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Facebook Strategy: Friend or Fan?

When you “are the business” (i.e. artist, author or consultant), it’s challenging to figure out where you end as a person and where you begin as a “brand.” It’s crucial that you think though this boundary and are aware of it when using Facebook. Far too often individuals who are the business simply set up a Facebook profile and start Friending anybody and everybody.

I have worked with many business owners who have come to regret not thinking through their Facebook strategy before jumping in. This blog post is the result of hard lessons learned.

Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Fan Page

Before I explain the different between a Friend and a Fan, you need to understand the difference between a personal profile and a Fan page. Facebook’s primary purpose is as a personal networking site. They want real people to connect and share information with other real people. That is why you start by setting up a personal profile.

The Facebook terms of service clearly states in several places that you cannot have more than one account. For example, I cannot set up an account as myself, Elgé Premeau, and then set up another account as my business, eMarketing Strategist. If I do this and Facebook finds out, they will shut down both accounts. So, how do I create both a personal and professional presence on Facebook?

This is where Fan pages come in. I start by creating a personal account as Elgé Premeau. From that account, I set up an eMarketing Strategist Fan page. My personal account is the parent account and my Fan page is a sub-account. While you can only have one personal profile, you can have as many Fan pages as you want.


Here is a screen shot of the home page of my personal account


Keep in mind my feed – the updates from my Friends in the center column – is constantly changing as my Friends post updates.





Here is a screen shot of my eMarketing Strategist Fan Page.


It’s easy to manage my Fan page from my personal account. All I have to do is go here:


Friend vs. Fan




Now let’s get into the distinction between a Friend and a Fan. The people you connect with via your personal account are called Friends and the people you connect with via your Fan page are Fans. In general, you have a two way conversation with Friends and a one way conversation with Fans. Here are some important distinctions between Friends and Fans:





Why Set Up a Fan Page?




So why take the extra effort to set up and learn how to use a Fan page? Let me elaborate on the problem with some of the distinctions above:

  1. Privacy – I don’t Friend people I don’t know now in real life largely for privacy concerns. If you don’t know people, you don’t know what they’re doing with your personal profile information.
  2. Number of Connections – If you’re using Facebook to build a platform, you want to have tens or hundreds of thousands of people reading your updates. But if you only have a personal account, you’re limited to 5,000 connections.
  3. Fun and Enjoyment – Friending strangers takes all the fun out of Facebook. If you’ve got hundreds or thousands of “friends” you don’t actually know, your feed is cluttered with updates from people you don’t care about. Also, you can’t be yourself. You’ve got worry about offending somebody or sounding unprofessional. Boring!





And the Biggest Problem of All???

You cannot change someone’s status from Friend to Fan.





If you blithely Friend everybody who will accept your invitation, there WILL come a day when you decide to do something about it. Many times I’ve had to explain to a frustrated business owner that you cannot change someone from a Friend to a Fan.




And frankly, I have not found a nice way to say,
“I don’t want to be your Friend anymore but you could be my Fan!”





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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 1:48 pm and is filed under Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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