Last week Facebook users received an open letter from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thanking them for being one of 350 million members.
So, what does all this mean to you as an author?
If you aren’t on Facebook, you should be! In fact, having a facebook page can almost replace your a functioning website since the network’s features allow you to share resources, add multimedia such as book trailers via the You Tube tab and much more.
Facebook is a great social networking tool authors can use to brand themselves. It ‘s a great open forum in which to engage readers in a more intimate setting, by sharing more about yourself while they do the same.
But like all other social networking sites, you decide to use make sure you not just wasting your time or spinning wheels. And how do I do that you ask?
Profile vs. page/group
Facebook allows users several options regarding the type of face you want to present to the world. If you’re an author with a well known name you might want to opt on a fan/group page since the number of friends you connect with won’t be limited by the magical number 5,000 which can lead to your profile being deleted. Plus a fan/group pages let you share links, videos, photos, and start discussions. It also allows your brand to go viral, since your page/group will be showcased on other people’s profiles.
If you’re like me, you can maintain a more intimate profile page and then open up a fan page in the future when you start to grow your friend/fan base.
Speaking of building friends, I have a couple of tips on how to build friends, which in my opinion is difficult and taxing at times. Even to the point where I’ve faced an inquisition a time or two from people who questioned how I knew them? And where I’d met them. Come on people get real.
Sorry, I digressed.
Besides using your email contacts list, promote your Facebook profile on your websites/blogs. It always amazes me when people don’t cross promote. Another great way to connect with fans/friends is the friend list of other authors. If the person willingly connected with another author who writes within your genre, then they’re probably a pretty safe bet. I’ve done this as well with my myspace profile.
Private Vs. Public
Depending on your branding goals, you should decide on whether to set your profile on private, limited visibility or public where the entire world will see your profile. Of course having a private profile would entice people to connect with you to see what you’re talking about. But then there are also two valid reasons why you should consider a public profile.
The main reason would be to increase your visibility and profile ranking in name search. The higher your ranking the more likely someone will click on you and discover what a great author you are.
Also, Google’s newest venture “real-time search” not only pulls data from websites but also from real-time social networking sites Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter and then lumps them into all search results.
This new launch which went live today means any topic you maybe discussing on your social networking profiles, such as your new book, will now be displayed on Google search. BUT that’s only if your Facebook/Twitter profile is public and your Myspace stream data is publicly available. This new venture if you use it properly can help you reach an even bigger audience that didn’t even know you existed or weren’t neccessarily looking for you.
To see how the platform works, here’s a YouTube promotional video:
Information Vs. Blank Slate
Your readers want to know the persona behind their favorite books. So paint them a picture by filling out the information fields provided. Luckily with group/fan pages you don’t have to go through this rigamorle. Also be sure to provide the links to your blog, other social networking profiles (i.e. twitter or myspace accounts) and most importantly your author website where they can read excerpts or find links to buying your books. You can also use this area to with keywords that potential readers can search against.
Also don’t forget to update your status. It’s rather hard for your readers to follow you if you’re not saying anything. Pressed for time? Schedule your status updates with Hootesuite up to day or a week or even months in advance.
Host/Post an Event
Surprisingly, events are a great way to extend your brand. Let the general public know what you’re doing and invite them. Even better host an event on Facebook. For example, Rachel Hauck just hosted her birthday party on line while integrating her new release Sweet By and By co-authored with country singer Sarah Evans. And since the party was public anyone searching for Sarah Evans, Rachel Hauck, or Sweet By and By would be directed to the event and hopefully converted to being a friend of Rachel’s page.
By opening up your event to everyone, you can meet new people and discover other people who have a shared interest and can support your career. Events can also be cataloged on your Facebook page.
Do you have any other tips? They would be greatly appreciated in the comments section:)
up next: Facebook in your Face!