No doubt you have probably heard that an author Facebook page is an important marketing tool. But do you know why?
Whether you love Facebook or hate it, there is no denying the effectiveness of a well-executed Facebook page. Not only can it help an author establish an online presence, but it provides an unequaled opportunity to network and interact with readers and other writers. Many authors think that they don’t need an author Facebook page until they are published. This is far from true! Let’s explore why.
What are industry professionals saying about author Facebook pages?
I asked literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency what she thought about author Facebook pages for unpublished authors. Here is her response:
“When I am serious about signing an author, I first visit the author's website, and then I peruse Facebook. Interaction with friends and fans shows how the author will appear in public, which is important to publishers. An active Facebook page, coupled with a professional web site, is a way for authors to show they are serious about their work, and about being part of the publishing community.”
Katie Bond, Publicity Manager, Fiction, at Thomas Nelson, had to say:
“In book marketing, we speak a lot about meeting readers where they are. Right now, Facebook is a big part of that solution, with users congregating around thousands of products and causes. Facebook’s regulations for promotion have changed over the last few years and will likely change again, but maintaining a professional page is a must for authors now. These pages provide functionality that personal pages can’t, allowing you and your marketing team to gather and energize readers, and to monitor the success of various promotions to learn more for the long-term building of your brand. As an author, think of yourself as the host of the party: the ultimate goal is to graciously provide a place for people to get to know each other, all in your lovely home. Aim to give them special consideration with thanks for their following you, and they’ll loyally help to spread the word to more friends.”
Here is what it all comes down to: An author Facebook page is a marketing tool that you need!
More and more, authors are called upon to play an active role in promoting their books. Agents and publishers like to know that an author has already thought about this and is taking steps to support those future goals. Sure, you may have a website and business cards, but a Facebook page allows you to take your marketing one step further: it allows you to interact with readers on a personal level. Facebook is not just about promoting and selling your books … it is about building relationships and getting to know the people who will one day be your readers.
Below are some questions I have heard regarding author Facebook pages. Let’s take a look …
What’s the difference between a profile (or timeline) and an page?
A personal profile page (or timeline) is just that … personal. This is where you can talk about your day, share pictures of your kids, connect with old college friends, etc. You are limited to 5,000 friends, and in order to add someone as a friend to your profile page, one of two things must happen:
1. The other person sends you a friend request and you accept it, or
2. You send the other person a friend request and they accept.
The key takeaway here is that you, the profile owner, are giving the other person “permission” to see what you post on your wall.
A Facebook page, on the other hand, is intended for professional use by businesses, celebrities, bands, and authors. Anyone with a Facebook account can “like” your page and follow your posts – and there is no limit to the number of people who can do so. Pages are much less private than profiles. You do NOT have to give another person permission in order for them to see the content on your page. Because of this, you want to be very intentional and judicious about the types of content you post here.
The fact that a Facebook page is public and visible for the whole world to see may be daunting, but consider this: since your author Facebook page is public, it will come up when someone searches for you on the internet. If an agent, editor, or publisher is trying to learn more about you and all you have is a private profile (timeline), they may not be able to find you. As an author, you want – need – to be visible.
How do I set up an author Facebook page?
It’s easy, and it will take you all of five minutes to establish your page!
1. Go to www.facebook.com and click the following link at the bottom of the page: Create a page for a celebrity, band or business.
2. Next, click the lower left-hand box that says “Artist, Band or Public Figure”
3. A drop down menu will appear. Select “Author”. Below that, you need to enter the name you want to appear on your page, agree to Facebook’s terms and conditions, and click the “get started” button.
4. The next page asks if you have a Facebook account. If you have one, you will log in at this time. (NOTE: If you already have a Facebook account, both your profile and your new author Facebook page will share the same username and password. See below for more information on this). If you don’t have a Facebook account, you’ll be prompted to create one.
5. Once logged in, you will have the option to upload a picture for your author page.
6. The next step allows you to enter a little bit about yourself, such as a brief description and the link to your website.
7. And now, your page is created! Congratulations!
8. Once you have at least 25 fans, you can create a username, which will give you a unique web address for your page (for example: www.facebook.com/yournamehere). To do this, go to www.facebook.com/username and follow the instructions. But remember, 25 people must like your page first!
9. Spend some time getting familiar with your new Facebook page. Check out the Help Center. Play with your settings. Practice uploading pictures and updating your cover photo. These functions are all very similar to the regular profile pages, but you will want to make sure you are familiar with everything before you start directing traffic to it.
10. When you are ready, post your first post! Be sure to post the link to your new page on your wall so your friends and family can “like” your new author page!
I have the same login information for both my profile (timeline) and my author Facebook page. How do I switch between the two accounts?
Once you log in to Facebook, you will see a dark blue bar across the top. On the right side, you will see an arrow pointing down. Click on that arrow, and your other account(s) will appear. NOTE: It is important to give your profile page and your author page different names. Otherwise, it can get very confusing! For example, if the name on your profile page is Jane Doe, then you will want the name on your author page to be Author Jane Doe.
At the top of my author page, I see an Admin Panel. What is that?
The Admin Panel is how you manage your Facebook page. There are a lot of goodies in this section that you will want to be familiar with!
1. Across the top of the admin panel, you will see the following web buttons: Edit page, Manage, Build Audience, Help, and Hide. I recommend spending a few minutes exploring these links.
2. In the admin panel you will see a link that says “View Insights.” The information in this section is key to understanding how your fans are interacting with you! In order to view this information you must have at least 30 fans. Here are some terms that will be helpful to know:
a. Reach: The # of people who see each post.
b. Engaged Users: The #of individuals who clicked on each post.
c. Talking About This: The # of people who liked, commented, or shared each post.
I am not currently on Facebook and know nothing about it. I really want to start an author Facebook page, but I don’t know the Facebook basics. Where should I start?
Here is my advice: Get to know Facebook before using it as a professional networking site. Set up a personal profile account. All you need is an email address to get started. You can register here. Try it out for a while. “Like” other Author Facebook pages and watch how they are using this tool. See what works and what doesn’t. Then, when you are comfortable, you can take the steps outlined above.
I’ve heard that there are rules for hosting promotions and giveaways on a Facebook page. What are they?
It’s true … Facebook has strict guidelines about hosting giveaways and contests on your page. If you are considering hosting a contest, make sure you fully understand Facebook’s terms and conditions regarding promotions. These can be found here. Failure to comply with Facebook’s terms could result in your page being shut down. Yikes!
What are some guidelines for posts on my author Facebook page?
Rule #1: Keep it professional.
In my humble opinion, this is the most essential rule for an author Facebook page. Remember, this can be one of the first impressions that a potential agent or publisher will see of you. Later, this will be the forum for readers to establish a relationship with you. The last thing you would want to do is offend someone or say something that may put your reputation in jeopardy.
Rule #2: Keep it consistent.
In order to establish a relationship with readers and other professionals, it is important to maintain a schedule. Whether you post once a week, three times a week, or every day, your fans will get a sense of what to expect from you. I suggest creating an editorial calendar. At the beginning of each month, sit down and jot down ideas for your posts. Perhaps you are blogging later this week and know that this is perfect for an upcoming post. Perhaps a fellow writer’s book is free on Kindle next week and you want to help her promote it. These are great ideas … not only will planning your posts ahead of time save you time in the long run, but it will help ensure that you get the messages out that are most relevant to your fans.
Rule #3: Keep it intentional.
In a previous Seekerville post, I pointed out the importance of making sure that your marketing initiatives (such as Facebook) support your overall marketing goals, regardless of where you are in your publishing career. As your career develops and changes, your messages and your marketing plan should as well. If you are interested in learning more about this, feel free to check out my Seekerville post on marketing from back in January here.
Rule #4: Keep it diverse.
Yes, your fans are following you because they want to know more about your writing. But they are also following because they want to know more about YOU! Because of the very public nature of Facebook pages, I advise that you stay away from posting personal information, such as where you live, information about your family, when you are going to be out of town, and so forth. But do let your fans get to know you! Share your interests …what websites do you like? What are you reading? What are some of your interests? Ask your fans questions to encourage interaction. Remember, Facebook is as much about developing relationships as it is about promoting your book, so ask questions. The stronger the connection a fan feels to you as an author, the more likely they will be to support your future projects.
Rule #5: Keep it fun!
Writing is work. Marketing is work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. Use your Facebook author page to get to know other writers and interact with readers. Network. Learn. Grow. You might make a few mistakes, and that’s all right. Facebook is like anything else … the more you practice, the better – and more proficient – you will become. And when you do sign that contract, you will wish that you already had your page up and running. So what are you waiting for?
Now it’s your turn!
So, who’s going to be the first to get their author Facebook page up and running? Will it be YOU? Be sure to let us know if you do!
Already have an author Facebook page? Share your experience and advice.
Not ready to start your author Facebook page? That’s okay … it is a big step, and it’s a commitment. But I am not letting you off the hook!! I have a few questions for you … be sure to share your answers in the comments section.
1. Do you follow other author’s pages? If so, which authors do you think hit the mark?
2. What type of content do you like to see as an author?
Thanks for spending this time with me. Have questions about author Facebook pages? Let’s talk about it!
Sarah Ladd lives in Indiana where she shares her life with her amazing husband and sweet daughter. She has more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts. Heiress of Winterwood, the first book in her Whispers on the Moors series, will release next spring. Visit her website or like her on Facebook!
Today Seekerville is giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one commenter in honor of Sarah's visit. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.