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Should You Merge Your Personal Facebook Account with Your Fan Page?

A few days ago, my friend Mark Joyner posed the following question to his Facebook audience:

The case for and against merging your personal facebook account with your fan page …
(Seriously considering doing it for real now. Can anyone talk me out of it?)
The case for and against merging your personal Facebook account with your fan page

He then tagged me in a comment, asking me to weigh in on this question.

Mark’s dilemma is real for many people in a similar situation. Over the years, I have observed a variety of approaches to this dilemma. Solutions include:

  1. Use a fan page only. Some Facebook users choose to ‘lock down’ their personal profile so nobody can add them as a friend or post content on their wall anymore. Then they put up a cover image stating they no longer use their personal profile and people should visit their fan/business page instead. (Often, people using this approach have a secondary personal profile just for actual friends and family. However, please note that it is technically against Facebook’s Terms to have more than one personal profile.)
  2. Use a personal profile only. Other Facebook users may choose to only use a personal profile and not a fan page. They open up their profile to allow Followers to subscribe to their public posts, and may also lock down their profile to not allow friend requests or wall posts. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg chose this approach, merging his fan page into his profile some time ago.
  3. Use both a fan page and a ‘closed’ personal profile. This is where you might choose to only add friends that you actually know, or have met. You publish updates to friends only, and don’t have the Follower option enabled. The vast majority of Facebook users use the platform like this…. in essence, the way it was intended to be used: for connecting with people you know, and maybe just a few you don’t! Of course, the fan page is then used for business.
  4. Use both a fan page and an ‘open’ personal profile. This is my preference. I enabled the Follower option (or Subscribe as it was called at first), the moment the feature came out back in September 2011. I ended up with over 510k followers in a short amount of time. And have close to the max of 5k friends (more on my approach below). Given my friends are such a diverse mixture of people I went to school with (both elementary and high schools!), family, close friends, colleagues, clients, staff, extended community and more, I’m super mindful about what I publish on my profile and tend to craft updates that are generic enough for a wide audience. I keep most of my pure business content for my page.

Here’s the response I shared with Mark Joyner:

Hellooooo awesome Mark!!!! Thanks for the ping. Yeppers, I do indeedy have an opinion on this. heh. Seriously, for me, I would never merge both channels… b/c people who choose to be your friend want to feel more personally connected to you. Whereas, a fan page is just a different experience; it’s meant to be mostly business. The joys of having BOTH are:

– Personal profile: Anyone can send you a friend request, which means they are instantly a follower of your public updates; if you don’t accept the friend request they just continue being a follower, which is totally cool. I pretty much share 99% of all profile posts as public. My ratio is about 80% “personal” and 20% business. But, even with personal, I still always have a strategic business intent… talking about where I am, what I’m up to… thinking about who might see the update… ya never know. Oprah? ha!

If you’re maxing out the 5k friends, my recommendation is to unfriend 100-200 people that you really don’t know/never interact with – when you unfriend they are still a Follower of your public updates and they don’t get a notification so all is cool. Then, you have that nice ‘buffer’ for when you want to add friends that you meet in person at events, etc. Again, it helps peeps feel more connected to you and part of your ‘inner circle.’ 😉

– Business (or Fan) page – Everything is public, good for Google SEO, you get access to metrics, all ad units, install 3rd party apps, etc. There is a strong case for having both.

Hope this helps!!!

Other users within the thread shared helpful perspectives, too. Harris Fellman weighed in:

Well, I know that I, for one, do not engage with anyone on their fan page. I’m not sure why that is… perhaps no one utilizes it in such a way that FB feels like ‘showing me the posts’

Jay Best responded with an insightful post about the Newsfeed algorithm for fan pages:

They have it heavily muted / censored, effectively to push people to pay for promo. If you have a personal account with followers (eg dont add them as friends, but just keep them in the queue), then you have them seeing your feed.

He also included links to Facebook newsroom and Hubspot for reference.

Ben Hunt had a slightly different perspective, and included it in a short, simple response:

Do it IF your personal identity IS your fan identity, and if the audiences for the two pages are the same. 

What is your perspective? Have you found a way that really works for you? Pease do weigh in on the comments below!

Mari Smith

Premier Facebook Marketing Expert | Social Media Thought Leader | Keynote Speaker | Ambassador Wave.video, Agorapulse, HubSpot, BuzzSumo | Columnist Bank of America

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