Author’s guide to Facebook account vs Facebook Pages

I’ve written this article for authors who have an account (a profile) on Facebook, and are interested in learning how a Facebook Page can be of benefit — that is, is it worth the effort to create and manage one?

What’s a Facebook business Page?  A look at Jennifer Egan’s Facebook presence

The basic Facebook account is for people, and people have friends. The Facebook Page is for businesses, with a Like button, and followers (or fans) instead of friends. As an author, you might have a People page for your closer, more intimate friends, and you might have a business Page (capital P) for yourself to connect with your audience more as an author, less as a collection of intimate friends.

With respect to the business Page, this is not (necessarily) where you would post the photo of the pretty cappuccino sitting next to your copy of Paris Review No. 193 open to the Norman Mailer interview next to pages of your next novel during the day’s work at the corner cafe (maybe I’m the only one who takes pictures like this). The business Page is also not where you would post the photo of your drunken self after some number of 20th Century cocktails at Raines Law Room. Maybe you do want to put up these sort of posts on your Page, but as a reader and fan of writers that I connect with in this way, via their business Page, I expect author news, events, announcements, such as upcoming appearances.

Here’s an example of an author’s setup on Facebook: Jennifer Egan, author and journalist, winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. She has both a People page and a business Page. Jennifer might accept your “friend” request that you make to her People page, or she might not. But if you are a fan of Jennifer’s writing and want to “like” her as a reader, and subsequently receive news about her in your Facebook newsfeed, then you as a reader would more typically “like” Jennifer Egan’s Facebook Page, which has at the moment 2,405 people who “like” her.

A closer look at the friend limit

Let’s take a closer look at those numbers.  Jennifer Egan’s People page has, at the moment, 4,999 friends. There’s actually a limit of 5,000 friends — while the business Page does not have a limit of “Likes”.  So a key advantage to the business Page is that you can grow an unlimited number of fans (readers).

Facebook Pages are more public

Also, the business Page is by design more public. The public can see its content, and anyone on Facebook can “Like” the Page. Take another look at Jennifer Egan’s Facebook Page. Assuming that you haven’t liked this Page already, you’ll notice that you can browse her business Page’s Wall updates, Info section, and even photos. So all of this is public on a business Page. (If you have already Liked her page, visit someone else’s business Page, or you browse Facebook Pages to see other examples, to see how the Wall updates, Info, photos, and more are available to you.)

Facebook Pages are more visible

Search engines crawl business Pages, which means that your Page will show up higher in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Search engine ranking, visibility, is a key benefit to the Facebook Page.

Also, Facebook promotes business Pages on the right side of the page, in the “suggestion” column. Users may see your Facebook Page promoted there after their own friends have Liked the Page. So there is some built-in promotion on Facebook for your Page.

So, as an author do I need both?

In my opinion: Yes. It certainly doesn’t hurt to create a business Page for yourself as an author, and/or for your book. I should mention here the answer to a common question: to create a business Page, you log into Facebook as yourself, and create the page from within your own account (see a helpful link directly to that “create page” below under Related Articles and Resources).

But it may not be the next priority on your long list of things to address for your digital presence as a published author. In a future article, I’ll offer advice on how to prioritize all of these ways to establish and grow your digital presence. I expect this one will be pretty high on the list because at the end of the day it doesn’t require a ton of time to manage the business Page. (The Page that people “like” doesn’t require you to accept a friend request, so that’s one way it’s less work for you.) Though of course engaging with fans (readers) on the business Page will require some time. In other future articles I’ll describe some ways and examples for putting the Page on autopilot as much as possible, and more on smart ways to promote your Page.

Do you have different advice, or know of authors who have both a People and Page on Facebook?  Join the discussion in the comments section below.

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5 thoughts on “Author’s guide to Facebook account vs Facebook Pages

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  5. Elizabeth Mattila

    Hey Christopher,

    We used to work together at Time Inc. I hope you are well.

    I’ve been looking for exactly this kind of information and stumbled across your article. This is great; just what I wanted. Thanks again.

    Kind regards,
    Liz Mattila

    Reply

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