Wednesday, 31 July 2013

KOP: How To Create A Facebook Author Page

Today's Killer Online Platform discussion is about how to create a Facebook Author Page. 

Please note that this is different to your own personal account, which is exactly what you want. Creating an author page on Facebook allows you to set yourself up as a professional and collect together people interested just in your writing, and not what your baby had for breakfast that day. 

However, in order to complete the process of setting up a page, you will need to sign up for a personal account first. If you already have a personal account, you can build the page connected to this for admin purposes which is the easiest way. Otherwise, you'll have to create an account just for your author page. However, it will ask you to do that when required. 

Preliminary Step:

I recommend before starting the actual process that you sit down and write out a short description with basic information about you as an author as well as finding a good author photograph. If you don't have a good photograph to hand, take the time to find a friend, brush your hair, put on some make up, and get one taken. 

Doing this before hand takes away the stress of the process, and allows you to put up a better quality page from the beginning. The other option you are welcome to take is just chucking up what you have now, thinking you will change it later, and in a few months realise that you never got round to it. Your choice.

Step 1: Go To Create a Page:

This is a pretty easy step, just go to:

It will give you a page like this:

For the purposes of creating an Author Page, you want to click on the box in the left hand bottom corner 'Artist, Band or Public Figure', because you are an artist!

This will then bring up the following form to fill in:

Under 'Choose a Category', you will want 'Author'. You then type in your author name (the name you are publishing under, so mine is 'Buffy Greentree' rather than 'Elizabeth Greentree'), and agree to their terms and conditions.

Step 2: Add In Your Info

Then comes the details:
This is pretty easy, you just need follow their directions and answer their questions. Put as many links to your other social media, websites and blogs as you can as this helps your page and your websites. If you followed my advice and pre-wrote your description, just copy and paste it in here.
Once you have finished this, you have officially set up the page. Yah! Now, to get people to know about it!

Step 3: Add Some More Information

A lot of people recommend you go out and get some 'likes' as step 3, but I really think you should leave that to a later step. First of all, you want to create something that people want to like. 

Similar to your blog or your website, your facebook page should offer your readers something. Whether it is a chance to personally connect with you, up-to-date information on your next book, or just a whole lot of pictures to make them laugh, you need something.

Keep these things in mind when building your page:

a) visual branding - can someone immediately associate this Facebook page with all your other sites? How can you best reinforce the 'story' of your branding on your Page? 
b) A landing page. This is now an optional extra, as Facebook takes all visitors straight to your main page. You can set up a landing page as your 'gateway' into your facebook page, where people who have never been to your site come for the first time. It should fulfill two major purposes: 1. it should immediately indicate who you are/what you are about, and 2. it should call people to 'like' your page in order to get insider information. Pat Flynn has a great tutorial on creating a landing page if you want to add one:

c) Content: what type of content are you going to have on your page? I admit, I currently use it mostly to link all my blog posts and to host the occassional status update. But as I am researching this, I'm realising that there are so many other things you can be doing. Weekly tips on writing, status updates by your characters, uploading photos that are inspiration for a scene in your book, weekly extracts from your work. Just remember that unlike your blog/website, Facebook should be short and sharp. You want things that will come up in newsfeeds and grab people's attention. (A little bit of stalking can be a great thing here. Find Facebook pages that are doing really well, and see what they have on there.)
d) How to get readers involved: Your aim is to get as much involvement on your page as possible. Some great ideas just off the top of my head:
- getting people to vote on potential book covers (added benefit if they later see it in Amazon/wherever, they will feel more connection with it). 
- similarly, have a design contest where readers can add their own cover ideas. 
- a 'featured photograph' each week. Get fans to send in pictures of themselves dressed as characters, or reading your book in unusual places, and feature one per week. 

c) use of promotions and offers: Facebook is a great place to run your giveaways or special offers. Reward your loyal followers by giving away review copies of your new book before it is realised, or allow them to name a character in your next one. There are a number of different ways these can be run, and some great apps to help you do it. Take some time to look into how you can host a competition on your page, and start thinking of great ideas. 

If you can even spend just an hour setting up your page with some content, some apps to help user engagement, maybe an email sign-up so you can keep in contact with your visitors, it will make a huge difference when you head out to attract people to your page. 

Step 4: Get Some Likes

I believe it is totally reasonable to be your very first 'Like' on your own page. It's not like writing your own review in Amazon (which is bad, in case you hadn't realised, bad.) 

However, obviously you are going to want a whole lot more than just yourself. Definitely start with inviting all your friends and email contacts (hey, you're a writer, if they don't want to support your author page, are they really that good a friend? When I did it, I actually found it was the people I was least sure about that were the most supportive!). 

The next stage is to move beyond your already known fans/friends. The internet is full of strategies for getting more likes, but start with some of the basics: make sure all your blogs and websites have a link to your facebook page, and put in a 'call to action' in your posts or even at the end of your ebooks, telling people why they should go to your Facebook page. (This will be easy because you will have filled it with great reader focused content that they will be dying to get their hands on). 

Facebook also offers the chance to advertise. Now, I haven't done this myself, but my brother has (for his character's page Capt. Tom Grafton). This might be why I currently have about 50 likes, and he has over 10,000. He also uses his site quite well with various memes in the voice of his main character, Tom Grafton, which get a lot of comments and shares. 

The advertising isn't necessarily expensive, but can add up. For Dave, it has gotten him a lot of likes, but hasn't translated as of yet into sales of his books. So you need to see if you have the spare budget for it. I just recommend that you first have something worthwhile to advertise, and then keep the good stuff coming so the people who come want to keep coming back. 

I hope this has given you some great ideas for your Facebook Page. 

When you set yours up, put a link to it in the comments and I'll come and be one of the first to like it!