Do Authors Need a Facebook page?
Before I answer that question, let me distinguish a Facebook profile from a Facebook page.
On a Facebook profile, you have friends who share memes and information about their children, anniversaries, marathons, and other life events. And you can send and receive friend requests to and from anyone who hasn’t banned you.
A Facebook page is for authors, musicians, nonprofits, large brands and enterprises, and small businesses. You’ll have fans instead of friends, and people and other pages will Like your page instead of sending you friend requests.
5 Reasons for Starting a Facebook Page
Here are some reasons why an author might need a Facebook page:
- Facebook technically doesn’t allow the owners of Facebook profiles to market products and services. Profiles are a means to exchange news with your friends and family members.
- If you want to purchase advertising to promote your books, services, and other products, you’ll need a page. You can’t buy advertising with a profile.
- A Facebook author page gives you the opportunity to focus on your readers, engage with your readers, and get to know your readers.
- Your friends might not want to hear about your books, services, blog posts, or other writing-related memes and status updates. Your readers will enjoy reading these items.
- Pages have access to Insights, Facebook’s free analytics that can help direct the future success of your posts while providing valuable information about your fans’ demographics and best times to post.
[clickToTweet tweet=”On a Facebook page you can focus on your readers via @CaballoFrances” quote=”On a Facebook page you can focus on your readers “]
One Big Reason for Not Starting a Facebook Author Page
Yep, here’s an important reason why Facebook pages may no longer be viable for indie authors:
Facebook’s latest algorithm tweaks make it impossible for a typical indie author to have a successful Facebook page. Why: because post penetration sucks now. There’s no other way to put it.
You see, Facebook surveyed its users before instituting the latest changes to its algorithm, and they discovered that most users aren’t so interested in hearing from business pages after all. They actually prefer to hear from their friends, family members, and colleagues. So if you want to penetrate your readers’ news feeds with your pithy or fun posts, you’re going to need to pay the piper, aka Facebook.
So if you want to penetrate your fans’ news feeds, count on spending quite a bit of money on Facebook advertising.
What Do Other Experts Say?
Industry experts are mixed in their opinions about Facebook pages. Jane Friedman doesn’t have one. Nathan Bransford believes that every author should have a Facebook page.
In a blog post, Nathan listed these advantages to Facebook pages:
- It allows you to maintain separate presences. If you want to avoid spamming your friends with all your book stuff or your blog, it can be helpful to have a place that’s just book stuff and save your other personal posts for your personal profile.
- Like buttons are easier to stick on your website than Subscribe buttons.
- Pages have access to analytics that profiles don’t.
- If your Facebook presence is going to be maintained by more than one person, pages are way easier to manage that.
In 2013, Jane Friedman wrote a post extolling the virtues of a Facebook profile over a page to build a platform. Her reasons were these:
- A profile is more personal.
- Posts are more visible.
- It’s simpler.
- You can have unlimited followers while keepings aspects of your profile private.
- You can publicize and embed your public profile content on a website or blog.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Facebook profiles are more personal than pages @CaballoFrances” quote=”Facebook profiles are more personal than pages “]
However, in 2016 Jane wrote a new post on this topic titled The Pros and Cons of Using a Facebook Profile But Not an Official Page. In this post, she weighed the pros and cons of using a profile professionally.
One huge advantage, she said, was you only have to manage one Facebook account. But a disadvantage is missing out on some features that a business page offers. I recommend that you read her post because a summary of it just can’t do it justice.
Facebook Pages and SEO: Or, Boy Did I Receive Bad Advice!
Then there are those authors who mistakenly believe SEO experts who tell them that they need a Facebook page for every book they write.
I fell for this line of reasoning in 2012 when I set up a product Facebook page for my first book. I’ve since converted that Facebook account to an author page since I always write books about social media for authors. (I have no idea what I’ll do when I finish my novel, but that’s so far in the future that I’m not thinking about it yet. Well, I’ve thought about it but who knows what Facebook will be like then?)
Getting back to the topic at hand … Multiple Facebook pages divide your audience and cause you to spend too much time managing the pages instead of your career.
Let’s examine this concept more closely. If you’re a romance author, and you only write romance novels, you need only one Facebook page, if any at all.
If you are a book coach offering a variety of coaching programs, you need only one Facebook page.
Let’s say that you wrote a young adult novel, and then you wrote a memoir about battling cancer. Do you need two Facebook pages? You might. However, I think it’s fine for your audience to learn that you write in two genres even if the audiences are different.
This cross-pollination could work in your favor. Someone who only knows you as a memoirist might discover your YA books on your Facebook page, and vice versa.
There’s another reason. YA readers can be diverse. There are plenty of (ahem) older librarians and teachers who like to read this genre. And some parents like to read YA books to keep up with what their kids are diving into.
Facebook Groups Instead of Facebook Pages
But then again, some authors are shying away from Facebook pages altogether and starting groups for their readers. I love this idea. So if you don’t want a Facebook page, but you do want deeper interactions with your readers on Facebook, opt instead for a Facebook group.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Consider starting a Facebook group instead of a page @CaballoFrances” quote=”Consider starting a Facebook group instead of a page”]
To create a Facebook group, follow these steps:
- Go to your “home page” (aka news feed) on Facebook.
- Then go to the Groups section on the gray, left-hand menu & find “+ Create Group.”
- Facebook will prompt you to name your group, add people, and decide whether the group will be closed or open.
- Click Create.
- Choose an Icon. …
- Complete “About” Section.
New: Convert Your Facebook Profile into a Page
A fairly new feature from Facebook is the ability to convert a Facebook profile into a Facebook page. Here’s how you can do it:
- Go to Create a Facebook Page Based on Your Profile by navigating to this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/migrate.
- Then, click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions.
- You can only convert your profile to a Page once.
- You’ll still have a personal account as well as a Page once the conversion is completed.
- The tools to help you move info from your profile to your Page will only be available for 14 days.
- Posts from your profile won’t carry over to your new page.
If you want to use Facebook to communicate with your readers, give them a chance to express their loyalty, and market your books and run contests, you need a Facebook page. But you don’t need one to engage with your readers, use Facebook Live, or sell books through content marketing and engaging with your following.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.
Liked the above cheat sheet? You’ll find more cheat sheets and my new four-step strategy to controlling your time on social media in my newest book: Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. In eleven chapters, you’ll:
- understand the new formula for saving time
- learn how to become a more effective and efficient marketer
- find cheat sheets for vocabulary and hashtags
- learn about the apps that will best help you save time while using social media.
“… 80% or more of the book would be a superior introduction to savvy social media usage for most professionals, even those beyond the writing, or even content-creation, fields.” ~~ Julia A. Bestry