Monday, March 16, 2015

A Look at Facebook for Writers

Facebook. I love it. I hate it. It tends to go in circles for me, but I usually end on the loving side...most of the time.

7 ways to use Facebook more effectively

1) Personal is Preferred

I can't say this one enough (hence the #1 spot). People want to interact with you. I have found Facebook to be the best way for my personality to shine through - funny faces and all! It's not about getting followers or "likes" necessarily, as much as it is about personal connection. Make a friend on Facebook and you could have a friend for life (which, if you're an author, could mean a reader for life as well).

2) Images take the cake
 ...And images of cake are great too! But I digress.

In all seriousness though, using images on Facebook is one of the best ways to ensure that others will see it. If you are an author already, make sure you have great marketing materials to share.

Some suggestions:
  • Use your book cover and colors that match
  • Use a quote from the book or review sentence 
  • Use images to spread the word about giveaways and contests 
  • Pick something unique from your book and find an image of that (Example: Is your book about a woman who loves cookies? Use a cookie in your images)
  • Keep it simple: Don't make the images look like spam or overly try and sell your book. It's about drawing positive attention to you and your page, not just to sell something
Being a part-time designer myself, I know for certain that the more images I use (whether it's a marketing image or a personal picture) the more attention that posts draws.

3) Questions?

You've probably heard this one, but I'll say it again: ask questions! You want your audience to engage with you, not just skim by your posts. Ask things that relate to your book or writing, but don't get stuck on that. Branch out. Know your audience. When you know them, you'll know what to ask that will gain a response.

Though I'm definitely one to shy away from conflict, I know for a fact that potentially controversial posts usually generate more responses. My caution for this though is to recognize the potential debates and to act as a moderator as well as peace keeper. Negativity isn't an attractive thing.

4) Call to Action

A relatively new addition to Facebook pages is the "Call to Action" button. This is a helpful little guy located right next to the  "share" option on your home page screen. You can choose between a few different options (shown to the right). If you have a newsletter (which is a great idea) I'd recommend using the "Sign Up" action button. If you don't have one, any of the other options are great. I personally use "Contact Us" for my Author page and the "Book Now" option for my photography business page.

This is an awesome feature because it allows you to "call to action"  your readers. It allows them to participate, and for you to connect with them. And that's what Facebook is great for - personal connection!

5) Make 'em Laugh

Time and time again I'll come across a hilarious video of cats or dogs or babies (those are the typical things that are hilarious on Facebook) and I'll share them to my page with a personal comment. Without fail, those shared posts generate more views than anything else.

I ask myself: What is going on? But, it makes sense. Humor is infectious (in the best way) and people want to take part in it and enjoy it.

Here's a great spot to talk about meme's too. Don't know what a meme is?

The dictionary says;
Meme: An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. 
A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
So there you have it...Still don't know? Check out Pinterest and type in "Grumpy Cat". I think you'll catch on quickly.

6) Schedule for a stress free week

If you don't know this, you are in for a treat (or you've been living under a rock?). Either way, the good news is that you can schedule your posts!

All you need to do is add your photo, link, and/or text and press the down arrow next to "post". You'll then have the option to set the date and time. Then you're set! Take time at the beginning of each week to do this and schedule out your tweets as well. You'll thank yourself later ;)

7) Tagging (and I'm not talking about graffiti) 

Interested in drawing more attention to your page? Then find a way to draw in the fans of others. I'm not talking about stealing here, just sharing the love. For my author site this looks like me tagging the authors whom I host on my {Writer Wednesday} spotlights. I make sure that I have either Friended them or at least liked their Facebook page so that I can tag it in the post on my page. For my photography page, that looks like posting images of my clients and tagging them (all with their permission of course). I draw a lot of traffic that way and so can you!

Honorable mentions:
  • Use hashtags in your posts
  • Check out the "trending" options on the side of Facebook to create relevant posts
  • Use plugins like Rafflecopter and Instagram to spice up your page
  • Share in your fellow writers good news, book giveaways, and discounts - the best way to get friends is to be a friend
So, what about you? Do you use these things? If so, which do you find most helpful? Have a tip to add?

(Don't forget to tag #ttmediachallenge when you Tweet/Google+/FB your replies!)

Check out these resources for further learning:
45 Fabulous Facebook Advertising Tips & Magic Marketing Tricks
Meme Generator 
Best Times To Post (love a good info graphic!)

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