Let's pick up where we left off with the dos and don'ts of social networking. Last time I talked about how Twitter is can be one of an author's best marketing tools if used correctly. This time I want to talk about Facebook. The social network that is not just a noun...but a verb. It's so normal nowadays to say, "Oh, I was facebooking last night." or "Facebook me!"
I have to admit--I was against it at first. Oh, nothing and noone could convince me of how great the site was or how much fun it could be. I thought it was dumb. (shields head from lightening bolts) Then, like most of us, I opened an account and decided to give it a whirl. Lo and behold just a few months later...I was hooked. Pretty soon I was working the site like a pro. Poking people. Chatting. Posting slightly questionable status updates....
**What was that? What about MySpace? Let's face it. MySpace is no longer a useful site for authors to promote themselves. Except in very rare (and I do mean rare) circumstances. If you feel strongly otherwise, leave a comment. Especially if you have a success story to share! :)**
Unlike Twitter, Facebook really is more of a personal social network. You can list not just your friends but your family and co-workers. You can post pictures up, create events, etc. Even find people you haven't spoken to in years. So yes I do get all the 'personal' goodies that don't need to be shared with every one of your fans...and probably shouldn't be. Here's a couple of big things that are great about it, though.
Oh yeah.You know what I'm talking about. How many times have you searched your favorite music artist, actor, actress...Author? Mm hmm. You can make pages for all sorts of things and people. Including authors. Published and unpublished. These things are like a mini website that can be shared with your friends and even advertised. You can put your author bio up along with any links you might have. You can start discussions. Facebook has now updated the way its pages work by allowing the owner to navigate the site (i.e. comment on other pages' posts and links) as the page itself and not their own personal profile. It's the perfect way to keep personal and professional seperate.
Ok, this one is a little trickier. The good thing about groups on Facebook is that you can add whomever you want without their permission. That, unfortunately, is also one of its biggest faults. I'm not saying they shouldn't be used. They are great because you can chat privately with group members only (author interview anyone?) and make it private if you wish. Group owners do need to practice some common sense and courtesy, however.
Let's say Dee Writer wants to make a group for herself. She sets it all up and adds all her friends to the group. Yes. All 897 of them. She starts posting stuff about her books, her blog, etc...
Problem. More than half those 'friends' of hers are either A. Not going to have a clue they've been added to the group or B. Be very aware of it and very annoyed because they don't understand WHY. Maybe they're even wondering WHO she is. (especially if Dee Writer is her pen name) So they leave.
I can't tell you how many times I've been added to a group I had no wish to be a part of. I'll sign into my account and every now and again I'll realize that I am now a member of Do It Yourself Home Repair. Um..no thanks.
There is also the snazzy way you can share almost anything from the web on Facebook. And vice versa.
As far as Dos and Don'ts go...
Don't over advertise your book or your blog. There are so many other things you can post about in between. Trivia, quotes, updates on your writing activity, fun questions...Use your imagination. Be personable and not just some stuffy author who wants readers to buy his/her novels. Contents are also something to think about.
Again: There is a difference between personable and personal. While it's nice for readers to know that you're human after all...be smart about how you go about it.
What things have you noticed about authors with pages or groups on Facebook? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?