Many writers seem to have this love/hate/I don’t get it relationship with Facebook. It’s complicated, keeps changing, and people break the rules all the time. If you can’t afford to pay someone to run your Facebook page for you (there’s a large club – don’t feel left out) then you may be searching for a few shortcuts, because all you really want to do is write.
I see a lot of writers doing more damage than good to their platform with a few common mistakes innocently made. With 1 Billion users, Facebook is an enormous marketplace, and even if Facebook isn’t your cup of tea there’s no point in shooting yourself in the foot.
Facebook is perhaps one of the slowest platform building social media sites. For those just starting out on their writing journey, be aware that though a Facebook fan is more loyal, more likely to endorse your work to their friends, and more likely to buy, building an authentic tribe there takes time. Unless you’re an established author who already has a following, you’re probably going to start slow. Have a marketing plan and be intentional about your strategy on Facebook. It will pay off in the long run.
4 ways writers sabotage their platforms on Facebook:
Cross-posting from other social media accounts.
It’s easier (more efficient?) to create one status and cross-post on all your social media profiles. I see a lot of cross-posts on Facebook, but these shortcuts will cost you fans readers.
- Using hashtags and bad grammar to stay inside the 140 character limit on Twitter can leave you looking like a twit on Facebook to someone who’s never been on Twitter. Click to Tweet
- Tweeting the same link two to four times in a day is OK but repeating yourself on Facebook is bad manners. Click to Tweet
- Posting too often is the number one reason pages get unliked or blocked from newsfeeds. Click to Tweet
- Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. Click to Tweet
Creating Too Many Pages
Stop the madness! As writers and authors, you are your brand. You need one page. Building a growing network and effective tribe on Facebook is hard enough with one page, why spread yourself so thin? You don’t need a page for every new blog you start (seriously ask yourself why you need so many blogs anyway!), or for every book. Stretching your social media time over 3 pages or more is playing Facebook roulette. One caveat is creating a page for your book as a placeholder on the url that clearly directs people to your main author page. Nothing looks worse than a stagnant or ignored page. Put your best marketing foot forward!
Improper Use of Groups
Groups can be an effective tool on Facebook, for some. If you’re looking to build a community or tribe around a specific topic (high-risk pregnancies for instance) groups can offer better communication between tribe members and help build credibility and authority, but it’s not a place to sell or market things. Pages have a lot of built-in marketing tools that groups don’t such as custom apps, analytics, and the ability to run ads, contests and sweepstakes. Creating a group for a book alongside an author page works for some, but it’s the minority!
Stop creating groups for book launches. Force-inviting all your friends to a book launch group and then spamming them until the end of time with ‘buy my book’ messages is annoying and makes people feel awkward. Create an event from your author page for book launches with an end time – if you’re doing an actual online book launch. Events aren’t a great way to make an announcement – that’s what promoted posts are for.
Tagging people in a status update or a photo (just to make sure they see the post) meant to announce or advertise your book is spam. Visiting other pages on Facebook and posting something like: “great page. check out my book <insert link>” is quite rude. Using guilt and shame to get people to like or share a photo engenders no good will at all. And for the love of LOL Cats – turn off the notifications on the games you play (Facebook is the most addicting of the social media sites. Be wary of how much time you spend there when you could be writing.)
Would you slide a manuscript to an agent under the bathroom stall door? I hope not. Ick. All these things are seen as an invasion of privacy and people take it personally. It’s a quick way to get hidden or unfriended.
Good manners are more important than ever because Facebook has made recent changes that will negatively affect how many people see your page updates if you receive negative feedback and spam reports. Be warned.
Are you a reformed Facebook user? Are you guilty of any of these things? What have writers and authors done on Facebook that drives you insane?