Too often people look down their noses at Facebook and dismiss this potentially powerful marketing tool. If you are a writer trying to build your platform, you cannot afford to not be using Facebook.
In this final article on Facebook for Writers, I am going to talk first about the components of Facebook that you will want to use and second about the way you will use your Facebook writers platform.
The Components of a Facebook Writers Platform
There are several components to a well rounded Facebook presence. Do not make the mistake of beginning and ending with a personal Facebook Profile. If you use no other components for your platform, you will use the Facebook Page. This is where you invite your fans to follow you and promote yourself. An optional but incredibly powerful component is the Group. Groups are about giving to the community, which has a great potential to enhance your platform. Each one has a very specific use and must be used properly.
The Profile is your personal page. That doesn’t mean you have to share personal things on your profile however. The people you add as friends is also up to you, but they should be people you know, are close to you, and who you want to maintain a more personal connection with. This is not the appropriate place to add fans unless you have developed a personal relationship with them.
The people you add as friends are going to be your support group. The pool of people you can draw from to get your platform off the ground. They could be your mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, and dear friends. Then, depending on how much you are going to share on your Profile and how much you want to share with these people, you may also add more casual friends and acquaintances, more distant relatives, co-workers, colleagues, agents, editors, publishers, business associates. If you have a relationship with a local bookstore owner for example it may be beneficial for you to bring them into this inner fold. It is best to decide first what level of personal sharing you plan to do, then decide what level of relationship you want to allow to see what you share.
Now that you have your Facebook Profile you have laid your foundation. The next step will be to create your public face, the Page. Your Facebook Author Page will be the main structure of your platform on Facebook. The people you added as friends on your Profile will now earn their keep by becoming your cheering section. When you first create your Page it will be practically invisible to the rest of the world. To start building your “likes” and getting your Page noticed, you will draw upon your friends.
At this point I encourage you to be shameless. There are some people who will immediately like your page and give you all of their support. Then there are others who are less impulsive and more conservative about those things. Most of those people just need prodding. When you send the invitation to your friends to like your Page, its a good idea to add a little note specifically telling them that you are looking for their support. If they still don’t “like” your Page, you don’t need to give up just yet. Wait a while and then invite them again. Or target them with a private message. I ended up cajoling my brother into “liking” my fan page by posting to my Profile that he was the only one who had not.
As you are building your likes, work on your profile. Fully flesh out your Author Page with all the information you want your fans to know. MAke sure to add photos of yourself. In your basic information I recommend you fill out two fields in particular. The “about” field will show on the top of your Page under your photo, the perfect place for a tag line like “Nature lover, Mother of Three, Writer.” The “biography” will be found by visitors clicking the “About” link and is where you can give a more detailed description of who you are. Add contact information, especially the website information. You want them to be able to find your other websites, other social media profiles, your books on Amazon, etc. The rest of the details are up to you, but adding interests like “fiction writing” may make your page more searchable.
A really great feature of the Page is to create a custom url. This will make it easier to put on a business card or for someone to remember. For example my custom url is http://facebook.com/amandajunehagartyfans. Go to http://facebook.com/username to choose the name you wish to set.
The Page is usually limited to interactions you generate as the Page owner. The Group is a dynamic social setting where many people, interested in a specific thing, can share a wide variety of media, chat, post events, etc.
Where your Page is about promoting yourself, the Group is all about giving. Never use a Group for blatant promotion. That is not to say you are not gaining promotion by creating or participating in a Group, but this should happen organically as a by-product of your activities there.
The giving aspect of a group is not about giving things, but about giving of yourself. The more relevant it is to your writing, the more useful it will be to your platform. For example, I have moved around a bit in recent years and I always have a hard time finding other writers in a new area. So when I moved to Northwest Washington I started a Networking Group for local writers called the Bellingham and Whatcom Writers Network.
You can start a Group or join one. The important thing is to give something of yourself to others by your participation.
Using your Facebook Writers Platform
Use it or lose it! This saying applies double for Facebook, as well as any other social media. The key word here is social. Being social is about interactions. Your social presence is only as good as your most recent interactions. If you stayed in your house, never visited friends and ignored them when they came and knocked on your door, your friends would go on about their lives and forget about you. In the realm of Internet marketing this will happen at an accelerated rate.
Posts, Comments and Likes
You don’t ever have to post on your Profile if you don’t want to, just keep in mind that a little bit of interaction with your cheering section will spur them to cheer louder. Your Page, however, will need constant and consistent attention. The Group will only need as much participation as you feel necessary.
Don’t limit yourself to just posting text. Facebook users love communication that includes pictures, links and videos. Keep in mind that you can make posts as yourself (your Profile self), or as your Page. The default, for the posts you make on your Page, is that they will show as coming from your Page. You can change this in the settings. You can also post as your Page, in general, on Facebook. There is a drop down menu in the top right where you can choose to “Use Facebook As…”
Your Facebook Page is your platform for self promotion; post anything fresh, new and relevant about yourself. Post a link to each new blog post as they come out. Post an event if you are doing a reading at the local bookstore. Post a link to the Amazon page for your brand new book. Post a link to an article about you or a review of your book. When you don’t have something self promoting to post about, keep it going by posting something thoughtful or interesting that your fans might appreciate. This will also keep you from sounding like a broken record stuck on “me me me.” When posting be diligent and consistent, keep it current, relevant and interesting.
Posting is important, but comments and “likes” are where the interactions happen. Interactions are the pot of gold you are looking for. A successful platform is not about you Telling people how great you are, its about you Showing people how great you are and a great way to do that is by engaging them. The more you respond to their comments–the more you encourage their input and opinion–the more effective you will be at engaging them.
Influence and Reach
Influence is the power behind social media. You can have influence if you appear knowledgeable, or hold a position of authority or celebrity, but the strongest influence is that of recommendation. People look to their friends and peers to tell them what to pay attention to on Facebook.
Reach is the miracle that social media creates. Reach is how far your message can travel through the social mediaverse based on who is following you, and who is following the people following you, and who is following them and so on. Reach is what people are talking about when they use the term “viral.”
The “Share” is the ultimate expression of Influence and Reach. When someone “Shares” something you posted with their friends, they have added the weight of their recommendation to it, and they have also increased how far your message will travel. When something “goes viral” it means it has been shared an exponential number of times.
Engaging your fans makes them feel great and they become more co-operative–they become more receptive to your requests that they “Share” a link. When you provide them with interesting and exciting posts, they are more likely to “Share” spontaneously. Remember that the true value of a fan is not in how many books they buy, but how much influence and reach they add to your platform.
My final advice is to reciprocate, and encourage reciprocation, every chance you get. If someone posts something worth sharing then “Share” it. When you click “Share,” the top left of the window has a drop down that let’s you choose to share it on your own timeline (your personal Profile) or on that of your Page. When you “like” pages you can also choose to “add to my Page’s Favorites.” Don’t be afraid to let people or other Pages know the favor you did for them. Make a comment: “I am going to share this with my fans” and give the link to your Page. Or send them a message: “Hey I love your Page, I added it to my Page’s favorites” and again give the link. They won’t mind. They will be flattered and feel great. They will probably reciprocate by following your page.
This article only brushes the very surface of Facebook marketing. It is more than enough to get you started building your authors platform on Facebook. From there I encourage you to explore all the other ways you can utilize Facebook to expand your platform. I hope that, if you were hesitant about Facebook before, my little series has encouraged you to give it a try. I firmly believe that no writers platform on the web should be without it.
Are you a writer with a Facebook Page and need more “Likes?” Post a link to your page in the comments below, and I will “Like” your Page. Everyone pitch in and “Like” each others Pages so we can all boost our following.