Friday, March 8, 2013

Writers and Social Media - Facebook

A few months ago I was having a chat with one of my writer friends about utilising social media in the best way possible. She said she wasn't sure of the best way in which to market herself over these platforms, she never knew what to write on her blogs, and she didn't want her entire twitter feed to be an advertisement for her book.

I've been in the marketing sector for a few years now, and I've been doing tons of social media marketing. Most of the people I've come across seem to have a relatively good handle on managing their social media accounts but I thought I'd just write down a few tips for those who aren't quite sure how they should be managing their accounts.

I'm going to start today with Facebook...


Facebook is probably the most popular social media platform and if you're a writer, chances are you'll have a 'like' page on Facebook. This is a really great place for connecting with your fans, giving them updates and including them in your authors life.

Facebook fans like to feel like they're part of things, they love getting little behind the scenes glimpses and being treated to a sneaky paragraph from your new book. Facebook is a great way to develop loyalty in your fans, and the best way to do this is to not freeze them out. They want to be included and acknowledged. Use your status updates to ask them questions, respond to comments they write on your wall - obviously if you have hundreds of comments coming in by the hour that's not entirely possible, but do the best you can. If you're responding to as many as you can then your fans will see you're really making an effort.

Encourage them to get involved, involve them in the decision making process when you can. If you have two covers to choose from and your contract will allow you to ask their opinion, then go for it. Ask them which cover they prefer. If you're writing a new book and struggling to come up with a name for your character, you could enlist their help? You might get some great ideas coming through. Your fans love to be involved in the creative process. Sure your publishers might change your characters name later, but in the meantime you've had this great brainstorming process with your fans.

Don't just post about yourself, post about other topics that your fans will care about, this might be something local in the news, this might be congratulating a fellow author on a movie deal, talking about the book you're currently reading that you love... these things are more than okay to post about.

Also make sure the content you're posting on your page is varied. You almost want your page to look like a magazine when you're scrolling down the page - photos, questions, videos, general status updates, links.

Make sure you're posting frequently. For Facebook you don't want to post too often and it depends where you are in terms of your writing - if you have a book coming out soon you're going to want to increase the frequency in which you're posting. You don't want to be posting too much in that you're spamming your fans newsfeed, but you don't want radio silence on your page. I would say four times a week would be okay unless you have a big launch on the horizon.

Even on days you're not posting, make sure you set aside some time each day to respond to comments on your page, and go around other common interest pages to 'like' and comment on their posts. By common interest pages I mean other authors and pages dedicated to certain books, and then book groups like I Love YA Fiction is on Facebook. Not only does this mean you're supporting others in the writing/reading community but you're getting out there more.

Be human! By this I mean make sure you're being real and genuine. Your fans do not want to see 101 posts telling them to go and buy your book. They want to know the person behind the book, which is why they're on your page in the first place. They want to see real human updates - "I just lost everything I was writing for the last hour! Never underestimate the power of 'save" and "Oops, I accidentally ate the entire packet of cookies... sorry, not sorry". - Whatever you're saying, be real. While they love your books, and love you're writing, it doesn't mean you have to be 100% focused on posts about your writing.

Now, to help you manage all of this you want to have some best practice guidelines.

Firstly, keep your posts succinct. Aim for between 100-200 characters. Nice and short. No one really wants to have to click that 'see more' button to read your five paragraph status update. KISS - Keep it simple, sweetheart.

Create an editorial calendar. This is a really great tool to have if you're pushed for time, or if you know you're going to be pushed for time. For example if you're in the editing phases or going on a book tour. Spend a few hours ahead of time making this calendar. Decide which days you'll be posting on. Plot out any key dates that you're aware of coming up - eg. Dad's birthday, book tour launches, a certain author's book is coming out. Then go through and create status updates for each of the days. Eg.

11th March - Post a photo of my writing space with the comment "Settling into my writing cave for the afternoon"

14th March - "Today is my Dad's birthday - Happy birthday to the most incredible dad a girl could have"

17th March - Post youtube video - "Check out the trailer for Minnie Mouse's new YA book, Cats"

21st March - Heading out on book tour tomorrow! Check out the link for our locations and times, and make sure you stop by to say hi!

23rd March - Take photo of book signing and post on Facebook with "Was really great to meet you all in Neverland today!"

You get the general gist. Where possible, plan ahead, create your calendar so you can keep up with Facebook and keep in touch with your fans.  It'd make life so much easier for you and will help keep you/your brand out in front.

Post at the right time. You want to experiment with this a little bit, but see what time your Facebook followers are most active. Then try and post your updates around that time of the day. That way you'll get more engagement in your posts and your posts will be more likely to appear in your fans newsfeeds. (Facebook have changed the visibility of pages in newsfeeds, so the more you're active on Facebook, the more visible you'll be. You can also encourage your fans to hover over the 'like' button and click the "Get Notifications" so they don't miss a single post)

Monitor Facebook insights to see the reach of your posts, and see what type of post is getting the most attention. Interestingly, photo posts receive 120% more engagement than the average post, so when possible include a photo with that status!

So that's about all I have to say on Facebook! I hope that's helped a little! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them!

Ciao for now :)


  1. Even though I've been using facebook and twitter for a while now, I still feel like I'm trying to get a handle on what I'm doing. These are some really good points. I like the thought of trying to make your page look like a magazine. It's a great idea.

    1. I think the basics of using social media is relatively easy but it's when you want to use it as a marketing tool and really develop an audience that you need to be strategic about how you use it. I hope this has helped you a little bit! Twitter is coming up later in the week :)

  2. Social media is also a way to show literary agents, editors, and publishers that you are serious about promoting your book. When someone is looking at buying the rights to your book, it’s a lot more appealing if you already have thousands of followers and are working daily to promote your work.

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