As much as we all like to gripe about recent changes to Facebook, there are some good uses for the social media site that don't involve spending a lot of time or money. Here are some quick and dirty tips for writers that focus on: driving traffic to a blog, keeping in touch with a core group of fans, building your platform (Fans/Likes) numbers.
Using Facebook to Drive Traffic to Your Blog or Web Site
1) Post Links to Facebook GroupsFrom a Personal page, search for groups on your particular writing topic. For this blog on book marketing and platform building geared to writers, I searched on "writ" and generated the partial list in the screen shot below. Depending on your topic, you may also find some useful Fan pages. Some Fan pages will let you post links, others won't. Many may require you to Like them before you can post. (You can always un-Like them later.)
Note: If you post links to too many groups in one sitting, Facebook will warn you to slow down -- heed the warning or your account may get frozen.
2) Save Time Posting to Your Fan Page with the Auto Post Feature.After you create a post, click the little clock icon beneath your post and schedule upcoming posts. For the week of Valentine's Day, I scheduled one post a day with blog links for single people who hate this particular holiday.
3) Post PhotosDuring a recent Boston snowstorm, I posted photos of the mounting snow outside my window. I posted photos of my dwindling beer supply as the night wore on. This was quick and painless and some fans reposted my photo to their Friends and Fans.
Want to add other types of free art, videos, and photos? Here's how.
Building Your Platform: Add Likes (and Caveats)
Big companies add Likes by offering freebies and product discounts on their Web sites and brick-and-mortar stores. You may not have that option. Here are some no-cost options.
4) Convert Your Personal Page to a Fan PageAdding Friends is easy. Adding Likes/Fans is tougher. If you have a personal page, one relatively easy way to build a large number of Fans is to add a steady number of friends and then convert your personal Profile page to a Fan page. Over a year, I built up to 1800 friends and then converted the page to a Fan page. I don't recall any of them complaining or un-Liking my page after the conversion.
*Facebook will warn you when you're adding too many people at a time to your Personal account. Heed the warning or your account will temporarily be shut down. Five to ten people a night is generally a safe number.
*To post to Facebook Groups, you will need to create another Personal page. Not a big deal, you'll just have to re-add the Friends you really care about. Just send them a note letting them know that you converted your previous page to Fan page and you're starting a new personal page just for close friends and family.
5) Add a Like Button to Your Blog, Web site, E-Mail SignatureI'm not clear how many Likes this has added for me, but it's worth doing. My version of this is in the right-hand column of this page, under "Pleading and Sniverling."
*Note this is a convoluted process:
- You enter your Fan Page url (easy enough)
- Select the details you want to see (my choices in screen below)
- Next the fun part: when you click "Get Code," you'll get a bunch of choices. You'll need to paste this code onto your blog or Web page. For this Blogger blog, I chose the IFRAME option. You may have try a few options to see what works.
To add links to your Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In accounts to your e-mails, use a free tool such as Wisestamp.
6) A Word about Like FestsIf you already have a Fan page, like-minded folks on Linked In and follow-back sites may be interested in exchanging Likes. In my opinion, this is pretty worthless -- you'll add lots of people who probably don't care about your posts or your writing. It's also time consuming. But if you just want to see your numbers increase, here one site specifically for writers who want to add Likes.
7) A Word About Your NumbersEven if you're not generating or reaching huge numbers of people, a Fan or Personal page is a good way to keep in touch with a core group of people who you know are interested in you. (The folks who comment or Like your posts are interested.)
Other Facebook Tips for Writers
8) Link Your Facebook Fan Page Posts to TwitterThis feature automatically sends your Facebook posts to Twitter with a shortened url.
|How a linked to my Facebook Fan page appears in Twitter.|
9) Ask Friends to Send Their E-mail Address to Get on Your Mailing ListRemember that Facebook can change its rules any time to limit the number of Friends and Fans you reach. One way around this is to pay to promote a post that reaches all your folks. In that post, ask them to send you an e-mail so you can add them to your mailing list. Add the e-mail addresses to a spreadsheet and then upload the names to an e-mail management program like Mailchimp. When you have important news or a book announcement, send them an e-mail.
10) How the Big Boys Add LikesA good piece from the Social Media Examiner.
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More Social Media Tips for Writers
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Image attribution: Facebook photo from Flickr taken by Geekpulp.