Christina Stratton Miss Missouri OT with young fan.

Suddenly it’s all the rage for every single titleholder to have an individual titleholder Facebook fan page. As a titleholder, you may feel this is a great way to promote yourself and your platform. As a director, you might think this helps promote your pageant and encourages contestants to enter. But before you jump on the fan page bandwagon, stop and ask yourself, “Do you need a titleholder fan page?” To help you answer that question, here are 3 factors to consider before you set up a fan page.

1. Personal Profile vs Fan Page

The first step to deciding if you need a fan page is to understand the difference between a personal profile and a fan page. A Facebook personal profile is a personal account where you can add friends and share information, photos, videos. You can only have one personal profile. (Unless you have multiple email addresses with multiple profiles, but that’s a discussion for another time.) You can connect with family, friends, other contestants, and pageant staff with a personal profile.

The main advantage of a personal profile is that it’s easy to add friends. And your friends will automatically receive your posts in their feed (unless they’ve turned off notifications.) Plus, a personal profile has privacy features that allow you to adjust who does, and who does not see your posts. (A fan page must be public.) The disadvantage of a personal profile is that you’re limited to 5000 friends. Once you hit 5000 you have to delete current friends to add new friends. And let’s face it, deleting friends is a tiny bit awkward.

A Facebook fan page is a page that businesses, organizations, celebrities, and political figures use to represent themselves. You create the page and then send invitations so that people can like and follow your page. Approximately 25-30% of the people that you send an invitation to will take the time to follow your page.

The advantages of a fan page include unlimited followers and the ability to purchase ads to promote your posts. So if you need unlimited followers and would like to purchase ads a fan page is the perfect choice.

The biggest complaint people have about fan pages has to do with the way Facebook handles fan page posts. Unfortunately, your followers will not always see your posts in their feed – even if they’ve signed up for notifications. Facebook is constantly changing the algorithms for delivering posts to fan page followers. This is how Facebook generates income. If you can never be sure that your followers will see an important post, you’re more likely to purchase an ad. So a common frustration with fan pages is the challenge of making sure your followers actually see, and like, your posts.

2. Consider Likely Number of Followers

Another important decision point is to consider your likely number of followers. The important number to remember here is 5000. If you currently have less than 4000 friends, you may want to stick with your personal profile. You’re not in danger or exceeding the limit and your followers will see your posts. If you’ve hit the 4500 friend mark and are still sending and accepting friend requests, creating a fan page might be a smart move.

Now, I know what you’re going to say, “My director wants me to create a titleholder fan page.” Unfortunately, this is not the best strategy. Every time you create a new titleholder fan page you’re starting from zero fans. Then you send out invitations to friends and hope that everyone clicks like to follow your page. If you’re really marketing your fan page well, you might get as many as 500 followers during your year. But then when your year is up, that fan page is no longer relevant. You either delete or abandon it and create a new fan page for our next title. It’s easy to see that with this strategy you’re constantly starting over and never really getting any traction.

The best practice for a titleholder fan page is for the director to create a page for the title without the year at the end. For example, Miss Fabulous instead of Miss FAbulous 2018. Each time a new titleholder is crowned, the former titleholder no longer posts on the fan page and the new titleholder takes over.  This way, each new titleholder is not starting from scratch in building followers. The new titleholder inherits all of the fans currently following the page and then she continues to build the base.

This is a great way for pageants to build a large following for their titleholders. It’s easier for each titleholder and if a pageant has a large following on their titleholder page, more contestants will be interested in competing for that title. The Miss America and Miss USA pageants use this strategy at the national level and several of the states do as well. A “rotating” titleholder page is a best practice within pageantry.

If you don’t believe that you are likely to have a lot of followers and your director has not created a titleholder page, you may prefer to promote your title on your personal profile. Then you won’t be frustrated by trying to build a fan base and making sure that your posts show up in their feed. Just like a fan page, you can post pics of your activities and demonstrate your ability to promote that title. Your friends will like your posts and leave supportive comments as they follow your year. If the judges check out your social media (which some pageants are now requesting) they will see all your posts as well as the likes and comments on each post. A high number of likes and comments on your personal profile is much more impressive than just one or two likes on an individual titleholder fan page.

So how do you handle the transition from title to title on your personal profile? After you crown your successor and move on to your next title, just post a pic in your new crown and sash and announce your new title. Your friends will now be able to follow and support you for the next year. Because that’s what friends do. This way you’re getting your posts in the feed, you’re getting likes and comments, and you don’t have to start from scratch everytime you win a new title.

3. Consider Privacy

A final factor you may wish to consider is the issue of privacy. We’ve all heard horror stories about the negative consequences of ill-advised posts on social media. You can lose friends, get tons of hate mail, and even lose your title. If you like to post a lot of personal information, including pics of every guy you’ve dated in the last year, the reasons why you broke up with them, and then an unrelated rant about someone who cut you off while driving on the freeway, you may need to limit who sees your personal profile.

So, you can go with one of three options to ensure personal privacy. One option would be to create two different profiles with two different email addresses and use one profile for personal posts and the other profile for titleholder posts. (Make sure you don’t get your posts mixed up.) The second option is to create a fan page with your name that will cover any current and future titles and up the privacy settings on your personal profile so that you’re really just operating on your fan page. Or you can use your personal profile for personal and pageant posts. In this case, make sure you carefully monitor what you post.

Using Facebook to promote yourself as a contestant and titleholder can sometimes be confusing. The important thing to remember is that, yes, you’re promoting your title, but you should not be promoting your title at a personal cost to yourself. If promoting the title on a titleholder page works for you, then go for it. If it doesn’t work for you, flash your best pageant smile and politely decline. After all, pageants are for learning life skills and empowering women. Not bullying contestants and titleholders into posting every 5 seconds to promote the director’s pageant. So, consider the factors, decide on a strategy and move forward.

You’re going to be FABulous!

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