Mari Selby founded Selby Ink in 1998 after successfully improving sales 200% for a small publisher. She is the author of Lightning Strikes Twice, her 2nd poetry book, and a columnist for SanFranciscoBookReview.com. The team at Selby Ink is passionate about books that make a difference in people’s lives, their relationships, our society or the planet.
When I started Selby Ink in 1998 digital books were practically unheard of. Back then, social media consisted of www.aol.com and forums like www.iVillage.com. Now, www.facebook.com is the king.
In this article, we delve into what makes your author Facebook page addictive. We’ll share a few tips with you on what to post, how to successfully engage your potential readers and how to build a crowd.
Ready? Let’s start.
First, like with anything else in life, always ask yourself why, why are you engaging on Facebook, what do you hope to accomplish? Are you trying to build a fan base, drive traffic to your website, inform readers, spark a debate?
Without a set goal or intention for your efforts you will feel like a fish out of water.
All your Facebook posts must have a clear and obvious goal in mind.
Whenever you decide on the content of your posts, try to:
Aim for engagement with your followers rather than the superficial “likes.”
What do we mean by engagement?
What was the most recent post you made that had people commenting?
I’ve just posted a Valentine message that popped for my followers. It was a photo of the jumper cables my spouse gave me as a Valentines gift with the question: is this true love or what?
Stories about love always engage people, and asking for their opinion involved them on another level. In two words, my post was emotional and relatable.
I responded to all the comments and made sure people knew I cared about their comments. As a result, this post continued to pop up for days. I went after the engagement, not after a few likes.
How do you drive engagement on Facebook?
In the past five years, the world has seen a massive movement to a new social economy. What this means is that people, more than ever, are looking for an emotional connection when they purchase something, they want an experience.
Whenever you post on social media, strive to find the emotional link, the hot buttons.
Also, ask for engagement, don’t just expect it. Ask for advice, opinions. For example, you could post a few different book cover versions and ask which one is better.
What you should post on Facebook to drive engagement?
As they say, one size doesn’t fit all. Start by researching your own past posts and notice: what do people comment on, what kicks off other comments, what gets people excited?
Did your photograph of early daffodils growing in your backyard incite comments about global warming? Did your comment about the Superbowl just go unnoticed? Then, do more of what works.
Ditch the habit of only posting memes. They are catchy and can be thought provoking but our timelines are precious real estate. Today more people are commenting on inspirational quotes, which are relatable and allow engagement.
If you really want to share a meme, make sure it’s a positive one and don’t expect more of a response than a “like.” Avoid political or negative memes.
Use current events as a jumping off place for your posts. Don’t be afraid of a little controversy.
Recently I shared about buying Ecuadoran roses for Valentines and had a number of people irate about me not buying locally. I had no idea that these people even followed my posts. But if your book is about the benefits of juicing connect to recent studies. Research which authority has touted juicing for a healthier life in the news lately.
Be succinct. Don’t go on and on and on. Pretend you are on Twitter. Shorter posts get better results.
Post only two times a week about what your book does for people, or the message contained.
Instead write stories about the message behind the book. What inspired you to write it? What did you learn while writing the book? What would you have done differently? By sharing your personal story you create a fan base that wants more of what you offer. Are you passionate about something? One author we work with writes a daily peace prayer and people are moved to comment on her posts.
What is the best time to post on Facebook?
Research suggests the best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m.
The best days to post on Facebook are Thursday and Friday.
They are plenty of tools that helps you schedule posts. Take your pick. I use Hootsuite and Buffer.
How many posts and how many Facebook fans or followers do you need to create buzz?
While there is no clear rule about how often we should post on any social media channel, my advice is to be consistent and don’t overwhelm your readers.
Don’t spray and pray. Aim for interaction.
I post 3 times a day every weekday. My followers expect me to post something morning, noon and night. Because I am consistent they look for what I am posting and consistently comment and engage with me.
As to how many Facebook followers you need, I believe you need as many as it takes to spread the word of your book or product.
One super fan might be enough to make your message go “viral.” Today your best fans are connected to you in a way that was never possible before, and they’re connected to all of the people they most influence in the world in the same place.
Or, you might need to follow the old marketing rule of something being seen 7 times. In any case, authentic word-of-mouth consistently outperforms nearly any other form of marketing. Word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.
As you can clearly see, building awareness of your book requires two parts working in tandem.
First, the book has to have a message that touches people and the package must be beautiful. You want your product to be as professional as possible.
Second, you, the author, must build a following that is engaged and ready to be your ambassadors.
To make your Facebook efforts pay off, there needs to be a change in approach.
The most basic change is to stop counting likes. Focus on engagement. Kicking the “likes” addiction might be tough for people who have counted the “likes” as their followers. But the truth is you are shortchanging yourself and your followers by not engaging them.
Next time you write a Facebook post, ask yourself these questions and follow these guidelines to be as effective as possible.
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