Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

Facebook Timeline for Authors – Part 2

Mar. 22nd 2012

Many of you know that I’m a marketing copywriter by day. I actually do a lot more than just writing — I help clients with strategy and program execution. And I also help with social media, specifically Facebook.

I’m an admitted FB junkie, and I had a ton of fun sprucing up my author Facebook page with the new Timeline. I know there are many other people out there — and not just writers — who need some guidance. Consider this your go-to resource!

Best resources for setting up the new Timeline for brands/business pages:

Facebook Advertising

FB advertising is changing for premium ad account holders only, meaning those accounts that spend a minimum of $25/K per month (that’s not a typo). Self-serve ads remain the same for smaller accounts. Read this blog post from HubSpot on the changes to premium advertising.

Specs at a Glance

Cover image: The cover photo can be up to 850 pixels by 315 pixels but may not contain any of the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40 percent off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
  • Here are some examples of great cover images in action

About blurb: This is the snippet of text that shows up under the profile pic. It’s limited to 150 characters. This is the place to include the website URL.

Profile pic: Choose an image that fits 180 x 180 pixels and also looks good when scaled down to a thumbnail size of 32 x 32 pixels

Graphics for Views & Apps: Think calls to action. Specs: 111 x 74 pixels

Milestone images: You don’t need images to create Milestones, but images *could* make the Milestone more interesting. Ideal specs: Milestone images are set at 843 x 403 pixels. Milestones can now go all the way back to the year 1000. Check out how The New York Times is using Milestones.

Adding free apps capability: Static HTML App and Static HTML App – Tab 2 (if these links don’t work, simply search on “Static HTML” in the search box, and they should come up.)

Pages that are already using Timeline…and that are doing a great job:

Further reading:

How are you liking the new Timeline? Have you seen any great examples? Share in the comments (and yes, it’s okay to promote your own page here — I’d love to check it out).

Posted by Robyn | in Social Media | Comments Off

Facebook Timeline for Authors – Part 1

Mar. 20th 2012

As many of my regular blog readers know, I’m a Facebook junkie. I spend waaay too much time on the social medium, but it’s fun, and I love engaging with readers, friends, and family alike.

In the past, I’ve always resisted Facebook’s changes, but I’m really loving Timeline for brand pages (I’ve done nothing with Timeline on my personal FB page).

Here are some of the enhancements that I’m really digging:

  • The cover image…and the fact FB has some pretty strict restrictions as to what you can and can’t include. These restrictions are actually freeing in a way, because it’s less about selling and more about fun and visual appeal. I have two cover images at the moment, and I imagine I’ll be alternating between the two.
  • The apps above the fold (those three boxes to the right of the “photos” box). I’ve modified my original welcome image, but I’m still using it for my FB ads. And I’ve created a Q&A for fans (click on the image to the right, and you’ll be brought to the page on my FB Timeline).
  • Milestones. These are the moments you highlight throughout your brand’s “life.” In this case, I am the brand, so I chronicled my writerly life from birth to present day. People can click on a year, like 1979, and see what I was up to.

All of these enhancements create a more engaging page. If someone “likes” an author’s page, there’s a good chance the person is curious to know more about the author (I know I love learning about my favorite authors and hunger for “insider” insights and info).

Anyhow, you can check out my new FB page here. Definitely let me know what you think of it.

How about you? Do you like Timeline (either for brand pages and/or for personal pages)? Share your thoughts in the comments.

(By the way, on Thursday, I’ll have a post that will essentially be a “cheat sheet” on everything you need to know about using FB’s Timeline.)

Posted by Robyn | in Social Media | 6 Comments »

Would You Like to Dance?

Sep. 22nd 2011

I’m in three cool places where even cooler people hang out — readers — and I wanted to share them here. If you’re on one (or more) and would like to connect, hit me up with an invitation, follow me, etc.

The links below will lead to my author pages:

This past summer, I’ve started the enormous and daunting task of updating these sites with books I’ve read in the last 38 years. Any tips for making it go faster?

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Posted by Robyn | in Social Media | 2 Comments »

9 Reasons Why Authors Should Use Facebook Pages

Sep. 13th 2011

I’m trying to keep this here blog for readers, but occasionally I direct some posts to my fellow scribes, like this one.

Recently, I’ve seen some well-intentioned, but not-the-best-advice-in-reality about whether authors should create a fan page on Facebook or continue to use their personal profile to connect with fans.

I feel I’m qualified to address this question because of my day job as a marketing copywriter (for nine years and counting — I’ve managed fan pages for clients and have done tons of reading on the subject). So I’m speaking with my marketing AND writing hat on.

Here are 9 reasons why you should set up a Facebook page instead of using your personal profile to engage with fans.

  1. It’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use your personal account for business. If you’re an author selling books, you’re a business, right? I don’t care if you spend most of your time talking with fans about reading and writing (as you should — no one wants to be sold to 100 percent of the time), but the bottom line is you’re a writer trying to make a buck off of her writing. Do I know of anyone who’s been shut down because of this? Nope. But it’s not worth chancing. Here’s further reading, which includes links to FB’s terms of service.
  2. Right now, your personal profile can accept only 5000 friends. That’s awfully limiting if you’re an author, unless, of course, you have low expectations and don’t expect to have more than 5000 fans — ever. I know some radio disc jockeys in Boston who’ve made the same mistake. They used their personal profile to interact with listeners and now they’re reaching the upper limits. M.E.S.S.Y.
  3. Your fans are NOT your friends. And not all friends are fans. And you know what? That’s okay. Keep ‘em separate because they’re meant to be separate. Will you have cross-over? Yes, of course, most likely in the form of some friends and family who are also fans of your writing. But let them make the decision to fan your page. As for fans who become friends, well, sure…it might happen. But I doubt it will be as many as you think. You should control the people you allow into your friend/family world, and that’s exactly what happens when you keep your personal profile strictly personal.
  4. Facebook pages have better tools for measuring important things like “LIKES,” where your fans are coming from, who the most engaged fans are, and much much more, which helps you create a much better experience for your fan base.
  5. Facebook advertising. You can’t advertise with a personal page. Facebook ads are an easy way to boost your fan base, which deconstructs another “argument” for authors using their personal profiles: if you’re new or unknown, getting that all important critical mass is important, of course. So advertise…I grew my fan base from 100 family and friends to over 1800 people who fanned me because of ads and because they liked what I had to say on my welcome page. And yes, some of these fans became readers. FB ads are extremely targeted and economical. You set the daily rate.
  6. Privacy. Your fans don’t need to see pictures of your kids in the tub or know when you’re going on vacation. Likewise, your fans deserve the same right to privacy. Facebook pages respect both sides. (Besides, do you really want a cluttered newsfeed in your personal profile with all the goings-on in your fans’ lives? I’m thinking no.) When your personal page becomes a place where you have friends, family, and fans, you’ll struggle with what you should and shouldn’t say (yes, even with the filters and privacy controls…you’ll always wonder if it’s working, right?). By keeping these two audiences separate (because they ARE separate), you can talk to your fans in the way they expect (ditto with family and friends).
  7. Facebook pages have more capabilities and plug-ins to make the experience even better for your fans — from review pages, to custom landing pages, to the ability to run legitimate promotions (which you MUST do through apps according to FB’s promotional guidelines, and these apps, by the way, only work with business pages, not personal profiles), Facebook pages help you do all that…plus more.
  8. No hurt feelings. A well-known author I like uses his personal profile as his fan page. I friended him last fall, and my request was never accepted (and yes, the request went through — I checked). Talk about feeling like you don’t matter as a reader and fan! When you use your personal profile as your fan page, you’re asking people to take a leap of faith by sending a friend request (and making them go through an extra step to boot): what if the author doesn’t accept my request? Consider the readers out there who will think twice before sending a request. And now let’s consider your REAL family and friends. You know that family member you have who thinks reading the box scores qualifies as reading? He doesn’t care about your book or talking about reading or hearing about writing. He might care about YOU, which is why he doesn’t unfriend you, but there’s a good chance he glosses over all of your status updates or — worse — hides you. Don’t do this. Let your friends and family decide if they want to fan your page or not (and try not to take it personally when they don’t all flock to your page).
  9. If you stick with your personal profile, at some point I can pretty much guarantee you will want to separate them out. Good luck. It’s a headache and a mess waiting to happen.

So what if you have been using your personal profile, but this post has convinced you to separate? Here’s what to do:

  • Set up your Facebook page.
  • Do a status update on your personal profile WITH A LINK to your FB page and tell people that you’ve decided to start an official author page because it will be better for fans and because using your personal profile is against FB’s terms and you want to abide by those so you don’t get shut down. Ask people to fan the page and to unfriend your profile (give them control to start). Let them know you’ll be pruning the list yourself by the end of the month.
  • Do this status update a couple of times: try different days of the week and different times of day (I recommend Saturday morning, Sunday night, and then early one weekday morning, like a Wednesday).
  • At the end of the month, go through your current “friends list” and message anyone who isn’t related to you or a true friend. In this message, let people know that you have an author page (include the link!) and ask them to like it. Then tell them that you’ll be unfriending them in order to keep your personal profile strictly for family and to abide by FB’s rules (this will help take the sting out of it).

You will lose some fans. Don’t stress about it, because what you’ve done will be ten million times better in the long run for your fans, your family/friends, and for you.

Comments or questions? Leave ‘em below! I’m happy to help.

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Posted by Robyn | in Social Media | 20 Comments »

Making the Most of Your Facebook Page

Jan. 3rd 2011

This past September, I launched my author page on Facebook. I’m selling my short stories as eBooks (some of these shorts have been published by print and online journals), and I’m releasing my first novel this summer.

In my day job, I’m a marketing copywriter (or The Copy Bitch, as many like to call me). One of my regular tasks is helping clients build and maintain their Facebook pages. Facebook is a great way to market a business. It’s also a great way to market yourself as a writer. The best part? It’s free (or relatively inexpensive if you decide to advertise).

Unfortunately, not all writers have taken advantage of Facebook. And among those who do, I see many marketing mistakes. The biggest mistake is this: too many authors don’t have public pages. They use their personal Facebook pages — you know, the ones where you have to submit a friend request — as their platform. That’s a big mistake. Here’s why:

It forces your fans to take an extra step. Literally. When you land on a public page, all you have to do is click “Like” and you’re instantly added to the tribe of fans. When a writer uses a personal page, the person seeking friendship needs to click “Add as friend” and then “Send friend request.” Then the waiting begins. I recently had to go through this. An author I follow promotes his Facebook page on his website. I clicked over and saw that it was a personal page. I submitted the friend request. My friendship hasn’t been accepted yet (this was several weeks ago). Talk about feeling rejected! Am I not worthy enough to be accepted as a fan? Authors, if you’re going to promote your personal page to fans, you should be prepared to accept all requests. Now do you see why a public page is important? No? Well, this brings me to my second point.

Your fans are not your friends. They’re your fans. Yeah, your BFF is likely both friend and fan, but the fan page is the perfect place for everyone else — the rabid fans, the sketchy fans, the lurkers, serial killers, other writers, etc. The persona you have with fans will likely be different from the persona you use with the friends and family you’re connected with on your personal page. Even if your personal page is filled with people from elementary school and you haven’t seen them in 20 years, at least you knew them at one point.

Creating a Winning Facebook Presence in 2011 – 5 Easy Ways

If you’re one of those writers who has gone the route of a personal page, but you’re thinking about (finally) creating a public page (or if you’re a writer who is thinking about taking the plunge and creating a Facebook page for the first time), follow these tips on creating a winning presence in 2011. For the purpose of these suggestions, I’m going to assume you already have a basic page or that you know how to set one up. If you don’t, go here for easy instructions.

1. Pay attention to the look and feel and make sure you have the basics covered.
Customize the tabs so that they’re relevant to readers (that’s what you’re hoping your fans are going to be, right?). Some good tabs to create: Buy Now (or Shop Now). Videos (a good place for your book trailers and interviews). Subscriptions to your email newsletter and Twitter. Book signings & tour dates. Reviews. Images of cover art, your headshot, and candids from book signings and launch parties.

2. Add personality. Facebook apps are everywhere, and, no doubt, there’s bound to be one or two that really suits your personality as a writer. Add them to your page and have some fun with them. Here’s a great resource that includes 75 Facebook apps to consider (and how to use them).

3. Create a customized landing page for first-time visitors. First-time visitors to your page will land on your Wall — that’s the default. But you can control this (at least for now — the new layout for pages *might* not have this functionality, but I remain optimistic.) Your Wall probably isn’t going to be the most compelling thing to someone who isn’t a fan of your page yet. Instead, create a “welcome page” (or whatever you want to call it) and give people a reason for liking your page. And be sure to ask them what you want them to do, e.g. Click on “Like” (that’s called a call to action).

Author Jennifer Weiner’s landing page (partial screen shot below) includes an image from the cover of her most recent novel, an iPhone app, a personal note from her, a place to download the first chapter for free, and some video interviews. Now, you don’t need to have all these things on your welcome page. I use this example to show you that the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can put on this page. She also has a nice call to action under her profile image.

4. Get a vanity URL. Once you have 25 fans, you can create a vanity URL, which makes it much easier to promote. For example, Jennifer Weiner’s vanity URL is www.facebook.com/JenniferWeiner. It’s much cleaner looking than the gobbledygook URL that you’re automatically assigned when you set up your page. Here are easy instructions on how to create a vanity URL.

5. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your posts should be about things other than yourself and your books. It should be about engaging your community. Ask questions (e.g. What’s your favorite book? Team Nook, Kindle, or iPad? What’s the most surprising title in your book collection?). Conduct polls. Share interesting book trailers (not just your own). Share movie trailers that are based on books. I recently posted the trailer for Water for Elephants and asked my fans who was going to see it. This sparked some interesting comments about whether any movie existed that really did a book justice.

Of course, it is okay to talk about yourself and your books occasionally. Did you just receive a glowing review? Share it. Do you have a firm date in place for a new title? Do a status update. The key is to make sure you don’t use your Facebook page as one big pimp-a-rama.

Do you have a Facebook page that you feel proud of? I’d love to see it. Share the URL in the comments.

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Posted by Robyn | in Social Media | 11 Comments »