As the world’s largest social networking site, Facebook is an essential plank in most authors’ platforms. However, its effectiveness depends on how it is used. Many writers try to use their profiles for business pages, a function they were never designed to support. Even if it were not against Facebook’s policies, using a profile for promotion is not effective anyway. There’s truth to the idea that friends aren’t geared to purchase from friends.
Converting a Profile to a Page
Fortunately, it is possible to convert a profile to a business page with a simple tool Facebook provides. Having recently migrated my Facebook profile to a business page, I offer a detailed perspective on this process in Convert Your Facebook Profile to a Page (A Step-By-Step Guide). Would I go back to a profile if I could? No. I’ve received more engagement and am taken more seriously. As a bonus, I no longer have to deal with unwanted game or event invitations.
Signing up for Facebook and Creating a Page
Signing up for Facebook is a straightforward matter. If you need help with this, go here: http://www.facebook.com/help/188157731232424/. Instructions for building a page are here: https://www.facebook.com/business/build. The category that Author or Writer is found under is Artist, Band or Public Figure, however if you do more than write on a professional level, you may want to choose a different category, like Public Figure (under the same category). If you create your page around your author name rather than one of your book titles, you won’t have start all over again building an audience for each new release. Also, leaving out an accompanying description (like author) keeps your options open should you want to add another professional activity (such as speaking) at a future date.
Your Facebook Page
Banner: To promote your brand, its best to post a cover image that resembles your website banner.
Profile Picture: Use a quality image for your profile picture, preferably a headshot.
Tabs: Wildfire, Tabsite and Iwipa are applications that let you install customized tabs to give you among other things a landing page, event manager, contest tab, blog feed, and even fan-gated content you post for subscribers only. To learn more visit http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-10-facebook-apps-for-building-custom-pages-tabs/. Mail Chimp integrations allows users to post a sign-up box for your email list right in a Facebook tab.
Content you post on your page should draw readers who will sign up for your email list. Post updates about your writing progress, appearances, author news, contests, giveaways, and book news. Depending on your brand, you may also want to post snippets from your research, recipes, book reviews, or videos. Whatever you decide, make sure it lines up with your brand and inspires some sort of action (such as entering a contest, signing up for your newsletter, liking a post, or visiting your website). Make the time you spend posting to Facebook count toward your goals.
Post Scheduler: It’s possible and desirable to schedule posts to publish at a time you specify. This can be a great time-saver. Just click the clock icon below the update window.
EdgeRank: That mysterious algorithm by which Facebook determines how many of your followers see a post is based largely on engagement. One good way to boost your engagment and boost an update’s edgerank is to post pictures or videos.
Wall: A page’s wall functions just like a profile wall. Like some other pages while posting as your page and those posts will show up in your wall feed, which you can find by clicking the Home tab in the upper right menu.
Engagement: Commenting on other pages is an important way to gain followers for your own. A good strategy is to find other authors with similar readerships and comment on their posts. Provided you don’t self-promote and say something sufficiently interesting, some of their followers may become interested in you and follow you back to your page. Doing this actually helps the other author gain edgerank and engagement and its possible to share audiences to mutual advantage.
Another way to keep up the engagement on your page is to post consistently. Also, your followers will notice your absence and respond accordingly, so try to show up for at least a few minutes every day. You can set your notifications to alert you by email when someone comments on your page.
Analytics: In your page’s admin panel you’ll see a tab with a graph showing both your reach and audience engagement levels. Click See All to view the full analytics for your page. Pay attention to which posts have more virality and adjust your offerings accordingly, or else use the engage tips above to find people interested in what you offer. Adjusting your page’s reach to the ideal audience for you is a trial-by-error process.
Promoting from Your Page
While it is possible to promote from your page, you should do so cautiously. Spamming doesn’t work and will only cause you to lose followers. Be subtle and lure rather than pursue readers.
I received a bit of free advertising money from Facebook, so I decided to try out a couple of ads. My results indicate that the same easy-does-it guidelines apply to ads, too. The campaign I ran as an inline ad with a post of my book video did far better than the promoted posts ad with a cover of my book and a promotional blurb.
My observation is that people are on Facebook to socialize and have fun, not to be pitched to. Consider using this site as a primary outpost if you work well in that kind of environment and can promote in a subtle manner.