fblogoFacebook can be a great marketing tool. It’s a good way to build a network with other writers, to build relationships with people who are or will be reading your work, and to promote things like book signings and events. It can even help sell books, but don’t depend on it for a lot of direct sales. Using Facebook for marketing is all about building relationships and drawing traffic to your website, and that’s where you sell the books.

It’s highly likely that you’re already on Facebook. According to Facebook’s stats, in December 2015 there were 1.04 billion daily active users. Something I find even more interesting is that 24 percent of non-adapters use someone else’s account. So even people who say they aren’t on Facebook are on Facebook!

The question for writers is, how do I set up my Facebook presence? Do I want a personal profile page, where people can “friend” me and feel like we’re having personal, private, friendly conversations? Or do I want what Facebook calls a Business page, something separate from my personal profile?

For writers, you have a choice. Some choose the profile for their “author” page, mostly because they don’t really want to have a private presence on Facebook anyway, and that way they only have to worry about one page. But I recommend using a business page for your author site and your writing presence on Facebook. Here are the reasons I feel a business page is better than a personal profile for writers.

  • Keeping personal separate. Having a business page helps delineate your personal life from your work life. Even though as writers we do share some personal things with our writing network/base, like where we are in our writing, how we’re suffering from writer’s block, or the interminable search for an agent, it’s not really the appropriate place to post things like your kid losing his first tooth or your favorite crockpot recipe. It’s nice to have a personal profile page for those family posts, and a business page for your other posts.
  • Analytics. Facebook’s business pages are equipped with analytics so you can see, in real time, how many views each posts gets. It also tracks the likes, shares, and comments of each post, so you can see which ones garner more interaction.
  • Unlimited number of likes. A personal profile page only lets you have 5,000 friends. There is no limit to how many likes you can have on a business page. So hopefully someday we’ll all be as successful as Diana Gabaldon, who has over 571,000 followers.
  • The Facebook Scheduler app. I’m not a huge fan of scheduling Facebook posts, because I think they need to be in the moment and relevant, but there are times when it comes in handy to schedule a few posts ahead of time. With a business page, you can use the Facebook app, which allows you to schedule posts ahead of time without sacrificing the number of views that post might get.

It’s really a personal preference for writers whether you want to launch a business page or not. But if you’re hoping to really build your brand and reach out to a lot of people, a business page is the way to go.