I recently got rid of my Facebook page. I went back and forth about this for quite a while and in the end I decided to unpublish rather than fully delete the page, because you never know what he future holds (and I like having the URL containing my full name registered on Facebook, just in case).
The difference between a Facebook page and a personal profile
For anyone reading who isn’t familiar with the difference between Facebook pages and profiles, here’s a quick explanation. A personal profile is the one people can send friend requests to. A page is the one people can Like and are often used by businesses, charities, writers, artists etc.
Why I had a Facebook page
Having a Facebook page was useful when I a) was running a business, and b) people actually saw things I posted there.
Even after I closed my photography and studio hire business a few years ago, I kept the page because I could still share photos and other content there. Later, it was somewhere to share writing-related news with friends who I was connected with on Facebook, as well as other people who chose to Like and follow the page, even when I wasn’t actively using my personal profile (I drift in and out of Facebook for personal use).
When pages first became a thing, they were heralded as a wonderful solution for sharing information about, and content from, your business, organisation or project without having to add people as friends. Also, as Facebook prohibits the use of personal profiles for business reasons, it was pretty much the only legit way to do non-personal stuff on the site.
Why I ditched my Facebook page
For a while, having a page was good. Or at least it didn’t suck. Then, because Facebook’s priority is making money through advertising, they started to limit the organic reach of content posted on pages. Without paying to ‘boost’ posts, they would reach about 10% of your page’s followers, if you were lucky.
If you’re wondering, yes, you can totally achieve a massive reach for your page’s posts without paying if you cultivate and nurture a large follower-base who immediately and actively engage with all your content. Everyone can probably think of some companies and already well-known individuals, as well as pages that share a lot of images and videos (some of which are original content, but a lot of which aren’t), who manage it consistently and successfully. It was something I did with a page I ran for a non-profit organisation, so I’m not saying Facebook pages are all pointless wastes of time. They can be genuinely useful, productive and awesome as part of a wider strategy.
I don’t actually have a problem with companies expecting businesses to pay to advertise on their site. There’s absolutely no reason why online marketing for a business should be free. My main issue is that Facebook moved the goalposts. Also, it wasn’t just companies who used pages. It was charities and non-profits as well as individuals who wanted to separate their creative work from their personal profiles (as pages were actually promoted for in the first place). So after all the “Get a page! Pages are exactly what you need to easily share your work with more people!” hype, it became “You have to pay if you want any of the people who have made an informed and conscious choice to follow you to see any of the content you post”.
So yeah, it wasn’t exactly doing anything for me in terms of sharing my writing, and something about making people pay to reach viewers who already wanted to see their posts rubbed me up the wrong way. I definitely wasn’t reaching a new audience with my Facebook page, or even being able to share things with my existing audience, and all it was doing was taking up time that would be better spent on platforms where I was actually connecting with readers and other writers (hi, Twitter!)
Although, at first, it felt really weird to no longer have an active Facebook page, it also felt good to shed that dead weight.
Do you need a Facebook page?
If you look for guidance online about whether writers or artists need a Facebook page, you’ll find very strong opinions in both directions as well as a lot of in-betweens.
My honest view right now is that if having a Facebook page is working for you, hang on to it. If you’re happy to pay to boost your posts and/or if you’re achieving a decent organic reach already and that’s translating into the results you’re seeking (traffic to your website, sales of your work, bookings and commissions, whatever), awesome. Keep going. But if your posts are only reaching a tiny fraction of your followers and you don’t feel that you’re getting anything out of the time and energy you put into maintaining your page, it might be worth considering letting it go and focusing your efforts elsewhere.
Do you have a Facebook page for your writing, art or business? How’s it working out for you? Have you had more success sharing and promoting your work elsewhere?