800 million people love Facebook, but is it something an aspiring author needs in his or her life? That’s the big question, isn’t it? It’s easy to say yes; to join and have a presence, but then let your account fester away and do absolutely nothing with it.
In the past week or so I’ve been saying the words: Everything Needs A Purpose – and Facebook is no different, even if 800 million swear by it.
Welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Series. Facebook is today’s focus, so if you find yourself looking at your wall and wondering if it’s the right thing to do, then this is the article for you.
Everything Needs A Purpose!
Let this be your new motto because it will follow you throughout your author marketing. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is great and I’ve spent many an hour wasting away on the site. Is it right for your author platform though?
In my opinion it is, but the way I use Facebook is different to how I use Facebook in my personal life. Let me explain:
I have my personal profile that is for me. It has 800 friends made up from school friends, University mates, work colleagues, and people I’ve met on my travels. I post personal things and drunken pictures, and basically antidotes I don’t want linked to my writing.
I then have a Fan Page for Turndog Millionaire, which is my writing’s Facebook presence, at least for the moment, and to be honest, I don’t see this changing.
For my author platform, Facebook acts as a social RSS feed. I use RSS Graffiti to link my Fan Page to my Blog, which notifies the people who’ve ‘liked’ me I have a new post available.
This is all I use Facebook for at the moment, but I do have plans for it in the future. These include:
– Writing related pictures (from conferences, book signings, book covers etc)
– Competitions (to win free books or seminars etc)
– To help spread viral videos (Book Trailers for example)
I use Twitter as my primary social tool, so Facebook has its focus, and for the time being at least, it will be nothing more. I feel it’s vital to have Facebook as part of your author platform, because so many people use it. I just don’t see the same benefits as Twitter has, so it is further down on my author marketing priorities.
The questions is, however, how should you use Facebook?
The Fan Page
As I say, this is how I use Facebook for my author marketing, and feel overall it offers your Brand some flexibility and nice features. Setting up a Fan Page is easy, and there are some nice tools to create custom pages and tabs. Click Here for an article from Mashable that gives a great step by step guide, as well as some nice tips to enhance your Fan Page.
The first thing you need to decide is how to use your Fan Page, because depending what you want to do, will determine the apps you use. Click Here for some ‘essential apps’, although there are literally hundreds available. Consider what you want, and choose your apps accordingly. Don’t clutter you page though. Choose your poison, stay relevant, and be happy. Your readers will love you for it!
The one App I suggest you get is Static HTML, which offers custom landing pages. Make a nice design that welcomes people and gives them a reason to ‘like’ you, and sit back and relax. You can see mine HERE, which is ok for my author platform now, but something I plan on improving as time goes by.
Most of the people reading this will probably have a profile on Facebook, so the big decision is do you want to use it for your writing, or create a new profile dedicated to your author platform?
I personally see no massive benefit in a Fan Page and a Profile, and I want to keep my Facebook Profile separate for reasons mentioned earlier. You will have your own reasons and ideas so I’ll leave you decide this in your own good time. There are benefits of using a Facebook profile though, such as:
– Possibly an already established fan base
– Profiles are more ‘real’ and therefore more trusting
– Easier to connect with people as you can approach them with a friend request
– The features on a profile are more personal and aimed around a person rather than a company. Being an author this is good.
Having a Facebook Profile certainly brings its positives, but I’m afraid I like to keep my personal life, working life, and writing life somewhat separate. This could be different for yourself however, and if it is I’d suggest using a Profile in your author marketing. Do you need both a Fan Page and Profile though? I’m not too sure. What do you think?
Facebook has a group for pretty much everything. With 800 million users it’s safe to say there’s a group for every niche, and therefore a place for you to connect.
My current plan does not involve Facebook Groups, but in time this will change. Once I have something to offer (such as a book or free guide) then I will search for, and interact with certain groups, much in the same way as I do with online communities.
This can help your author platform massively and help you connect with new readers. In my opinion you need to develop a Facebook presence first though, as people will analyse your Facebook profile before going to your website. If you already have a Facebook presence you’re happy I suggest interacting with these groups sooner rather than later. Search for your niche, join some groups, and add a few more followers.
To Timeline or Not to Timeline
Timeline is a standard feature on Profiles, but it will soon become a regular feature for Brand Pages too. The change is expected to come at the end of February (so basically today), but how this will affect all Fan Pages, and whether it will affect your page is still not fully known. One thing we can assume is change will occur and Facebook will make Timeline a global entity. This means you need to ask yourself, ‘How can I utilise Timeline for my author platform?’
I like Timeline. It’s cool and simple and structured. As someone with a certain amount of OCD, this is a great feature for my world. I also see it’s potential for my Facebook Page, and is the main reason my page isn’t currently great. I feel Timeline will seriously help align your Brand with your website, with the way you set out your page and the designs you use, making big differences. In other words I’m excited, and I feel you should be too 🙂
Facebook is a game changer people, and it’s certainly something you need to consider as part of your author marketing activities. How you use Facebook, and the depth you go into, is totally up to you. Like any other Social Network, Facebook is here to be social so don’t be a spammer and distant. Use it to connect with people and in time your author platform will benefit.
That’s all for the How To Build An Author House Series, but please let me know how you use Facebook for your author marketing activities. While you’re here please like my own Facebook Page, as it’s a work in progress and your support would be great 🙂
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million