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3 Critical Reasons Why a Facebook Profile Can’t Replace a Fan Page

Quite often, we at Cyber PR® have musicians who approach us with the same questions: “I don’t have a Facebook fan page, but I DO have a personal profile and everyone tells me I need to get a fan page. Why do I need a fan page if I already have hundreds of friends on my personal page?” This is a very common scenario for independent musicians and unfortunately a personal profile just won’t cut it as an asset in your overall arsenal of marketing tools. While I’m sure we could come up with dozens of reasons to avoid using a personal profile as a marketing tool rather than a fan page, there are 3 critical comments to a fan page that I’d like to shine a light on:


Analytics are important to any effective marketing strategy. A Facebook fan page offers you free analytics called ‘Facebook Insights’ that give you a deep dive look at who your most engaged fans are, where they live, when they engage with you most and, most importantly, what types of content (i.e. music, videos, images, questions, etc.) they find more relevant. Without analytics, using Facebook as a part of marketing strategy will be as effective as trying to shoot a target in the dark. Each piece of content you post without the ability to analyze it’s effectiveness is another shot at a target you can’t see… leaving you hopeless and unable to see if you have actually hit your target. Using Facebook insights through the fan page is like turning the lights on and putting your target 5 feet in front of you.

The Dreaded ‘Friend’ Limit

When Facebook was created in 2005, Myspace was in full swing and the entire eco-system surrounded the idea of ‘friending’ as many people as you could to make your numbers look big… Because of this, Facebook put a ‘friend’ cap into place so that at any time, you can only have 5000 friends on your personal profile. Don’t get me wrong, having 5000 REAL friends (or fans) is fantastic, but if you are using your profile page as your marketing tool, then 5000 is it… you will never get the chance to increase this number once the cap is hit. One the other hand, there is no cap for the number of fans (‘likes’) that you can have on a Facebook fan page. This means that hitting 5000 can be a great stepping stone for you to hit in your career path rather than the ceiling.

Your Friends & Family Are Not (Necessarily) Your Fans

While it is always great to have the support of your friends and family, it is important to understand that just because they are your friends and family, does not necessarily mean they will also be your fans. And quite frankly, this is okay. Your marketing efforts should be focused in on a target market so that you can find (or create) content that caters specifically to this group of people, rather than creating broad, generic content that you hope everyone will enjoy. It is often the case the your friends and family WON’T fit into your target market, and if you are using your Facebook personal profile as your marketing tool, you are sweeping all friends and family into these efforts. Have you ever noticed that your status updates seem to disappear or get lost as soon as you post them? Building your engagement is a key component to creating a presence on Facebook that get’s seen often. The higher engaged your following is, the more likely it will be that Facebook ensures that it appears in people’s news feed. By using the Facebook fan page rather than the personal profile, you can ensure that your content is catering to the right audience, helping you to consistently deliver content worth engaging with.

What are YOUR Reasons For Using a Facebook Fan Page?

We think the above should be reason enough to reconsider using a personal profile rather than a fan page, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know why YOU decided a fan page was better than a personal profile in the form of a comment below!

Reader Comments (11)

Respectfully, I think everything you are saying is point-by-point, 100% wrong. The main reasons:

1. People see more posts from profiles than pages.
2. People have more "real" feeling connections with people than pages.
3. You can comment back on things in your stream on a profile. You cannot on a page. Not even really on public stuff.
4. The 5000 friend limit became less relevant with subscriptions as those are not limited.
5. Analytics assumes that you are going to waste your money on advertising. Please don't bother. You can see by likes, comments, etc., which content people are engaging with. You don't need an automated system to tell you that.
6. I have no idea why the friends/family thing is relevant. If you want to use Facebook to engage friends/family on non-music content, make a separate profile (though I think this is a bad idea). Everyone who likes/comments/reacts to your posts will see more of them. Everyone who doesn't will see less. My sense, though this is not public data, is that it's way more likely that your profile posts will get through to people than your page posts.

Anyway, just my thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em.

Ive hit my 5000 limit and now have started a fan page. My fan page is reaching 2k now and im debating combining both pages - all my friends would become likes on my fan page but then I would have to start a new personal page and rebuild friends and content. pics.. a long undertaking... what would you do?

October 9 | Unregistered CommenterJD

I have a profile page and a fan page. I find it easier to gain friends on the profile page as opposed to getting likes on the fan page. I currently use the profile as my main page hoping/thinking that it would be easier to request likes from friends and eventually use the Fan page as my main or "voice" as fb calls it. Honestly, I dont really see a significant value to the facebook pages. I have managed to get 229 friends on my profile page and only abt 59 likes on my fan page. which makes me reluctant to use the fan page. Maybe its time i switch to the fan page as my primary and test it out...

October 9 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Solar

One of the main negatives about a page is that it will never appear on the "find friends" tab, nor will it ever be a "people you might know" suggestion to other profiles. That is one of the main reasons it takes MUCH longer to get likes on a page, than friends on a profile.

But, I do agree that pages are better for bands and artists (or any public figure for that matter). They are easier to manage, and from a fan perspective, I like pages more than profiles. If I "like" a page, I feel like I am part of the band or artist that I know from their albums, videos, etc. If all they have is a profile, I feel like I'm part of their family, and I personally don't want to be flooded with personal anecdotes that have nothing to do with the band or artist that I know.

October 10 | Unregistered CommenterLA

I think pages are WAY harder to manage. People can and do post personal anecdotes on pages too. That's a straw-man argument. If people use it to engage fans properly, then the content should be interesting to fans, regardless of which choice is made for format.

The big issue remains, no one sees updates from pages and you can't communicate with people via pages. They are extremely crippled relative to profiles.

@ the first comment on this thread:

1. I've always wondered about this. Can anyone verify that this is true? Are you sure about this?

2. You are correct, but some people don't want all the "feelings" that are attached with friending a profile. I want to know when the next show is. I want to see pictures of concerts. Updates on studio sessions. Album releases. Etc. I could care less about their personal lives. That's why I prefer to like pages.

3. You are partially correct. If you are posting as your page, you CAN comment on anything on your page, and you CAN comment on other pages. But commenting on other profiles seems to be very limited, if not altogether restricted.

4. I agree.

5. I strongly disagree. The analytics of a page provide much more (very valuable) information than what you claim. And they assume nothing about whether you advertise or not.

6. On the first half, I believe that the "friends / family" thing is very relevant. I'd even go further than the author of this post to say that the separation of friends and family is one of the main reasons to have a page rather than a profile. I believe that most fans of public figures (me included) could care less about them having to take their kid to soccer practice, etc. I want content that's relevant to their public personas. A page does this much more professionally.

On the second half, you have a point, if you're comparing 5000 friends to 5000 likes. But if you have a page with 10,000 + likes, how will the 5000 friends see more than the 10,000 + likes?

October 10 | Unregistered CommenterLA

I still say that 5000 limit is irrelevant since they added subscriptions to profiles. Also, don't post about taking your kid to soccer practice on your profile if you use it professionally.

Well, I think both the profile and the page have their advantages and the disadvantages. I think the author brought up some relevant disadvantages, but reading through some of these comments, there are certainly some added benefits of using a profile instead.

For me, I use a Fan Page. To me a profile page feels more like something I'm trying to con my family and friends into liking. With a Page, it feels different and it feels like more of an accomplishment when someone becomes a fan. They are becoming a fan of my Page and what my Page represents, not just of me.

October 13 | Unregistered CommenterMars

I agree with the author of this article on the reasons to use a fan page instead of a profile page to promote your brand. But if you are not convinced, check out this article...

Top 3 Facebook Mistakes Made by Businesses
(Note: These mistakes are a direct violation of Facebook TOS (Terms of Service). Making any one of these mistakes is grounds for page deletion by Facebook!)
1. Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Page
2. Advertising on your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo
3. Contests which involve "Like", "Share", and "Tag"

Read the entire article here:

October 15 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Thanks for your insights, Jon!

I think these are some very compelling reasons to create a fan page if you are in a band. Targeted marketing is more effective than shotgun marketing, and any tool that gives you detailed analytics can help you figure out what's working and what's not.

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Wiebe

I agree that a Facebook profile page can not replace a fan page in any way. Most of the people are creating fan pages so that they can promote their business or increase their popularity. A Facebook profile page have many limitations like you can not have more than 5000 friends etc. Such limitations will create hurdle in creating business relationships.

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterKlaus Craig

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