Facebook: Building Platform - Do you Need a Personal Profile or Author Page?

     The utilization of social media to grow our platform has gotten to be a rat race hasn't it? You can spend so much time posting updates on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and linking in on LinkedIn that there is little time to do the thing you desire most...to write.

And yet don't despair.

     Social media isn't going away. And despite what some may think, it isn't a necessary evil. It is actually a tool worth utilizing. Just don't let it utilize you.

     Let's look at Facebook. As an author or business person several questions immediately arise. 

     1. Should I have a personal profile AND a business/author page?

     2. Should I consolidate and have only one?

     3. Should I create a book page for each of my books?

First, let's define each: 

     A personal profile is what you probably already have. It's where you interact with your friends about family, thoughts, personal issues and interests...which probably includes your books from time to time. The negative aspect of a personal profile is that it is limiting. Facebook gets unhappy if we use our personal profiles for too much promoting of our business, books, etc. In fact, they will step in and suspend your account or shut it down all together if they feel that posts are too far on themarketing side.

     Facebook is kind of like a controlling boyfriend...it's their way or the highway. But it is the playground, so we have to play by their rules. Another negative is that a personal profile will max out at 5000 on the number of friends you can accept to view your personal profile.

     A page opens up what you can do and post. You can set your page to be  
a local business, a brand, a book, an author page, a cause, or a community. These pages are easy to set up and have no limit to the number of "friends" or fans who can like it.

     So how do you decide whether you want a personal profile, an author page, a dedicted book page or all three?

For some it gets down to simple logistics of using your time well.

Here are three important thoughts to consider: 

1. Two or three separate pages, means two or three separate posts to manage, update and monitor. While some posts can go on all three, that won't always work and then you have to ask yourself, "Am I duplicating my efforts but not expanding my reach?" Another to point to consider is if you create a dedicated book page, then will you do that for each new book? If you're a prolific writer, you could end up with numerous individual book pages requiring upkeep and updates. Just something to consider.If you are launching a new series, or a book that has a call to action, then certainly you might consider a dedicated book page. But otherwise an author page which can include all of your books and products makes more sense due to time constraints. Do one and do it well rather than two that are mediocre.

2. Personal profiles limit how often and how much you can post about your book or business. Facebook sets these limits, but so will people. Note: if your friends signed up on your page because of friendship, they may not want to hear about your business or your book at all. It's kind of like the new grandparent that constantly posts about the grandkids. We all love some posts, but it can go overboard before you know it. And here's the difference, babies and grandkids are cute, so we are forgiving if there are a few too many posts. Books and businesses? Not so much. It's pretty easy to hit the "unfollow" button. So don't give them reason to. 

3. Dedicated Author or Business pages have no limit to the number of friends/fans that can "like" it. Once "liked" similar to a personal profile, whatever posts you make will show up in their news feed. Plus, since you are a dedicated professional page, you can post to your hearts content regarding your book, your business, or other such updates without receiving a Facebook frown. (Still make them count. Remember as an author it's about providing content that will interest the reader and give them information they want and need rather than just posting about what you want them to know. There is a difference.)

4. You can convert your personal profile to a page if you so desire. You can maintain both or shut down the personal page afterwards so that you don't have to maintain both. Consider which is the right road for you. If you have an author page, not all your readers are going to want to hear about Aunt Martha. And if you have a personal profile your friends may not want to hear a blow-by-blow about your newest book release "Dogs Go to Heaven, Cats Go to Mars." Your posts need to stay true to the target audience of the page just as when you are writing a book. Remember your audience.

So are you ready to take the leap and turn your personal profile to a business or author page?

Here's how to get started:

     a. Use this link to create a page

     b. Next transfer data. You have five days to move info from your profile to your author/business page. It will not disturb your profile page.

     c. Click the tab "About" and a drop down box appears where you can list the category of your page: Author, Business, Community...you can be specific. 

     d. Invite your personal profile friends to your Author/Business page. Or you can petition Facebook to allow you to turn your personal profile into your Author page taking all those friends with you. It's a little harder to accomplish. You have to petition to do this...but it can be done.

     And bottom line as with any writing, post content that helps your reader...and they will stay with you. Pick your preference and then post to your audience.Make Facebook work for you rather than the reverse.

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Karen Hardin - Literary Agent and Marketing Guru
PriorityPR Group & Literary Agency