No Man Is An Island…Unless He Has A Facebook Fan Page

Today I made the permanent and irreversible decision (I wanted to phrase it that way because it sounds more dramatic), to convert my Facebook profile into a page. Basically today was the last straw.

I got one too many friend requests from people who don’t know me but who immediately upon my accepting their request started trying to “network” with me. What, to many, this ends up meaning is that they asked me to join their group or like their book page or something that no one is going to do with someone they don’t know. Basically I felt “advertised to”.

In addition to that kind of thing, I’ve gotten spam messages, game and app invites, being added into people’s groups without my permission, etc. Facebook has been ONE obnoxious thing after another. Also, the more friends you get on Facebook, the more you have to “manage” everything. Like if I was away for a day or two I’d have 32 friend requests to approve. Oh, and event invitations I couldn’t freaking opt out of!

For me, I’m SO happy to be done with that. But your mileage may vary.

Facebook now has a conversion tool where you can turn your Facebook profile into a fan page. There are pros and cons to doing this.

First I’ll say that it’s a violation of Facebook’s TOS to use your personal profile to sell anything. Authors, that means you, too. I know we all like to network and socialize, but if you’re selling things from a profile and don’t convert to a fan page, you could later be in deep dookie. Or maybe not. It may be a slim risk for you, but there it is. I just learned that today, actually. And it had nothing to do with my choice to convert. My choice to convert was because of all the obnoxious shit mentioned earlier.

So if you convert… there are some pros and cons.

PROS:

With the conversion tool on Facebook (and you can find this by going to Facebook Help and typing “converting to fan page” in the search box), all of your friends automatically become fans. So you don’t have to “start over from scratch” in your platform building.

You will not have to deal with ANYTHING super obnoxious like unauthorized group adds, spam, advertising from your fellow authors (sorry, but this happens a LOT and it’s annoying. Please please stop doing it. We are not your target demographic. We are your competition.), and really all the crap I listed above. you don’t get event invitations or friend requests or game invitations or basically any of the crap that makes Facebook crappy.

You get analytic tools that let you see the demographic that is visiting and liking and interacting on your page.

You can create Facebook ads conveniently and directly from your page account to help promote your page and get people to “like you”

You don’t have to worry about the dreaded 5,000 friends limit.

Everyone can see your page. It may be more search-engine friendly for that reason. You can allow people to post comments on the wall as well as photos and video. If anyone abuses this privilege, you have the ability to block them from making posts.

You can make status updates just like before and your fans will see them and can make comments.

CONS:

While the conversion process lets you keep all your friends as “fans”, you pretty much lose everything else. Photos, videos, posts, comments. This wasn’t a big issue for me. I enjoy the idea of a fresh start, and I never post anything on Facebook that is so important I don’t have it in fifty other places anyway.

You will suddenly become an island. You won’t get other people’s status updates anymore. (If you were busy like me and didn’t get to see them a lot anyway, you might not miss this. If you were actively social and interfacing with other people’s walls and comments, you might.)

People will have to come to you because you will no longer be able to post on their walls or send them private messages or whatever. (I think actually you can message “all” your fans at once, though this is not a feature I intend to use because I don’t believe Facebook is or should be a newsletter. I have a newsletter for that.)

CONCLUSION:

For me, someone who often hates Facebook, this full conversion is a good thing. (Or potentially so. It remains to be seen.) For others, this may be too extreme. However, it’s still true that if you are selling something you need a fan page and even if you didn’t know about the TOS issue, you probably have had this idea lurking in the back of your mind that you should probably get around to creating that fan page. What stopped you was likely having to “start all over”.

This is especially daunting if you had over 2,000 Facebook friends like I did.

A good compromise might be to have a personal profile for personal engagement with those you talk to a lot in a social capacity and to have a fan page for readers. If you have a small following right now, you might just want to go ahead and create a page and keep your profile and just start segregating your content more.

If you have a huge friend list and it’s WAY too much drama to do it the other way, you might convert your profile to a page like I did. You DO have access to the list of people following you, even though you can’t post on their walls or comment to their posts. You could simply create a second account for personal use and re-add those friends who are actually friends that you talk to a lot.

For me, for now, I’ve chosen to just have the fan page. I get enough social interaction with online friends via Twitter, IM, and email, that I’m not sure I really need more on Facebook. What I can get through a fan page is about what I was doing on Facebook anyway.

 

This is a reprint from Zoe Wintersweblog.

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