Should you use a Facebook Profile or Facebook Page for your Notre Dame Program, Department or College?

RecSports on Facebook
RecSports is using Facebook Pages correctly

Recently, I’ve been getting asked about Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Profiles.

Back in the day, many people started using Facebook Profiles for their program, department or college. This might have been before Facebook had created Pages or it was when Pages were still pretty sparse for business help.

Since then Facebook has made lots of changes – big changes to help businesses and schools really use their Pages effectively.

Now Facebook is making it clear that profiles are now only for individuals and pages are for business.

Both have different features.

Programs, depts, and colleges are only allowed to open pages NOT profile. If they have a profile or try to open a profile page, they are in direct violation of TOS. Which could get them suspended.

Facebook pages allow other users to become fans, but access to the individual profile pages are limited.

Facebook pages do not allow the ability to invite friends (but groups do) – pages cannot maintain a friends list – they can only maintain a fan list. But there are a lot of advantages to this fan list.

Pages do allow updating your status (which gets shared with your fans)

Facebook pages allow: pictures, videos, discussion board, application, wall posts, groups and other interactive elements along with writing things in FBML (Facebook Mark-up Language).

This is from a section on Facebook’s official policy (on difference between profile and pages):

Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization. We have created Facebook Pages to allow organizations to have a presence on Facebook. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and optimized for an organization’s needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fan’s recommendations to their friends. Facebook Pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence for any artist, business or brand.

If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use.

Facebook’s policy in terms of how business can use their pages:

All personal site features, such as friending and messaging, are also for personal use only and may not be used for professional promotion. If you add a user as a friend, for example, this person will be invited to be a friend of your profile and not your Page. Using personal site features for professional promotion, or creating unauthorized Pages, may result in your account being warned or disabled.

Here are the biggest benefits of your Facebook Fan page.

  • Multiple Admins: You don’t have to log into a specific Facebook profile to control the page. Pages can have multiple admins that could all be posting as the admin on the page. And you can logged in as yourself on Facebook instead of logging in as the program, dept, or college profile.
  • Unlimited Fans: Facebook Profiles are limited to 5000 friends. Now that may seem far off but if you keep growing the profile you will have issues if Facebook lowers the limit.
  • Easy to Remember URL: You can have a personal URL for the page like (big thanks to Brad Ward from Blue Fuego who helped us secure this URL). This helps for remembering the name and for Search Engine Optimization with the search engines.
  • Fan Interaction Analytics: You can see what people are doing on the page with Facebook Insights.
  • Blast Emails: You can email all your fans at one time.
  • Likes on other web pages: You can add Facebook Like buttons to your website so people can like your website and get connected with page.
  • Businesses Drive Facebook: Facebook is constantly adding new features to the Page system. More benefits for businesses adds more advertising dollars in their pocket. They are not doing this to profiles and in fact are shutting down “fake” profiles that businesses have set up. Profiles are for people not businesses.

The hard thing to do is to move everyone off the Facebook profile to the Page. Right now, you should be encouraging everyone to move over as soon as possible and “like” the facebook fan pages.

By the way, people doing it right on campus are my friends at Center for Social Concern, Irish Studies and RecSports.  Take lessons from them.


  1. Great article on this. I’ve written about it a few times myself. You really captured the issues here very well for the college community. SALUTE!

    Gina Carr

    1. Don Schindler Avatar
      Don Schindler

      Thanks, Gina. I really appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for the post, Don. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to answer this question over the past two years. I will use this as a quick and easy guide in the future.

    Quick question: For a university department/unit and in your experience, what has been the ideal recommended number of posts per week that will continue to engage its “fans” without overwhelming them?

    I see RecSports does a couple week, the CSC averages probably about one while Irish Studies seems sporadic at best with huge gaps in between. I’m curious about your thoughts.

    1. Don Schindler Avatar
      Don Schindler

      @Ricky – I think it is different for each one of your pages. If you are providing relevant information, then fans will come. Check out Notre Dame Alumni too. I can’t believe I missed them. Josh Stowe even retweeted me. I don’t think you should be worried about losing fans when it comes to information. The more you provide, the better off you are. People can always “hide” you if you are driving them crazy. A couple per day is what I would recommend starting out. But don’t say anything if you’ve got nothing to say. As @oaknd1 always says, “No social media is better than bad social media.”

  3. Thanks for the quick response!

    Would love your feedback

    Hopefully we crack the top 10!

  4. I am so glad to have a clear explanation of the “how” of Facebook for an ND college, but could you also help me out with the “why”? That’s the issue we are struggling with. Also, could you tell me what you think about individuals within a department or college starting Facebook pages for individual events or programs as opposed to a single page with information about all of those things in one place?

  5. Thanks Don. I was talking to a colleague about this just the other day and I’m glad to be able to point him to this post.

  6. Don Schindler Avatar
    Don Schindler

    @sean – I hope it helps, Sean.

    @lisa – I’ll have a post up tomorrow for this.

  7. Hi Don. Great post. Although the post is still relevant, viz a vie the difference, FB has made some major changes since this post. I cover the latest October 1 SSL update in my post on what is the SSL Facebook security update in October 2011. Look forward to more informative posts on the subject

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