Facebook: What Value to Authors?

Monday, June 25, 2012


Source
Among the things I did this past week was some research on social media and marketing. You’d think I’d have covered a lot of ground in this area already. I have, but I’m learning new things all the time.

If you’ve been dropping in for a bit, you’ll know that Facebook is one of the options I’ve been looking at for advertising. I’ve been holding back because I placed an ad on a review site and wanted to be able to track how that’s doing before I run ahead and do anything else.


I think I’ll probably opt in for the Facebook ad sometime this week. I’ve gone this route before with my first novel. I didn’t do a good job of tracking how many sales for Contraband came from that ad, but I do know I got over 300 likes. An aside here, having got these ‘likes’, I haven’t capitalized on them at all by making the page interactive and keeping readers interested by posting fresh details ever so often, which is why I think having an author page on Facebook is wiser than doing a page for each novel. A further aside here, In linking the page, I discovered that I’ve had three new ‘likes’ in the past couple of weeks and no update on my part. Yikes!

That’s a mistake I made and I’m contemplating taking down the pages for Dissolution and Hardware. The only reason I’m hesitating on deleting the Hardware page is that the book is written under a pen name and gets very little exposure already.

That said, in one of the books or articles I read this week I noted that a study claimed that 1 in 8 minutes on the internet is spent on Facebook. Interesting stuff. Now what if I did all I could to make my author page interactive and bring value to readers?  I think I’d definitely see some movement in my numbers. I keep forgetting that when fans see something I’ve posted, people in their timeline are also privy to that information. A good and not-so-good thing about Facebook, which has 750 million active users, according to Hubspot. I have noticed in recent times, a massive increase in the number of writers actively marketing through Facebook.

Something else I picked up is that it’s good to ‘like’ pages in that people will reciprocate if they like what you’re doing. Okay, so this is obvious, but I don’t ‘like’ enough, I think.

Having written a good book, I’m always going to be looking at ways to maximize its presence. For now, at the pace I’m going, this is going to be a sneak attack as I move through the different things I want to do to promote Distraction. I think a blog tour will definitely be in order, but I want to do something fun and different.  Still chewing on that as I want to feature Jamaica in there somewhere. Big time.

BTW – A friend of mine is putting together an around-the-world blog hop during the Olympics, so if you live in a far-flung place or maybe your novel is set somewhere you consider exotic, drop me a line here or email me, so I can add you to the list of interested bloggers/writers.

As to the stuff I’ve been reading this week:

  • How to Use Facebook for Business: An Introductory Guide (Hubspot) I get their newsletter www.hubspot.com which I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to, but I should. They publish a lot of useful information on harnessing social media for publicity.
I’ve also been reading about how to maximize on free book promos and Goodreads giveways. I’m getting quite an education, which is long overdue.

For those of you who do market though Facebook and have author pages. Are you doing enough to keep your fans engaged or is your author not yet where it ought to be, kinda like mine?

53 comments:

  1. I think I'll definitely be interested in the blog hop. I love the new banner btw. It's kickass just like your writing.

    Good luck with the Facebook ad. I just have read so much that it is a waste of money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mike, I'll put your name down for the hop until there's a page up for that. A writer friend of mine did the banner for me. I should give her some props somewhere on the page. Thanks for your kind words. As to the FB ad, I wouldn't do it for a sustained period, just long enough to gauge whether I'm moving any books.

      Delete
  2. I've heard the same thing. You're wasting your money running ads. I've even read that trailers aren't worth much either. I've never tried either one, so I can't speak from experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Richard. Actually, I think book focused sites like Goodreads might yield some results. Fb is such a wide market that I think there will be some interest. I kept wondering when I placed my ad for Contraband whether people like the idea of the book or if they thought it was all about thuggery and the thug's life. Hard to tell. :)

      Delete
  3. I haven't thought about Facebook ads but I have considered a goodreads ad. Maybe it's a waste of money for me though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clarissa, I suppose it would be helpful if you had someone to talk to who had run any kind of ad there. Goodreads is all about books so I'm thinking that it would hardly be a waste of time. People can't help clicking on something that looks and sounds intriguing.

      Delete
  4. You've reminded me that I've let my author's page wither away on FB. Still, if you can afford it, I think you should give the FB ad a try for the shortest time possible. I've had a few attract my attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Li. I think it's definitely worth a shot. With 750 million users, there's gotta be a few pairs of eyes I can catch.

      Delete
  5. Yeah, I was thinking of starting an author's page, but I have no idea what to do with it, lol. I'm not overly enthused ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, Lynda. It's a bit of work trying to stay on top of everything. Wish I'd thought of that before I opened a few of the pages I have.

      Delete
  6. There is always something new to learn and so much to do to keep up, it seems.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have an author's page but had entirely ignored it until last week. Something reminded me that it existed and I started poking around on it. At present I don't see how it makes a better nexus for an emerging writer than a blog, unless FB possesses some specialized reader communities that feed into lesser-known writers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, John,

      I don't believe it's better, but it gives a lot more visibility to writers who have a following and yes, several book based groups have sprung up on Facebook that help writers promote their work. I've weaned myself off Fb as I find that it can be a timesuck.

      Delete
  8. I have an author page I started a few months ago. Right now it gets activity from a linked Twitter account. Hopefully when I have more news to post it'll change up the content.

    Great post, Joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lydia, whatever works. :) I don't feed from my twitter account to Fb for fear of sharing the same information, which would feel like spamming.

      Delete
  9. Informative post and thanks for the links. I haven't posted much on my author page. I guess when I complete the book I do more work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, when you're published, you'll be more inclined to post regularly.

      Delete
  10. I have an ad on Goodreads. You can target your market and you only pay for click throughs. The thing that moved my book the most lately was the newer release.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that, Mary. Good to know that the new stuff helps to sell the old. I've been finding that out as it pertains to Amazon.

      Delete
  11. I have a FB author page, but I'm not having a lot of success at getting Likes. Every time I hear about someone with a page, I will go Like it, but most don't reciprocate. I have to Like as 'me' because I can't Like as my page. Should I leave a note and say 'please return the like at (my page address)'? I don't know. I'm paying attention to what you're doing and how it works out :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Carol, I got many of my likes from running competitions and making the 'like' an optional entry. That's one of the easiest and quickest ways to do it.

    As you've said, not many people reciprocate and I don't think I'd ask people to do this, unless it's in some kind of friendly group setting. You can enter a blog hop or two to get your book some exposure. Kathy at I am a Reader Not a Writer runs some good ones. See link below. http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-hop.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Every bit of information helps.

      Delete
  13. This was an interesting and helpful post. I haven't really looked into this end of things. Gives one lots of food for thought. Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elizabeth, yes. It's time I made use of the newsletters I'm getting that I don't take enough time to read. The one on Facebook is instructive.

      Delete
  14. This is the post I read that made me follow your blog. =D You said you have something for me because I'm your 500th follower? (And I love women's fiction!) Contact me @ deathauthor@live.com

    And thanks for whatever it is in advance. =)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes Joy, you're on the right track. FB wins hands down for being the most popular social media site. Good luck with the advertising.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Denise. I realize that everybody and his mother is on Facebook. :)

      Delete
  16. I love FB and how interactive it is! Keep us posted on how your adverts work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will, Talli. I do need to make my main page on Fb a lot more active than it is right now.

      Delete
  17. Wow, so much to learn. I'm impressed with all your research and work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Bish, I'm trying to stay abreast of what's happening out there. It helps in the long run.

      Delete
  18. You do your research so well! Thanks for sharing them with us. :) I think FB is a good way of advertising books as well:)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Nutschell,

      Since I don't have a publicist, I have to find out all the stuff for myself. I'm always learning something, so this is a good workout for me.

      Delete
  19. I'm actually planning a couple of primer posts in the next few weeks on FaceBook - how to use your fan page, what fans see, how (and why) to share content from other sources, why YOUR fan page should Like other fan pages, etc.

    Since I don't have books to sell yet *weeps* that's something I can't track, but I do believe in hunting snipe where the snipe are, and right now, more people are on FB than anywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smart move, Bev. Most people who are on some kind of network use Fb. I'll be sure to follow your posts.

      Delete
  20. Great job. I did an ad and giveaway on goodreads for my second book and it worked well. Haven't tried fb yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee,

      I haven't done one of those yet, but I will at some point.

      Delete
  21. FB, blog, Pinterest, Tumblr... It'll soon get to the point where you hae no time to write (or even cook dinner) because you'll be spending all your time trying to maintain your social media sites and come up with fresh copy for them. I have a hard enough time trying to come up with things to say on my blog.

    I'm not sure I understand the point of getting people to "Like" your FB page -- actually I am sure: I don't get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Steven,
      I agree that too many social networking causes our writing to suffer. I've tired to limit myself to Fb and Twitter and even those give me the guilts when I don't do anything for a while.

      As to the Fb page. Once people like the page it's a way of ensuring that you'll come to their attention at some point in the future. Once you post something, it's in their timeline. Not a guarantee they'll see it, but at least you're given the chance to be seen by a number of people.

      Delete
  22. I like your new banner too. I'll be curious to see what you think of advertising on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Theresa,
      I have advertised on Facebook before, so I know it does get people's attention. As to how that translates to sales, I'm yet to find out this trip.

      Delete
  23. Thanks for this great info, J.L. I read your post very carefully. I was on FB ages ago but deactivated the account because family/friends inundated me with photos, etc. to look at Right Now and pestered me when I didn't. That much social interaction drove me nuts. But, okay, I hadn't written my first book then, applied for a copyright for the second yesterday so need to re-think this FB stuff. But, like you're thinking, I'm wondering if FB affects sales. So many people are pushing stuff it kinda overwhelms. Don't know, don't know.

    Great blog hope idea! I'd participate but we're off tomorrow on holiday, mostly in Italy. Really excited!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kittie,

      I think that whole 'look at my latest pic' routine and more so the invitations to play a ton of games is what turned me off Fb pretty fast. I get around that by using a/n author/fan page that's strictly about the books and is separate from the initial personal account I opened.

      As I noted before, I got over 300 fans from advertising my first book, but I didn't track how that translated in sales. Thanks for dropping in. Enjoy your holiday!

      Delete
  24. This is fascinating! I wondered how much traffic authors got from their Author pages. I only have a personal Facebook account right now, but I will definitely create an Author page in the future. And then yes, I would interact. I've seen other authors ask questions, get opinions, stuff like that. It's not always about their book, it's about connecting with their fans personally. That's the plan anyway! Oh, and I've also seen authors using Pinterest through Facebook, and posting inspirational quotes. Just one more idea to add to the plate! Good luck to you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Julie,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The thing I haven’t really done yet is to really connect with my fans on Facebook. Too much going on, I think, but it is necessary and important to make connections. I’m trying to stay off Pinterest, though it seems like a fun activity. I’m also on LinkedIn and not doing much there either. I probably need to work out some kind of schedule that doesn’t make me feel too pressured.

      Delete
  25. I have a FB page, but I don't keep up with it much. I'm not a huge fan of FB, but I think it's a good idea to at least maintain a presence there just in case I might eventually do something. I've got a lot to learn about FB and Twitter, not to mention a lot of other social media options.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Originally, I joined because of a group of friends from school. It's a useful way to let people know what going on in your personal situation as well as in the writing arena.

      Delete
  26. I know there are 750 M users on FB, but in all honesty--as a social media marketer--I have an uneasiness about FB, especially since they have gone public. I have a FB page am doing well (at 900+likes), but I don't have a comfort level with them. My recommendation is to test, test, test. At the end of the day, what you really want to connect with readers, build a loyal audience. Just because you have a strong social media presence, doesn't necessarily mean you are talking to your target. Find the place they dwell and drill down your message. That's my best advice.

    Thanks for the links too. I will check them out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Mina,
      I take your points and interestingly, I came across a post in the last day or so by someone who had lost trust in Fb over time. The book is what I'd be pushing through an ad and not my author page. That way I'd be much more likely to get people who are interested in what I'm selling. You're right in that I have to find what will work for me and keep going down that path. Thanks!

      Delete
  27. I don't have a Facebook author page yet, but I've considered it. I'm not sure since I don't spend enough time on my regular FB page. I had no idea that many minutes were spent on FB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, you live and you learn. If it's something you won't spend some time doing, then it won't make a lot of sense for you. Whatever is manageable and works, go for it.

      Delete

Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.