Entries from February 2011 ↓

Facebook for Authors

I’m going to assume, since you’re reading this, that you’re an author. I’m also going to assume, since you live on the planet Earth, that you have a Facebook profile, stalk Facebook using someone else’s profile, or have at least heard of Facebook. If both of these things are true, this should help you. (If not, go back to your cave dwelling. The modern world will only make you cry.)

Profiles vs. Pages

The first thing we have to cover if we’re going to talk about Facebook as a marketing tool is the difference between Profiles and Pages. If you log in to Facebook and chat with your old college buddies, stalk your kids or exes, and “Like” stuff (hula-hooping and Jell-o wrestling, say), you probably have a Profile. Your Profile is your personal presence on Facebook. It’s the real you: your real name (not your pen name), your real photo making an ass of yourself with a nearly empty wine bottle in one hand (not your publicity photo), and your real friends that you know from real-life interactions (not random fans).

You don’t want to use your profile to market yourself as an author. Why? I shall tell you.

  • If you don’t use your profile for marketing, you don’t have to say yes every time someone sends you a friend request. You can be friends with only your actual friends. Nice how that works, huh?
  • There’s a limit to how many friends you can have on Facebook. There is no such limit on Pages.
  • Depending on the privacy settings du jour, people may not be able to find you.

None of this is to say that you can’t tell your actual friends about your books. Of course you can. But you also need a separate place for your fans-not-friends to interact with you.

That’s where Facebook Pages come in.

Pages are the business version of Profiles. You can set up a page as your pen name, or really, your business name if you felt like it, or the name of your blog. But since this post is for authors, let’s assume you’re going to use your pen name.

The Set-Up

Visit any Facebook page. In fact, start with mine: Sonja Foust. At the bottom of the left column, you’ll see an option to create a page.

Click it.

From here on out, it’s all pretty self-explanatory, but let me give you a few pointers on what you should definitely include:

  • In Your Settings, make sure your notifications are turned on so that you can interact with your fans.
  • In Basic Information, set up a username. You can only do this once, so pick a good one! This makes it easier to link to your page because it will give you a url like this:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSonjaFoust instead of a bunch of random letters and numbers. (I would have just picked SonjaFoust, except I’d already picked that for my Profile and it wasn’t available for my Page. You may run into a similar problem– just do the best you can.)
  • If you have a blog, be sure to import it to the Networked Blogs app and then add the Networked Blogs app to your Page (go to the Apps section in the editor).

Interacting With Your Fans

You can actually use Facebook as your Page rather than your Profile. Go up to the top right corner of your Facebook window and click Account, then Use Facebook as Page and click the appropriate Page, in this case your pen name Page, that you want to use.

Now you can traipse about Facebook “Liking” and commenting as if you are your pen name. No one ever has to see your real-life profile. You can Like other authors’ Pages, for example, and they will then show up in the left column of your pen name Page. (If you then edit your Page and go to the Featured section, you can decide which of your Liked pages show up there.)

There’s really no limit what you can do…

RRRRR! (squealing brakes)

… That’s a lie. You can’t comment on other people’s Profiles if they have their privacy settings so that only friends can comment on their walls. But you’ll survive. That helps keep the conversation on your Page wall anyway, which is a Good Thing.

Experiment, play, look at other authors’ pages, and ask questions if you see something you want to do but you can’t figure out how. Lots of authors, especially those of us who know how challenging doing all of your own marketing can be, are friendly and willing to help. Drop me a line in the comments or on my Facebook Page if you have questions!