So, Facebook has been in the news AGAIN! This time for making what some people seem to think are HUGE changes to the platform. I’ve read a few blog posts that have suggested Facebook is going to make people pay for their business pages. This is simply not the case, as you can see in this latest release by Facebook that outlines the upcoming changes.
Part of my motivation for writing this post is to educate authors so that they know where to go to get accurate information. It’s all right there in Facebooks’s Terms of Service (TOS).This isn’t a difficult document to read. It’s not full of legalese. It’s downright pleasant in terms of TOS documents!
My motivation also comes from how often I find incorrect information out in the blogosphere. There are a number of pieces of advice circulating that go against Facebook’s TOS. This advice is great if you want to have your Facebook account terminated :(.
I believe that advice people give should include the proper way of doing things, just like when someone is taught to drive: they should be taught the rules first. Once you pass your driving test, you can decide if you want to follow all the rules all the time.
Especially that rule about keeping both hands on the wheel….How can you drink your Timmy’s if both hands are on the wheel? (Canadian joke)
The same exists on Facebook. You should understand the correct way of operating your Facebook account and if you choose not to follow the rules, you make that decision.
Rachel has given me this opportunity to deconstruct some of these myths regarding Facebook’s uses and make my suggestions for how to communicate with your peeps while staying within the rules!
Let’s start this discussion with a few facts.
“Authors don’t need a Business or Author page on Facebook, they can get by just fine with their personal profile.”
If I had a penny for every time I read that comment, I’d be rich. I even found the comment above as part of a HuffPost article.
Why is this comment so wrong?
First and foremost, promoting your book on your personal page is against Facebook’s rules covered in the Registration and Account Security portion of Facebook’s TOS.
“You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”
I know you are probably thinking that FB really doesn’t intend to enforce that rule. You know lots of people who use their Personal timeline to promote their books and they haven’t been shut down. If we go back to our driving analogy: lots of people speed and aren’t caught. That doesn’t make it right according to the rules, and stats show us that they will eventually get caught.
In Facebook’s TOS under the title of ‘Termination’ is the following:
If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you. We will notify you by email or at the next time you attempt to access your account.
I, for one, don’t want to give Facebook a reason to close my account. I like chatting with my peeps on Facebook! I don’t want to go to the trouble of building a platform just to have FB shut me down because I didn’t follow the rules.
Point 2: You are limited to 5,000 friends on a personal profile. If you are just starting out, I’m sure that 5,000 seems to be a long way from your current number of friends. But, if you choose to only have a personal profile, you are in fact putting a cap on your success. Facebook pages, on the other hand, allow unlimited likes and connections. By only having a profile you are limiting yourself. You are saying, “I’m never going to have more than 5,000 people interested in connecting with me about my books on Facebook.”
Seems kind of sad, doesn’t it?
I’ve heard authors comment that they will open a Page when they get more popular, or once they have published their first book.
Let’s say that you follow Rachel’s advice and start building your platform before you publish your first book. If you only have a personal profile but plan to have an author page when your book is available, at what point do you start trying to convince readers to switch from your personal account to your author page?
Once you have 2,000 friends?
Maybe you’ll wait till you max out at 5,000.
Seems like a lot of work to me! As someone recently said, “Herding cats is easier than getting people to change on Facebook.”
Currently the most popular person on Facebook is the singer, Shakira. As you can see below, she has 106,151,790 likes on her page. Imagine where she would be if she only had a personal page with a limit of 5,000 friends?
Check out the Facebook page of one of your big name favorite authors and see if they have more than 5,000 likes
My all time favorite author has well more than 5,000 likes:
There are some who have suggested the way to solve this limit and avoid having a page is to have more than one personal profile. Not only is this also against Facebook’s rules, but do you want to be double, or triple posting everything on Facebook across all your personal profiles? I would rather be writing than doing that kind of work!
Just for your information, the rule about more than one Facebook profile is right above the rule about using your profile for promotion.
“You will not create more than one personal account.”
Point 3: A Page (or author page) is visible to anyone.
Readers don’t need to be logged into Facebook to see your page. That isn’t true of your personal profile when there are proper privacy settings in place.
As Rachel says, let’s deconstruct.
An Author page allows you a free resource that enables people to find you, no matter what. Not only can you use your Author page to show cover graphics from your books, but readers can follow you on Twitter and almost any other social media, sign up for your newsletter, enter a giveaway, see what you are adding to your Pinterest boards, and view your Goodreads author profile—all from your Facebook page. In fact, with the addition of a free app, they can read about and then click on a link to buy your books from Amazon. How cool is that?
A fully tricked out Facebook Page is beautiful thing! You don’t have nearly the same capabilities on a personal profile.
Point 4: If fans can only access your “Personal profile” as a source of information about you and your books, you would have to “friend” them all and make your personal profile “public.” Remember, “likes” are unlimited on a page.
We all know the evils of a “public” status on our profile, don’t we? That’s right, we hand over to Facebook the right to use any of our graphics or other information in their promotions.
We own all of our content and information that we post on Facebook—it says so in the TOS—but you control how it is shared through your privacy settings.
From Facebook’s TOS again:
When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook to access and use that information, and to associate it with you.
Ultimately, if you use your personal profile as your “presence” on Facebook, you are limiting access to only Facebook account holders. Do you really want to lose out on potential readers?
Facebook is part of the fabric of our society. We often assume that EVERYONE has a Facebook account. At 1.35 Billion active monthly users (as of October 28th of this year), it certainly seems that everyone is on Facebook! The reality is not everyone has a Facebook account.
Because it is one of the largest of all of the social media platforms, you need a proper presence on Facebook that follows the rules and allows you to take advantage of this free opportunity to offer information about you and your books.
Don’t limit yourself by trying to circumvent the rules—use them to your advantage!
Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She has published 6 books to help authors with various parts of their author platform, she owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.
Barb can be found:
Bakerview Consulting Website(Business Site)
Barb Drozdowich (Author Site)
Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog)
Photo credits: iStock Photos and Tim Horton’s Coffee
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Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She has published 6 books to help authors with various parts of their author platform, she owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Barb can be found at: Her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest