SoMe Strategies – Facebook
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Thanksgiving Giveaway. The three winners were chosen through Random.org, and they’ve been notified. I plan to have another giveaway soon, so stay tuned. If you would still like to read the featured book, Rescued by the Spy, go here for purchase information. Again, my thanks.
Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. It has moved beyond its original purpose as a way to keep up with friends and family (though one cannot know what Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term plan might have been). Writers can do well on Facebook these days – especially if you make sure your page is “the place” to be for keeping up with information on a niche or your product. The current FB problem of getting “likers” to actually see what you post can only be gotten around with “boosts.” Many people won’t be able to afford boosts, and the type of boosts authors would be inclined to use are often problematic. More on this a little later.
Setting Up Your Page
There are Facebook profiles and Facebook pages. You are going to sign up for a Facebook page. Start here: https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr
Many of you have done this already, but have you done it well? There are lots of ways to fix up your strategy, so please keep reading.
Be sure to put your page in the right category. Be descriptive with your name. If your name is Dave Smith and you are an author, create a page that is titled “Dave Smith – Murder Mystery Author.” When I first started my author page, I simply started it as “Patricia Green” – the same name as my personal page. Wow, was that confusing as I tried to post appropriately on each page. So, after a while, I changed my author page to “Patricia Green Romance Books.” That was a lot better, and it told users exactly what I was about.
Note that your page’s name can be slightly different than the URL you choose. Keep it as consistent as you can. My page URL is http://www.facebook.com/Patricia.Green.Romance. Pretty close to my author page name, though not identical. You can do this easily if you have less than 200 likes on your page, but if you have more than 200, you’ll have to wait up to two weeks for the change to take place. I had to wait, but it really wasn’t a big deal.
Go ahead and play around with setting your Facebook page up. Insert your profile picture and cover. Write your short and detailed description. If what you currently have is stale, not interesting, doesn’t reflect the way your work is presented at this point in your career, then change it up. If you need to, hire a graphic artist to come up with something fresh. It’s worth what you pay them.
Decide What to Post
You can start posting right away, but it helps to consider the kind of content you’re going to post, and when to post it.
Search for pages that are in a similar niche to your own. Like those pages and get a feel for the things they post each day. Evaluate these pages to start to develop your own Facebook strategy. Note how much interaction there is on each post. Unless you’re George Takei, you might not get much, but your presence in the niche is important. You won’t be reaching the same sub-section of “likers” with every post, and you don’t know which post is going to be THE ONE that a potential reader (or client, or buyer) is going to find compelling. Because the FB algorithm is so mysterious, expect to reach Joe on Monday and Sue on Tuesday. Joe might be looking for something different from Sue, so change it up a bit with each post.
When considering other pages, think about:
- How many likes they have
- How often they post
- How often they share their own website or promote products
- What they promote (if anything)
- The type of graphics they use
- Which pages they tend to share content from
- How engaged their fans are
The point is to reverse-engineer what the most popular sites in your niche are doing. You can get some excellent clues when you do that.
How to Get People to Like Your Page
You now have a pretty good idea of what shape your page should take. You know that your goal is to drive traffic from Facebook to your webpage/blog. How can you do that? This is a slow and steady strategy… but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some “likes” right away.
It is true that likes attract more likes, so it’s fine to ask friends and family members to like your page to give you a running start. I have also found that joining big liking chains is less than useful. You want readers engaged on your page. It’s not a numbers game, it’s a relationship builder.
Post on Related Pages
This is probably the easiest strategy because it gives you free traffic that you can get right on Facebook.
You’re going to find pages that are very closely related to your own. Search for the most highly trafficked, most active pages in your niche. Look for opportunities to add your thoughts and wow the audience. Note the word thoughts here. Don’t post your advertisements inappropriately. That won’t get you anything but deletions, scorn, and sometimes just plain kicked off the page. Be yourself and build relationships and you’ll start to get people clicking through to your page.
Tip: Not only can you get page owners to notice you when you post on their page, but you can also occasionally tag them in status updates on your own page. This tit for tat exchange is very valuable. It requires you to have exchanged likes, so play nice with others.
Don’t choose this strategy if you’re strapped for cash. But, if you have some money to play around with (it doesn’t have to be very much – try $10 or so to start) you can start to get some great likes on your page.
The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can make them incredibly targeted. Try to set up an ad just to see how it works – you don’t have to go through with it until you’re ready. The hands-on approach will give you the best idea of how it works, how targeted it can be, and how many users’ eyeballs will be on your name or product.
The trick is to target as much as possible, create ads that are enticing (you can note your freebie giveaway – I did this recently and got my name out to thousands of folks who’d never heard of me before). It’s the start of a great relationship. Monitor your ads frequently at first and set limits so you don’t overspend with no return. It can be hard at first because you won’t be sure what you’re making until people are on your list and you’re actively promoting.
I’ve done both the boosts and the regular ads. In my experience, it really depends on what you’re trying to sell. The biggest problem I’ve run into with ads and boosts is that I’m selling a product that has text on the graphic. FB has a rule against more than 20% lettering on the graphics in ads. All too often, the title and author name on a book cover turns out to be more than 20%. I’ve set up more than a few ads, just to have them rejected by FB because of this 20% rule. What works for me, is to cut up the cover, so that only my author name, or only the book title is shown with the main theme of the book. So it might have the couple in a romance book showing with just the title (no author name – my page name will already be on the ad, after all). Or, if what I’m selling in my ad is the body of my work rather than something specific, I might just use the couple along with my author name. Always get the main theme in there, even if you have to remove all the lettering.
I use PaintShop Pro to manipulate graphics. It’s quite inexpensive (especially in comparison to Photoshop) and does nearly everything that Photoshop does.
Share on Your Other Networks
If you have any sort of related online presence (Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In), now is the time to link to your Facebook page. You can do this on forums you’re a member of, other social media sites, from your personal Facebook page, through friends and colleagues, through email lists you already have, and so on.
People who are already familiar with you are likely to give you help as you get started. Again, the more targeted they are, the better.
Create Shareable Content
Some of the best Facebook pages really take off because they always have shareable content (I’m back at George Takei). Try to create graphics and quotes related to your niche that people will like to share on their own Facebook pages.
Find quotes, come up with your own quotes, find interesting facts and statistics, find interesting stories, find great pictures or graphics, excerpts, taglines, blurbs…anything that will really stand out and make people take a moment to share what you have. If you have a lot of this shareable content you’ll get a lot of likes as well.
If you’re stuck on what to create, take a look at the most popular pages in your niche. What are they creating and sharing? Note that they tend to brand their images to link back to their Facebook page. The goal is to get your stuff to catch on so people do some “free advertising” for your page.
Funnel That Facebook Traffic
Never forget that your FB page is part of your funnel strategy. It is not the end product.
It’s great to get a lot of likes to your Facebook page. However, always make sure your readers are engaged and that you are building relationships with them. Funnel them to your website and onto your email list with your free giveaway.
Tip: Install a tab that links directly to your blog/website and whenever you post a new blog post, always share it on your Facebook page. Then, when people click through to read it, they’ll see the free offer on your website.
It’s the funneling that counts.
Next week, we’ll take a look at Twitter strategies.