Posted in Social Media | Posted on 21-11-2012|
If you’re like most authors these days, you’ve been told that you need to be active on social media sites, especially Facebook with its 1 billion users. At least some of those people must be part of your target audience, right? (If you haven’t made an author page yet — and this is different from your personal Facebook account — you can read about how I made my first one a little over a year ago).
But what if nobody visits your author page? What if nobody comments? Does it matter?
I’m sure there are authors doing just fine without Facebook, but here’s what more likes and participation can do for you:
- Increase awareness of your “brand” on Facebook (especially when people share your posts with others you wouldn’t have normally reached).
- Help sell books (I have readers who won’t sign up for newsletters and who don’t follow blogs but who are on Facebook, so they depend on my announcements there to know when new releases are out).
- Keep your name in readers’ minds in between books.
- Allow you to easily interact with readers and build a sense of community.
- Send traffic to your blog, interviews, book excerpts, etc.
- Publicly show agents/publishers (if you’re hoping to find them) that you’ve built a platform/fan-base.
Though I may not be a Facebook rock star with a million followers, I’m having some success with my author page, at least in terms of interaction and bringing traffic to my site. Here’s what seems to be working for me:
How to Get More Participation on your Facebook Author Page
1. Step 1 is to get some likes for your page.
There’s little chance of Facebook users seeing your updates if they haven’t given you a thumb’s up. This isn’t to say that you should be out there lobbying for likes from strangers (in fact, don’t do this, as there’s no point in extracting likes from people who haven’t read your work and, er, liked it, as they’ll be indifferent to your updates).
The folks you want to stop by are those who’ve read and enjoyed your work (and might want to read and enjoy more of it someday). The easiest way to reel them in is to put your Facebook link at the end of your ebooks and ask them to stop by.
Don’t assume they’ll automatically think to look you up online. With e-readers, though, it’s easy for them to check out a link right from their device. You can include your blog address, newsletter sign-up page, and other social media links in your afterword too.
2. Post regular updates.
People only see recent updates in their Facebook news feeds. If you haven’t posted this week, you’re not going to be on anyone’s radar.
Also, if a long time passes without users interacting with a particular news source (AKA a certain author’s page), that source will fall off the radar. Past likes or not, you’ll have to pay for “promoted posts” if you hope to pop up before those people again, and then it’ll be in the form of an ad. In other words, the more people often you post, the more likely people will see the updates and interact with them.
Some people recommend daily updates, but I think three times a week is sufficient unless you simply adore posting on Facebook. These don’t need to be novel-length entries either (and probably shouldn’t be). Anything from a quick question to a few sentences is considered normal on the site.
3. Post images and videos.
I admit I’ve never done a video (maybe someday), but I’ve heard many social media gurus recommend it, and I can see the potential. I have posted book covers and fan art, and those are almost always the posts that get the most likes, most comments, and most shares. (Shares are great because there’s an opportunity for folks outside of your regular fan base to see those posts.)
4. Pose questions or ask for feedback.
If all you ever do is make announcements (i.e. the new book is out, the cover art is done, I’m working on a new short story), you might get some likes and comments, but not nearly as many as if you pose a question or otherwise invite a response of some sort. Remember, the more people interact with your page, the more likely it is that your announcements will continue to show up in their feeds.
5. Be fun and interesting.
You can certainly post the day’s word count or announce that you’ve sent your manuscript off to your editor, but think of posts that might be more fun for those who follow your page. Out of the bazillion pages on Facebook, why should people visit yours again and again?
I’ve posted humorous excerpts from projects I’m working on, links to character interviews and other “bonus extras,” and I’ve offered folks chances to participate with my world-building in small ways. For example, I just did a post asking for ideas on naming a type of pastry that’ll appear in a novella I’m working on. I got a lot of fun suggestions, and I imagine people who saw that post will smile when they see the “emperor’s buns” mentioned in print.
There are lots of things you can do on Facebook to increase the participation on your site, and they needn’t be big time sinks. I can’t think of many weeks where I’ve spend more than 5-10 minutes maintaining my author page. For this small investment of time, you can reap a lot of benefits.
If you have any other suggestions for increasing participation, please let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!