Facebook, for better or worse, has become quite the meeting hall of 2012. It’s where we commune electronically to discuss the days’ news, to check out our friends’ latest photos, and, as an author, promote our blogs and books.
Self-promotion has always been a bit of a tight-rope walk – you have work you believe in that you want to show the world!… but you also don’t want to be a carnival barker, goading your family and friends daily to Like This! Subscribe here! Comment Back!
Here’s how to stay on solid ground with some marvelous Facebook etiquette:
Marvelous: Using Facebook to Network
Monstrous: Using Facebook to Purely Promote
If you joined Facebook just to drum up readership, it’s time to take a deep breath and plunge into the world of networking. It’s not just about finding readers; It’s about developing connections, engaging with book lovers, and talking about things other than yourself and your content. Ask questions, answer queries, comment or like – just get talking!
Marvelous: Thanking Commenters and ‘Like’-ers
Monstrous: Letting your Friends and Readers Languish
If you were at a soiree and you complimented a someone on her fantastic gown only to have her ignore you, how would you feel? Snubbed, most likely. Facebook, if anything, is like a massive party. Thank or acknowledge people for the compliment of their time.
Also, thank people on their own page, not as a reply to their comment. It’s a little more personal, and if they are an author they are hoping for the same kind of connection and recognition you are.
Marvelous: Meet-and-Greet before friending
Monstrous: “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
There’s nothing wrong with getting to know new people on Facebook – after all, isn’t that what your doing there? However, ‘friending’ people out of the blue is probably not the right way to go about things. Comment on posts, follow their feed, start a rapport – then go for the friend. (subscribe away, however!) One caveat – many social media ‘gurus’ go for quantity over quality. As a writer, you want to form bonds and start conversations and a friend request from a stranger? Not the most conversational – unless the conversation is “Have we met before?”
Two Major Exceptions:
- If someone is friends with many writers, go ahead and friend them! Chances are, they are a fellow writer or a reader who is heavily involved in social media and would love to expand their book-lover network.
- If someone has lots (75+) of friends and makes lots and lots of posts, chances are they are a Facebook hub – they are someone who loves the platform and is always looking for new people to connect with. Friend away!
Monstrous: 24/7 ME-O-Vision
Some people accuse Facebook of promoting narcissism. That’s not the case if you are using marvelous Facebook etiquette. Post other people’s blogs, books, or interesting posts. If you like it, chances are other people will, too. Promoting other people is never a bad idea – what goes around comes around, after all. Be sure to let them know you’re rooting for them.
Marvelous: Letting your Content Speak for Itself
Monstrous: “LIKE this!”
Don’t put your energy into telling people to Like or comment on things – put your energy into making things that are likeable. Your content is what matters. Focus on making your posts quality – make them funny or poignant, sad or jaw-dropping. Add splashy pictures or punchy catch phrases. Make them helpful or insightful – then promote them, thank your readers, and create more quality content!
Think of Facebook like a party or mixer – Get attention through quality of character and your connection with others. Acknowledge compliments and get to know other people. Showcase many peoples’ talents and network with grace and style. Put on your best face, and have fun!
Six or seven years ago my advice to aspiring authors of nonfiction books was to build an audience platform by blogging. An example of how critical blogging could be to securing a publishing contract can be found in the case of Ann Marie Ackermann, author of Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee. After an initial assessment of her manuscript, I had recommended she start a historical true-crime blog, and she did. In fact, the editor of the ideal book series at Kent State University Press became a fan ofRead more…