I’ve been low-key stalking authors and entrepreneurs on Facebook for a while now. I’m not ashamed to say that cyberly speaking I’ve been lurking in dark alleys, sitting low in my ride and hiding behind oversized newspapers. Which in and of itself should have been a red flag because when’s the last time you saw anyone read an actual newspaper in public? There’s an app for that. But, since no one can really see me, it doesn’t matter. Ok, so this little analogy has gone way off base. Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s worth it for an author to have a dedicated fan page on Facebook. Is it worth the hassle? Does it benefit the author and provide maximum exposure? And the ultimate bottom line: does it help sell books? Surprisingly, the answer is more complex than you might think.
LET’S START WITH THE BENEFITS:
Scheduled Posts— With a fan page an author has the ability to schedule posts for particular days and times. This means that they don’t have to actively post links to their websites, promotional sales, etc. They also have the benefit of posting content at peak times without disrupting their personal schedule. For instance, an author that lives on the west coast, but has a large fan base on the east coast can schedule posts during the east coast lunch hour: a time when most people check their social media. If an author is a planner, they can schedule constant posts for weeks in advance. A definite plus when considering an authors actual job is to write amazing books, not juggle social media. But that’s a whole other post.
Advertising— Facebook offers advertising incentives for businesses. When an author chooses to create a fan page, they have the opportunity for targeted marketing. At a price of course. For a daily budget ranging from $5.00 to $20.00 Facebook will advertise your page or author website to people who have interests related to the author’s content. A good example is a children’s book author who chooses to target her advertisements to women aged 21-35. The promotion can be a one time deal, or run continuously until the author chooses to stop.
Stats— On the fan page Insights tab the author has access to statistics that tell them how many people their content reached, how many ‘liked’ it, how many people clicked on links to other content (like blog posts), and overall engagement. There is also the option to boost individual posts by paying a fee. Something that can be really helpful when promoting a new book or event.
NOW ON TO THE ANNOYANCES:
Interaction–With a fan page authors are limited in their interaction with their fans. Meaning that they do not have access to their fan’s page’s and cannot comment or like their status’. There is no news feed on a fan page, so the opportunity to engage with other people is limited to anyone that might comment on the author’s status. In my cyber stalking I discovered that many authors counteract this problem by having both a personal Facebook page and a fan page. They ‘friend’ all kinds of people and are better able to interact with them.
Unseen Posts–The business phenomenon that is Facebook is far from stupid. They’re not about to give away what they can get someone to pay for. Chances are that if someone takes the time to create a fan page, they’re looking for exposure and will eventually have something to sell. Therefore, if an author wants exposure, they’re sure going to pay for it. Without opting to use Facebook’s advertising, many posts from a fan page will get lost. News feed exposure is based upon ‘likes’. Posts with the most ‘likes’ appear at the top of users news feed’s. Therefore, if an author doesn’t have a huge and engaged fan base, many of their posts will never see the light of day. Facebook will make sure the author knows this by showing them on their handy-dandy stats page. Like I said, far from stupid. Again, smart authors counteract this by engaging on their personal Facebook page. When they’re ready to drop a new book, or offer a sale on an old one they can reach more people on their personal page.
Marketing/Engaging Using Personal Page–An author must be careful to remember that, once they decide to use their personal page to mix business and pleasure, they take certain precautions. Everyone that is a friend on Facebook ain’t friendly. Personal information like where the author lives, their spouses or children’s legal names, pictures of their homes or possessions should be shared with caution. It’s also important to remember that a published author has a brand, and status updates or posts should never conflict with that brand.
I don’t have one. Whether or not to have a Facebook fan page is totally up to the individual. There are pros and cons to both having and not having one. Do some research and find out what works best for you.
And I’m pretty sure you saw this coming….Connect with me on my Facebook Fan Page!!!
Chime in authors: Do you have a Facebook fan page? Do you find it easy to reach and interact with people using it? Would you recommend that a new author start a fan page or simply allow strangers access to their personal page? Any precautions if they choose to do that? Feel free to leave a link to your fan page in the comments!