Facebook Profile or Fan Page?

As a person who has somewhat of a public profile in social media, I’ve been pondering the idea of making a change in how I handle Facebook. I’ve been thinking about making a bigger deal out of my personal fan page and begin using my profile for people I actually know.

I’ve been noticing a lot of “break up” posts in the last few months. You know, the “its not you, it’s me” post which explains why everybody is being un-friended.

Yesterday, I took to Twitter to get opinions. Here’s a taste of what they told me:

As a person who has somewhat of a public profile in social media, I’ve been pondering the idea of making a change in how I handle Facebook. I’ve been thinking about making a bigger deal out of my personal fan page and begin using my profile for people I actually know.

I’ve been noticing a lot of “break up” posts in the last few months. You know, the “its not you, it’s me” post which explains why everybody is being un-friended.

Yesterday, I took to Twitter to get opinions. Here’s a taste of what they told me:

@tmohede
Go with FB Fan page. Keep the personal profile for more personal circle.

@Spenis
This seems to be the trend….Not a hard choice to make…..

@bizcopywriter
depends how thin you want to spread yourself and how much privacy you want to maintain. I keep mine separate. . .

@MortenJorgensen
I have both. Fb Profile: Personal and not spammable. Fb Fan Page: Impersonal and spammable. Works for me. Why choose?

@simplytrece
I have no problem with bloggers shifting followers to a fan page; after all, “friends” should be friends, not fans. My 2 cents.

@bradleydurham
facebook page for family & friends. fan page for everyone else.

And apparently some other bloggers I know are either doing it already or thinking about it:

@gideonshalwick
Yeah I’m thinking about doing that too – means you keep marketing and friends seperate

@christiantjr
makes sense to me! FB is going the way of MySpace in my opinion. I’m using it less and thinking of doing that same thing.

@chrisgarrett
been thinking same thing

So, the overwhelming consensus from my Twitter followers is that I should make this move.

Here’s My Thoughts On It

facebook_logo My online brand is as a professional blogger. However, like all people, I am a multi-faceted guy and not every thought that goes through my head is about blogging. Sometimes, in social media circles, I do talk and comment on things which aren’t about blogging. There are people (quite a few, I’m guessing) who want to connect with me as a blogger, but not necessarily listen to all my other rants.

On Twitter, it is what it is. I’ll just be myself and people either follow or not. On Facebook, it is quite easy to make that separation by using a fan page for my brand and a regular profile for me as a regular guy.

It goes deeper, too. What if I post pictures of my family on Facebook? Or talk with members of my family? Do I need to expose 1,500 of my blog readers to that? Is it potentially even a violation of their privacy to have that stuff sitting there like that? I’m a fairly open book, although there are things that don’t go to the Internet. But, my wife, kids and family didn’t sign up for being exposed to 1,500 people. And they certainly don’t care about any updates about blogging.

So, Here’s What I’m Doing

I’ve currently got almost 1,500 friends on my personal Facebook profile. I have over 50 pending requests and I haven’t accepted them because I’ve been thinking about how I want to handle this.

I have hired Social Identities to design some decent-looking images for my Facebook fan page. I plan to begin utilizing the fan page properly and start diverting public traffic from this blog into the fan page.

Which leaves me with all those friends sitting on my personal profile. What to do? Do I go drop everybody I don’t know? I certainly don’t want to come across as a douche, but perhaps that is something I’ll need to do at some point.

For now, I’m going to slowly transition into a separation of profiles on Facebook.

What Do You Think?

Obviously, the overwhelming majority of Twitter agrees with the separation of profiles. What do YOU think? Pros and cons?

Oh, and if you haven’t connected with me on Facebook, fan me up.

About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Nancy Banner says:

    I agree with keeping friends and fans separate (though hope for some overlap 😉 ). My question to anyone out there: Is there a way to direct friend requests from strangers straight over to the fan page? I don’t care for the idea of accepting their request (which in most cases stems from their interest in my WORK ) and then having to solicit them to LIKE my fan page…. Anyone??

    • I hope you get an answer to this Nancy as I have the same problem. So far it appears that FB doesn’t provide for friends on (Fan) Pages. Friend requests always go to (or come from) my personal. Profile and it looks like the only way I can get them to my Page is to ask them directly; a big flaw in my mind.

  • Anna Macko says:

    You hit the nail on the head David. I actually closed my twitter and my Facebook down. It was a massive time waster for me and now I actually work on my businesses instead of sitting on facebook when I should be working. I opened up a Fan page instead. You want to keep your fans and your friends separate I think

  • Manu says:

    I know this post is really old but thank you for it because I’m just starting off and I didn’t know what to do exactly.

    The good thing is you can tell every friend & relative about your business news but not the other way around.

  • Bearygirlscents says:

    I agree with you. I myself have decided to divide business from pleasure. Even at odds with people who are marketing the the same product as me.( Close Friends). I don’t mean to be so stingy with my fan page. But I have put alot hours into it. So here is how I did it. I have one account for family and friends. And the other for business where my fan page is. People can unfriend me at their leisure if they are not into the product that I am marketing.  I will also be following you. bearygirlscents

  • John Morris says:

    I just did this and I just told all my “friends” what was going on and gave them about a week to make the switch. You'll have people who just move over without a word, people who ask you where they stand, and people who complain the whole time. Just gotta move through it… and, when it's all said and done… it's WAY better to have them separated. And, better tools for marketing with a fan page, too!

  • Funny I actually just made the move of my blogging & personal development stuff to my Fan Page. I told everyone else who wants to stick around on my personal page they can but that my updates from now on are going to the Fan Page.

    I have around 1200 friends on my personal profile and already nearing 80 on my Fan Page. (I've only made 1 announcement that I'm making the move.

    I think the Fan Page is going to suit my needs as well although I'm pretty much blurring the line of what's personal and what's my business. (I”m single right now so no biggie I suppose?)

  • Ms. Freeman says:

    I have two separate Facebook accounts. One for personal which only my family and real life friends are invited to and is kept completely separate from Freeman Legacy which is where I relate with my blog world friends and associates, never shall the two mingle.

  • Trish Jones says:

    I've been having this conversation with a client this week and we agreed to go with fanpage for fans and keep personal profile for friends and family.

    I'm like you David, I love to connect with my friends and family but like you say, do my business buddies have to be exposed to all the bantering. And, my parents are from Jamaica … occasionally my family and I go into the lingo – know what I mean … and I think few of my business associates would understand what we're talking about.

    I personally enjoy facebook more when I'm connecting with people who want to be connected with me, not just those who want to boast about how many friends they have! I'm definately going the fanpage route.

  • alberto says:

    David, YOu made me feel like a genius because I wanted to ask you that and tell you my thoughts about it and its like you picked my brain and wrote what i had been thinking all along.

    And I do agree. You have your long time friends and family that you want to keep in your inner circle, no not the one on your blog ( – ; but i mean in your real inner circle and then you want people that you just meet and that are begginners in a way and you want to put those on a trial sort of way basis and see how the relationship goes from there.

    BEcause the fact is that not “all” friends and new people we meet will all become close relationships. I mean i like to consider you and me friends but i mean seriously dude, when was the last time you called me or the last time i sent a birthday gift to one of your kids.

    So it makes sense to do it this way.

  • Money Funk says:

    I've noticed some people have a FB Fan Page for global media purposes/fans and a FB profile page for more of a close nitch social media purposes (example – FP for everyone, PP for network of Personal Finance Blog CEOs conglomerating to help eachother out).

    So, I did both. Because the PP allows me to friend people I want to keep in touch with in the Personal Finance world w/out needing to mix it with my personal life. Where as a FP just reaches out to people.

    Then I have another PP entirely just for my personal friends. And it hasn't been too much to keep up with. Especiall using twitter feed and #fb.

  • Julius says:

    For me, having a personal profile and a separate fan page for our site has worked well. Sometimes, I promote new posts on both my profile and our fan page, but it's usually just the fan page.

  • Sean Smith says:

    Yeah, I didn't start creating Facebook lists (labels) until later in use. However, you can create a new list under the “Edit Friends” option available under the “Account” menu -> All Connections then add friends to the list. But when you have as many friends as you do, that process may be time consuming 😉 It is best to set up lists for your friends early on of course, but most people aren't aware they can do that.

    Blog post on this coming soon 😉

  • Lisa Morosky says:

    At this point, I haven't decided to separate anything as far as my personal brand goes. All my Facebook links are to my personal profile to become friends. No fan page for me personally. Other projects that aren't associated with my personal brand do, however, have Fan Pages.

    I do things a little differently though. I only friend people (friends, family, blog readers/authors I've met or know pretty well online, etc) on Facebook who I've had significant contact with. If someone I do not know friends me on Facebook, I'll send a message back saying they should connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter instead.

    I've also set up a friends filter in Facebook – “people I'm hiding my personal life from”. So if I have an update to make, or pictures to post, that I don't need everyone to see, it'll be tagged with that.

    No issues so far. If I become an out-of-control celebrity one day, maybe I'll do the Fan Page. Until then, I'll just maintain my control over my account this way.

  • Kelly Mccausey says:

    I broke up with all of my virtual friends on Facebook last year and have enjoyed the renewed intimacy of my Facebook relationships with people I know locally.

    Sometimes it is tough though, I cringe a little when I click 'ignore' on a friend request from someone I know fairly well online.

    I haven't set up a fan page yet. I'm torn about it. Isn't it like saying 'Hey, I don't like you well enough to be your friend but you can be my fan?'

  • David Risley says:

    Thanks Sean. Good process, unfortunately I don't have everybody labeled. :-/

  • ingresosalcuadrado says:

    That's the right way to go. And you will need to clean your current profile. Announce a migration plan, set-up a date, and run.

  • Sid Savara says:

    I think the key is knowing where to draw the line on a person by person basis.

    I need to set up my fan page and start promoting it more, because my “regular” profile is just filled with a number of my readers who I don't really know personally. I similarly have a queue of about 80 requests and I am in no rush to go through them, since I very often haven't met the people personally.

    If I may play devil's advocate though, one benefit is I can turn chat on and off for any of my facebook groups, so by default I have it set so that no one can see me on chat. I occasionally do turn it on though, and I'm amazed at the conversations and feedback I get through there from people who happen to see me online, and are so excited at a chance to have a casual discussion with me. I don't dispense advice or talk shop, just chat and get a feel for what they like, and what their issues are.

    Of course, that was months ago – I haven't used that in a while, but that's one benefit I see to keeping it as a real profile rather than a fan page – one on one communications that seem much more intimate since it's just a casual chat – not an email, and not a discussion on a wall.

  • Definitely a personal Facebook account for friends and families and a Facebook fan page for everyone else. I think of it as a way to draw a line between personal life and business. Makes things more manageable, don't you think?

  • Have both.

    Having said that – I would like to separate my Fan Page from my profile page. They are linked somehow.

    For my purposes I think the fan page is better.

    If anyone can show me how to unlink them – I am all ears.

    Peter

  • Cheryl says:

    I have to do some thinking on this subject because my facebook profile page is getting weird. The dynamic is different. As you say, do I really want people I've met through commenting peering through my personal photo albums? I feel weird every time I receive a “friend” request from someone I don't know. Twitter is a free for all. I don't mind who follows. At first, I cleared out all the “women” who made suggestive comments. Now, I don't have time to worry about them being on my list. I don't check the list to see who follows me. I don't un-follow those who don't follow me. But I haven't gotten my head around my strategy for my profile page yet. It seems rude to unfollow or block people. What I've done is cut way back on commenting on facebook. Now that I think about it, that's a problem.

  • Eric says:

    I only have a Facebook page and not a fan page. I think they both speak for themselves. Fan page for fans and regular Facebook profile for friends. Seems to work for everyone else too.

  • Sean Smith says:

    David, I'd suggest you keep those who are friends with your personal Facebook profile for now. Once you create a Facebook fan page, you can then send an invite to all those who are currently friends of your personal Facebook profile. I've created labels to organize all my friends on Facebook in an effort to separate those who friended me as a result of my blog or networking efforts and those of whom I'm a person friend with. Once you have your Facebook page up, you can then begin creating status updates and sending direct messages to the various friends whom you've labeled as say “clients” or “networking” notifying them that you would like them to transition over to your Facebook page. Give them a time limit to complete the transition and notify them that you will be removing them as a friend of your person Facebook profile and that if they want to stay connected with you, they'll need to become a fan of your Facebook page.

    Doing this should be viewed upon in a similar fashion as when you transition from one autoresponder service to another. You may lose some of your subscribers (friends) in the process, but will be better for it and more organized once the process is complete.

    Once you have the separation complete or in process, use a tool like HootSuite to monitor your Facebook page as well as Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time. This will allow you to separate your status updates for personal and blogging from one location without having to login to each social networking site.

    Ok, ok… You've twisted my arm, I'll write a blog post about this to provide more details on how to do this smoothly 😉

    Hope that helps everyone!

    Sean Smith

  • David, I think it's a good idea to have them separate. As bloggers, while we do want transparency, we also have a personal life that often doesn't interconnect. I know there are people on my page who could care less about my new niece or what's up with family. I just haven't done that because I don't have the huge following you do (yet! :)) Good to go with the fan page. As for what to do, just tell your friends on your regular page that you are moving to the fan page and go to the fan page and send them an invite before you start removing them. I think as long as you're clear in communication about what you're doing and why, it isn't an issue.

  • Jimi Jones says:

    I've been considering this as well. In many ways, I wish I had started out with the Fan page, although I don't like that “Fan” name. 🙂

  • Perfect timing on this post. I've run into the same problem with my wife's fitness blog, Made Fit TV. She started with a personal page, but now she may have to switch. Think of it like this…when you reach the 5k personal limit, then you got a whole lot more people you're looking like a douche to. 🙂

    To me, I've always looked at it like this. Facebook Personal Pages are for friends and family only. Twitter is for everyone else and FB Fan Pages = Twitter with more content.

    Sometimes you gotta take a few steps back in order to move forward.

  • Rich Wallace says:

    I've done the same with all of my blogs as I prefer keeping everything separate mainly because close friends and family aren't all *that* interested in the blogging part of my world. Family and such like to keep in contact and when they want to talk about my kids, I'd rather not reciprocate with unrelated blog urls on their walls that they'll never care about. The “Fan” page keeps that separate and ensures that those following me there are truly interested and have essentially subscribed and can drop off anytime. Still starting up slow, but even at this level, I'm seeing the benefits.

    Take care!
    -Rich

  • Jimi Jones says:

    I've been considering this as well. In many ways, I wish I had started out with the Fan page, although I don't like that “Fan” name. 🙂

  • Perfect timing on this post. I've run into the same problem with my wife's fitness blog, Made Fit TV. She started with a personal page, but now she may have to switch. Think of it like this…when you reach the 5k personal limit, then you got a whole lot more people you're looking like a douche to. 🙂

    To me, I've always looked at it like this. Facebook Personal Pages are for friends and family only. Twitter is for everyone else and FB Fan Pages = Twitter with more content.

    Sometimes you gotta take a few steps back in order to move forward.

  • Rich Wallace says:

    I've done the same with all of my blogs as I prefer keeping everything separate mainly because close friends and family aren't all *that* interested in the blogging part of my world. Family and such like to keep in contact and when they want to talk about my kids, I'd rather not reciprocate with unrelated blog urls on their walls that they'll never care about. The “Fan” page keeps that separate and ensures that those following me there are truly interested and have essentially subscribed and can drop off anytime. Still starting up slow, but even at this level, I'm seeing the benefits.

    Take care!
    -Rich

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