Why You Should Kill Your Fan Page

Why You Should Kill Your Fan Page

Actor + social media maverick Tony Howell shows us how ditching your Facebook Fan Page for your profile can be more effective, easier + smarter. Friends, fans and industry contacts want to follow your real life, and this simple shift can deepen those connections + give you more credibility as an artist.

It’s time to align your offline self with your online presence.


Facebook is for people – one billion to be exact! Its mission is to make the world more open and connected through free sharing. Since Facebook was founded in 2004, artists have been taught to draw a line between their personal and professional lives through Fan Pages. I have to disagree with this early social marketing strategy. Pages on Facebook are really intended for Businesses – they largely fund the platform. I recommend Profiles for artists – they are free and most effective.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to kill your Fan Page and reap the harvest of an improved Facebook Profile.

You are multi-talented and multi-faceted – but as Dallas teaches, “A confused mind says no.” You really only need a Facebook Page if you have a business (or post an exorbitant amount of pet photos). You confuse people when you ask them to “like” your Fan Page – they already like you and are your fan by being your Friend! Until you organically garner THOUSANDS of engaged followers, a Fan Page is ineffective; likely a waste of your time and energy – possibly even money. You can secure an official Facebook Fan Page when you need one – but perhaps that is when your fans are creating Pages for you!?

As creative artists, our work is our life. I believe we should share ourselves online as fully and truthfully as we do in our work offline. Refocus your social marketing on your Profile. Your online fans want to engage with YOU. They want exclusive access. They want to be your Friend – not just be another Like on a Page. Embrace your power and position as a public figure! Channeling your efforts to your existing Profile will increase your visibility, create opportunities and make your Facebook presence easier to manage. This refocusing strategy dramatically increased my engagement and created real career momentum. I invite you to try it out. I believe it will work for you, too!!!

Because Profiles are for people, you can really leverage your existing industry connections. When employers search for you, imagine the instant credibility and trust from hundreds of Mutual Friends – not to mention the marketing economics of bringing a significant fan base of Followers! Make it your goal to reach the 5,000 Friend limit. As your presence and power grows, you will show up on the News Feeds of your most industrious contacts – and have the influence to reach out to more VIPs!

You can easily (and retroactively) set up Boundaries, Restrictions and Blocking for your Profile in the Account Settings. To start, examine your definition of a Facebook Friend. There are spammers and identity thieves out there – so you really do need to define a policy. My policy is that we must have several Mutual Friends to be Friends on Facebook.

If Friending makes you uncomfortable, you could simply set up Followers for your Facebook Profile in the same Account Settings. This way, Fans can access your public updates (one way connection) without being Friends (two way connection). I highly recommend this. Followers only add clout and attract further interest. This way, you’re not managing both a Page and Profile – your Profile becomes a Fan Page by simply authorizing Followers!

Facebook governs what, where and how often your posts are displayed. In addition to being well connected, you need to be engaging! Think about your content strategies – your posts are now for a global and public audience. Control and strategize the posts you share on your Profile. Share content that represents your best and truest self – but that others will find interesting and want to pass on. The Share is the new Like!

I’d suggest you begin to find this content’s voice by modeling your icons or community leaders. For example, ask yourself “Would Rachel McAdams share this?” Beyond that, choose an ideal audience for your public posts. Dallas calls this person your Marketing Magnet. I call this person your ideal future collaborator. Ask yourself “Would Steven Spielberg share this?”

If you already have a Fan Page, see how many of the Likes are from your existing Friends. I’d suggest you kill this Page by telling the audience that you’re simplifying. Invite your Fans to be your Friends and Follow your real life!

Truth is – they probably already are!

Utilizing your Profile for career purposes makes Facebook easier to manage. Growing Friends and Followers on your Profile will boost your credibility and trust. This will attract interest and opportunities from the people that you’re actually targeting – and your social presence will be much easier to manage! You’ll feel empowered, efficient and effective. That would make me give thanks!!!

I’d love to hear your questions or concerns in the comments below!


Tony HowellTony Howell is a master of creating momentum online. After turning a tweet into a 90-minute meeting with Broadway’s leading Director/Choreographer, Tony founded Creative Social Media to teach his proven system for increasing visibility and creating opportunities. Tony is currently on tour with EVITA, but also enjoys teaching social marketing and networking to creative artists around the world.

For more information about working with Tony, visit www.getcreativesocialmedia.com.


27 Responses to “Why You Should Kill Your Fan Page”

  1. Natalie says:

    This is a great article and I always felt that way too. It’s too much work to maintain separate pages.

    Just curious what your thoughts are if you are starring/producing your own interview web show?

    I have a show that I’m producing and I started a Fan page for that. But I like the idea of “killing it”. :-)

  2. Tony Howell says:

    Hey Natalie – Tony here!

    I checked out your webpage! Unless “Natalie Kim” is doing the interviews, I’d suggest you keep a page for “Inked TV”.

    Your show (business) needs a page for fans to engage with. If your show is just you (person), you could kill the page.

    Regardless of the path you choose (and we can discuss this further), fill your posts with engaging social MEDIA – exclusive photos and videos. Give the posts a personal voice – people want to connect with YOU. Help them know you, like you and trust you!

    You can learn more about me by clicking my name or visiting http://www.getcreativesocialmedia.com!

  3. I like the logic behind this post, but there is one small wrinkle to your theory. Facebook only allows you to have 5,000 friends on regular profile page. They do not put a cap on the number of likes on a fan page. Also there ways to interact with group messages on fan pages that are forbidden by Facebook. Mass messages of a regular profile page will trigger Facebook’s spam alert and likely cause your account to be frozen. And then there are the many advantages of the free metrics that Facebook provides to owners of fan pages so that they can see which types of posts are most popular.

  4. Katelyn Collins says:

    You know what … I think you’re right! This really struck a chord and I’m finding myself agreeing with this entirely. I think I’ll strongly consider making the switch (once I can emotionally let go of my ol’ FB page). Thanks for pointing this out to all of us!

  5. This article is full of great information. The only problem I see at the moment is that Facebook profile pages only allow you up to 5,000 whereas Fan Pages are unlimited. I’m over the 3,000 mark and I have thought about getting rid of my Fan Page, but what happens in 2,000 more people reaches the 5,000 limit? I would have to start the page back up from scratch again….I’m comfortable with my 500+ fans at the moment and continue to rise a wee bit everyday. My stats however read that I do reach a total between 2,500-3,000 every week, so I know I’m doing something right =)

  6. I understand all the points made in this article, but I have to respectfully disagree. I have a fairly small amount of facebook friends because I use it extensively to keep in touch with close friends and family, and frankly, I don’t want ‘fans’ that I don’t know personally to have access to that information! I really like having a separate page because I can interact with people who, for example, just saw me in a show and want to share their experience, without compromising my privacy – the separation makes me feel a lot more secure online. As a young female in a fairly public industry, I’ve dealt with my fair share of harassment both on and offline, and my Page allows me to have a presence on Facebook while still guarding against that crap.

    And also, maybe I’m in the minority here, and maybe this is a fairly old-fashioned idea, but I don’t subscribe to this current idea that you have to share everything about your life to be interesting to the public. Sharing a lot about your work is different – that’s essential. But I don’t think we should feel obligated to make our entire lives a performance. You have to have a life that’s separate from your work to stay sane and happy in this business. But I suppose in the end, it’s all about your comfort level, and how much you want to share and like sharing. I’ve always been a fairly private person, but the ideas outlined in this article might work really well for more outgoing people. Good food for thought.

  7. Kim says:

    Welp… I begrudgingly agree, so… Here goes nothing!!! :) Thanks for reminding me of what I felt instinctively but was thoroughly resisting: Creating ONE ‘brand image’ by TRUSTING that “I AM ENOUGH.” <3

  8. Tony Howell says:

    Hey all! Tony (author) popping in again.

    Social media is as subjective as casting. I LOVE that there are people who are disagreeing and explaining why. I tried to cover all of my bases in this article–but it’s impossible.

    Fan Pages are necessary for some–whether for privacy or true crowd control. If you have a Page on Facebook, I’d invite you to check out “5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Facebook Page” by clicking my name below.

    Thanks for engaging + sharing.
    (((( <3 ))))

  9. Numi says:

    So that whole course some of us did with Therese Cator that talked intensely about creating an FB fan page is futile?

    • Dallas Travers says:

      Hi there, Numi! Social Media is an ever-changing landscape. So, though fan pages were beneficial in the past that’s not really the case any longer. Now, thanks to FB’s subscriber option and the elimination of landing pages, you can simplify your FB life by just having a profile.

  10. Dallas Travers says:

    Kristine, all you have to do is enable followers or subscribers on your profile and then you have a limitless number of followers if you like. Check out Oprah’s FB profile. She does not have a fan page and instead enables followers.

  11. Ace Marrero says:

    First, thanks for what you do! :))

    This is what I shared on Facebook after a friend, Dennis, shared the article.

    Interesting. And I can’t believe I am saying this, considering how active I am on social media, I can’t say I agree though.

    First of all, I think in this business people take for granted how important it is to have a life OUTSIDE of the business. The things you recharge with, look forward to, and to help you realize and value there are always bigger things out there. The minute you lose a loved one, for example, in that moment, what else matters, really?

    I will admit, that where Facebook is concerned, I’m one of those people that is too confused, bothered and just plain, can’t keep up with every privacy change they modify, every 5 minutes. But I’m ok with that. Dennis you for example have a little one, yea?
    Sure you can sit there and modify your settings or do whatever it is that people need to do, to keep a specific post or picture private– but if it’s a page that from the jump is more limited, you don’t have to waste that time THERE, and you can use it in other areas. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes of modifying a setting, it’s still something. (And Dennis, I hope you get I’m just using you as an example as someone I value that clearly has a life outside of the “biz”).

    I realize it’s a personal preference.

    I know for me, it takes me back to when my younger cousins, or kids of friends of mine, want to add me– I don’t do it. For me Facebook is still very much a connection to peers I have grown up with, went to school with or worked with, and we all know the stuff that can be said. As much as Facebook can be in pain for EXTRA opinions at time, I still value that it can be a sounding board for some great discussions (example this) or just to post something stupid and idiotic. And I enjoy that freedom. I feel that anyone that is a friend of mine on Facebook clearly gets a solid example of who I am, and I’m open to the idea of potential employers or what have you getting that same access, but the more I modify and have to keep THAT in mind, the more it’s not about me, and I’m having to consider “who is reading it.”

    At it’s core, for me, if someone adds me, I’ll do my own research if I don’t know them, and make my decision, but it never alters how I post, what I post.

    Plus, with the millions of other social media areaa I navigate like twitter, Instagram and so on, people can get more than their fair share of “my world” without me having to start mixing more business with pleasure on Facebook.

    I just think we GIVE so much in this business, in ALL areas of our lives, that it’s ok, to save some cookies in the jar. Less is more? Leave them wanting more? Something I’m sure fits here..

    Just my two cents.

  12. Laurel Vail says:

    I agree With Ace.

    I do use a million lists in my actual account to decide if certain posts should go out to professional friends, to family, etc. Some things I don’t want my niece to read! It’s taken forever, but I have a good system of defining how a I know a person and what sort of thing I might want to hide from who. But I only want to have people I actually know in real life there.

    That being said, I also use a multi-posting site (hootsuite) if I want to say something that is just totally public, so it’s no additional work to juggle a page and a profile. I still respond to comments on the page, so strangers can hear from me.

    FB is blocked at my job, but Twitter is not, so that’s a place where friends and fans alike can find me all the time.

  13. Erik Mueller says:

    Thanks Tony. I’ve been coming to that conclusion myself lately. I get a lot more engagement on my Profile than my Page. But I’m not sure I want to get rid of my Page and lose 1,094 Likes. I wish there were a way to convert these Page Likes into Followers of my Profile. The question has been asked, but there is no answer yet:

  14. Laura Wilson says:

    I agree with Ace 1000%. The winnowing, calibrating, remembering to use certain blocks and restrictions for certain people EVERY time you post because you’re using your private Facebook account for the public? Good grief. Keeping up with every tweak to the privacy policy that Facebook makes? You’d need to hire a lawyer to do it right. Opening up your personal account to the public in any way when privacy hacking software is proliferating? Celebrities have had their careers ruined by a comment being taken out of context when made in the public arena. Nobody should have to watch their every word and thought; it’s humanly impossible. So gleefully rushing to look like “I’m completely open to you” is just creating other problems. Our society and the “biz” have become distorted by the “reality stars”. That’s not real life and the more we try to conform to their world, the sadder it will be. “Reality stars” HAVE to constantly spew every tiny detail of their lives because they lack real talent (or even training). A constant stream of personal gossip and personal high drama scenarios is how they grab people; it’s all they’ve got to offer. To me, it just looks desperate. As if they have LAM LAM LAM* disease (*Look At Me). On top of that, I have seen PUA blogs advising men how to pick up a girl through “friending” on Facebook and — here’s the important part — they admit that it won’t be effective if you’re on her fan page. They’re targeting and trying to worm their way onto your private page and admitting themselves that your fan page serves as a protection against their tactics. So if a man wants to kill his fan page, that might not open him up to any pestering or cyberstalking because he’s simply not the target that a beautiful woman is. Unfair? Sure, but so is life. Add to all of this the fact that there is a lot of creepy low-life out there (male AND female) and it’s enough of an emotional stress to deal with and block those types off of a public page. Having them trying to pull shenanigans on your private page feels too much like having your house robbed. Some people couldn’t care less; good for them. Some people don’t want to think of these possibilities, it’s too scary for them; that’s understandable. But that simply means that any advice to “expose yourself more, MORE” needs to be taken with a serious grain of salt. No offense intended to anyone. I simply see this approach as putting some people at unnecessary risk. Plus I really resent what the “reality stars” have done to this art form, including the elimination of quality presentations because they would be more expensive to produce than “reality” shows. Just my 2 cents. We all make our own decisions.

  15. Michael says:

    Tony, I really like this idea and actually had been thinking of doing just this for the past year as most of my working actor friends use just their profile page over a fan page and receive much more interaction. However, I would like to transfer my posts and images, etc from my fan page to my profile, as my fan page has been my main source of acting related posts. Is there any way to do this? Thank you!

  16. The whole fan page thing is a problem…but, as a visual artist, it is my understanding that one cannot “sell” on one’s profile, but can do so on the fan page. Also, the fan page gives one all kinds of analytics tools, promotion options, etc…In my case, I don’t have that many “friends” (when did 260 become a small #?) nor fans (175) and it seems like pulling teeth to get people to Like my fan page…the whole thing is annoying…but if it leads to a sale, I won’t complain. In 2009 I thought FB made no sense, but when I got on it someone from my past immediately connected and bought work. Sadly, all the ads, fan page posts, etc. have not lead to the same since YET! But I do hold out hope. Oh, and for the record, I do not know about half of my “fans” and neither are they my “friends” yet although it would probably be clever of me to “friend” them…if I could even discover who all of them are.

  17. Sarah Sido says:

    I love this. Thank you Tony and Dallas for presenting this point of view. And I love it from the point of view of a friend, something that I think has been missing from the conversation. I see people both here and some other places this has been talked about saying, “I love my fan page”. But do your “fans” love your fan page? Or are they really your friends who have felt pressured to like your page? If I’m your friend, I love you and believe in you, but I feel a tiny twinge of resentment that I now need to like your page. I do it, of course, but I am so much less likely to share your news about your film/show/webseries from your fan page than I am from your personal page. It’s not conscious even, but in one case I’m your friend helping you spread the news, in the other I feel I’ve been demoted to a “fan”.

    I understand the privacy concerns, but the time it takes to set up various groups and settings is far less than the time to run an entirely separate page well. And when you are on a network show and have tens of thousands of fans, yeah, maybe then a fan page will be justified. Until then it really isn’t. My most famous friends use facebook as described in this article.

    I’m relieved, frankly. I was feeling such pressure to create one despite the fact that I hate them. Thanks!

  18. Dallas Travers says:

    I want to give a huge shout out to everyone who shared their take on Tony’s article. All great perspectives and I hope you can find what works best for you.

  19. Caesar Samayoa says:

    I love this article Tony. It just makes sense. I too have noticed that the majority of my most famous and active friends on social
    media just keep a profile. I also took the social media power players course a couple of years ago and while having a separate page was recommended at that point in time – it does feel like things have changed. As for privacy, I’m also a huge believer in the notion that if you are uncomfortable with anyone at all reading or learning something about you that you are posting, it just doesn’t belong online. There are just too many instances of people in a position of hiring you digging up your personal posts regardless of privacy settings and actually making decisions based in them. Regardless, the cool thing is that as artists, our career paths are absolutely unique to us. No one has the same trajectory. So why can’t the same notion be true for social media? If having a page or profile is absolutely working for you. Rock on in success!!!!

  20. Polly says:

    Thanks for this. Quick question, if I allow followers, do I then have to make those status updates, etc. public for followers to see?

  21. Susan says:

    I am intrigued by this idea. I find that I rarely post anything super private on Facebook anyway. I just don’t trust it to stay private no matter how many restrictions are put on it. I use email between my friends and family for my truly private conversations. If I produce a show or a film though, I would def create a FB page for that … to promote the production and be a central location for news and updates.

  22. Hi Tony and Dallas,

    Really love this post as it articulates what I’ve been feeling about having two Facebook presences for some time, especially since one uses my real name and the other my stage name. Hard not to feel that one is really me and the other is a persona. Any advice on communication (message, frequency of posts, lead time) to my “likes” to invite them to friend my profile before I shut down my page?



  23. […] more people in the theater industry are taking to social media as a self-marketing tool. There’s a great piece by Tony Howell about why that’s important. In one sense, it boils down to a perceived connection: “Your […]

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