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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Facebook Profile vs Fan Page vs Group

I've been meaning to cover this topic for a long time now, being the advocate of Facebook that I am.  FB has had its ups and downs as far as inane legal-ese in their terms and spammage of Farmville requests, but truth be told it's an indispensable way to network quickly and easily with friends and fans in an environment growing more reliant on social media and instant gratification.

I started using it a few years ago at the same time as a Myspace page (which I promptly left inactive after receiving so much spam about things I had no interest in).  FB has been a more streamlined and controllable experience for me.  It's relatively easy to block spam notifications by being able to choose what you receive (and who you receive it from) in your Settings.

If you're sold on the concept of Facebook as I am, you may be wondering whether or not to start a personal profile, a fan page, or a group for your social media needs.  I personally use the fan page format for my business and a personal profile to keep in touch with friends and family.  The two are kept wholly separate so that I can see updates from friends and family without sifting through the minutia of messages that can add up if I were to combine the two.  The Page also has a few more perks than the other formats, which help me keep track of who is keeping an eye on my work.


THE FAN PAGE

PROS:
  • Trackable stats of who visits your page from week to week sent via email each week and viewable in a stat tracker
  • Ability to integrate with Facebook Ads for targeted campaigns (by gender, age, region, etc)
  • No limit on number of people who can join as Fans (now called 'Liking')
  • Ability to customize your front page just like a personal account. (Shop apps from Etsy, Artfire, Etc. are particularly useful here!)
  • Can upload videos and photos.  Fans can also upload media at your discretion.  Media is viewable by everyone by default without being logged in. Permissions are customizable.
  • Includes a Discussion Board to fuel fan interaction
  • Ability to send targeted updates to Fans
  • Multiple Admin functionality lets you spread out the work load
  • RSS integration for blog feeds
  • Can link directly to any tab url for personalized use outside of FB


CONS:

  • No notification of comments sent when viewers post to your Page's wall or on your individual items. (Note: There are several work-arounds for this issue, one being to 'Like' all of your posts, thereby recieving notifications about them or to use notification Apps, such as Page Watch)
  • (NOTE! This has since been fixed! A Page admin now gets notifications on their Home tab when there is new activity on their page)


PERSONAL PROFILE

PROS:

  • Customizable with apps, boxes, etc.
  • Makes people feel like they are personally connected to you.
  • RSS integration for blog feeds


CONS:

  • Limit on number of Friends you can have (5000 was the limit when last I looked)
  • No trackable stats or ad integration
  • Easily overloaded with messages from personal and business contacts (a solution might be to have multiple accounts)
  • No separation of business and personal means some posts may be inappropriate
  • Photos and videos are Friends Only by default. Cannot link to media directly without sharing a 'public link', even if Media is marked as viewable by Everyone.

GROUPS

PROS:

  • Built around interactive discussion, so keeps your fans active
  • Can chat with any online Group members without being Friends with them
  • Multiple Admin functionality lets you spread out the work load
  • Can create completely private invite-only Groups, if you want to be off the grid


CONS:

  • No trackable stats or ad integration
  • Not customizable with apps or feeds
  • Albums open to uploading from Group members only and are not viewable to people are aren't logged in.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I've seen good use of all of these formats, from artists who have a personal profile and an 'artist' profile to people who combine formats and run a Group in addition to a Page to keep people constantly interacting with things to do.  Technology is always changing so I expect these features won't always be the same in the future!  

Till then, hope this proves useful for those of you trying to make a decision about where you want to start with social media.

USEFUL APPS
Useful apps for FB artists.