Monday, January 30, 2012

Why I Love My FaceBook Fan Page
And a Little #Mancandy

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseIf you're at all like me, the minute somebody says to you, "You should <blog, Tweet, create a FaceBook fan page, eat more salad> the first thought that crosses your mind is that the well-meaning "Should-er" should STFU.

But... they're right.

If I have only one fan who follows me through FaceBook, who loves my book, and shares it via her FaceBook account...

This is how word of mouth spreads, boys and girls.  Don't you want every possible fan to know about your work?

See, I have friends and family who are all over FaceBook.  Baby pictures, jokes, comments about sports...  Some of 'em never met a stupid game they didn't like. And while they would hate me if I was sending them blurbs about my writing on a regular basis, they will be happy to plug my book(s) when published.

I also love my writer friends, who are only interested in sharing writing stuff and hearing tidbits about my work, or perhaps a shared mancandy picture.

Having a FaceBook fan page allows me to separate these groups.  If I want to see who's pregnant, engaged, or furious that their team just lost a play-off game - personal FB page.

If I want to see what's happening in my LARA RWA group, or the multitude of blogs I follow via Networked Blogs and syndicate to my FaceBook fan page (more on that in a future post), I just toggle to my FaceBook writer fan page.  I see that ooh, there's a new post from Writer Unboxed.  And Lisa Hendrix has posted a great mancandy photo like the one below, yum!

Alessio Romero via Wikipedia Commons

Okay.  Eyes back on the text now.  Focus, breathe...

FaceBook.  Fan Page.  Why was that again?   Besides quick and easy access to mancandy photos?

Simply having that handy little division between the personal side and the writer side makes me feel so much more organized.  More organized/less confusion = more energy for writing!  (In theory, anyway.)

Good thing about liking a fan page from your fan page, rather than your personal page:  You avoid boring the crap out of your friends and family who are patiently waiting for you to get over that silly little writing hobby.  (Until such time as you make it big, in which case they will brag to everyone they knew it all along.  And hit you up for money.)  Updates and posts only go to people interested in you and your writer's journey.  Presumably, the "stuff" that's updated is useful content, because what you Like as a writer/author will be stuff like World Book Night.

It also keeps those peeps who are only interested in me as a writer from being bored by my comments about people's baby pictures, status updates, and relationships.

Post once, share twice.  I have linked my FB fan page to Twitter (which is sadly neglected, poor thing.)  So let's say I come across a great blog post, a cool article, etc.  When I post that link to my FB fan page, or Share a post that's already there, it automatically goes to my FB fans, and my Twitter followers, who aren't necessarily the same people.  This saves me time and energy, which I can then use for writing (or Pinterest, depending on my mood).

You can synch in both directions, but if you are an avid Tweeter, I would advise, not.  Keep in mind, they are different types of social media. The people who follow you on FaceBook probably don't want 8 billion updates.  However, if you have more than one FaceBook fan page, and more than one Twitter account, you can link each FaceBook fan page to a different Twitter account.  (More on why you might want more than one, below.)

Bad thing about Liking a fan page from another fan page: Likes by other fan pages aren't currently included in the tally of how many people Like a Page.  (Why not?  I. Don't. Know.  Why do ye FaceBook gods do half the stuff they do, like introduce the Timeline thingie that I have yet to learn how to use?)  So you might click on a fan page like mine, see that a pitiful number of individual people are Following, and think, what a loser!  But in actuality, I might have zillions of secret Followers.  It only looks like I'm a loser.

(Is that argument working for you?  Or, have I guilted you into Liking me out of pity?  Then my job is done. )

When the day comes and we hit the bestseller lists (which I seriously intend to do), we will want to have all ducks in a row (even if some of them are facing backwards).  Website.  Blog.  FaceBook presence. Twitter account(s).  But at that time, we're going to be too damn busy giving interviews and writing the next bestseller to begin setting up all this Social Media stuff.  Better to have it in place, even in a weak sauce form, ready to be turbo-charged.  

Can't you pay somebody to do it for you? IMO, not really.  Once you have established a presence, and made a personal connection with a number of your followers, sure, you could farm out some of the posts and updating, say, to your personal assistant.  But nobody else is you, has your flavor, knows which posts or Tweets which make you eager to share, or make you roll your eyes and reply something snarky. 

Done in tiny bits, it's really easy.  (I'm not a techie,so if could do it...)

More on the ins and outs of Social Media here on Financially InKleined, which is a great site if you don't want to be broke all your life.

Creating your fan page:  While logged into FaceBook, click here.  It'll bring up a screen that looks like this:

If you're a writer, you're an "Artist, Band, or Public figure."  Then follow the yellow brick road to finish creating - it's easy-peasy.  Don't worry at this stage, if you select the wrong thing.  For instance, you may call yourself a Writer, and later decide to call yourself an Author.  Or vice versa.  Do be discreet about how much personal information to put "out there," like addresses, phone numbers, etc.  All your fans may not be nice or sane people.

Once you have 25 "Likes" for your page, you can (and should) create a distinct username.  Most branding experts suggest always going with your own name - but yours may be Bob Jones, and that may not be available.  I had already assigned my name (beverlydiehl) to my personal facebook page, so it wasn't available for my fan page.

Besides, I'm not sure I won't adopt a pen name at some point.  And people always have trouble with my last name.  So for Twitter, Pinterest, and now, my FaceBook fan page, my handle is "WriterBeverly", instead of the long string of numbers.  ( If you can't or don't choose to brand with your own name, do be consistent, and be VERY, VERY careful when selecting that username, because that is the one thing that can't be changed.  If you choose SarahsSexyShits instead of Shirts, this could be Unfortunate.

This circles back to why you want a FaceBook fan page now - you cannot reserve a username for your FaceBook fan page until after you create a FaceBook fan page (and get 25 fans.  This is where you do hit up for friends and family to fan you for at least a couple weeks, so you can grab your username.  Promise them they can unfan you later if they like.)

If you lag, it is entirely possible that some crazed stalker person might set up a fan page and grab your  best username.  Then when you do get around to setting it up, she's got, filled with pictures of dogs relieving themselves, and you've got to settle for BrilliantAuthorBooks.  And a lot of e-mails asking why you like posting rather strange pictures of dogs.

Also, consider this.  You can have multiple fan pages - for different pen names, or books/series.  You easily administer them all through logging into your personal FaceBook account.  You can post new items as yourself, or log into the fan page as an administrator (two clicks) if you are keeping your identity secret.  So you can have one fan page for your sweet bonnet romances, and a totally different one for your M/M erotica persona.

I have my writer fan page, and I have started a new fan page for a non-profit organization that brings reading & story experiences to young children, Words on Wheels.  (Btw, WOW could use some more Likes.  Just sayin'.)

You can also have a custom designed FaceBook landing page for your fan page, so that when somebody who has not yet Liked your page goes there, they see a different presentation than your regular followers.  If you go in that direction, I suggest you hire a professional (some are actually fairly inexpensive) so you maintain a consistent look among website, blog, and your FaceBook page. 

Are you ready to take the plunge, or do you already have a FaceBook fan page?
If you've learned anything useful, please share this post.
If you have other good tips, please share those, too, in the comments.
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