Do Authors Really Need a Facebook Page?

Authors and Facebook Pages by Frances Caballo

Some people think about Facebook fans in terms of their monetary value. It makes sense.

Facebook marketing is time-intensive, and if we spend money on advertising, we want to see a good conversion rate that won’t cost us more than $2/Like.

As writers, we may prefer a more touchy-feely approach to our readers.

We use Facebook pages because want to communicate with our readers, we want to give them an opportunity to get to know us better, and, well, we want them to buy our next book.

Just like Coca-Cola.

In reality, authors are similar to brands such as L’Oreal and Toyota. We want to build fan loyalty with our readers, and we want them to make some purchases because the publishing business isn’t a philanthropic endeavor, now is it?

We want to build fan loyalty with our readers via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

It takes time to research and write our books, and it takes money to hire all the consultants we need to edit and package our books for a competitive marketplace.

Which takes us back to where I began: the monetary value of our Facebook fans.

The Value of Your Facebook Fans

There are companies who calculate these types of values.

Syncapse is a social measurement and analytics technology company that informs big brands about data to help them “achieve smarter marketing” results. Syncapse recently issued a report, The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013: Revising the Consumer Brand in Social Media.

As a writer, you can also learn from this study. Here’s one key finding:

Average Fan value in consumer brands category increased 28% to $174.17 in 2013 versus 2010, while Fan counts have doubled or even tripled in 2013.

And they discovered that brand fans (Facebook page fans) are super consumers. And Facebook page fans who use a particular product – or in the case of authors, read your books – have attributes :

  • They spend an average of 11 hours on Facebook every week (compared to six hours by non-fans).
  • 42% of fans assign a higher value to the importance of social media (between eight and ten on a 10-point scale).
  • 39% use social media to research products and services.
  • 66% share information with others about products they like.
Facebook page fans are super consumers via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Another key fact is that fans advocate more on behalf of the brands/authors they like.

On average, 85% of Facebook fans are likely to recommend the brand compared to 60% of non-fans.

why become FB fan

Here’s another finding that isn’t all that new. Liking a Facebook page is driven by two main factors: to receive a coupon or price discount and to express loyalty. These reasons have been around a long time.

So don’t forget to give your Facebook fans the first chance to learn about sale prices on your books and contests. They want to be in the know about this.

And as much as you and I might like to bellyache about Facebook, as this report notes, it is the dominant social media network in Western markets.

So Facebook needs to be a part of your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook is the dominant social media network in Western markets Click To Tweet

Do You Really Need a Facebook Page?

Whenever I teach a workshop on social media, this question always surfaces. Do you as an author really need a Facebook page?

My answer is yes. Do you need a Facebook page for each and every book you write? No.

Now I can feel all the search engine optimization (SEO) experts cringe when I say this – or at least the ones I know.

SEO techies will tell you that you need a Facebook page for every book you write.

Well, how much time and energy do you have as a writer? And how many more books do you hope to write?

If you are a romance writer and every book you write is a romance novel, why would you divide your audience?

If you are a book coach offering a variety of coaching programs, I still don’t see a need to divide your audience.

Let’s say that you wrote a young adult novel and then you wrote a memoir about battling cancer. Do you need different Facebook pages? You might.

However, I think that the teens and young adults who follow you will be primarily on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter – not on Facebook. If that’s the case, you don’t need a separate Facebook page, even though your books are entirely different.

Plenty of adults read young adult novels these days, and if the adults are your Facebook fans, they might also be interested in your memoir because they are dedicated to you as a writer. They are your brand fans.

For example, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes nonfiction on a variety of topics. I love everything she writes, and it doesn’t bother me when her topics change radically.

tree-426061_640So before you start creating a multitude of Facebook pages, I recommend that you think about how much time and energy you have and whether the audiences for those different books will be so diverse that you need to separate them with different Facebook pages.

While I’m on this topic, I’m going to veer off into the world of Twitter. I tried to maintain two profiles on Twitter on a couple of occasions, and I found it far too time-consuming to justify the results I was getting.

So again, I recommend on Twitter that you have one author account for all the types of books you write.

Have one author account on Twitter & Facebook for all the books you writeClick To Tweet

Getting back to the original question I posed, Facebook profiles are for people. This means you have friends, you talk about your life, share inspirational quotes, and share your friends’ posts when appropriate.

Facebook pages are for businesses and authors who have something to sell and a brand that your readers will want to support with Comments, Sharing what your post and Likes.

You can use your Facebook page to market your books, your website, and your blog – you’re not supposed to do any marketing on your profile.

So if you want to use Facebook to communicate with your readers, give them a chance to express their loyalty toward you as a writer, and to market your books and run contests, you need a Facebook page.

There are some authors who use their profiles to promote their speaking engagements and books. However, that’s not how you promised to use Facebook when you signed up for a profile.

Why Are You Sharing That?

A study by Ipsos, a market research company, studied why social media users share what they do.

Global citizens who indicate they have shared some content online on social media sites in the past month seek primarily ‘to share interesting things’ (61%), ‘to share important things’ (43%) and ‘to share funny things’ (43%). … Three in ten select the following reasons: ‘to recommend a product, service, movie, book, etc’ (30%), ‘to add my support to a cause, an organization or a belief’ (29%) and ‘to share unique things’ (26%).

How can you use this information? Use it to guide your decisions about what you post on your page and your profile.

But don’t base your content entirely on this finding. Don’t forget to test and check your Insights, Facebook’s free analytics program (once you have 35 page Likes you gain access to it).

On profiles, your friends want to hear about your life. You can also share inspiration quotes and items that are humorous.

On your page, what you share will depend on your genre and niche. I like to maintain a balance of what I call “the mundane and the meaningful”.

In the mornings, I post meaningful content about social media that either I or another blog published. In the afternoons, I post images with quotes from writers and about writing.

You will need to test your audience, determine which posts trigger the most Likes, Shares, and Comments, and base your future content on those results.

Remember that the Holy Grail of Facebook’s algorithm is Shares, so attempt to post content that your fans will readily share with their own friends or fans.

The Holy Grail of Facebook's algorithm is Shares via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

However, you decide to approach Facebook, track your results, spend time sharing your readers’ posts, communicate regularly with your readers, offer discounts and deals, and most of all, have fun.

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Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.

 

 

 

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  1. Very helpful!!

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