Monday, October 10, 2011

Facebook as Promo

Authors are encouraged to establish an "online presence" these days, and that typically consists of some combination of a Facebook page, Twitter, and a blog (not always all three).

I think Facebook is the most difficult of those three to do well, because it takes a lot of effort to maintain the multiple types of media (photos, videos, wall posts) needed to make a Facebook page seem active, and also because it's hard to find the tipping point where your fans start engaging with your page and sharing it, which gives you viral marketing, which is where Facebook outpaces all other social media platforms.

How have you been using Facebook, if you have. What's been the best and worst part? Are there any Facebook pages that you think are really getting it right?


  1. I have a business FB page for my soft-sculpture art (automatically implying photos along with the text, of course, which may make it apples to oranges, rather than apples to apples when it comes to using it as an author platform), and while I'm not all that active, I did use it this past Friday to sell a new four minutes. Cuh-razy. Totally eliminated the labor of ebay, etsy, or real-world shelf space.

    That ridiculously fast sale tells me that while my viewers may not be vocal, they watch, and teaser posts work well, as long as personality posts go along with the marketing posts now and then.

  2. When I had an FB account, I set up an Author page that automatically pulled posts from my blog. My original intention was to put the content on FB directly, but a lawyer I knew advised that I wouldn't own the content if I did.

    As far as I could see, if you're starting out, you need to have a personal presence on FB that you can use to drive/point to your pro-page. It can be done, but it's more promo work. I'd rather drive people to my blog.

  3. I do it all - Facebook, Twitter, blog, Tumblr, etc. - and Facebook is much more personal in that most of the people you interact with are friends (or at least friends of friends). Having said that, I think the new feature allowing a person to 'subscribe' to another's feed, someone they might not know personally, will be a boon to this sort of self-promotion.

  4. Let's extract my point, so my comment about eliminating "the labor of ebay, etsy, or real-world shelf space" doesn't seem that I'm likening it to not needing an agent in the case of a writer--NO! Agents = partners = GOOD. The over-thinking fairy may have visited me, but I don't want that to be misconstrued.

    Back to FB, I think that if we put the time and effort into it and find the sweet spot of "doing it right," it helps with legwork, and gets us out there to possibly endless people all in one shot in a way I don't yet think Twitter's soundbites can. As Richard said, too, the new subscribing feature (and that ticker that many people hate) may just yield even greater possibilities! But even a small following, that may not always be vocal, has lurkers who pay attention, who share without you always knowing and get you business on the back end. Even those few are important and worth nurturing.

    Who wants to see endless commercials, though--there *has* to be a personality mixed in with the promotion, in order to get a buzz. In terms of an author FB page, I think one way to get pictures (at least for a few postings) and other things of interest up may be to take a page from Hannah Moskowitz' blog, when she posted pictures of places and playlists, along with personal backstory, of what inspired certain scenes in her book, Invincible Summer. As a reader, that was a great intimate-feeling connection that didn't expose Hannah's personal life *too* much; as a writer, I know I have passion and fun backstories about the places and songs that bounced my ideas out, and I love to share them--can't get easier to be personal and real with that. Like the "Easter eggs" planted in movies, I think fans feel special when they know something the general population may not, and feeling special means coming back for more.

    Before I unravel into babbling, I'll end part 2 of my 2 cents. ;)

  5. Keep in mind, too, that we're talking about a PAGE (click the Like button), not PROFILE (click the friend button).

    Profile's aren't as effective as Pages because access is limited to those people you allow to friend you (accept the request).

    On the pages I curate, we frequently have 20 or more people Like the page DAILY. If I were having to check back every 30 minutes to accept all of those, it would be a nightmare.

    Set up a Page (Like button) right from the start (there's a link to do so at the bottom of the log-in page). If you gain a large following through a Profile (with the friend button) there's no way to transfer that audience to your Page (Like button). I've seen many frustrated by that fact.

  6. I think a page is a must-have on Facebook and I've got one for a newspaper column I write - that's the column's page. But for an unpublished novelist to have a page for him/herself seems a little premature. Should someone who is unpublished set one up in the hopes of being published?

  7. Even though I'm not published I do have an author page set up, and already have a small following(YAY!). Admittedly, I only update it once a month with a link to the blog I contribute to and that's it.

    I prefer using Twitter to interact with my favorite authors and people who follow me. It's less work and easier to get content out there, imho.

    And I agree with Meredith. It is a pain to get people to switch. There are quite a few authors I know who are still maintaining two facebook pages (one a profile) because their fans won't move.

  8. Good for you, Marquita! And I'm also a Twitter lover, but there are some people who can't stand it. It depends where you're comfortable. Social media has to be sincere, so go with your gut.

    Someday, someone will probably force you to get on the platforms you dislike, but hopefully by then you're big enough that someone will manage it for you. :)

  9. Richard, yes! You should start building your brand as early as possible.

  10. Meredith, now Facebook does have the thing where it'll switch your friends to fans if you create a page. I recently did this and it worked pretty well. I can't remember where I found the info on the FB help forum itself, but there's a blog post that mentions it here:

    I have never liked Facebook (that's an understatement) but was at least pleased by how easy it turned out to be, turning a profile into a page.

  11. What a timely post. I just started up my Facebook writer page yesterday, and I can see its potential. As I do a lot of travel writing and photography on my main blog (not related to my novel-writing) I am planning on making it a conduit for that content.

    I realized a while back that nobody needs yet another writer writing about writing and so I am concentrating instead on the content I do best on the web, and I'm overhauling everything toward that goal.


  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. @Sue

    You should check out my post here for more on author blogs and what to blog about!