Today we’re going to expand on some of the past content we’ve looked at surrounding Social Media Marketing. While it’s easy to talk about using social media in the abstract, it’s another thing entirely to actually get in there and use the darn thing! I’ve heard from a few people following some of our broad guidelines for using social media that they want more detail, more specific instructions to help them make the most of their marketing plan. Well, we can do that!
Of all the social media platforms available, Facebook is far and away the biggest and most important. You’ll reach a tremendous range of potential readers, from friends and family to readers from the other side of the world! Rather than trying to get into the weeds with multiple platforms, we’re going to do something a little different.
Rather than me trying to make sense of Facebook, then relay that to all of you in a way that is at least semi-coherent, we’re going to go right to the source – Lulu’s own Social Media Expert!
Without wasting any more time, let’s get into some Q & A with our in-house social media wizard!
Let’s start with the basics. What is the difference between a Facebook Profile and an Author Page? And which one should a Self-Published author use?
A personal profile is meant for exactly that – personal use. Pages are meant for brands, businesses, and organizations. Facebook requires anyone who is using Facebook for business to use a Page, not a personal profile. One important thing to note: you need a Facebook profile in order to create a Page. You can take your personal account and convert it to a Page, which Facebook can use to create a Page in addition to your personal account. Your information will be transferred over to the Page and you will essentially have a duplicate of your personal profile. However, I suggest you create a new page and start from scratch. Make it different than your personal profile and give thought to your author brand and what you want to show the world about who you are and what they can expect from your work. Keep in mind that with a Page, you don’t need to friend people and wait for them to accept your request to connect. Fans can just Like your Page. And with a Page, you can have an unlimited number of Likes.
Hubspot has a great guide to setting up a Facebook Business Page.
An important note: It’s very difficult to change your name once it’s chosen so be sure that you know exactly what you want it to be when you prepare your Page!
Unlike your personal profile, a Page has analytics incorporated. This means you can measure post-performance (how well your post did compared to others) in Facebook Insights. A major benefit includes tracking demographics. You can see if your cookbook is being seen by people who predominantly cook (like Moms) or if your Sci-Fi epic is being seen by your target audience (18-45-year-old males). The demographic information allows you to target your ads better (more on that below), helping you attract more new followers, who will become your new readers!
Once you’ve started to gather information about your followers, you can create and monitor Facebook Ads with the Ads Manager. We’ll talk more about ads a little later, but in general, they’re a great investment (when you can afford to), but not something you should do without a fair amount of data to drive them. When investing in ads, it’s important to remember that money you spend may not immediately come back to you with increased sales.
Pro tip: With a Page, you can choose which template you’d like to use. Click Settings>Edit Page> and then you’ll see the available templates. This is also where you can select the tabs that show up in the left-hand column on your Page and reorganize them. One thing you can do is add the Shop tab. This section allows you to add your Lulu products and allow your followers to purchase directly through this Shop section on your Facebook Page, or you can direct them to purchase on Lulu. Here’s how to set up the Shop button.
How about posting habits? Is there a set number of posts I should make a day? A week?
With everything in social media, you have to find what works best for your brand and your audience. There really isn’t one answer. You want to make sure your frequency works for you and your schedule, as well as your audience. This again is where Facebook Insights help. Data is going to help inform you about habits. You don’t want to post too much or too little. Posting too much causes your followers to get annoyed and possibly unlike and unfollow your Page. They don’t want to see their Feed overrun with pictures of you, your book, and your advertising. Posting too little means your followers may forget about you, not engage, and may not realize why they liked your page in the first place. If they don’t see you periodically in their feed, that’s almost as bad as seeing you too much. It has to be a balance and to find that balance you have to pay close attention to the data. Try posting in different frequencies for a while, and pay attention to Likes, clicks, and comments to see what works.
Also, note that post frequency is different for each channel. Posting 5 times a day for Twitter is pretty average, however, 4 times a day on Facebook is considered high. If you’re using multiple social channels, you can’t think of all of them as the same. Each one has unique needs and expectations. For Facebook, my advice is to start slow. Post once per day and choose 2-3 days to start. It is important to evaluate and understand how much time it takes for you to create your content, find a high-quality image, and schedule your posts. You want to give social media the time it deserves. Don’t put out content just to put it out there and have something posted. Really think about what you are posting and why. Always ask, what value will my followers get from this? A personal connection? Helpful tips to improve their career? A few laughs? Information about an event they would want to attend? News they need to know? Posting high quality and relevant content is key to keeping your followers engaged.
What kinds of posts should an author be creating? Clear attempts to make sales? Sharing other posts? Cat gifs?
There are many different types of content. Try a few and see what you like best and what resonates with your readers! Here’s a sampling of some post ideas:
- Writing/editing/marketing tips
- Behind the scenes – events, writing process
- Book excerpts
- Poetry/short stories – other works
- Cover design
- Event announcements – Facebook events
- Industry articles/news
When using images, be sure to post high-resolution images that are the correct size. I suggest using Canva to prepare and crop images to get them to the right size. This isn’t just posting an iPhone picture of you and your friends on the weekend. These images should be professional because you’re a professional!
Here’s a helpful article with information about how to properly size your images for Facebook (and as a bonus, 5 other social platforms!) – Sizing for Social Images. Use the examples to get a sense of the dimensions and resolution that will make your images look best on Facebook.
Okay, so I’ve got an Author page. I’m posting on a schedule. Now what?
Create a content calendar to help you plan out your posts for each channel. I prefer to use Google Sheets for this. You can have one tab that has a calendar for the entire month, and then one tab for each channel for your posts for that month. However you do it, stay organized and stick to that schedule!
You can start to plan out as many posts as you want per week and increase your frequency if doing so seems to increase engagement without putting anyone off. Always pay attention to the data!
Pro tip: Schedule your posts in advance!
If you have your posts planned out in your Google Sheets calendar, save time and schedule your posts in advance. You can use free tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts. There is a scheduling tool within Facebook as well if you aren’t ready to add a new tool.
Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll want to evaluate what your engagement looks like. You can start by looking at Likes, comments, and shares. Take a look at the last week and see what post performed best. Then, take a look at the last 2 weeks and see what posts performed best. Then ask yourself why. Look at the types of content you posted, the images or videos you included, the language you used, and then of course what time of day it was and day of the week. All of these are variables that you can look at and test in the future to see what and when you should be posting to get the most engagement.
I’m not getting new followers or engagement. What can I do?
If you have the budget, Facebook Ads are a great way to reach new readers. You can create ads to target people as specific as Soccer Moms, age 30-40, who love fiction, who lives in Durham, NC, and who do not like your Facebook page. You can start with $20 and run the ad for a few days and see what kind of reaction you get.
Pro tip: If you have under 100,000 Likes on your page, you can invite people to like your page. Click on one of your posts and click on the Likes. A pop up will open with the list of people who liked your post. Click on the button next to each person’s name that says “Invite”.
Posts with images get more engagement than just plain text. Posts with videos get more engagement than images. Always include images with your posts and when you can try and post videos. Of course, cat gifs will get a lot of engagement, but providing more relevant content such as behind the scenes videos of your recent signing or a live video of you sharing your TBR pile will provide a deeper connection with your fans.
Pro tip: You can simply ask for Likes and Shares! In your posts, you can say “Like if you feel the same way” or “Share if you laughed out loud”.
Okay, the last question is a real-world example. My book is done and I have a launch date set for 30 days from today. I’m having a launch party 1 week after my launch date. What should my Facebook marketing plan look like?
First, let me say this is just a sliver of what you can do on Facebook. And of course, Facebook alone is not a comprehensive marketing strategy. While it is a great tool, all of your social media channels, blog, email, and website should be included in your marketing strategy.
Let’s start with the launch. Spread the word organically by posting on your Page. Focus on reaching your current followers, after all, they will be your biggest fans. If you are a member of Facebook Groups such as writing or publishing groups, let them know about the launch of your upcoming book. You could plan a campaign that counts down to your launch date or teases excerpts of your book in multiple posts over the 30 days. Additionally, create Facebook events for your launch and launch party. Invite people to attend and spread the word!
If you have the budget, Facebook Ads will be a great way to spread the word. Make sure you have a few audiences created in your Ads Manager before you create your campaigns or boost native posts. Create a few audiences that attract different types of readers. If you are boosting your Facebook Event, make sure to target your readers in or near the location that your event will take place. There is no point in advertising the event to people who cannot possibly attend.
You will have three main types of posts.
- Your teaser posts can include the countdown or excerpts of your book. These posts will be geared toward building excitement and showing your fans what they can expect and why they should be excited. You can also announce your launch party and encourage people to attend.
- Launch posts will be focused on the sale of your book. Launch posts will start the day your book is available for sale and should continue through the week up until your launch party. These launch posts can also promote your launch party and let people know they can purchase the book at the party as well.
- Post Launch
- All of your posts after the launch will still be geared towards selling your book but will change the tone to reflecting on this milestone, thanking people for purchasing your book so far and sharing moments from your launch party.
Alright, so that’s a tidbit of Facebook wisdom from our very own Social Media Expert. Let’s quickly recap some of the key take-away’s here:
- Separate your personal Facebook presence from your Author Page
- Plan your posts in advance and target them based on data
- Be consistent, take it slow, see what works best for you and what resonates best with your readers
There you have it! A solid introduction to using Facebook as a marketing tool for your author brand. Of course, we’ve only just broken the surface of what Facebook can do for you and your Author Brand, so feel free to leave us some follow up questions below and we’ll do our best to give some specific answers and advice.
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, responsible for all the words you see on our site (misspellings included). He also manages the community site – http://connect.lulu.com/en/ – and in his free time, he’s an avid reader and short story writer.