Do You Want Friends or Fans on Facebook?


“Do I need to friend my fans? Will people quit reading my books if I don’t accept them on my personal Facebook page? But what about privacy? I don’t want strangers seeing pictures of my family!”

Do those questions sound familiar? For many authors, the answers don’t come easy. They have mini crises because they don’t want to offend people while protecting their privacy.

Facebook has created artificial social norms that most people don’t know how to navigate. (Don’t know where to start? Try this article on how to integrate your platform with Facebook.)

When I sit down with clients, I ask them what their vision for Facebook is. Some of them have never thought of the question before. Authors are in the unique position of being entrepreneurs.

The line between personal and business has been smudged, if not completely erased. 

Having a clear game-plan will help you answer the questions before they become a crisis. Here are some of the questions that I ask clients:

  1. How many “friends” do you currently have on Facebook?
  2. How many of them are acquaintances?
  3. What are the things that you will not post about?
  4. How important is privacy?
  5. How do you define privacy?
  6. What kind of things do you not want shared with anyone outside your “inner circle?” Do you currently share those things on Facebook?
  7. What do you want to be known for as a writer?
  8. What are fun aspects of your personality that you are trying to build into your author brand?
  9. How comfortable are you with Facebook? Do you consider yourself savvy?
  10. Is your goal to make friends or to sell books?

Working through those questions will help you look at your Facebook account objectively. If you’ve used it for the past five years to keep in touch with family and friends, suddenly switching to marketing and promotion is going to feel unnatural. But if you are someone who has used the site to network, it’s going to be much easier. Finding out where you are now will help you become the author you want to be.

I personally recommend that authors have their own Facebook Author Timeline where they can interact with their fans. There are quite a few advantages to using one. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Privacy – Facebook was intended to be used to connect with friends. There are already enough stalkers and gawkers out there. You don’t have to let them on your page.
  • Analytics – these are key to your Facebook success. Facebook analytics (also known as insights) let you know your audience and tweak your messages to them.
  • Marketing Capabilities – You can’t sell books, have multiple tabs, run contests, or highlight the fan of the week on your personal Timeline.
  • No Fan Limits – If you want to market, you need an audience. Your personal Timeline only allows you 5,000 fans. Before you say that’s a lot of fans, do you only want to sell 5,000 books? 

If you need help setting up your Author Timeline, Author Media can help. We work exclusively with authors because we know that you have more better things to do than worry about technology. You have books to write.

Do you friend your readers or keep them as fans? What is your Facebook strategy?