A Facebook page is a great way to reach audiences old and new. It allows for more text than Twitter, which should essentially be used for micro blogging, and allows you to easily segregate personal content from professional content. This is important, not least because many readers are interested in just your books. Only your hardcore fans are going to want to know what you had for breakfast. I suspect that even the most open author will want to keep some parts of their lives private. This is particularly true for those who have a day job as well as a writing career.
More than half the UK population is on Facebook so, while social bookmarking sites like Pinterest are growing at a much faster rate, it still has its place in your marketing toolkit. Yet I still I get a lot of questions about how to use the page function. Today I want to give you a whistle stop tour of some basics.
How to Create a Page
1. Go to facebook.com/pages/create
2. Click to choose a Page category eg. person, business
3. Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information eg. author
4. Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions. It’s very intuitive and if you are familiar with using Facebook as a personal user you shouldn’t have any problems. This includes the option to add things like your website or blog address, photographs and a short professional profile.
Posting to your Page
There are multiple ways in which you might want to populate your page with content. The one might be via the Pages app on your mobile device which allows you to write posts and upload photos etc in the same way you would as a mobile app. You can also read your post and receive notifications.
You can post to your page directly by the Pages app which you can download to any device or go to your page and post just as you would one on a personal wall. All you need to do is click on the post icon. Same for photos or videos etc.
I have my FB page set up so anybody can comment or like my page. This is preferable as it’s difficult to moderate every post in a timely way and you want to use
the page as a platform to engage with readers – not just broadcast information to them.
You can, however, upload a moderation policy if you wish to help give people a steer. E.g. no foul language, defamation, promoting their own business or spamming etc.
If you find information elsewhere on Facebook that you want to share to your page, click on the share function and selection write post. One of the options it will give you is to share on a page you manage and your page will come up as an option. BOOM – it will be on your page, shown as posted by your page rather than your personal profile.
Switching it up!
Although Facebook apps are useful tools, they won’t allow you to do everything you can with page. Using a PC or the desktop view on your mobile’s internet browser will give you much greater functionality. Most importantly it will let you switch between your personal Facebook profile and your professional page identify.
To get full functionality, you need to switch from using Facebook as a person to using it as your page. You can toggle between the two on your desktop by clicking on the top-right corner of Facebook and selecting “Use Facebook as…”.
Once you select your page identify you’ll see everything changes. The timeline your will not be populated by your friends, but by the pages you have liked as your page. The notifications that appear on your menu will be notifications for your page and so on. I love this as it means that when I’m logged in as my author page, I only see pages and posts relevant to my writing and author interests.
Liking and Befriending
This is the area where I get the most questions and which seems to cause the most confusion.
The key difference with using Facebook as your page ID is that you can’t friend people. But that’s ok! Your business page is your shop window, not a mechanism for catching up with buddies. You can like other pages though which is what you want – you want content, you want to network, you want inspiration… not to know where someone has gone on their summer holidays.
To like a page as your author page, then simply search for it when logged in as your page and click like. Alternatively, if you find a page you want to follow as your page, but you’re logged in as your personal profile, then click on the three dots in the desired page’s header (next to the like button) and a popup menu will give you the option to “like as page”.
Now one thing is that I have been asked about is, “someone says they’ve liked my page as their page, but it’s not showing on mine – is it broken?” No! When you have a page, your number of likes will only include likes from personal profiles, not pages. THIS DOES NOT MATTER! Social media is not about numbers. If you just want to have lots of followers, then you have entirely missed the point. Likes are a good benchmark for success, but it’s not the best metric. Facebook page posts will show potential reach under the post text – a far better reflection of how powerful your posts has been. Besides, what you want are readers… not just other authors to like you.
What about content?
We all want to make our lives easier and there are certainly things you can do with Facebook to get good content easily. For one, you can connect to Facebook with most social media apps platforms now. For example, the WordPress publicize function will automatically post your blog posts to your Facebook page if you wish. This is a great way of getting your content to new audiences and automatically backlinking to your blog. Be careful with this though – you should ensure that you share posts with graphics or video content as this will get the most pick up on Facebook.
If you use hootsuite or other posting apps, or indeed cross post directly from your blog or other platforms, do try to check how it looks on your Facebook page. If you refer to a page you like as a page (eg. another author) then update the post so it links back to that page. Your post will then pop up on their timeline, much like tagging a friend on your personal profile. This is a good way to promote your page although don’t spam. Only link to other pages if it’s truly relevant.
Of course, lots of original content is also key. Your audience on Facebook will be different to your audience on your blog or other social media accounts. Ensure content is tailored for them. Check your likes and see who follows you – what are they likely to be interest in? Many of mine are writers and readers so I post about my books, promotions by other authors I like or support, as well as advice on writing and promotions. I also share a lot of content that I find around Facebook. It’s not my main platform but it’s important to share content that users like and not just what’s easier for me!
It’s also worth noting that you can link up many social networks to automatically share from your Facebook page, to Twitter for example. This means that posts on Facebook will be shared to your Twitter timeline, although in an abbreviated form. This can be useful if you don’t have a blog or website to back link to and what to use your Facebook page as your main social media platform. It will only capture the first line or so of your post, depending on number of characters, with a link to the post. I haven’t done this – primarily as content like photos don’t pull through and unless you want to populate the early part of your Facebook post with hashtags the impact on Twitter will be negligible.
Check out a couple of pages. A good way of seeing author pages is simply search for author and click on the pages with that in the title. You’ll get a good feel for what people post and how. An even better way is look at authors in your genre or bestsellers. Almost all with have a Facebook page and you get a feel for what real success looks like. Let’s face it, social media I may know, but Neil Gaiman I am not!
Post in the comments section to let me know how you get on… But make it fast! Changes are afoot! Within a few weeks, I’ll be shelving my Facebook pages and blog while I take a sabbatical.
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