Facebook fan pages: what, why, and how

Confused about Facebook profiles and fan pages?
Wondering why in the world you would build a fan page or why anyone would want to join your fan page?

Facebook Fan Page for Art Biz Coach / Stanfield Art Associates
Facebook Fan Page for Art Biz Coach / Stanfield Art Associates

You’re not alone! I’m getting lots of questions about this.

Luckily, artist Lisa Call has done all the work for me. In her blog post “Do I need a Facebook fan page?”, Lisa writes that Facebook intended for profiles to be about individuals (“This is where we all talk about our cats and dogs and what we had for breakfast and the world is a better place as a result”). In contrast, a fan page “is a facebook page for businesses, institutions, organizations and people that have fans . . .  Basically anything that isn’t a person just looking to chat with friends.”

Here's the clincher. The Facebook Terms of Service state:

All personal site features, such as friending and messaging, are also for personal use only and may not be used for professional promotion. . . . Using personal site features for professional promotion, or creating unauthorized Pages, may result in your account being warned or disabled.

There are plenty of instances where people had their Facebook accounts disabled because they were abusing the policy against professional promotion on personal profiles. That was enough reason to get a fan page for me! (Thanks to all who have signed on to be an Art Biz Coach fan!)

Read Lisa's posts for much more information.

  • Do I need a Facebook fan page? — Lisa outlines how pages are different from profiles and makes the point that they’re really just pages, but we have come to refer to them as fan pages
  • Facebook Fan Page — Practical Tips — Lisa walks you through the process of creating and promoting your fan page

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54 thoughts on “Facebook fan pages: what, why, and how”

  1. I love fan pages. They are so helpful for artists who cant invest in their own site. I use mine in conjunction with my blog/website and it has proven to be very beneficial and the time trade off to maintain it is a bargain. You can’t afford not to have one. Check mine out: http://Facebook.com/ZacharyBrownArt

    I’ll be happy to fan YOU if you fan my page (provided your art is quality! =-)

  2. I finally went live with my fan page last week. Sent out “invitations” to all of my Friends. I hit 70 fans in 24 hours and am up to 124. Within days I started to get non-friends since the page is public. It’s good for the ego, if nothing else.

    But I see it as another place to tell my “story”: the artist who goes to Mongolia and then paints what she’s seen. I make sure my posts are interesting and relevant. I post links to articles about Mongolia, studio news and links to my blog when it’s been updated. And I’m careful not to overpost because I’ve noticed how much it annoys me when other people do. I want a “oh, what’s she up to now” reaction, not “cringe, there she is again”.

  3. Thanks for this Lisa, between you, Alyson and Gary Vaynerchuk, I’m finally taken the leap into doing this and I’m just setting up my page now.

  4. I love, love, love my fan page! The stats option is great for checking what people are interested in. It’s easy to use and easy to link to other things. I update my ‘status’ bar on my fan page and it updated my Twitter, which updates my Myspace. I post on one site and three get hits, so anyone following me in any capacity will be aware of my latest work and developments in my career.
    Combined with my Blog, it’s the best way to keep active and motivated on a daily basis. Plus it’s getting people interested enough to begin commissioning me. I’ve got a few prospects lined up, all because of my Fan Page.

  5. I have avoided doing this because it was my understanding that once you upload a picture to facebook, then Facebook has the right to use your pictures for any reason, at any time now or in the future, for any purpose without your permission and without paying you a cent. This was the case. Has this changed?
    If it hasn’t, it would really not be in the best interest of any artist.

  6. Laura, I remember the other thread about facebook and in the comments there was a very important point: If you don’t want to risk people using your art then never post any of it on the internet anywhere, ever.

    It’s the risk of the modern conveniences the internet affords us. I feel my work is protected well enough by the licensing offered on sites like flickr, deviantart and Blogspot.

    It is a risk an artist must assess for themselves. I’ve personally decided that the marketing advantage a fanpage provides me far outweighs my concern that facebook might possible reproduce my images for their own use.

  7. I would second Kaitlyn’s comment. Besides her very good advice, I would add that the other way to protect yourself is to only post very small images, say 500 pixels wide or high, max.

  8. I guess the difference I see between posting anywhere on the web and posting of Facebook is that if someone uses work that they have pulled from my site or elsewhere, I have rights and recourse under copyright law. But with Facebook, you are allowing them to use your work if they so choose and you have handed over all the rights to do so and not gotten a cent, nor will you. It’s a risk that each person has to assess for themselves I suppose.
    The small images and watermarking is a good idea. I like it.

  9. Alyson Stanfield

    Susan: You can get your own Facebook URL since you have over 100 fans now. Have you done that?

    Kirsty: Way to go! I know you have tons of fans out there just waiting to sign on.

    Laura: If you are really concerned that FB is going to use your images, I wouldn’t upload them. Use small images if you do. I strongly dislike watermarks that interfere with the art.

    1. Alyson I am so glad to hear you don’t like watermarks. I just replaced a lot of my artwork with artwork that has watermarks. Oh, well I guess I will just have to go replace them again as I love your advice and find it very sound. I did think this was the only way to protect my art but, understand the drawbacks.

  10. I just poked around and realized what I was thinking of was the user names they let us pick, which I did. No, I don’t have a FB url. Pray tell how does one do that?

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  13. I really agree that it is important to NOT use your Facebook page for your business contacts. Get a Facebook Fan page for that.

    My regular Facebook page is only used for personal stuff, photos of the kids, anecotes with friends, etc. I only “friend” people I know personally: friends, old co-workers, etc. I do not want people I do not personally know seeing this stuff.

  14. I’d much prefer to have customers go to my fan page, but frequently they seem to find my personal page on their own and want to friend me through there. How do you politely redirect them to the fan page? Any suggestions?

  15. C. Christine, I agonized over that for a while. It’s tricky when you and your business have the same name. For a long time I just didn’t do anything – not a good solution – but now I’m sending them a message saying something like, “Thank you for asking! I only use my personal account to correspond with family and friends I already know, but I have a separate page for my artwork at xxx. I put all my art news there. If you like my artwork, I’d love it if you’d “like” my page!”

    It seems to be working fairly well. If I’d known from the beginning I’d need to keep the two separate, I would have used different versions of my name, like Zachary did.

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    1. Kate: Doesn’t sound like a very positive attitude. I wouldn’t ask people until you can put a new face on it. You’re asking them to share your art with you. Until you can be excited about sharing your art with them, I wouldn’t worry about it.

    2. I know, I don’t know WHY I am embarrassed about that! I wish they just offered the option of “like,” as they do with pages.

      Funny, I teach online, write books for North Light and articles for Watercolor Artist, run blogs for artists, created Flickr groups and Facebook groups for artists, so it’s not that I’m not happy to share art, techniques, and insights…just weird about the “fan” thing!

      I think maybe because the other things I do are about art, they’re not about me.

    3. Kate: “Liking” IS “becoming a fan.” They’re the same thing. The FB button used to say “become a fan.” Now it says “Like.” But we continue to use the nomenclature and call them “fan pages,” mostly because “like pages” sounds so incredibly weird.

      Now that you know that it might be easier to ask people to “like” your page.

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  19. Thanks for the great info! I’m wondering if there is a way to post on others’ facebook pages as my art business and not my personal name (ie, as ‘Blue Boat Home Design’ and not ‘Joe Norman’. Any ideas?

  20. Alyson, I thought you and your readers would appreciate this, it illustrates just how GOLDEN an active Facebook Fan Page can be.

    I was invited by a gallery in a touristy town to participate in this month’s art walk. In the invitation, the date was not mentioned. I went searching for that town’s art walk, and after a few clicks was brought to the Facebook Fan Page of another participating gallery in that town. I was not on the fans list of that gallery but I am now!

    My Google search brought that fan page up on Page ONE of my search – because they are active and post regularly, and they had recently made a brief specific post about the art walk and the date.

    Apparently Google not only loves active Blogs, it also loves active fan pages!! this is **definitely** something to keep in mind when updating a fan page — what search words might people be using (relevant to my business, event, etc) would bring new people to my fan page??

  21. Joe, Facebook must have heard you – they are updating the fan page layouts, and part of the new plan includes the ability to like and post on other pages as our page, not from our personal account. It’s says the upgrade will happen March 10th.

  22. Pingback: How to create an artist page on facebook

  23. I used to be confused by the Fan Pages and Groups but I like the direction that FB is now going with Pages. I also am glad they got rid of the “fan” tag as that just seemed odd to me to ask be to be a fan 🙂 I am just now starting to use my page in conjunction with Twitter, my website, and LinkedIn. One of the things I really was happy to see was a way to link my online store with my FB Page and show products there. Hope to meet as many artists and art lovers out there!


  24. Thank you for this information….do you have any idea why I would not be able to upload video in my page…can do photo, can do video on FB page but not on my Artist page…

    1. Jim: Sorry, but I don’t know anything about that. Maybe wait a week or so until the new changes go into effect – again!

  25. I think the Facebook pages are amazing! I’ve never had my artwork online and I am overwhelmed by the response to ‘like’ my page in just a few days! It’s a great place to show my work and now I’m able to ask a lot of people at once to help vote for me in an art contest with just a click! http://rosedipalo.artistswanted.org/atts2012

  26. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for explaining fb pages to me. Iam still not very clear on it. However you help a lots.So thanks a lots.

  27. For those of you who have separate names (page vs. profile), have you found that more difficult to explain or less? I am JUST getting going now, with both a personal profile and, possibly, an Artist Page, but I’m still learning about this. Thanks for any tips!

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