What to do? Facebook has changed – again. There’s more competition than ever for reader attention.
Writers are frustrated and it’s easy to understand why. How do you build a business when the goal posts for success keep moving? What’s the point?
Facebook is probably the slowest platform to build an audience on, and shooting yourself in the foot by listening to bad advice only makes it more difficult.
Choosing to build platform the right way will insulate you from the changes Facebook continues to make because those changes are often intended to deter those who cheat and try to game the system.
Here are 4 of the worst pieces of advice I’ve heard when it comes to building a writing platform on Facebook:
Promo your books to every group every day.
This feels a whole lot like spam.
There are three kinds of groups on Facebook: Open, Closed and Secret. Closed groups are searchable but you have to ‘join’ in order to see the posts. (Secret groups are the same only they won’t show up in searches, you have to be invited to join.)
So, you’re a member of XY closed group. The posts in that group will appear in YOUR news feed because you’re a member. Those posts won’t show up in your friends’ news feeds unless they’re also members of that group.
With an Open Group everything is public. When you post in ABC open group, then EFG group, This-Writer-Group, That-Fiction-Author-Group, etc. that post can (and will) show up in the news feeds of your friends. Over and over and over. Same status – same link – same image.
See why it feels like spam?
Instead of posting to all of these groups at the same time, pick the two or three groups most likely to be interested in that content and spread out posting there over 24 or 48 hours. Craft unique status updates to each group. Show up for the conversation.
Friend every member of every group so they're more likely to see all your posts.
This is how people land in Facebook jail and are then mystified how it happened. Facebook states that you’re only to ‘friend’ people you know outside of Facebook. Too many people tell Facebook they don’t know you outside of Facebook and you land in Facebook jail with friending privileges suspended.
You’re much better off to be a useful contributor to a group and have people send you a friend request – because they’ll feel like they ‘know you.’ Or turn on the follow button on your Profile so they can follow you – whatever they’re comfortable with.
Communicate early, often, and frequently ... but not about your books.
If you never post about your writing how will people know you’re a writer? Most people want to ‘know’ a famous author (you don’t need to debate what ‘famous’ means).
They want to get to know you, but they’re also interested in what you’re working on, books you have coming out. They love being asked for input – I need names for my main character – suggestions? Here are the two covers my publisher asked me choose between – what do you think?
Every status update is an opportunity to show your writing skills, you don’t need to trumpet that, but absolutely give that insider-look into the writer’s life and process.
Promote all the time or no one will know about your book.
This is the flip side to the above problem. If you’re a ‘buy my book’ 24/7 channel you become easy to ignore. OR people will hide you from their news feed – banished to Facebook Hinterland. Once you land there, it’s nearly impossible to prove to people you’ve changed your ways. Not only that, if people label your posts as spam in their news feed Facebook will further penalize you and show your posts to even fewer people. Before long you’ll be posting to an audience of your mother and best friend who are too polite to tell you how annoying that is.
This bad advice is often paired with: automate automate automate. Yes many platforms will let you cross post to Facebook. This isn’t bad if you’re crafting a post specifically for your Facebook audience AND you show up and contribute to the conversation you’ve started.
Do you have questions for Lisa? Which Facebook tips
worked the best for you? Which ones were not so hot?
Do you have social media pet peeves?
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Lisa is teaching a class Beyond Basics: Using Facebook To Build Platform on May 8th. This is a 2-hour online digital classroom session where she’ll go beyond the basics to learn more advanced techniques. Get her best tips for finding and creating content, best practice on sharing content, and how to drive more traffic to your blog or website.
Lisa Hall-Wilson is an award-winning freelance writer, syndicated columnist, and Facebook aficionado. She specializes in interviews, profiles, marketing copy, event promotion, and social justice, and teaches online classes for writers. She writes dark fantasy fiction.
Lisa never turns down an opportunity to go to the theatre (live or for a movie) and can't resist a good story (especially if there are monsters). She hangs out on Facebook…a lot.