Facebook Pages: Writers and the Fan Problem

Facebook logoFacebook defines Facebook Pages as “A public figure, business, or brand can create a Facebook Page to share information, interact with their fans, and create a highly engaging presence on Facebook.” Facebook confuses many with its “Facebook pages” because of how it uses the word “fans” on those pages.
The Meaning behind Fan
Many of us writers and small businesses don’t like the connotation that comes with the word “fan.” I’ve also talked to some folks who aren’t bothered by it — I think the whole “Fan” name is split in the middle. Half hate it. Half have no problem with it.
If you want to join a Facebook page, its button says “Become a fan.” Even Facebook’s Q&A about Facebook pages uses the term “fan” often.
Become a fan
Most Popular Pages
The following people have the most fans as of this writing. With names like this leading the pack, some writers fear they’ll send the impression they’re known enough to have fans of their own. Not all of us feel this way. We just want to share our knowledge and information outside of our individual profiles.

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Vin Diesel
  4. Facebook
  5. Megan Fox
  6. Starbucks
  7. Coca-Cola
  8. Adam Sandler
  9. YouTube

Not one writer in that list. Stephen King has 60,000+ fans. Not even close to the pages with the most fans. How’s this for comparison? Ferrero Rocher (candy) has over two million fans.
Furthermore, when creating a Facebook page and sending an email — see below screen shot —  encouraging others to join, the note says, “So ‘n so became a fan of Mr. Hotshot on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too.” With a message like this, many especially freelance writers and one-person businesses — will shy away from creating Facebook pages because of what it implies.
Fan Email
Pages vs. Groups
“Pages can only be created to represent a real public figure, artist, brand or organization, and may only be created by an official representative of that entity. Groups can be created by any user and about any topic, as a space for users to share their opinions and interest in that subject. Pages can be customized with rich media and interactive applications to engage Page visitors. Applications can’t be added to groups.”
People tend to choose Pages over Groups because they have more features and capabilities. Facebook only allows you to send email up to 5000 members in a group. Search engines index Pages, but not Groups. Admins of Groups have more control than those managing pages.
Mashable explanation on two features: “Groups are great for organizing on a personal level and for smaller scale interaction around a cause. Pages are better for brands, businesses, bands, movies, or celebrities who want to interact with their fans or customers without having them connected to a personal account, and have a need to exceed Facebook’s 5,000 friend cap. ”
Softening the Fan Blow
Most of us including freelance writers have individual profiles. Only you can have that profile and it must represent you. Rather than creating Facebook pages for a person’s name or business name, perhaps consider setting up a fan page for the topic in your area of expertise. It’ll be easier to share valuable information and people may be more likely to join when it’s about a topic than an individual or company.
A Facebook page already exists for your topic, you say? Join and participate that page. When people see you interacting, they’re more likely to check out your profile or request a connection. Still want your own? Think of another angle or approach for yours.
You can certainly set up a page for your product or service with the idea of sharing tips on how to do things faster or more effectively. Just take care not to come across as salesy or promotional.
You can create a page or create a Group whenever you’re ready. .
Facebook, Dump the “Fans”
Why don’t we just do away with every mention of “fan” and replace it with “pages.” “Join this Facebook page” instead of “Become a fan.” The email could say, “So ‘n so has joined the [name of pages] on Facebook and suggests you join too.”
What do you think of Facebook Pages? Or how do you use Pages vs. Groups?

4 thoughts on “Facebook Pages: Writers and the Fan Problem”

  1. I agree entirely; “fan” is just not a suitable word for many groups. I recently started a business-marketing and social-media group on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mount-Pearl-NL/Lorne-Pike-and-Associates/121730846224.
    However, while I’ve mentioned to clients or business contacts that they should join, it doesn’t quite fit for me to ask them to be my fan. If they’re not familiar with the Facebook terminology, they surely must think I’m walking around with quite an ego! I’m on your side.


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