Friday, September 27, 2013

Facebook Tips for Authors by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#Facebook #SocialMedia

Social Media is like writing. You have to work at it through trial and error before you figure out your voice and discover what works best for you, your personality, your goals, and connections. Plus, keep in mind that goals change, so your social media will go through stages, just like your writing.

Here are some perceptions that we are going to have to accept and figure out how to work around:

1) People prefer to friend personal profiles over liking fan pages. The word "friend" sounds better than "fan" or "follow". I think this is why Facebook changed "fans" to "likes".
2) We can ask FB friends to like our author page, but we can't force them as you have probably discovered.
3) People can "unlike" a page just as fast as they can "like" it.
4) Readers do want a glimpse into our personal lives. They like praying for us, connecting with us, and knowing all the news. I consider them my online church family, but I don't share everything. 

I started out trying to keep my personal profile separate and luring everyone to my author page, but I gave up. I couldn't change other people's perception, so I had to change mine--the way I think about FB and my place/role there. I'm on FB to network and make connections to people. Being able to see and communicate with my family are an extra bonus. FB isn't private. They own every piece of content and photo we upload onto their site, regardless if it is on a profile page or a public page. If a hacker wants my info, he/she can get it. If we are careful and don't upload anything we wouldn't want people to see or know on our personal profile or author page, then it doesn't matter.

Here are some suggestions that have worked for me. These suggestions will not work for everyone, so please keep that in mind.

1) I recommend my author page to every person who friends me. Over half of them have not liked my page. I don't know why, but I do know that I don't want to lose my connection to them, so I've made the decision to sacrifice my profile page to accept others. Some people who have NOT liked my author page did buy my books. I don't understand it, but I stopped trying to analyze it a long time ago.

2) For those who have both friended me and liked my page, I make sure I post different things on each so it doesn't feel repetitive to them. I'm so used to it by now so it doesn't seem like extra work. It's merely part of my job.

3) The social culture of FB and Twitter are so different, that I don't link them. I tried this, and I started losing likes because FB people don't like as many posts as Twitter people. Therefore, I use Twitterfeed and I've set certain blog posts to go to FB and others to Twitter. That way some of it is automated and does free up time for me to post things I want to generate discussions on and to do other things.

4) If you want to generate discussions, ask a question. People love giving opinions and sharing ideas. Be careful not to get too political or controversial.  

5) I give a glimpse of my personal life, but I don't share anything I wouldn't want anyone on the Web to see or know. I post fewer family photos on my author page, but I do post some. I post more on my personal profile. I'm careful not to post images of my teenage daughter in her swimsuit or talk about vacation until we are back home. I monitor her FB page and I don't allow her to accept people she doesn't know. Other authors have sent her friend requests, but I don't let her accept them unless there is real viable connection. For instance, some of my author friends she has met, others had something in common with her, and I personally know them and trust them after having met them several years at writing conferences.

6) I screen each friend request and the profile of anyone I send a request to. If someone doesn't have anything about themselves on their About section, then they aren't being transparent enough for me to accept their friend request. I realize that some people are private, but FB is a "social" network, and if I don't know you, I need to know why I would want to know you. What do we have in common? If their timeline is available, I check to see what kind of posts they have. If it is nothing but games, I don't accept. If a man sends me a friend request and everyone of his friends are female, something is wrong and I don't accept. If someone sends me a friend request and their entire page is in a language I don't understand, I don't accept. I won't be able to communicate with them and I am not interested in having to click on translation options. 

7) When I reach my 5,000 friend limit, I'll have the perfect excuse to send people to my author page, and they will know it isn't because they didn't pass muster to be my friend. It puts the blame on FB's rules, not me. Plus, I won't have to screen people anymore.

8) I don't worry about keeping up with 3,800 friends. I create my friend lists and use them as needed and I don't worry about it. I have enough pressure. I don't need to add more to myself. If I happen to see a post on my newsfeed and I want to comment, I do it and I forget about it. I don’t worry about trying to comment on everyone’s post. Based on some of the comments I've seen from others, I'm concerned that many are putting too much pressure on themselves to try and keep up with everyone. Don't do that. Just relax and let go.

9) I've set all my social media on an email address that is NOT my main email and I've turned off notifications that I don't want. That way, I'm not annoyed by tons of alerts. I don't need to know that 20 people commented on a post after me. Also, if one of my social media accounts is compromised, they don’t have access to my main email. This has happened to me before and I had to start all over creating a whole new FB account, so I know what it's like to build it up from scratch, TWICE!

10) Be strategic about placing ads on Facebook. I place ads on FB every so often and they have worked--ok, but I did not get tons of new likes, but I did gain a few. I think FB ads works better than individual post promotions. You can set a daily cap and target people who are not already a friend or fan. What is your goal? Is it to sell books? Is it to build up "likes" on your author page? Knowing this goal will determine where you send people when they click on your ad. Also, I recommend setting up a separate credit card just for online purchases so that it isn't linked to anything if it were to be compromised or stolen.

I hope these Facebook Tips are helpful to you! What other tips do you have?


Karen Robbins said...

Great post! You have confirmed much of what I've done. Thanks!

Diana said...

Great post Jennifer. This will be so helpful to my authors. Glad you are protecting your daughter. I wish all parents would exercise the same FB controls. It would make for a much safer world.

Patty Wysong said...

Jennifer, thank you! Great post that puts FB in a way that works (for me) and lifts the guilt and pressure. =]

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for that post. I still feel like I’m swimming, trying to understand the role of social media and how to manage it effectively and strategically. I began FB like you described—two identities, personal vs. professional. It didn’t work well, either. I’m not sure I have enough “news” right now to maintain separate posts on my author page as well as my personal page. Do you think a good option may be to create a friend list solely of the people who have friended me and not liked my page? Then I could post the page posts to that specific list. I noticed when I simply shared my page posts to my personal timeline, I wasn’t communicating with everyone on my friend list. I’m not sure if that’s because of how FB ranks feeds or not (I’m still rather confused by some of FB!). Thank you!

Dr. Ryan Fraser said...

This is an extremely helpful post to me as I try to figure things out with FB, Twitter, etc. It was actually me who asked Diana Flegal about this question a few weeks ago as it was really perplexing to me. I only had a professional "author" page on FB and it was linked to my Twitter account. After reading your article, I have unlinked it and actually today established a normal personal FB account in addition to my professional one. I think this is going to be much better in the long run. Again, thanks for your insightful and practical post!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Karen and Patty,

You are both welcome. Just keep doing what you can. No guilt!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


Thanks for sharing this post with your authors.

Yes, I have to protect my girl. I was more concerned about her when she just started out using FB at 13, but now she's 16 and picked up a lot of good safety habits.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Bonnie, When you don't have any new posts to share of your own, feel free to share someone else's post. I do that all the time. That way you're keeping your page active and people are still engaging with you so that when you do have something of your own to share, the people from those interactions will be the first to see your next post in FB's algorithm.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Bonnie, You could try the friend list that you mentioned. I would be curious to know if you see a difference.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Ryan, Glad you found the info helpful. I hope you see an improvement with the changes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jennifer!

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Andrea Cox said...

Thanks, Jennifer! Great to see you're sharing your experience for others to learn from.


Sherry Boykin said...

Thanks, Jennifer. Any suggestions of what to do if you want to comment on a FB post using your author page versus your profile page? I've noticed that many posts aren't visible if I change my account from "comment as Sherry Boykin" to "comment as SherryBoykinAuthorSpeaker".

Jeanette Levellie said...

Excellent advice! Thank you so much,

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Great post, Jennifer. I agree about the Fan Page. Most of my friends DON'T LIKE my fan page! I'm not sure why? I've tried inviting them, but, to no avail. I get new friend requests each week, but, my author page stays at the same number of likes every week. I'm glad I'm not alone with this problem.

Great tips!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Sherry, Since your author page cannot be a friend to those friends, it will not allow you to comment. If someone has their perimeters set in a way that allows others to comment on their wall without being a friend, then you would be able to comment.

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