Such is the saturation of social media in this digital age that a Facebook page is about as good a proof of existence as we’ve got. If a person or an organisation doesn’t have a profile, can they really be said to exist at all?
Garbage men have professional Facebook profiles. Your pet parrot looks like an absolute idiot if it doesn’t have its own page. This dashing black man holding a dangerously large Dorito chip has what you’d have to describe as a cult following. Naturally, your author persona deserves one too.
Presuming that you’ve already set up your author page on Facebook (it’s incredibly easy, and can be linked to your personal profile), it’s now time to get this sucker working for you. With a user count nearing the 2 billion mark, the marketing and networking possibilities of Facebook are simply unmatched. Even if you only gain access to the tiniest sliver of the Facebook pie, a little bit of 2 billion is still a gosh-darned lot.
So how does a budding author get Facebook working for them?
A Picture Tells a Thousand Words, a Video Tells 25,000 a Second.
The paradigm shift on Facebook over the years has been stunning. Initially it was simply a platform to deliver text updates of your current situation to your friends. Today it’s developed into a media-rich monster – one that almost treats text-only updates with disdain.
I realise the irony of telling an author to do away with words, but images and video have been proven to have a far deeper reach than text, and will be noticeably better at grabbing your audience’s attention. Try offering up insights into your processes, or tease elements of your upcoming book.
Don’t Be the Distant, Aloof Starlet. Encourage Conversation.
There is a tendency for those with fan pages to post content, but then avoid any interaction. While that might be fine for the celebrities with millions of followers, chances are that you’re starting with a somewhat more modest fan base. You’re not Beyoncé (I’m sorry, but I thought it was best that you heard it from me). If you want to grow your audience you need to be seen to be approachable.
Pose questions on your Facebook page to encourage conversation. Simple enquiries like ‘what’s your favourite book?’, ‘which literary character do you most identify with?’ or ‘how the hell does my pet parrot have more followers than me??’ can be great ways to spark up a discussion. If someone poses a question to you, be sure to give them an answer. Allowing people to interact with you is a great way to get them to feel invested in what you do.
Regularity: As Important for Your Facebook Page as It Is for Your Bowels.
Regular posting will mean different things to different people. For the girl who takes 24 selfies while visiting the bathroom, regular posting may mean a headshot every 14 minutes. For the introvert with the complexion of a hungover vampire and the social skills to match, regular posting might be every second summer. The ideal, would you believe it, is somewhere in between.
A post every day or two, or at the very least a couple of times a week, will be enough to keep you on your fans’ radars. If you’re finding it tricky to come up with content, take inspiration from other authors or creative types. As you well know, creativity can be an elusive beast; but, like your writing, sometimes you just have to sit down and strain really hard until something falls out.
I said ‘like your writing’ you filthy-minded heathen.
Entertain, engage, produce – these are all fairly basic concepts, but your Facebook efforts will count for nix if you don’t have a good handle on the fundamentals. At the risk of getting ahead of myself here, if you do do the basics right, you could, at some point in the distant future, have more of a supporter base than your pet parrot Craig.
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