Thursdays with Amanda: How to Use Facebook as a Published Author
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
A few weeks ago, we discussed how to use Facebook when you’re an unpublished author looking to grow your platform. So this week, we’re going to turn the tables and focused on published authors (this applies if you’re e-published, self-published or traditionally published).
Most of last week’s rules still apply. 1) Keep your personal and professional pages separate, and 2) It’s not about quantity of followers, it’s about quality. But while the previous post focused more on creating a Facebook fanbase out of nothing, this one is going to focus on how to 1) improve the one you have and 2) ensure it’s a positive reflection of who you are as an author.
5 Tips for a Thriving Facebook Author Community
1. Pay attention to design and usability. Authors who are in this for the long haul will take a portion of their earnings and put it toward marketing. Despite its built-it-yourself usability, Facebook shouldn’t be overlooked as a space that needs some TLC. Take the effort needed to have a really great cover/banner/masthead(whatever they’re calling it) designed for your Author Facebook Group. Then, spend the time needed to navigate your page and make sure information is available. If you have a bunch of speaking events, add them to your events board. If you do really great video blogs (vlogs), add them. If you like to blog in your Notes section, then highlight that. You can even customize what info is highlighted on your page’s top navigation. Take Ted Dekker for example. He’s included email updates and event listings in his Facebook page’s top navigation. Charlaine Harris is another great example (though her banner is a bit lackluster)…she’s promoting signed copies of her book on her Facebook page! And what’s even better, is she’s driving customers to retailers. That’s a win-win.
2. Leak info! Fans love to feel in-the-know. Give them a reason to visit your Facebook page by providing them with “leaked” cover art, story ideas and new book deals. Remember, they’re there because they love your writing…not necessarily because they love you. A little personality is great, but keep the focus on your books and characters.
3. Post regularly. Don’t let the page die. Keep it populated by trying to post one thing per day. This is essential, because Facebook is structured to highlight stories that it thinks users care about. When a user visits your page, Facebook remembers that and will continue to highlight new content from your page until it feels the user no longer wants to visit. By remaining active, you stay at the top of your users’ Facebook feeds.
4. Visit with fans. This is another Facebook popularity strategy, but I’ve noticed that when I interact with a friend, I’m more likely to get updates from them and vice versa. Spending time to visit with your fans (click around on their profiles, mention them in posts) will get them coming back for more.
5. Focus your audience. This is primarily for authors who write to multiple audiences. You want to have an outlet for each of those audiences, because let’s face it…those who read your teen fantasy series aren’t going to want to hear/talk about your adult cozy mystery series. So be careful with assuming that a fan of Jane Doe is a fan no matter what you write. That’s not always true.
It’s pretty straightforward stuff. But what if you don’t have much of a following to begin with? Well, start off by reading my previous Facebook post. But here are some additional ideas…
5 Tips for Growing Your Facebook Author Community
1. Giveaways. It seems we can’t say it enough, but giveaways really can increase your reach…if they’re done right. Be sure to include in the rules that to enter, users must “like” your page if they haven’t already and then share it on their wall. If they do this, enter them to win a free book or something of the sort.
2. Bylines. To have a strong web presence, you’d better be doing guest posts, guest podcasting and guest e-zine columns. When this happens and when your name appears elsewhere on the web, be sure to link to your Facebook group.
3. Street teams. I’ve said this before, but a street team is a great way to mobilize people to tell their friends about your books. Put together a Facebook street team of your 25 (or so) most dedicated fans. Agree to provide them with promo material, a free book and other alluring tchotchkes. In return, ask that they work to find you 10 new Facebook fans each month or so.
4. Back cover copy. There’s no reason that your Facebook URL, Twitter handle and website info can’t all show up somewhere in your book. Fight to have it on the back cover or where your Author Bio is. And if you need to add it in yourself when you hand in the final draft, so be it.
5. Promotional items. The same goes for postcards, bookmarks, and any other promotional piece your publisher (or you) may provide. Include your social media info. And if you really want to get fancy, include a QR code on your promo materials that directs users to your website or Facebook group.
Just a bunch of random ideas this week, and I do feel as though I’m reiterating the same rules. But does anyone have any questions or thoughts? I’d love to help troubleshoot issues or herald your successes.
Amanda, thank you SO much for this post. I have an author Facebook page … but I never really knew what to do with it. This gave me some great action items. Thanks!
Kudos for teaching us all how to spell “tchotchkes.”
I think I ordered that once in a Russian restaurant…
Wow. Awesome article. I’m already making improvements. Thank you.
Great tips!! I have an author Facebook page and use it only to promote myself…well, to the best of my ability! I linked my Twitter to this page so all my tweets appear. They are mostly about my blog, writing tips, and retweets from other authors. I think it helps to keep my personal stuff on my profile page only. I also have a FB page for my book The Dragon Forest. I post about reading events, book cover art for the sequel, and any publishing news. I have also started posting quotes from my book on my book FB page.
I really enjoy using FB for marketing. Now when the sequel comes out, I will have a bigger fan base!
Thanks again for these tips!
I find the whole FB giveaway thing confusing. I understood that it was “illegal” if you will, to post a giveaway or contest on FB which is why I discontinued that. Have I got that wrong?
I believe if you run the giveaway on your blog or website, you can advertise it on FB. And FB can’t prevent you from including them in your giveaway rules. In other words, if you direct people to like your FB page and by doing so they get entered in a drawing, FB can’t really police that if the giveaway is originally hosted on another site. At least that’s my understanding!
I was curious about that too – I’m glad you asked, Daname!