Friday, July 8, 2011

Facebook Friday: To Be 2 or Not To Be 2

Today's Facebook Friday asks the age-old question (well, as old as FB is, anyway): should you have two Facebook pages - one for friends and family and one for your writer persona.

There is no right or wrong answer to this. Some of my clients do have two pages and they should because their personal comments should never be seen by their customers, if you know what I mean. But for other people, that's not always the best idea. Here are a few things you should consider when making your decision:

First, in favor of one page -
  1. Two pages is twice the work. Seriously. The tendency with two FB pages is to give most of your attention to your personal page and unfortunately your second page may get neglected.
  2. Your personal friends and family are your readers too. This one is a hard one for some people (like me!) who want to hide behind their characters. We sometimes tend to think our books are for strangers - the people we don't know. It's easier to share with strangers, right? But truthfully, readership begins with your personal friends and family. Keep them involved.
  3. Your friends and family might get confused. I'm not kidding. They don't know which page is your real page and which page is your fan page and for some people, that's really daunting. And when you don't accept their friend request because they friended the wrong page, they might get hurt. I'm just sayin'.
  4. Readers like to know the real you. If they like you enough to friend you, they want to know you. They feel close to a celebrity that way. Look how many people follow Ashton Kutcher or other famous people. It's all about feeling like you have some inside knowledge. Yes, the inside knowledge can be read by everyone and their dog, but it feels like inside knowledge.
In favor of two pages -
  1. Some things should not be shared with your readers. If you are the type to make off-color remarks or if you spend a lot of FB time talking politics or religion, this isn't the appropriate thing for readers of your books to view. And if you're playing Farmville all day, every day - well, no one needs to see that.
  2. Some people should not be shared with your readers. If you have a friend that likes to drop an F-bomb on your wall at least once a week, maybe you should consider starting a new page.
  3. You don't want to piss off your friends with endless self-promotion. This is valid. But what is FB, though, except a platform to endlessly self-promote? Think about it...
  4. Work and Play should be separate. I'm not one of the people who believes that because I'm a bit of a work-a-holic, but some people actually enjoy taking time away from work. And for many, FB is one of the ways they do it.
Other considerations
  • Make an author fan page. This can give you a place for your fans. But again, you have to manage it. If you get really popular you can hire someone to manage it for you (actually, that's what I do for some of my clients! not authors, mind you, but businesses). Or you can get a fan to run it.
  • Make a page for each book. Again, more work. But if you are the type of person who likes to put things in nice little compartmentalized boxes, this is a perfect way to divide your work even more.
  • Managing two pages doesn't have to be impossible. You can use a handy gadget like hootsuite or tweetdeck to help you do it. Don't know about hootsuite or tweetdeck? Well, that's a whole 'nother post for the future.
I am keeping one FB page. Like I said, no right or wrong, but this is the right choice for me. Maybe in the future I'll make an author page. For now, I'm sticking with this.

How about you? What's your right choice? How did you decide? Have you had any problems? Let us learn from your mistakes and achievements!


The East Coaster said...

Good question. I gave up my personal Facebook page about four or five years ago. Shocking, right? To this day, I still have friends who are very much, "what in the world were you thinking?"

I will create an author page though. It's a connection that folks expect to have and I don't want to put up any barriers between me and my future readers.

McKenzie McCann said...

Well, I hate Facebook and barely use the one I DO have. Honestly, I just my blog for anything partially Facebook-related. When the pressure to make a page becomes too much, I'm going to recruit my Facebookaholic friend to make and maintain it for me.

So far, no problems. I guess I could advise getting your friends to do the dirty work, but that might be a situation-by-situation thing.

Michelle Fayard said...

When I started building a FB presence this year, I stood up both a personal and an author page. I've already found that I use my fan page the majority of the time and that I turn to my blog and Twitter more than to FB.

However, I've read that FB is where fans like to go to see the more personal side of their favorite authors, so I believe that as my writing career evolves, I'll use FB more. Right now I find that I'm spending my time letting people know about the professional me; then maybe my followers will one day want to know things such as my husband and I are the personal servants to 12 rescue cats. :)

You have the best posts and questions, Laura!


Laura Barnes said...

Thank you, Michelle! I appreciate the compliment and the example. I very much agree with your viewpoint.

McKenzie and The East Coaster: I think you are both in an excellent position to start using FB just as a business tool. First, though, you don't have to use Facebook. It is not a requirement for anyone. But it IS FREE MARKETING and if you use it correctly, it can be amazing for you.

If you decide to use FB to market yourself, it doesn't have to be a chore or a burden. There are other tools that can really make FB easy to use and I will explore them on FB Fridays on this blog. I hope you come back to see!

Michelle Fayard said...

Laura, I have a feeling that with your Facebook Friday tips, I'm going to be building my online presence there a lot more in the future. A big thank you in advance!

I don't remember the exact numbers, but isn't it something like 80 percent of adults are on FB but only about 20 percent tweet? True, if you write YAs, more of your readers use Twitter, but 80 percent--who wouldn't want to make the most of that? :)


Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I love my personal FB home. It is where I connect with friends from High School and College. It's where I can show Aunts and Uncles across the globe, pictures of my kids growing up.

When I asked a publishing friend of mine about whether I should create an author presence she said YES! And gather followers because buyers look at that.

When I started (2 months ago tomorrow) I knew if I was going to gather a following, I was going to be adding people that I hardly knew. And I was not comfortable with those people seeing all my personal family photos and such. (Protect the kids, right?)

So I have two presences and I asked everyone from my personal account to add my author account as well. So far so good.

I have only a couple hundred friends in my personal account
but I have over 1000 friends in my author account

Tweeting is hard for me. It doesn't feel very personal. I only have a author twitter account. I'm still feeling my way around there. Now I have a google+ account. I think I'm going to drown in sea of social networks... ;)

Laura Barnes said...

Michelle, yes, only 19% of adults Tweet, but you hit the nail on the head when you suggest looking at the stats by age range. According to Pew Internet, 86% of ages 18-29 are on FB, 61% of ages 30-49, 47% of ages 50-64, and 26% of adults 65+. YA writers should definitely be on FB. Another tidbit many people may not know: FB isn't supposed to be for kids under 13. Lots of people ignore that rule, but that's something to think about if you are a MG writer.

Shelly, what a great example for using FB! I too find Tweeting difficult. And I guess I'm going to have to dedicate a post of two to google+. Sigh. I'm going to drown in those social netowrks along with you!

Rain Laaman said...

Thanks for the post, Laura!
I'm not actually on FB at the moment, but I probably will go back on at the end of the summer. I'm with Michelle, I don't really like Facebook, but I guess it'll be a good thing to have if I ever get published and gain a following.

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