This Is The Reason Facebook Pages Are Still Useful For Authors by guest @sugarbeatbc

By Barb Drozdowich | Blog

Mar 08

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.

car

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)

Timmys Coffee

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.

  • Facebook exists to make money for its shareholders.
  • Facebook says they are making changes so that its users have a more pleasant experience.
  • Basic Facebook is currently free – you have the choice to spend money on ads, but they are not mandatory.
  • Like any social media, Facebook should be a place of dialogue – a conversation if you will – not a monologue.
  • I am a rule follower and tend to read instructions and do things according the rules and regulations :).

“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?

Point 1:

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?

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 5.21.30 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 5.10.30 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 7.50.04 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 8.04.09 AM

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!

 

Barb DrozdowichSocial 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)

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 Photo credits: iStock Photos and Tim Horton’s Coffee

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About the Author

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:
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Leave a Comment:

(24) comments

Taylor Fulks March 8, 2015

So glad you cleared up the romour mill, Barb! I’ve heard and seen inaccurate posts about the supposed Facebook changes. Proof, one should go to the source. Ah well…make a note, you and I need to work on FB as well as Pinterest when we chat again.
Great post, sister! I’m sharing!
Taylor~

Reply
    Barb Drozdowich March 8, 2015

    Hi Taylor,
    Absolutely, the internet abounds with incorrect information. It’s our job as authors to make sure we are following the rules – or knowingly not – otherwise all our hard work can be gone in a heartbeat. And yes, add FB to Pinterest!

    Reply
Scarlet Darkwood March 8, 2015

There is a real concern for erotica authors who create a profile using their pen name–which is not their real name. Technically this goes against FB rules too. And an author page does not let you interact as a “person.” You can’t friend people, join groups or post on profile pages (you can post on other “Pages.”)

Erotica authors or drag queens, for example don’t wish to use their real name for many reasons–loss of jobs, criticism by family/friends, hate retaliation, etc. Do you have any advice for authors?

Reply
Christine Nolfi March 8, 2015

Thanks for clearing up the rumors, Barb. I can’t imagine life without Facebook. A great place to connect with other writers, and chat with readers–both on my private FB and author page!

Reply
Barb Drozdowich March 8, 2015

Absolutely – follow the rules. The purpose of your FB page is to share information about your books and your brand. Click on Pages on your sidebar and and then look for the ‘Login’ button. Log in as your page and see what you can do. I think that we get stuck in what CAN’T do and don’t focus on what we CAN do.

Work with in the rules of FB to figure out what you can do and use other platforms to do other things. FB does not want to be a place of promotion. Their algorithms work against that anyway.

Here’s a phrase I like – change your paradigm 🙂

Reply
Courtney Killian March 8, 2015

Love this! I used to think that I would make a Facebook author page once I was published. I don’t know what I was thinking. I started one just over a month ago, and now I have over 2,100 likes. I don’t have near that many friends on my personal page, and I can’t imagine how many more likes I’ll have in just a couple months from now.
It amazes me how many people will like a page of someone they’ve never heard of. I’ve interacted with so many people that have liked my page, and everyone is so supported. I have so many more potential readers than I ever thought I would. I’m so glad I made that page!

Reply
    Barb Drozdowich March 9, 2015

    Hi Courtney!
    Thanks for the comment. I agree – there is so much more power in a page than there is with a profile. I think it’s just a matter of looking at the situation from another angle…

    Reply
    A.J. Cattapan March 15, 2015

    Courtney, that’s a lot of Facebook likes in a month! Do you care to share the secret to your success? I’ve had a Facebook author page for over two years, and I only have 256 likes. With my first book coming out next month, I’d sure like to increase my exposure. You sound like you could give a master’s class in getting Facebook likes!

    Reply
      Courtney Killian March 15, 2015

      I’m no expert in getting Facebook likes. I could hardly teach a master’s class. 😉

      It’s no secret, really. Promotion, promotion, promotion is key. Eventually, a friend of a friend of a friend — so forth and so on — started liking my page. I also decided to go the route of putting up an ad. Pricey, but so worth it! Sure helped my page to grow by leaps and bounds.

      Also, as Rachel was so kind to point out, it definitely helps to interact with the people that like your page. I always respond to messages, posts on the timeline, and comments made on my statuses. People like to see that. It helps everyone to get to know the person behind the screen better!

      Reply
    Rachel Thompson March 15, 2015

    I think that interaction is key — building relationships, connecting, not just selling and asking for things. Great job, Courtney!

    Reply
      Courtney Killian March 15, 2015

      Thank you! I’m honestly surprised at how well my page has done. This is the third time I’ve tried setting up a page, and this is the first one to be a success. Granted, I wasn’t actually trying to grow a business or anything on the other two. But hey, third time’s a charm, right? I’m so glad my author page has been a success!

      Reply

[…] to Joanna Penn about book trailers and using video for book marketing, Barb Drozdowich explains why Facebook Pages are still useful, and Jami Gold questions if we should change our blogging style once we’re […]

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[…] Consider a Facebook author page. A business page is a more professional way to present yourself to the masses. Try to keep personal information off this page, but still be genuine. Here’s why you might want to do this. […]

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Tracy Campbell March 31, 2015

Thank you, Barb, for clearing up how we should use FB.

Reply
Erin Latimer April 5, 2015

I still don’t see how a FB author page helps me though. Out of 800 “likes” only about 12 people see each post. I get more interaction on my personal page. I also don’t advertise my books on my personal page, just chat with people/share blog posts, etc.

Reply
    Barb Drozdowich April 5, 2015

    Hi Erin,
    Just think of your FB author page as a free billboard advertising your books that can be seen by billions. The emphasis is on the free part. There is no reason no to have one – there are no negatives – doesn’t cost money and you don’t even have to spend time on it. Just trick it out and it can provide a link for people to buy your books and also find you on your other social media. As I’ve mentioned in the article, however, be careful to follow FB’s rules or you could find yourself on the outside of the candy store looking in. 🙁

    Reply

I was not aware that we’re not allowed to promote our books on our personal FB page! 0.0 I’ve done it a few times already…guess I won’t from now on, lol. Thank you, Barb for the great info! ♥
But I wonder if we’re allowed to share a post from our author page on our personal page? Does that count? I’m thinking it might since it’s still promoting…but it’s not sourced from the personal page.
Help! ^_^

PS: Great job, Courtney…I have been trying to figure out how to get more like without paying for them! I’m going to try the advertising…thanks for sharing! ♥

Reply
Cindy April 10, 2015

great info Barb–I’m so glad Rachel got us connected. I did briefly consider shutting it down then I realized my website social media icons link to the fan page so I was happy I didn’t take it down. I like the ad idea in the comments too.

Reply

[…] you don’t already have an author Facebook page, do so pronto. This article explains very clearly why you don’t want to use your personal page as your author page. Long […]

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J.R.Ellis June 27, 2016

Love the idea of a Facebook page. I have heard otherwise from lots of sources but I was always on the other end thinking the page if the right way to go. I am still writing my books series and Have less than half to go for my first book to be completed.. I will be self publish though So I am in no hurry. I want Quality work so I rush nothing. But I do have a question? Maybe you answered it and I missed. When is a good time to start a Facebook Page? I have heard wait till your about to release or anytime before or after is fine. I figured before to start talking about it to people and to start gaining a following. Then when it comes out I would have a good setup for readers to enjoy and get the word out. What is your thoughts and please don’t hold back. The more information the better I always say.

Reply
    Rachel Thompson June 29, 2016

    Hi J.R.! Great question. I’m a huge believer in pre-marketing and write about it in this post. Marketing is really all about your branding and building relationships, and the product is about selling.

    As for FB, you can and should use your personal account to develop those relationships, but to stay within FB’s guidelines, you will be breaking the terms of services if you SELL a product or service on anything but a page (sharing blog posts is fine though — since there’s no money to be had). For now, for your author page, just link to your website or blog, and connect with folks that way.

    hope that helps!

    Reply

[…] This Is The Reason Facebook Pages Are Still Useful For Authors […]

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[…] in the world, so being there is definitely important. Remember, however, that you must use your author page (not personal ‘friends’ account), for marketing and selling your […]

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