Author Social Media Facebook
Facebook is the most popular website (based on visit stats), with over 750 million users it’s an important site when it comes to marketing and promotion. Ignoring that fact isn’t going to help your reach your audience, but how can you use Facebook meaningfully? Again, I refer back to my main article about creating your brand: you need to know your message in order to properly speak it. So here are a few things to remember when deciding how to approach Facebook.
You have two basic choices when it comes to Facebook. You can create a basic profile as an author, or you can choose to create a fan page. There are benefits and disadvantages to both, and I’m going to try to put the information in an easy to read and decide format. I advocate a hybrid approach to Facebook, which is working for me, but again, this is only opinion, so perhaps some of you readers might have a different take on it, and I’d love to hear them in the comments. But here’s my strategy when it comes to Facebook. Start with a basic profile page, use it to gain followers and fans. Once you’ve got some recognition, then you can use a Facebook Group and Fan Page combination to keep your fans engaged.
Fan pages work best for Authors who have fans seeking them out
Anyone can create a fan page, so even as an unknown (yet) author you can create a fan page and put it out there for the world to see, but what’s going to motivate someone to seek your fan page out? How are you going to motivate people to like your page if they don’t know you or your work?
Truth is fan pages make sense when you have name recognition, with marketing and publicity outside of Facebook. Even then, unless you’re offering up something compelling or entertaining to share you still shouldn’t expect a ton of fans to come running to find your page. But again, we go back to the owning your name and your brand – if you’re confident that at some point you’re going to be a household name, then grab that Facebook ID now and build a fan page. But let’s be smart about how you’re going to build your fan base on Facebook.
Sure, you’re not a household name… yet. But you will be one day, right, and you want to make sure you’re in control of the message when that time comes. So I advocate a hybrid method. We all have a personal Facebook page – well unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years or are still using a Commodore 64. You have friends, and probably family. There’s no need to cater a fan page to the people that know you. You need to keep your writing and personal lives separate.
Use a Personal Profile Page To Start
I suggest creating a new profile away from any current personal profile you may have. This takes your real life friends and family out of the equation, because let’s be honest, you’re going to make them buy your work anyway – it’s a given, they know, you know, so they don’t need to be reminded. Start fresh and create a profile that shows a more personal side of you, especially to those first followers. You’re just starting out, so no one knows you, consider friending your earliest fans and/or followers with this new personal account. Use lists to manage the privacy; the bonus, you’ll gain loyal readers by giving them what every fan wants… access. You build a loyal base (and reputation) by interacting with your readers early on. Now you’ve found some new readers and can build a fan base for your work
So you have some privacy concerns… well with a new profile, you don’t have your kids pictures, your mom’s home information or links to all the people you went to high school with. Sure your friends and family can add you on the new site, but be clear that this new profile is business, and I recommend you do not add them. Again, they are already buying your work (they just don’t know it yet), so you don’t need them on the new site. If your fan base extends, then you can use this new profile to create that fan page in the future when you have the reputation that demands the “fan” page treatment.
So when do you have that reputation? Personal profiles have a 5,000 friend cap on them, and there is no changing that, so you have a while to think about that. If you’re asking people to like your page, you’re not there. If you have to friend people first to get them to follow, you’re not there. If you went from 200 friends to 2000 overnight, then it’s time to start looking at a fan page. If you’re getting multiple friend requests (let’s say 100 in two days) then it’s time to move to a fan page, or consider a Facebook Group. I strongly advocate the group vs. the fan page – but you can do both. A group page updates all members – even if they have never posted (unless you are muted), a page doesn’t update people who haven’t commented.
Fan Pages Work Best When You Have Content Strategy
The point to a fan page is to be visible. You want people to see you before – during – and after each event or project. When you post an update on your fan page it posts on your fan’s news feed and it’s you dropping in to say hello. So you need to make sure you’re saying hello – I have something interesting to say to you – and not hello – I’m still here. Not having something interesting or entertaining to say is the quickest way to find yourself muted or worse… without followers. Fan pages are great to help people remember you and spread word of mouth about your work, just make sure you’re controlling the message.
- Don’t invite your personal friends or family to like your fan page – unless you’re planning on shutting down your personal profile. People who know you don’t need to hear the message twice – they already know. Tailor your message to your audience – keep your personal life personal and your business life business.
- Don’t post self-promotional comments on other people’s walls. No one likes a Me Me Me attitude.
- Don’t ask everyone on your friend list to market and promote you. This goes back to the keep your lives separate and tailor your message.
- Never blanket invite people to events. Invitations to events should be as select as a party you throw at your house. Don’t invite your friend that lives in Australia to come to Georgia for a book launch. They can’t possibly be there and it’s the quickest way to be unfriended.
- Don’t create events that are “Buy my Book!” events. Really? No, just don’t.
- Don’t create a Facebook group to market and promote your work. And if you do, don’t invite anyone. Seriously, I actually unfriended a real life friend when she added me to her makeup business group. I don’t care, and they won’t either. It’s not their job to market your book.
- If you choose to use only one profile page, make sure to use lists to keep your real friends and family different from your new loyal readers. This will allow you to adjust who sees which message and target them to the right list.
- Make sure you link your Facebook page on your website, promote your Facebook page wherever you’re active online.
- Share! You are unique and interesting, that’s why you’re a writer, so start showing your new fans who you are. Be personable, be open, be honest, but most of all, be respectful.
- Be careful what sites (Twitter, Blogger, Etc.) you link to your profile. Not everyone has or enjoys Twitter, and no one wants to see the feed in your updates. Just like I don’t want a million game requests, I could care less about what you said on Twitter. If I do care, I’ll follow you on Twitter.
- Don’t over-post. Yes, we all have that one friend, that gives you the play-by-play for their day and what their kid just did that was funny, and now they’re going to bed. Seriously, I don’t care that much and I really don’t want to see it.
Some Important Points To Remember
- Fan pages are usually only visited once – when they first follow. After that, most people will get their updates via their news feed. When you log on, you see your news feed, most people don’t go any further than that. In addition, news feeds don’t contain every post from every page. If you’ve done a poor job getting people to interact, only fans that have liked or commented on your page’s posts will see them and you’ll be paying for sponsored stories.
- Using Welcome Tabs (Fan Gates) to gain fans… this only works if you have non-fans going to your page, and honestly, it’s a bit of a turn-of for most people. Plus, they are a waste of time, because no one ever really sees them, most people will like the page from an ad, making them a fan before they even hit the page. Don’t use them, they are annoying.
- Apps are great. The downfall of the app on Facebook is that opt-in page that requires you to share your data with the App. Unless you’re creating some app that’s going to gain mass media coverage for being clever in developing said app, skip it. They don’t create any buzz or engagement – solid content does. Now if you have an app that kills that stupid opt-in page, we can talk…other than that, don’t try to get overly technical.
- You have a fan page, but you forgot to budget for an ad to gain fans. Unfortunately, unless you have a dedicated fan-base sitting at their computers waiting for you to create your page, you’re going to need to advertise. This is the main reason I suggest the profile page route. Facebook ads can range from 1 cent to $1.50 per fan depending on your parameters you set. Facebook has great analytics and their platform is unrivaled. But if you want a page, you need to advertise.
- The Me, Me, Me, oh my goodness it’s ALL about me post. As an individual author, there is a fine line you have to dance between access and holy hell, shut up. Be personable, share great anecdotes; think like you’re at a great cocktail party. No one cares that you chipped your tooth on that sandwich and that you haven’t been outside in days – well maybe your therapist. But if you chipped that tooth eating lunch with a movie star… THAT I want to know.
- You need to communicate effectively with your audience, which means you need to know them. You can’t get responses if you don’t ask for them. You have to be enthusiastic and engage your audience. You want them to talk to you, so give them something to talk to you about. Ask questions, take polls, let them tell you what they want to say. You’ll not only engage your fans, but you’ll give them a personal connection to you.
- Not planning your marketing and setting goals for your page. You should have clear goals for what you want to accomplish with your page, visibility is one thing, but there needs to be a reason for me to come back to your page, and more important, you want me to bring all my friends with me when I do come back.
- The best friend of the Me Me Me – the hard sell. Fans are fans because they have connected with something, and it’s not the price of your book on Amazon. You need to engage, converse and stimulate at least four times as much as you sell, and even that is high for selling. Your fans will buy your new book, they want to read it, so don’t strong arm them into buying. Make your page a place where they can get all the latest information, and don’t forget to make your followers special. A “you can only get a download of this special thing here because you’re a fan” let’s fans know they matter. Your fans need to be wooed, so don’t forget the romance – or much like a romantic relationship, you’ll be alone.
- What do your readers want? They want behind-the-scenes information about your life, your process. Inside scoops on new releases, sales and events. But most important – access and a personal connection.
Hopefully this has helped you see how you can use Facebook to drive traffic to your blog and website, name and brand recognition, and most important, growing your loyal fan-base.
Main Article Social Media – Author Platform
Article 3 – Social Media – Author Platform – Goodreads.com
Article 5 – Social Media – Author Platform – Twitter.com