Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Facebook—Personal Page or Fan Page—Choose the Right Facebook Options

Sometimes it seems that Facebook changes almost weekly. Nowadays there are almost as many options as there are Facebook users. But the question I hear the most from writers is:
“Should I have a personal page or a fan page?”

Today I’ll highlight some of the main differences between these two options and help you find the best choice for your situation.

Personal Page:
A personal page is foundational for your Facebook membership. To have any other kind of page you MUST have a personal one. (There is an exception if you open a business page, but this really isn’t applicable for writers)

Note: I’ve seen several posts lately on email loops, advocating opening multiple Facebook pages under different email addresses/names, to manage family and work contacts separately. You should know this is violation of the Facebook guidelines and will get you banned from Facebook.

Why Stick With a Personal Page?
  • It’s probably where the majority of your friends are located.
  • For some reason, many people will accept a FRIEND offer, but won’t LIKE a page.
  • It’s personal and feels more like a friendship and less like a business relationship.
  • You have less than 5000 friends. Although, I have over 600 friends and I’m finding that a personal page is becoming unwieldy to manage. 

Fan Page:
  • These pages offer you the option of a landing screen before a reader clicks the LIKE button.
  • These pages offer you the option of a reward page after a reader clicks the LIKE button. This allows you to offer a free eBook or other incentive for Liking your page.
  • If you have more than 5000 friends, Facebook requires you to move to a Fan Page.

Privacy Concerns:
If you haven’t joined Facebook yet, I encourage you to take the plunge. There have been many warnings about Facebook and the way it violates privacy.

Here is my personal opinion about Facebook
It’s a tool—not a good tool or a bad tool—just a tool.
When used correctly it can be a great thing. It connects people and brings a lot of good.
When used wrong, it can do great damage.
But it isn’t inherently good or bad.

That said, there are some privacy settings you probably should enable. You find these under the Account Settings, under Privacy. 
  • You should limit all your posting visibility to FRIENDS only, not FRIENDS OF FRIENDS.
  • I keep my contact information public because I want to be found. As a writer, I want people to know my name.
  • I also keep all my LOCATION settings turned off. I can’t think of any reason I’d want someone to know the location of where I’m posting from. If I do, I can mention it in the post. 

With these privacy settings and a strong password, you should find yourself with a safe and manageable Facebook account.

Next week I’ll be answering some random questions about Facebook. So if you have any, be sure to post them in the comments section so I’ll cover them.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. I gave up "liking" fan pages some time ago - I think it takes part of the "social" out of social networking. Before, as soon as I "liked" a page, I was forgotten - it's a one-way relationship to me. All the good for the page owner. Seems people who are begging for "likes" seem to be doing it just to bump their numbers. I'll "like" you after I see that you have something to contribute other than promotional material. I much prefer friend pages.

  2. I have a personal page AND a fan page. I use my fan page to encourage other writers and to share helpful blog posts or regular posts that I've come across on the web, like this one. Some day, I will probably use it for promotional purposes, as well, and I think as writers we should want to promote our material. What better place to do so than a fan page?
    I also witnessed another author using his fan page for his book to ask his readers/potential audience questions to assist him in writing his novel. That was incredibly fun to participate in.
    If I had a question, it would be how to encourage people to "like" your fan page. I get an occasional "like" as people start to find my pages (for ministry and writing), but they're not constant. Without paying to advertise my page, how would I go about drawing attention to it?

  3. Thanks for the great post. I am not on Facebook, but am going to be soon. I have a blog. I didn't know that you had to have a personal page first. I assume that a fan page is the same as an author or writer page? My main reason for joining would be as a place people could find the link to my blog or website, which I understand is to be your home base?
    Looking forward to your next post on this.

  4. I have a FB page where I often share links I find. I primarily got it to "grab my name." thanks for the privacy reminder. I need to check those again.

  5. Can't wait to chat with you at ncompass!!! I need to drink from your well of know-how!!!

  6. Deciding what to do about this is an ongoing struggle. Thanks for the help!

  7. I haven't taken the plunge yet, and found this info extremely helpful. Thanks