Hello again. Let’s revisit what we were talking about earlier. I’ve given you my thoughts on GoodReads and Pinterest. You don’t have to agree with everything I say; I do hope that you are at least giving some consideration to my points.
Today I want to talk about Facebook. This is one of those networks that seem to offend the most people with regard to social networking time sucks. Let me start again by saying that it is only a time suck if you allow it to control you. We all make choices and that goes for online activities as well.
As a person, I enjoy the hell out of Facebook. I get up every morning and look forward to turning on my computer. I go straight to Facebook. Have I lost my mind? No, I am just anxious for a few smiles and a friendly word or two. I have a lot of friends on Facebook, and not just people who friend me randomly. I mean real friends. Friends who, despite having never met them face to face, have helped me through some very bad times in my life. I have some others who just make me laugh on a daily basis. The best part of my Facebook account is that I have reconnected with members of my family I had lost touch with, and found others I did not know. It is extraordinary fun.
Now, let’s talk about Facebook for authors. Facebook has one of the largest groups of viewers and a good portion of them are readers. They also have a wonderful advertising venue that isn’t horribly expensive. Just like in any other situation, there are certain rules, unwritten, but important, that should be followed by authors when marketing their books to their Facebook friends.
First and foremost, you must know how important common courtesy is on any social networking site. I encourage you to pay careful attention to the “do unto others” rule. Don’t say or do anything that you don’t want to be remembered for forever.
Pay careful attention to what you post. The Internet is overflowing with religious and political opinions. We all have them, but make certain that if you decide to voice yours on your page that you are prepared for the responses. As an author, you must also carefully consider how your opinions will affect your potential readers. It is not unreasonable to think that you might lose conservative readers when you express liberal views.
This can also work to your advantage. If you take the time to know the people you are friends with (just like in real life), you can use that knowledge to share information with them that they will find useful or amusing. You can use your newfound knowledge to engage fellow knitters, quilters, beaders, singers, hockey fans, dog lovers, etc. Even if these things have nothing to do with your book, it is common ground. It is a way for you to get to know people and make them want to support you. It’s not about manipulating, it is about genuinely communicating with like-minded people.
Facebook is a great place to share the news of your books, your reviews, your Blog tours, etc. The good news is that a lot of people will want to know what you have to say. But be careful how you say it and how often you say it. There are some things you simply do not do.
Do NOT post your promo notes and reviews on other people’s pages or sites. This is kinda like parking your truck in someone else’s front yard.
Do NOT send auto responders with your buy links and web page links to people who ask to be your friend.
And for the love of Pete and Mike, if you set up a Facebook group. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT add people to your group without asking them first. When you set up a group, you will get a link for that group. You can copy that link into a public invite in your feed that will tell people what you want them to know and then let them make their own choice.
One of the most important things to understand about Facebook as it differs from other networking sites is the amount of information that can be shared on it. Twitter has 140 characters, Good Reads is all books, and Pinterest is an image with a link. Facebook can combine all of those things together and so much more. You have more character to use, images, links, and videos. If you abuse these things it will turn around and bit you in the butt.
Social networking is a wonderful thing, and it can be an exceptional marketing tool. Just don’t let it control you and your time. A social networking schedule is not a bad thing.