Do you really need to be on Facebook? Yes and no.
I recommend concentrating first and foremost on your own website/blog. This is the web presence you have the most control over; it is the most predictable place to establish as a hub or base of online operations.
As Facebook continues to “tweak” their algorithms, many of your carefully-crafted posts will be lost in the sea of posts scrolling past on the newsfeed for most of your followers. That said, there are several reasons why it may be important to have both a personal profile and an author page on Facebook.
First, 72% of Internet users use Facebook. As of a year ago, the population of Facebook outstripped the population of the world’s largest countries. Even China.
If you want to establish your online reputation, build name recognition, increase exposure and awareness, being on Facebook is a must. Furthermore, Facebook users are among the most highly engaged, interactive users of any social media platform.
But do you need a Facebook profile and a fan page?
Profile or Fan Page
Maintaining either one is time-consuming. To be an effective part of your author platform, any web presence you establish needs to work for you – if you’re a slave to your social media presence, you’re not going to spend time writing your next book, and that’s counterproductive. If you establish, then abandon, a social media presence, your fans may start to worry that you’ve died. Or they’ll feel neglected. Or worse, they’ll be bored.
Your Facebook profile is more personal than a fan page, but it can serve as both. If you turn on the Follow feature, anyone can follow your public posts without seeing the ones you set to Friends or to a restricted audience. From Facebook:
When you add someone as a friend, you automatically follow that person, and they automatically follow you. This means you may see each other’s posts in News Feed. When you follow someone who you’re not friends with, you’ll see posts that they’ve shared publicly in your News Feed.
You may have reasons to maintain strict privacy there, or you may simply feel less comfortable sharing personal posts with acquaintances and the general public. Randy Ross goes more in depth on the pros and cons of each approach. Although he seems to advocate a hybrid profile/follow approach, Randy Ross has a Facebook fan page.
Your Facebook fan page, if you have one, should be updated frequently. Take advantage of the high engagement rate among Facebook users – the greatest of any social media platform today – and have fun interacting with your readers. Let your personality shine, have fun, but don’t leave success to spontaneous, sporadic posts. Don’t forget that you have a page. It may take some time to build a good following, but be patient. According to Jane Friedman, “most writers abandon their [Facebook] efforts too quickly, and assume failure.” She writes: “Facebook (and most social media) is excellent at building awareness and comprehension in the community of who you are and what you stand for. Over time, you become more visible and identifiable, because you show up consistently.”
Are you on Facebook? Why, or why not?
Do you have a fan page? What works best for you when it comes to getting people interested in your fan page?
If you’re a reader – not necessarily a writer – do you look at your favorite authors’ pages on Facebook? Do you prefer to Follow them on their profile or to Like their fan page? What keeps you coming back?
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