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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.

Also:

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.

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7 Thoughts on “Friend or Fan? (There Are No Foes Here)

  1. Cat, I’ll admit I’ve ignored my Facebook fan page, but you’ve encouraged (or maybe guilted) me to do more with it. Thanks.

  2. I use both a profile and pages. My pages are helpful to gain insights and dispense information, and now you can comment as your page on other pages. However, my Facebook friends prefer to interact with me on my profile page.

  3. Great article–concise and informative. How do I say this? I already knew what you explained, but I couldn’t express it so clearly. Now I really “get it!” Thanks!

  4. Glad it was helpful, Robin!

  5. Didn’t mean to make you feel guilty, Richard, but good decision. Have fun with it!

  6. Good article. I started FB with a profile page that I use for personal interaction with friends, family and to renew old acquaintances. I try to take time to comment on their “news” and to basically to be a “friend” by showing care and concern about their lives. So I agree, that 80/20 rule is important. We shouldn’t use our “friends” as simply conduits for our own self-promotion.
    But I also started a page that I use for my writing which I am slowly building. I post a daily devotion or positive “thought for the day”. Most of the people who “Like” this page are virtual strangers to me. But it gives me an opportunity to connect with them. And when they take time to post a comment, I try to take time to respond. This allows me to develop relationships with people who “like” what I do.
    So I think it is important to have both types of pages–one for personal and one for professional. Thanks again for the article and stop by for a visit! http://www.facebook.com/DailyInspiredReflections
    Deborah J. Thompson
    Contributing Writer for Crosswalk.com and “The Fish”
    http://www.inspiredreflections.info

  7. I use both, and have another one for my day job as a salon owner. I use my author FB page to talk to people who have been helped by my book and to give encouragement or just to update on any new activity with Tales of the Titmouse. This is a great article to explain the differences.

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