Establishing Yourself On Facebook
A few author friends have asked me about establishing a presence on Facebook. What is the best choice: a personal Profile/Timeline or a Page? How do I let my readers (and potential readers) know about my books? Let’s look at the options and what might work best for you.
When you join Facebook, you create a personal account that has a Profile/Timeline. You can ‘Friend’ people, make status posts, share pictures, and create groups and pages from your personal account. A Page is designed for a business account, organization or public person (like an author). Fans ‘Like’ your Page and you share content with them through posts.
Should authors market to their fans through a personal Profile or through a Page? That debate heats up every time Facebook tweaks their algorithm which determines what we see in our newsfeeds. For Pages, it’s increasingly difficult to get in fans’ newsfeeds organically (without paying for promotion or ads) and this is why many authors have turned to their personal Profiles as a means to connect with fans.
There are several things you should know before you use your personal Profile as your main gateway to engage with readers. First, there is a 5,000 friend limit, which sounds perfectly reasonable if you are connecting with friends and family but an author may find this limits his/her connections. Also, the Facebook Terms of Service (TOS) warns “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.” (www.facebook.com/legal/terms).
Of course, ‘primarily’ used for commercial purposes leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but if you want to run contests, giveaways, or other such commercial ventures you may be better served by a Page. Indie authors may especially want to consider a Page over a Profile since you are your own business.
Besides adhering to the Terms of Service, there are several other benefits to an author Page. After you have 30 likes on your page, you will gain access to Facebook’s analytics (Insights) Insights can help you determine when your fans are active, what type of posts are most popular, and basic fan demographics (age, gender, geographic location). Facebook also allows a Page to schedule future posts through either their app or website. With a Page, you will also be able to take full advantage of their paid ads and promotion options.
Last year, Facebook added a ‘Call to Action’ button on Pages that encourage readers to take a specific action. The ones most useful for authors are ‘Shop Now,’ which you can link to a website page that includes buy links for each of your books. The ‘Sign Up’ button encourages readers to subscribe to your newsletter. And finally, the ‘Watch Video’ option if you have a book trailer for your latest release. Facebook will also report to you how many times your button has been clicked so you can track what option works best for you.
Part Two coming soon!