Writing Business

Friend or Fan? (There Are No Foes Here)

Understanding the Difference Between a Facebook Profile and Page

Hello from Cat Hoort. I was just visiting the Kregel Publications Facebook Page and found an interesting question from an author:

I’m finally joining Facebook, but I need some advice. HOW should I be using Facebook?

This is actually a very common question. I first congratulated the author on asking the right question. He didn’t ask SHOULD I be using Facebook? (he knew the answer to that was “yes”); instead he asked: HOW should I be using Facebook?It’s no secret that social media promotions are quickly securing their “must-have” status within businesses. Social media is still social—Facebook profiles maintain that social element—but now social media is also a valid marketing tool, especially with the onset of Facebook pages that offer businesses the same platform it offers to individual users.

My first piece of advice to this author is to determine whether he wants a profile or a page. His reply was immediate: what’s the difference?

The first and most important distinction is this: Profiles are for people. Pages are for businesses. It gets a little confusing for authors since you are both a person and a business, so here are a few other things to consider:

1.       Profiles are for personal communication; Pages are for promotion

2.       Profiles have friends; Pages have fans

3.       Profiles have security settings that you control; Pages can be viewed by everyone (even if they aren’t a fan and even if they aren’t a member of Facebook)

4.       Profiles allow you to send direct messages to one or two people at a time; Pages send updates to your entire fan list.


5.       Pages are indexed by Google (allowing you to build search engine optimization for your brand)

6.       Pages give more opportunity for using individual applications (again allowing more brand management)

7.       Pages offer metrics (the only way to measure activity on your profile is to guess based on how many people comment on your posts

So which do you want? If you’re new to the social media world, perhaps it’s best to start with a profile as you gain a better understanding of how Facebook works. From there, follow the 80/20 rule that Amy Porterfield describes in this YouTube video.  On your profile, 80% of your activity should be communicating with friends, but 20% can include updates on what’s going on professionally. If you see that more than 20% of your profile activity is spent promoting your books, then you should make the move to a page. This works the other way as well: 80% of activity on your page should focus on professional promotion… though providing up to 20% of personal connections offers a good balance.

I’m curious: which do you use? A profile or a page? What tips can we offer each other for using Facebook and other social media?

Guest post by writing industry professional, Cat Hoort, who has worked with Kregel, Abingdon Press, and Worthy.