Chapter

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    1. Facebook is a slippery fellow, but worth pursuing, I think. I've been steadily growing my ministry page, and I'm delighted with the connections I wouldn't have made any other way. Just yesterday a neighbor told me she saw one of my articles on Crosswalk.com that a friend had shared on her Facebook page. We laughed together over the fact that she had to find out I wrote for Crosswalk from another friend's Facebook page. "Guess I'm the typical reclusive writer," I said. "Even my neighbors don't know what I REALLY do all day long . . . "

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