It’s been a while since I’ve done a nuts & bolts post for running your creative biz, so I thought this would be a good time to share what I’ve learned about Facebook. I do a really good job on Facebook, in my not so humble opinion.
You need a page, not just a profile
This is first. Create a PAGE. This is not your FB profile. You can tell the diff easily. On a profile, you “Friend” people and they “Friend” you. On a page, they LIKE you. You need to have a profile first, but profiles aren’t professional pages. You need a professional PAGE. Here’s why:
- It’s against FB terms of service to use a profile for a business.
- Profiles limit the number of friends to 5000. Pages are limitless.
- With Pages “Insights,” you can see who your followers are, where they’re from, what time of day they’re online.
- Pages Insights will also show you how your posts are performing compared to others, and also, compared to other biz pages like yours.
- If your biz only has a profile, you give the impression that you’re not very social media savvy.
Post as your page, not as your profile
Make sure when you post ON your page that you are posting AS your page. One way to do this is to pay attention as you’re typing your post. Your profile pic has a dropdown menu. If you just remember to check that, it tells you which identity you’re posting AS.
You can also switch by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner of FB in the blue bar. Another drop down there lets you switch identities. I found a setting somewhere in Page settings that says “Always post as page.” So I ticked that and it helps.
When people follow your page, they’ll only see the things the PAGE posts. They’ll seldom see anything anyone else posts on the page. The page’s posts will show up in their newsfeed. So they don’t even have to visit the page to see them. (And most people don’t.)
Post every day
Use the post scheduling function for ease . You could, if you wanted to, schedule all your posts for the week at once. Under the post you’re composing the POST button is also a dropdown menu that’ll allow you to set a time and date for the post to go out.
It’s important to post every day at least once. I like do two or three posts a day. And don’t post only about your products! Here are other things you can post.
- Post pictures of your pets, your home or garden projects, events you attend, trips you take.
- As your page, like other pages, and then share those pages’ most popular posts.
- Post videos, book trailers, maybe a tour of your back yard, talks with other authors.
- Share those goofy quizzes, like, “What’s your hobbit name?” People love those.
- Post big news happening in your industry.
Pay attention when clicking the FB Share button. It defaults to your profile, so you need to choose, “Share with a Page”
High quality posts
FB has algorithms. The more active your followers are on your page, (sharing, liking, commenting on your posts) the more interesting it must be, and so it rises in the ranking system and they’ll show your posts to more people.
Posts with images are always more popular than posts without images. So find images to use to illustrate your points. But don’t just lift them or you set yourself up for trouble. Just like your products, these images are someone else’s products. Stealing isn’t allowed. So mine the net for sites that offer free graphics and buy your own. They don’t cost all that much.
Google search “Free images for social media” and you’ll find many more.
FUN & EFFECTIVE TIP: Create your own memes for free at Canva.com. There’s a learning curve but it’s a small one, and if you watch a few tutorials you’ll be all set.
On FB you are building relationships with your readers/customers. It’s a slow build with a big payoff.
When people comment on your posts, reply to their comments. Just try to skim over your top few posts to see if there are new comments, and do a quick reply. If you can, tag the commenter in your reply to make it more personal. (Not everyone’s settings will allow this.) Also, when replying, double check to be sure you’re commenting as your page, not as your profile.
The upper right arrow’s drop down menu in each post gives you the option to edit the post (I always fix typos) and also, to pin a post to the top of your page. Do this with important posts you want people to see the first time they visit your page. I tend to pin promotional and book release posts. I tend to change pinned posts every couple of days.
Put external links in comments, not in the post itself, or no one will see it. A post with non-FB links in it will be shown to far fewer people than one without. (Unless you pay to boost the post.)
Another hack for this is to make a graphic with the URL of your link on it, as in this example. This works for short, easy to remember URLS like maggieshayne.com/sisters for the Shattered Sisters series for example, or just the main site’s URL as shown.
To make your links short and easy like this, use PrettyLinks. I bought the pro version and it’s totally worth the investment.
It’s not helpful to type long complex URLs onto your graphics. No one wants to key all that in.
Again, don’t make these links hot. Just text, nothing clickable.
The exception to this is if you’re boosting the post or using it in an ad. In that case, hot links are fine.
Experiment with Facebook Ads and boosting posts
Take your time and be patient with yourself. There are learning curves. You can boost a post for as little as $10 just to get a feel for it. You can target your ads to authors like you, or to readers who read your genre. If you have a free or bargain book, try targeting readers who follow Bookbub or Freebooksy.
It’s just as valuable to advertise your page and your mailing list (for more page likes, more subscriptions) as to advertise your book. Maybe more valuable.
Create a Fan Group
Now that Facebook allows Pages to post in Groups, we can make excellent use of these. Compared to Pages, a much bigger percentage of group members will see the posts in your Facebook Group. Only the most fervent and devoted fans will join your group, so that’s another benefit. It’s a far more targeted audience. This is your core audience.
Interact with your group daily and give them things you don’t give the Page followers: First look at cover art, special contests just for them, early news you haven’t shared elsewhere, etc.
Play with Facebook Live
You can talk directly to your audience in real time with the video capability of your smartphone and a good internet connection. People love Facebook Live. They can ask questions and you can reply in real time. It’s another level of depth to your connection. And you can reach a wide range of new people this way.
Think about this now
*Do you want to be political? It’s okay to be vocal about your stance as you build your audience, but be aware it can cost you some contacts, too. So it’s good to be clear on your comfort level at the start.
*Do you want to be anonymous? Or do you want your friends and co-workers to know that Susie Superstar is actually Joanie Garfunkel from over on Oak Street?
*How much of your non-writing life are you comfortable sharing? Think about this ahead of time. Once the genie’s out of the bottle, it’s hard to put her back. I don’t share photos of my grandkids, for example, with extremely rare exceptions, because it makes my daughters uncomfortable.
Start a mailing list now
At the time I’m composing this post, I have 23,000 followers on my FB Page. An average FB post will be shown to 600 of them. Maybe. The other day I posted one that was seen by fewer than 200.
That’s why a mailing list is so important. You can create a free account at MadMimi.com for up to 100 subscribers. Mailchimp’s free plan lets you have up to 2000 for free. When you exceed those numbers, and you will, they’ll begin to charge you. It’s worth every penny, in my opinion.
Just set up the account now, so it’s there, and play around a bit on the site.
All your subscribers get to see everything you send, unlike Facebook or anywhere else. It’s a great idea to build your contacts list from Day One. Those email addresses can become your most valuable asset.
Don't sell products. Build relationships.
This is the key thing. Talk to your people. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Share with them.
And they’ll love you back.