Love it or hate it, if you're an author, you need a Facebook page. With 1.86 billion monthly active users as of the last quarter of 2016, and according to the Pew Research Center, with 79% of all online adults in the U.S. using Facebook, you can't afford to ignore it.
Facebook captures all age groups and is the social media network with the highest congregation of the 65-and-over crowd. If you’re looking to acquire readers from a broad spectrum of ages, or even if you are only looking for a slice of the demographic pie, you need to be there.
Facebook Profiles vs. Facebook Pages
Let’s review some of the basics about Facebook profiles and Facebook pages. On a Facebook profile, you have friends who share memes and information about their children, anniversaries, marathons, and other life events. And you can send and receive friend requests to and from anyone who hasn’t banned you.
A Facebook page is for authors, musicians, nonprofits, large brands and enterprises, and small businesses. You’ll have fans instead of friends, and people and other pages will Like your page instead of sending you friend requests.
5 Reasons for Starting a Facebook Page
Here are some reasons why an author might need a Facebook page:
1 - Facebook technically doesn’t allow the owners of Facebook profiles to market products and services. Profiles are a means to exchange updates with your friends and family members.
2 - If you want to purchase advertising to promote your books, services, and other products, you’ll need a page. You can’t buy advertising with a profile.
3 - A Facebook author page gives you the opportunity to focus on your readers, engage with your readers, and get to know your readers.
4 - Your friends might not want to hear about your books, services, blog posts, or other writing-related memes and status updates. Your readers will enjoy reading these items.
5 - Pages have access to Insights, Facebook’s free analytics that can help direct the future success of your posts while providing valuable information about your fans’ demographics and best times to post.
So, if you’re serious about your career as an author, it makes sense to invest your time into a Facebook author page. If you don't already have one, here's how to start...
How to Set Up a Facebook Page
Go to your profile, click the arrow and select Create Page from the drop-down menu. Next, click Artist, Band or Public Figure.
Next, select a category. In this case, Writer is the natural option.
Your next step will be to write your author name. In this example, I’ve made up the name, Frances Example. Click Get Started.
You’ll see that Facebook welcomes you to your new page and lists tasks that you need to complete.
Start by adding your avatar, or profile picture. The dimensions display at 170 x 170 pixels on your page. Make sure that the picture portrays you in a professional light and that you consistently use the same avatar across all platforms. To upload your avatar, go to the profile picture box and click on Add a Picture and then Upload Photo.
Next, create and upload a cover photo. The dimensions need to be at least 399 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall. It will display as 820 pixels wide and 312 pixels tall on computers.
Before you can upload a cover photo, go to Canva.com to create a cover image. Select Facebook Cover from the many options you’ll find there.
You can upload images and book covers, select fonts to type messages, and customize the cover photo however you see fit to. This is the cover photo I created for my Facebook page. To upload it to Facebook, just select the cover in the upper left-hand corner and select Upload Photo.
Your next step will be to create a username for your new page. The best name would be your first name + your last name + author to distinguish your page from your profile, as in Frances Example, Author. When you’re done, click Create Username. Don’t leave any spaces between the three words, as in the example below in the screenshot:
Next, you need to write a short description. You’ll want to include information about your genre or the title of your most recently published book. As a nonfiction author and consultant, my short description is different. When you’re done, click Save.
Next, decide what you want your call-to-action (CTA) on the page to be and when you decide, click Save. In my case, I decided that the call to action would be Contact Us. Therefore, the button is hyperlinked to my Contact page on my website.
Don’t forget to Like your page. It would be sad if a visitor arrived and noticed that no one had yet liked it!
Next, go to the About section and fill out all the sections that remain. Remember to be brief.
7 Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page
Now that you have a Facebook page you’ll need to focus some energy on growing it. Just follow these suggestions.
1 - The first step to growing your Facebook page is the easiest: invite your friends to Like your page. Just write a status update in which you ask your friends to like your page.
2 - Focus on your best content. Re-share your top blog posts on Facebook, and always include images with all of your status updates. Check your Google Analytics to determine which of your posts are your top-performing in terms of traffic to your website.
3 - Add your Facebook page URL at the bottom of your email signature. You can include a link to your Facebook page in your newsletter and at the bottom of your blog posts.
4 - Add a Facebook page plugin to your website. Go to the developer’s page on Facebook to get started.
5 - If your page is new, invest in some advertising.
6 - Link your profile to your page.
7 - Activate related page suggestions so that when Facebook users visit similar pages, yours will pop up as one they might consider Liking. To activate this option, go to your page’s Settings and select General.
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