Facebook is actually two platforms in one. There is the profile, which everyone is familiar with. You get that when you sign up. And, there is the Author/fan/business page (page for short), which is a connected, yet separate entity.
What I mentioned all the way back in posts One and Two of the platforming series is doubly important for Facebook. If you don’t remember, please go back and refresh.
Blogs may not be discovered for a long, long time. But posts on Facebook can, and often do, get shared quickly and it seems the worse they are, the faster they get shared, liked, or commented upon. Which means any rants, negative or disparaging remarks, or backhanded complements you put out there will find the person they are meant for quickly. Not only that, but the posts, once liked or shared, cannot be rescinded. At least with the blog posts, if you delete the post, it creates a dead link. But, from my experience, on Facebook, even if the post is deleted, some of it remains in the link created when it is shared.
Before you start touting how hard it is to keep things clean and polite, please be aware I DO feel your pain. I just had to clean up a small mess before it became a disaster because I made a mistake. I had a case of a panic-induced rant that the person it was about could have identified themselves in. It wasn’t shared, thank heavens, but it was liked. And, to make matters worse, it was on my profile, not the author page. It was not about anything in my author life, which is why it wound up on the more publicly accessible feed. I’m human too, this proved it, and I hope I managed to get it wiped clean enough not to come back and bite me later.
That is one of the things to be aware of – your profile feed will be seen by anyone who follows or friends you. Your page has a much more limited visibility. And so what you post to your profile is out in public where everyone can potentially see it tonight. What you post to your page might take a day or two longer if you have a large following that is very active.
Let’s break this down into a little more manageable parts.
Personal Profile news feed
One of the biggest pieces I see, time and again, is that Facebook is a SOCIAL site – that means it’s a place to talk to others, laugh, develop relationships, and possible friendships. So, if all you’re posting is content about your writing, you’re going to start sounding like a broken record. A BAD broken record. If you’re posting that type of content on your profile, it can get very annoying, very quickly.
If you can’t brag about, or talk about your writing, and you’re trying to build a platform, what can you talk about? Well, here’s where you get sneaky. Everyone you follow posts something. Some of their posts are interesting, others not so much. Some are posts you probably should stay away from, unless you want to become known as a snarky, snappish person, and some you should probably stay away from just because it shouldn’t be out in public anyway. (Honestly, who needs to know you’re taking a dump right this second?)
That still leaves a huge variety of posts you can, and should respond to. Try not to fill your friends list with only authors, or editors, or cover artists. Yes, all of these people read, but you are also looking for people who aren’t in the writing business. A few of the former can benefit anyone, but if you don’t have readers, then sooner or later, you’ll be talking to a saturated market. The non-writers are the ones who have the highest chance of telling their friends about you, and your wonderful work(s). Once you’ve started building your friends list, another good idea is to start organizing it. That way you can keep in touch with friends and family a little easier. Don’t try to sort out everyone into this list or that. Just pull out the special interest ones – like your friends and family. (And, then remember to check it regularly, since their posts are probably buried in your feed somewhere.)
When you are building your friends list, be aware you do not have to accept every friend request that comes in. There is an option for the person to just “follow” you. The upside is that if the person has a habit of posting things you do not wish to see, or find offensive, you won’t see their posts. The down side is that you won’t be able to interact with them, because the information flow is only one way; from you to them. I tend to limit who I accept friend requests from to those who are either active in the groups I participate in, or who have at least several friends in common with someone I know and interact with. I made the mistake early on of accepting everyone who asked, and now my feed is full of romance and erotica authors. And, I don’t willingly read either genre. Just a word to the wise for those getting started on Facebook, or expanding their platform to Facebook.
I know there are many who swear you need a page, but with the changes Facebook has been instigating, the effectiveness of a page is being heavily restricted unless you are willing to pay, and pay dearly, to have those restrictions lifted. If you are just starting to expand your platform onto Facebook, I would strongly advise just using a profile with your author/blogger/writer’s name, rather than setting up a separate page. If you have a page, then you probably know what I’m talking about, and are already struggling to work around many of the restrictions.
The biggest reason to have a page, at least for me, is the fact that I can schedule posts to go out on the page. For maximum visibility, I do have to share it to my personal profile, but it means I can write the posts in advance and have them set up to go. Since it is my page, I see when they go out, which is a convenient reminder to duck over and share them. I usually don’t do that with the blog posts that feed out, however. And there is a reason for this that I’ll get to in a later post.
As with anything other part of your platform, you have to answer the same basic questions: What are you posting? How often do you want to post? And how much content do you want to create? Even if you are just sharing content from your blog, you may wish to supplement that with other information, since you’ll have an almost entirely different audience on the other social media platforms. Again, that’s something for another post.
There are a few other perks that come with the page, but if you aren’t getting much engagement, then they don’t mean much.
Once again, it seems I’ve wound up rambling. I’ll let you go today, so you can experiment with the ideas I’ve provided. Let me know what worked, or didn’t work for you in the comments. I’m still learning, and I’m sure there are many tricks that I haven’t even thought of yet.
Until next time, happy writing!