5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform

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Today’s guest post is by freelancer Lisa Hall-Wilson (@LisaHallWilson).


My host here today, Jane, was among the first to announce she was only going to use her personal Profile on Facebook rather than starting an official Page. That trend is growing, and there are a number of reasons why that might be a good idea for you too.

First, let’s make sure we’re all using the same terms. A Page and a Profile are distinct things in the Facebook environment, and there’s an easy way to tell the difference between them.

A Page is available to businesses, brands and products, causes, public figures, and so on. It offers special features and capabilities, such as marketing insights into your followers and custom apps to capture e-mail addresses via contests, and more. To receive Facebook updates from a Page, people must actively “Like” it.

A Profile is for individual users, which allow people to “friend” you. (You are limited to 5,000 friends.) What’s less well known is that a Profile can also be opened to up to Followers. Because you aren’t meant to sell anything from a Profile, there aren’t any marketing capabilities, features, or insights into who is following you. When people encounter your Profile, they are asked to “Friend” or “Follow.”

page vs profile

What Readers Want

Readers are looking for three main things from authors on Facebook.

  1. Behind-the-scenes glimpses into the writer’s life and writing process
  2. Inside scoops on new releases, sales and upcoming events
  3. Access

What Authors Want

Writers and authors are using Facebook for driving traffic to their blogs and websites, name or brand recognition, social proof and authority, e-mail acquisition, and growing a tribe (readership).

People are not going to Facebook to buy or find books.

Plus Facebook’s search feature isn’t set up to do this well. I don’t know of any big author selling books directly from Facebook (using Facebook commerce) because they’d rather people bought books from Amazon (or another online retailer) for the sales rankings and reviews. For the big-name author who needs to hire a social media administrator, and is looking for the marketing capabilities such as analytics, advertising, and capturing e-mails through third party apps, a Page is the better choice. But for everyone else who isn’t there yet, a Profile is often the better option. It’s simpler and easier to get your content in front of people, takes less time to manage, and will build a tribe or platform faster, especially if you don’t plan to run ads.

Here are 5 reasons to use a Profile over a Page to build platform.

1. It’s more personable.

Some readers will find your personal Profile and prefer to connect with you there, rather than your Page. And that can become awkward and difficult to explain your “friend” policy. You’re not a faceless corporation or multi-national company. Readers want to connect with you, the author, personally. Profiles give the appearance of being more approachable than a Page because a Page comes with a perception of built-in distance. If readers want to get to know you and your writing, a Profile can be a more organic place to accomplish that, especially with both the “Friend” and “Follow” option.

2. Your posts are more visible.

Some authors find that content posted on a Profile gets seen by more people than a Page, especially a Page with a low fan count or Edge Rank. There are more than 50 million Pages on Facebook, and competition in the News Feed is staggering. The average person on Facebook has just over 200 friends, so those odds are a lot better. With a Page, you must wait for people to find you and like you. You won’t be able to comment on Profiles with your Page. You can’t join groups as your Page or comment on group posts. When you like another Page from your Page, that like isn’t included in the fan count and the Page owner won’t be notified of your like. Very quickly it can feel impossible to get your content in front of people without running ads.

3. It’s simpler.

Running a Page and a Profile is very time consuming to do well. If you’re duplicating the posts on your Page and Profile, why run both? If you’re speaking to the same group of friends and family on your Page and your Profile, why do both? Some people get mixed up and accidentally post to their Page instead of their Profile or vice versa. It can get confusing.

4. You can have unlimited followers while keeping aspects of your Profile private.

While there’s a 5,000-friend limit on Profiles, there’s no limit to Followers (previously known as subscribers). Many professional athletes and other media personalities—journalists for instance—are using this option instead of maintaining a Page. It allows you to designate every update, photo, and profile element as viewable by specific circles of friends, or by the public (for your fans/followers).

5. You can publicize and embed your public Profile content on a website or blog.

You can now embed posts from your Profile (public posts only), as well as a Page. The official Facebook for WordPress plugin also does this very well with a lot of bells and whistles. These work just like the embedded video from Youtube. This allows those readers who lurk to interact with your content in perhaps a more familiar or trusted format, and gives your Facebook content a bump if it’s seen by more people.

Do you have a Facebook Page and/or a Profile? Which do you prefer?

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion and tagged , .

Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson is a freelance journalist who’s published over 70 articles and is a syndicated columnist. She writes fantasy, and teaches classes on craft, business and social media for writers through WANA International, and at writer’s conferences. She blogs at www.lisahalwilson.com and hangs out on her Facebook Profile.

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141 Comments on "5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform"

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Natalie Aguirre
Natalie Aguirre
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks for sharing about this. I’ve often wondered what the point of the author page is. And it doesn’t seem like people would go back to it. I’m glad to know it’s easier and better to just stick with the profile and build up a friend base.

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[…] Today’s guest post is by freelancer Lisa Hall-Wilson (@LisaHallWilson). My host here today, Jane, was among the first to announce she was only going to use her personal Profile on Facebook rather than starting an official Page.  […]

Janet O'Kane
Janet O'Kane
2 years 11 months ago

This is staggeringly useful and has come at just the right time. Thank you!

Rachel Aukes
Rachel Aukes
2 years 11 months ago

I used to have a page and deleted it in favor of having a profile (now that Facebook allows followers). I like the personal feel of it. Besides, having fresh content for both a page and a profile was exhausting.

Pamela Hodges
2 years 11 months ago

Lisa, I don’t see the follow button on your web-site. How do you add one?

Marcy Kennedy
2 years 11 months ago

Excellent post. I prefer using my author page because it helps me feel like a professional and reminds me that this is my job. I know that’s all in my head because clearly you can be professional on a profile as well. Yet I like that division between my personal profile (which still has many writers and people who might read my work on it) and my author page.

Kristy K. James
Kristy K. James
2 years 11 months ago

I do the same, Marcy. Partly for that reason and partly because I want to be a little freer to be myself with friends and family on my regular page. Keeping in touch was the original reason I got on FB. Still, I often copy and paste the same things to each, and make a point of interacting with all of the readers who have liked my page. I also make a point to share personal things about myself…and so far it’s working. Maybe it is slower, like Lisa pointed out, but slow growth is better than no growth. 🙂

Carla
2 years 11 months ago
I definitely prefer to use my author page instead of the personal profile. The latter is personal and I use it only for personal stuff, keeping my privacy strict. The former is professional. I want to give people the impression to be professional and the result is that people address me there with more respect and acknowledge my being an author. I’m using my author page constantly and I’m constantly growing my fan base. One feature which is very useful is to program your posts, another one is to have other people of my team post stuff for me. I… Read more »
Lisa L Wiedmeier
Lisa L Wiedmeier
2 years 11 months ago
This is great! I’ve already got an established page, but instead of making it an author page, I made the mistake of creating a page for the book series. I’d thought of changing the page name to my author name, but didn’t want to cause problems. So this little bit of information is wonderful news! Now I don’t have to create a new author page, I can just either allow my fans to connect with me on my personal page. I watch what I post anyway, so this is an extra special way my fans get to connect and I… Read more »
S B Hadley Wilson
2 years 11 months ago
I know if you have more than a certain number of fans you can’t easily change your profile name on FB, but you can at least try to change it from your book series to your name. My used to be “S B Hadley Wilson (Writer)” but it’s now “S B Hadley Wilson.” I contacted FB twice to change my name. The first time, they sent me an email requesting documentation of my “business name” so I tried submitting a bank statement (although it wasn’t on their approved list) and they rejected me. The second time, I didn’t submit anything… Read more »
Lisa L Wiedmeier
Lisa L Wiedmeier
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah, once you get over the 200+ fan mark it’s a challenge to change it. I’ve got over 1900, which isn’t a huge number, but it’s a fair number just the same. Once the series is over I plan on requesting a change (one more book to go), but until then I’m gonna leave it as is and run with it. I think I’ll announce the change or something before doing it as my fan base keeps growing.

S B Hadley Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

It isn’t uncommon for people to have author fan pages and book pages. So, you could have both! (Or all three: personal profile, author fan page, book fan page.)

Lisa L Wiedmeier
Lisa L Wiedmeier
2 years 11 months ago

lol! And then I’ll want to poke my eyes out from creating so much work for myself! I know what will happen…I’ll forget which profile I’m posting for and post the wrong thing! Been there and done that before.

Nancy Zrymiak
2 years 11 months ago

I have both, an author and a personal page and agree with most of your points, especially #3 – it’s a definite glitch having to switch back and forth. But there are people I don’t know following me on my author site and I wouldn’t want them to see my private posts and photographs that have nothing to do with my writing. So, even though it would be easier to have only one – I stick to both because of privacy/safety concerns.

Jane Friedman
2 years 11 months ago
Just to be sure—because I know this is a point that is confusing for just about all of us—the only case in which followers would see your “friend” (or “private”) info/content is if you marked it public, or if Facebook screwed up somehow and a technical glitch made it publicly available. I think the latter is what concerns most people, and not many people trust Facebook. As someone who uses her profile as a public as well as a private venue, I don’t post anything, for anyone (whether friend or follower), that I’d never want distributed more widely. Facebook screw-ups… Read more »
Nancy Zrymiak
2 years 11 months ago

Good points, thanks for that!

Anne Hill
2 years 11 months ago
I am quite happy using my personal profile rather than a page on Facebook, and recommend the strategy to most of the authors I work with. The dividing line between those who go this route and those who choose a page seems to be a mixture of two factors: platform size and perceptions of privacy. As you mention in your article, authors who have prominent brands and/or bestselling books are probably best served by having a page. If you know you can set up a page and automatically get 30,000 people to follow you, go for it. But if you’re… Read more »
Jane Friedman
2 years 11 months ago

Excellent points, Anne.

Anne R. Allen
Anne R. Allen
2 years 11 months ago

I’d sort of figured this out by myself (because something like 4-10 people see posts on my author page and everything happens on my profile page) but it’s great to see it written down and explained so well. Thanks for the great post, Lisa!

Stephen del Mar
Stephen del Mar
2 years 11 months ago

I have an Author page but was finding it too limiting. I wanted to be able to comment and join groups and just engage more fully on FB under my pen name. A personal profile has been great. I can keep my profile under my real name for personal stuff and use the other one for writing activities.

Jami Gold
2 years 11 months ago

Fantastic post! I’ve resisted creating an author Page for many of these reasons. So far, my Profile has done everything I want it to do.

I didn’t know about some of the plugins and whatnot. Thanks for such an informative post! 🙂

Julie Hedlund
2 years 11 months ago

Wow I didn’t know about the Facebook for WordPress plugin. I’ve been thinking about dropping my author page. Not sure yet whether I will, but I have way more engagement on my personal profile. I’m glad I’m not the only one, and it’s good to get “permission” from an expert to simply focus on what’s working. 🙂

Rebecca Vance
2 years 11 months ago
I have both a profile and a page. I like keeping them separate because I can keep my page all about wring. I don’t want to have to change every post on my profile to the different lists. All of my posts on my profile are marked for friends only. I’ve had this profile since before I decided to get serious about writing. I share a lot of political posts and pictures, opinions, etc. that I wouldn’t want to share with anyone. I wouldn’t want a regular profile to be public, but my page can be public. I do have… Read more »
Timothy Burns
2 years 11 months ago
Lisa, While I appreciate your desire to make FB simpler, you missed some important aspects of the FB page: 1) if you market or promote from a profile page, FB can turn the page off as a violation of their TOS. Then where does all your hard work go? 2) pages allow you to post events, like speaking events, book releases, etc, and profiles don’t. 3) you can’t create a FB ad for a profile, only a page, which is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your page and edge rank. 4) posting information out to your page from… Read more »
Jane Friedman
2 years 11 months ago

Tim, all points well-taken, which I’ll let Lisa address (she wrote the post).

However, I’ve never heard of #1 happening to an author.

Also, I believe Timeline is a feature open to all.

FB marketing isn’t for everyone; for those who don’t prefer it as a primary marketing tool, a profile may be entirely sufficient.

Sheila M Seabrook
Sheila M Seabrook
2 years 11 months ago

Excellent information, Lisa and Jane. I’ve been reading through the comments too. As I’m seriously considering dropping my page, I liked reading about the fact that Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks send their readers over to their profile. First chance I get, I’m all over that. 🙂 Thanks for the great information and discussion!

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[…] Yesterday my writer friend Andi Cumbo posted that she was considering getting rid of her Andilit business page on Facebook, while inviting her fans to connect with her over on her personal page. The impetus was an article by Lisa Hall-Wilson called, 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform. […]

Judy Lee Dunn
2 years 11 months ago

How would you suggest moving people from one’s author page to the profile page without risking losing a lot of them? Your advice makes sense, but I have close to 600 fans on my author page (perhaps not that many to some people, but it’s a lot for me). My FB profile page has fewer than 200. Any ideas? Can I send a mass email to them, inviting them to make the move?

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[…] Five Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform From Jane Friedman’s excellent writing/publishing website/blog, a guest post by Lisa Hall-Wilson. […]

Jodie Davis
Jodie Davis
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks so much for this post Lisa. I started an author page a few months ago and had come to the conclusion that it was more work to build than it was worth. But the 5,000 limit on friends (which I’m near) on a profile page is what caused me to keep at it. Now that I know about followers my problem is solved!

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[…] you engage in social media, here are some things to consider. Lisa Hall-Wilson lists 5 reasons to use a Facebook Profile rather than a Page; Beth Belle Cooper has 7 counterintuitive tips for social media success; and Rachel Thompson tells […]

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[…] Yesterday my writer friend Andi Cumbo posted that she was considering getting rid of her Andilit business page on Facebook, while inviting her fans to connect with her over on her personal page. The impetus was an article by Lisa Hall-Wilson called, 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform. […]

florabrown
florabrown
2 years 11 months ago
Lisa, Thank you for this eye-opening article. While we are discouraged from using our FB profiles for anything “business” , what you share it makes sense for all the reasons given. Anyone who has struggled to grow a FB page is nodding her head in agreement for sure. All those Pages benefits, such as analytics and insights, are lost on most entrepreneurs since we seldom have the staff, know-how, aggressive marketing campaigns, or budget to place FB ads to attract biz. The most compelling reason for using profiles is your first one. Folks like to know us as people, even… Read more »
Calisa Rhose
Calisa Rhose
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks for these tips. For reason #5 is that for WP.com or WP.org? I find it difficult to get a lot of plugins to work in WP.com, which is what I use. Even my Networked blogs widget doesn’t display properly so I have to keep it at the very bottom of my sidebar content so it doesn’t ruin the other widgets.

Jane Friedman
2 years 11 months ago

Plug-ins are really for WP.org (self-hosted) sites, rather than WP.com, though I’ve seen WP.com start offering packages that allow for greater plug-in use.

Darlene L. Turner
Darlene L. Turner
2 years 11 months ago

Excellent post, Lisa! I still haven’t promoted the Page I had created and now I’m not sure I will. Thanks for all your insight. You rock! 😀

Steven O'Connor
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you for this info. I like the idea and I’m thinking about doing this but have
some practical questions. Are you suggesting to make one’s facebook profile
public so all can see it, or stay as a closed group, but invite others in?

My problem is, while I’d like to have separate lists for my ‘friends and family’
and then ‘readers and others’ – but by making it public, won’t everyone then see
my more private postings to friends and family? Or is it possible to somehow have both?

Jane Friedman
2 years 11 months ago
Hi Steven, Yes, you are making specific aspects of your FB profile public (you decide what aspects), and others can decide if they want to follow. Ultimately, if it goes well, people you don’t know will be following you. Whatever is currently on your Facebook profile that is marked for friends only will stay that way. What changes is that any posts categorized as “public” will show up in your followers’ news feeds. Anything you post for friends/family remains private. So, yes: you get to have both. If you want to fully understand what aspects of your profile the public… Read more »
Steven O'Connor
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you for your helpful response. I’ll try those things. I think it will be about finding the right balance between private and public over time.

Lp Johnson
Lp Johnson
2 years 10 months ago
Hi Steven, to answer your question about separating posts; this has always been possible on Facebook, it’s just not as widely used as what people are now doing on G+. Organize your friends and family and important contacts inside of ‘Lists’, go through the lists and adjust the settings under “Who sees”. When you create a post, use the drop-down at the bottom of the status box to chose who to share that post with. Only those people (and/or their friends, according to your settings) will be able to see it. For those general things you wish to share publicly,… Read more »
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[…] 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform by @JaneFriedman – This was the first time I’ve heard this advice, but she makes some good points. […]

Kelli Lowery Beck
Kelli Lowery Beck
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you for this! I have a page but have been struggling to keep up with it. I wondered, what’s the point? I think I’m just going to maintain my regular page!

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[…] Hall-Wilson: 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform. “My host here today, Jane, was among the first to announce she was only going to use her […]

Jason Matthews
2 years 11 months ago

Who’s tired of being asked to “like” a page? *raises hand* Who admits to having “liked” dozens of pages by request and then never set foot there again? *raises hand* Who’s having wonderful success with their Fan Page? *looks around to see if hands are being raised*

Derek Rempfer-Writer
Derek Rempfer-Writer
2 years 11 months ago
I’m so glad I came across this post. I just self-published my ebook on Amazon in July and have been working feverishly to develop my platform and get the word out about my book. I’ve started a book and did create a new FB profile for my writer persona, but I’ve been wondering if I should have created a page instead. So your advice couldn’t have come at a better time. That said…is there value in creating a page just for my book? I’m a little afraid that it will be just one more thing I’ll struggle to find the… Read more »
Jayden Barbour
Jayden Barbour
2 years 11 months ago

Thank you for this. I read this article that recommends using FB pages to generate visibility and I was planning to concentrate the better part of my marketing efforts on my FB page before I read your article. Considering all the points you’ve raised for using FB profile instead of page, I think I’ll be go for an equal distribution of efforts for both profile and page until I see which one has better results.

HWand
HWand
2 years 11 months ago

Excellent article as many may not be aware of the difference – such as myself.

Philip Verghese Ariel
2 years 10 months ago

Great tips here, thanks for sharing these valuable information.
I am here via Alex’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group,
Keep Going
Keep Writing.
Best Regards

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[…] 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform […]

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[…] guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog looks at the reasons why you should consider using a Facebook profile for your business. If you are wondering whether you need a Facebook page or a personal profile for […]

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[…] A Facebook Profile is often a better option than a fan Page for author platform building. It’s simpler and easier to get your content in front of people.  […]

Amanda Sumner
Amanda Sumner
2 years 10 months ago

I know I’m late here, but I wanted to ask: As pointed out to Stephen del Mar, this is technically only an option for people who write under their real names, right?

Jane Friedman
2 years 10 months ago

That’s the only way it would make sense, yes.

Joab
Joab
2 years 9 months ago

Great information but , sadly, I came across this too late: I have already set up an author page and it turns out that such pages do not have a profile so I cannot interact with anyone, which really sucks.
Do you know if there is any way to add a profile to a page after it has been created? Or do I have to delete the page and start over again – if Facebook even allows such a thing.

Jane Friedman
2 years 9 months ago

You can have both an author page and a personal profile. However, they aren’t really “added” together or in any way connected on Facebook; you just have to manage both, and they remain separate from one another.

If your author page is quite new, without many likes (less than a couple hundred), you could delete it and start a personal profile, then turn on the “follow” function, if you want to just maintain one Facebook presence. But you can’t import your author page “likes” over to a personal profile.

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[…] only uses her Profile. Then, I read a guest post on Ms. Friedman’s blog by Lisa Hall-Wilson 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform.  She presents strong reasons for why a Profile is a better option: more personable, more visible, […]

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[…] wrote this post for Jane Friedman on 5 reasons why you should use your Facebook Profile (not a Page) to bu…. What I need to make clear is that with freedom comes responsibility. There are key rules about […]

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[…] autodefinirsi scrittore. E se invece sei Umberto Eco, beh, non hai bisogno di specificarlo. qui cinque ragioni per scegliere questa […]

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[…] Hall-Wilson on Jane Friedman 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform “Readers want to connect with you, the author, personally. Profiles give the appearance of […]

neal
neal
2 years 7 months ago
Nice article Lisa. I found it when thinking about converting my personal page to a fan page. I was trying to find an article arguing against it, as the net is full of people trying to convince us that is the way to go. I have a personal page with 5,000 friends and 70 followers (I find it harder to get followers then friends). I have a business page with around 2,500 likes. I post tons of personal and community information on my personal page that compliments my cross-posted business listings and business-related info (that I may post on either… Read more »
Chris Ritma
1 year 4 months ago

I am in the same dilemma. I’ve been looking all over to see if someone has posted any information about this. I am also scared to convert my profile to a page for this very reason. Did you end up keeping your profile or did you change it to a page?

Lee Oliveira
Lee Oliveira
2 years 7 months ago

Because my business is my personal name, I get a lot of people wanting to be my friend on my personal page that I don’t know. I do also have a page. I wish there was someway to get people to follow rather than friend request. I do have the ability to follow my personal page

Jane Friedman
2 years 7 months ago

I’ve found it useful to restrict Facebook friend requests to people who have at least 1 friend in common with you. (This is a setting you can control in Facebook.) That will help draw down the number of unwanted requests.

Chess Edwards
Chess Edwards
2 years 6 months ago

I have about 1,500 fans on my page that I created by converting my personal profile. As a page I notice that my posts get seen by only about 10-15% of my fans. It is maddening. But I don’t know if that is the same with personal profiles. Do things I post on my profile also not get seen by all my “friends?” Or do post on Pages with only 1,500 fans simply not reach as many people as post on personal profiles?

Jane Friedman
2 years 6 months ago

The things you post on a personal profile do not get seen by all your friends, no. Whether you’ll get a higher percentage with a personal profile than a page is impossible to say.

Chess Edwards
Chess Edwards
2 years 6 months ago

Thank you.

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