Social Media… Eeeek!!!

Social media, social networking, marketing, PR, all those terms seem to make authors shudder a little bit. There’s so much to learn and a lot to leverage from gaining an online presence. Where do I even start? That’s the question that I hear so often.  I am going to start at the beginning. And for some of you, this may be very basic information.

Start slowly. It will snowball. My mom used to tell me when I was cleaning, “By the inch it’s a cinch; by the yard it’s hard.”  Social networking happens gradually over time. Gathering a ‘tribe’ takes effort.  It is something that comes with hard work and, most importantly, consistency.

Don’t get frustrated!

I want to start with one specific aspect of social media today: Facebook fan pages. Facebook has changed things up a bit where you can now allow ‘subscribers’ to your personal page. A good example of this is Tim Tebow. Check his personal page out, and you can see that he has 1.6 million subscribers. What is a subscriber you ask?   When you post a status, you can post it so that the Public, Friends, Friend of Friends, or a Custom Group of people can see your updates. Subscribers would be the Custom Group. People are under the impression that this is “good enough.”  Although subscribers are good, there are still more advantages to having a fan page, and most people are not even aware you can subscribe.

Here are a few of the simple basics that a fan page can do, that a regular page can’t:

SEO.  Have you heard people say that? What does it mean?  “’Search Engine Optimization’” is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.  You have more visibility with a “fan page” than with a personal one.”  In easy terms, these pages show up quickly in Google and other search engines because they rank as a higher priority than just a regular Facebook page.

You can have more that 5,000 people on your fan page. Unfortunately, a regular Facebook page tops out at a max of 5,000 people. You say, “I will never get to 5,000 fans.” I say, “Dream BIG!”

People have immediate access to you. No waiting to approve a friendship. Once a fan likes your page, he or she can see all that you have said and done.  Also with a fan page, you can personalize it; it is customizable.  With a little money, you can have a welcome page, a contact form, or unique apps that embed into the page that will make a fan’s experience more of a custom one. Think of a fan page as a second web site to draw attention to your book.

From a fan page you can learn who your followers are and who your target audience is. You can find out their sex, age range, and what country the live in. You automatically have an answer for when an agent or a publisher asks you, “Who is your audience?”

Dedicate 30 minutes a day to social media, and start with your Facebook fan page. It will be worth it, the fans of your book will thank you!

Tell me about your experience with Facebook fan pages. How can you encourage other writers to jump on the Facebook fan page bandwagon?

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28 thoughts on “Social Media… Eeeek!!!

  1. Thanks for a great primer should I ever get on board with Facebook. So far, I’ve done the blogging and Twitter thing, and a little bit with Goodreads, but not Facebook yet. Only so much time in a day. 🙂

    • Did you know you can link all your accounts together? That can reduce the time one spends on social media that day! 🙂

      • I do have Twitter linked to my blog and to Goodreads, but I haven’t found how to get my blog posts on my Goodread profile. Maybe can’t be done with WordPress.com. Thanks!

  2. Perfect timing! An author was asking these very questions today and I said, “I know a brilliant person named Ingrid who can probably answer this….” and now all I have to do is forward her this blog. Thank you!

    • Thanks Becky. You are such a great cheerleader and information gatherer for so many of us!!

  3. I highly recommend a Facebook fan page. Even if you don’t have an agent or a book deal. Like you said, Ingrid, it takes time. Having a Facebook fan page let’s you test a lot of your material. For instance, you can see if people respond more to your posts about parenting or marriage. Make sure and have your blog feed automatically connected to your FB page so whenever you put up a new post, it provides a status update w/ the link.
    Also, include your readers while you’re writing. Just this week I asked what I should name my hero’s horse on my page. I got a lot of reader interaction and some awesome suggestions.
    Make sure you interact at least weekly. You want a relationship and conversation with your readers. And relax, have fun, and be yourself.
    If you’d like to see some examples, here’s my FB link http://www.facebook.com/melissaknorris

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Ingrid. I went to a conference last summer (Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference) and attended many marketing workshops. I knew nothing, so I had a LOT to learn. They spelled out the “hows” of making myself searchable on Google. I followed all their suggestions. At the beginning, it was somewhat daunting. I’m still grateful when a web-savvy friend gives me a hand. I just put up my facebook fan page (I’m calling it my “professional” page). I have it linked to my regular facebook page, and you’re right—it only takes me a few minutes a day. It keeps stats, so I know how many people are reading and visiting. My WordPress blog does the same. It’s encouraging to look at the numbers and see them gradually increasing. I always smile. I’m getting the foundation laid. I only have a small “tribe,” so far. But, it’s slowly growing.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement — and the time limit! I’ve been working on social media for a couple months and sometimes it’s hard to 1) be patient and 2) limit social media so I can work on my current book in progress … which is why I’m on social media to begin with. It’s such a balancing act!

    • It sure is a balancing act. So many times we are working triage! The more you do it, the easier it gets! Keep that in mind as well.

  6. I write a quarterly column for a print magazine, and a monthly one for an e-mag. My thought is that once the end of my polished WIP is in sight, I’ll set up my blog and website (I want to devote all the time I can to my WIP right now). However, I’ve wondered about setting up a fb fan page now for those who read my columns. What do you think?

    • I think you should have a fan page for sure for the people who read your columns. You should be gathering a tribe now! You already have people listening, bring them with you on your journey!

  7. Great article Ingrid. I will borrow your mom’s quote to inspire me in my writing as well as doing housework. Your information is spot-on and very helpful. I’m weak when it comes to my fan page, but your post will help me move forward inch-by-inch.

    • Thanks Barbara… You know a lot about getting a book signed, that I would never know… so it is a good thing we are both here! 🙂 Hope you are well.

  8. Thanks for this Ingrid. I’m reading/working through a book on social media, which had me set up a fan page on FB but not to launch it until I had 500 friends. What do you think?

    • I don’t necessarily agree with this… the average person on Facebook only has 245 friends.
      You can start being a thorn in people’s side and add people you really are not “friends” with… but then you become somewhat of a thorn in their side…

      Its a fine line between promotion and annoyance! Make sure you have an interesting platform… keeping your work life and personal life separate is very important on social media.

      • That makes sense, as I was actually starting to friend folks to get the number up, which I’ve never done in the past. I think I will launch it now and I appreciate your reply Ingrid. Question, if I post on the fan page does that post show on my regular page? I’m so confused!

    • The user name is a big deal because you only get to choose it once… there is no going back. Choose something that is easy, represents your brand well, and can be carried on with you throughout your carrer as a writer. Choose something you can tell people easily and they can remember easily as well. ie. You are having a conversation at a coffee shop about writing, you can direct someone to your fan page and tell them the URL. If it is easy, they can remember it when they get to a computer.

  9. Hi Ingrid,

    My techie friend, Thomas Umstattd, who designed my website and got me all set up with my Facebook “A Friend in the Storm” Book Page (as opposed to a Cheryl Ricker fan page, because that was the way to go at the time), wants to convert my regular Cheryl Ricker friend page into an Author fan page and put my books beneath that umbrella. I’m thinking of doing that, but I’m waiting until I get close to the 5000 friends so I have more fans for the merge. At that time, I’ll re-friend all my closest family members and friends. Just another possibility for people who might be considering fan pages/book pages. I’m wondering what you think of this…

    Great post, btw! Thanks!

    • I think it is a good option… although I know it is possible and have read up on it, I have never done it personally. I have discussed it with a handful of authors who have had similar problems, and they have all come to the same conclusion to NOT do it… They have started new pages. I would need to evaluate and research your particular situation, but I don’t always advise the switch.

  10. I didn’t know all that info about Facebook! Personal pages stop at 5,000? Fan pages rank better on Google? Thanks heaps, Ingrid. I should use “insights” more too.

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