(Last week's post reviewed recent updates to Facebook and their impact on writers.)
Most of the tips below I have tried. Some I haven't but make sense. Others will work depending on Facebook's mood that day. Sorry -- there may be some trial and error involved. Fortunately, most of the tips are not that time consuming to implement.
I) Posting Tips
The goal of any Facebook post is to reach more of your potential readers whether through your Profile (personal) page, Author (Fan) page, or in groups to which you post. You also want to entice potential readers to your blog, Web site, or Amazon page.
My goal is to drive readers to recent blog posts, where they will hopefully sign up. That way, I know they're interested in my work and I can contact them directly without going through Facebook. (Facebook holds your friends and fans hostage, and forces you to pay to reach all of them.)
1) Creating a Facebook-Friendly Blog or Web Page:
- Use at least one large image in your blog post or Web page you are promoting. Typically, when you post a link in Facebook, the social media site snags the largest image on your page to create a preview.
- Make sure that image in your blog or Web page has a rectangular shape and is about 560 pixels wide. (Facebook prefers images that are 560 wide by 292 high. Cropping and resizing can be time-consuming.)
Why you should care: If Facebook likes your image, it will appear larger on your page, Friends/Fans' newsfeeds, and in posts to groups. (Note: the resizing doesn't always work -- I resized the top image on this blog at 560 by 315 and it isn't displaying large enough in Facebook. Oh, well.)
|How a blog with a large rectangular image displays in a Facebook preview.|
If Facebook chokes on your image, you'll get a smaller, less attractive square-sized image.
|How a blog post with a small, square image appears in a Facebook preview. Which post do you think a friend or fan would be most likely to click if they saw it in their Newfeed?|
- A good, free tool for cropping and resizing images: Irfanview
2) Posting to Facebook:
- Whenever possible create Facebook posts that include an image as discussed above. Text-only posts will supposedly be seen by fewer people.
- Use the full url for links to your blog, Website, or Amazon page. Do not use a shortened version created with Bitly.com, Tinyurl.com, or any other url shortener. (I have not tested this, but it makes sense.) More on this from Social Media Examiner.
- Posting strategy 1: The Link Share
Post a link, wait for Facebook to create a preview of the post, erase the link text from your status update, and then write a description of the post. This is supposed to be the most effective way to reach more people. It also takes more time, particularly if you are posting the same link to different places: your Profile page, your Author page, and some Facebook groups.
A nice description of the Link Share technique from Amy Lynn Andrews
- Posting strategy 2: Copy and paste a short description of your post and a link to the blog or Web page you want to promote. This is what I do -- it saves some time. The preview also looks nice -- ie includes a large image -- if you follow a large rectangular image as mention in Tip 1 above.
- Posting strategy 3: If your image still appears small when Facebook creates a preview of your post, try uploading the image as a photo, then add descriptive text and your blog or Web page link. The drawback to this strategy: When friends or fans click on the image it will take them to the image. They will need to click the link to visit your blog or Web page.
|Option 3: A more enticing post created by uploading an image from my hard drive to Facebook and then adding the link.|
- Measure what works! For Facebook Fan pages, you could check the Reach. For Profile (personal pages), you could check how many Likes and Shares your post received. But the only measure that really matters is clicks to your blog post -- the number of visitors who came from Facebook as indicated by your Web analytics, traffic measuring tool.
II) SEO (Helping More People Find You When They Search the Web)
I have serious doubts about whether search engine optimization is still a good use of time for the average writer. (Search engine optimization is a slew of techniques designed to trick search engines, such as Google, into displaying your Web site more prominently when people search on topics related to what you write.)
Still, here are some quick ways you can use your Facebook Profile or Author pages that may boost your presence on the Web.
- Include links to your blog and Web site in the About sections of your Profile and Author pages.
- Include links to your sites in your photo descriptions in your Author pages.
More SEO tips for Facebook from Social Media Examiner.
III) Misc Tips to Get More Out of Facebook
- Using your Profile page instead of an Author Page? Divide "friends" into lists, so real friends don't see business stuff and vice versa.
- Let people who are not friends see your business-y posts by enabling the Follow Button on your Profile page. This is another feature that lets a Profile page act like an Author page -- and another reason you may not need an Author page.
- Post to Facebook on Thursdays and Fridays. Some experts claim that toward the end of the week, people spend more time on Facebook.
- Ask your Friends or Fans for their e-mail addresses. This way you can contact them directly without going through Facebook. Manage their e-mail addresses with a free tool such as Mail Chimp. Then send them a quarterly e-mail with major updates regarding your work. More on collecting and using e-mail addresses from Jon Loomer.
More Articles on Self Promotion for Writers
- Recent changes to Facebook that hurt writers and their marketing. (Last week's post)
- Good article from Jane Friedman on Building a Platform and Connecting with Readers.
Art attribution: Facebook image at top of article by Michibeckmichal (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons