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As an author dedicated to promoting your work, you're always looking for cost-effective ways to reach your target audience. Social media is a powerful tool to help authors connect with their audiences, and Facebook is the leading platform. So what are the best ways to reach your audience on Facebook? Here are five things you can do to market your book and reach your audience—and three things to avoid.
Facebook Pages are for anyone with a brand, such as a business, organization, public figure, band, or author. Different from a personal profile, a Page is public content that anyone can like and follow. It is set up with marketing optimization in mind.
There are several reasons why it's advantageous to have a Page instead of just using your personal profile, even with the 2018 changes to ranking algorithm, which gave priority to posts from friends and family. Here are benefits to creating a page:
Insight analytics: You can view detailed analytics to help you give your fans more of what they want.
Advertising options: When you have a Page, you gain the ability to "boost posts" (advertise one of your selected posts) and run ad campaigns.
Unlimited number of fans: There's no limit to the number of people who can like your Page.
Multiple managers: You can share the responsibility to update and manage your Page with a team of trusted individuals.
Design and monetization options: There are more design options for a Page than a personal profile, including tons of optional marketing goodies, a store, and third-party apps.
Contests: Only Pages, not personal profiles, can run contests on Facebook. Just make sure to follow Facebook's rules on contests.
Facebook Groups create a space within Facebook for people to connect on a shared interest or topic. It could be anything from a small group of family members to a large support group. When you create a group, you determine the group's purpose and set the privacy level, which can be open, closed, or secret depending on the purpose of your group. As an author, there are several ways to use Facebook Groups to build a community of readers who share a love of your work. Here are a few ideas for groups you can create: an author fan club, virtual book club, release party group for your book, or a group based on your blog or podcast.
Another benefit of creating a Group is that the content regularly shows up in group members' newsfeeds. It's a way to make up for Facebook's de-prioritization of Page content. Just remember that Groups are not a place for blatant self-promotion. They are places for creating real connections. The measure of a good group isn't the number of members, but the number of engaged participants.
You can instantly share live video with your followers using your smartphone or computer with Facebook Live. Live video is given high priority on Facebook, so it's an excellent choice when you want to ensure that your content displays in fans' newsfeeds. Facebook provides several helpful Live video ideas for authors, including a live question and answer session, or a tour of your workspace. Use your fans' feedback to determine what topics work and which ones don't.
You can use the Events feature in Facebook to let your followers know about an upcoming event. By creating an event, followers can RSVP, see details about the venue, and receive updates. You can allow others to post comments before and after the event, and you can post on the Event page to publish updates. Post photos and reminders leading up to the event, but don't overuse or misuse Events or you will quickly annoy your followers. Create Events for legitimate book launch events, book signings, speaking engagements, readings, and other events you are participating in or hosting.
Advertising on Facebook can be quite effective when you have a clear objective, compelling content, and a defined audience. First, decide on the objective of your ad. Choose just one goal you want to accomplish, such as boosting sales of your book, increasing likes of your Page, or advertising an upcoming webinar. Second, create a professional, compelling advertisement. You can run an ad or boost a post (boosting a posts means you pay to have one of your selected posts seen by more people on Facebook). Third, define your audience. You can choose the demographics and interests of your audience. For example, you could run an ad to promote an upcoming event to people who live in the area of the event. If you have the budget for it, Facebook ads can be quite effective—but you should always stay within your means and examine the results of your ad campaigns to ensure they are working for you.
Now that you know what to do, here are some important things to NOT do:
There are rules of etiquette in social interactions—even when online. Facebook is a platform to make social connections with fans, not to broadcast your message of "Buy my book!" over and over. Share meaningful content and make connections. Also, avoid anything that would be considered click bait or engagement bait, for example, "Like this post if you love Fridays!" Facebook has been cracking down by demoting these kinds of posts and the Pages that share them. Plus, spamming your followers is a good way to lose them.
One way to keep your followers interested on Facebook is to share some content exclusively through Facebook, instead of only repeating what you’ve said on Twitter or elsewhere. Give your fans reasons to follow you on Facebook, for example, by hosting Groups, posting Live video interviews, and hosting Facebook contests.
Don't rely on Facebook as your only marketing strategy. Diversify your efforts and analyze your results. Have a plan and track your time. You can easily spend too much time on Facebook if you don't have a schedule.
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