Facebook: Not just for keeping up with the family

Contributing writer and social media intern Elizabeth Evans continues a series of posts for authors on working various social media sites and using them to promote their work. The second in the series is on the platform Facebook.

Facebook has been a part of our daily lives since 2006. Facebook is so prevalent in our society that it’s become a verb in our daily vernacular (ex “I’m Facebooking right now”). 45% of American adults said in a Pew Research survey that they get news from Facebook, with 50% of users surveyed saying they get news solely from Facebook.

Point being, Facebook is not going away any time soon, and may be more influential now than ever.

How does that benefit you as a writer? Glad you asked.

First, as with Instagram, which we discussed in a previous post, it’s all about building and protecting your brand.

Facebook pages are a great way to keep your readers engaged and interested in you and your work, especially in between books, poetry collections, or projects. The same principles we discussed with Instagram hold true here.

“Brand building is so important in today’s competitive market. Build yours up by posting interesting content using your Facebook page. Put yourself out there and expand your customer reach. This is a great way to increase awareness and bring people to your brand. Those who become loyal to a particular brand often stay loyal their whole lives.” – Micaiah Sowards, “The Benefits of a Facebook Business Page”

Facebook has two types of verification for pages: the blue check mark for public figures/brands/media organizations and the gray check mark for businesses. Currently, Facebook does not take requests for blue check mark verification.

Facebook says that if you aren’t going to or can’t verify your page, you can link your page to your website or your other social media accounts to show your page’s authenticity.

In addition to building and maintaining your brand, having a Facebook page these days is the bare minimum of social media engagement and shows your audience that you’re accessible.

Second, Facebook is the most popular of all the social media sites in use today and has a variety of features not found on other platforms.

Facebook, according to Statista, had 239 million monthly active users in the third quarter of 2017, and there are over 1 billion Facebook users. That’s 1 billion people you can potentially reach with the right combination of photos, posts and videos.

That’s also 1 billion people you could direct towards your website and other media profiles. Think of Facebook as a doorway to your content. You can still have your own fancy website and setup, but your Facebook posts can help get eyes on that website.

Facebook also links to your other social media pages. As mentioned in our Instagram post, you can link your Facebook and Instagram accounts, and because Facebook now owns Instagram, you can see comments on your posts in your Facebook inbox, allowing you to keep track of two social media accounts in one place. You can also Tweet your Facebook posts and have your Tweets appear on your Facebook wall as well if you have your Twitter and Facebook accounts linked and set that way. That way if you find that you prefer Twitter or Instagram over managing a Facebook page, you can still populate content to your page for your fans who may not see your other social media profiles.

Facebook is a conduit for your content, keeping your Twitter and Instagram posts all in one place. You can also build photo and video albums, host events (such as livestreams, readings, book signings, and interviews), and make offers (such as discounts and sales on books). Hosting events is especially useful for drumming up interest in your event, reminding potential attendees about the event, and also reaching the friends of those who have expressed interest in your event. If someone marks themselves as “going” or “interested/maybe,” people on their friends list receive a notification about your event, thus reaching a wider audience who may not have known about your event initially.

The more you utilize your Facebook page, and the more content you post, the more engaged and wider your audience will be.

Third, there’s no fee to make a Facebook page and the costs associated with advertising are less than you think.

Facebook pages are free and simple to set up with easy-to-follow instructions. All you need to be able to make or even claim an already existing Facebook page is a Facebook account (which is also free to set up).

Charges do come into play if you choose to boost a post or pay for an ad, but as Scott Ayres of PostPlanner.com demonstrates, Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive and can pay off in the long run.

“My point is that getting rolling with a page costs you nothing until you start paying for ads to get page Likes, boosting posts and running Sponsored Stories — all of which you should be doing with your page.

Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional print, radio or TV ads — and are 1,000x more targeted.” – Scott Ayres, Top 10 Benefits of a Facebook Business Page”

Ayres shows in his article what happened when he ran a “Page Like Ad” for a page he created to test Facebook ads. He gained over 1400 likes (people/eyes on his content) for his page and only spent $0.02 per like, for a total of around $34. He also states that he gained an additional 600 likes for his page organically, meaning an additional 600 people liked his page based on seeing it on their friends’ feeds.

Facebook ads are kind of the modern version of “tell three friends, then those three friends tell three friends, and then so on and so on” but instead of just three friends, you could be reaching hundreds or thousands of friends.

Fourth, Facebook pages offer you tools to analyze and reach a wider audience.

In addition to being free to set up, Facebook gives page admins access to a lot of information about their visitors and audience that other social media sites do not. If you were to create a Instagram business profile, you would have access to insights such as reach (how many unique accounts viewed your posts) impressions (the total number of times a particular post has been viewed) and actions (the number of profile visits or follows that were caused by the post).

With Facebook pages, you have access to more specific information, like demographics of your fans and even when your fans are online so you can know when to post to reach the maximum number of people who follow your page.

All of this information is useful both for knowing when to post and for making the decision to purchase ads. Ayres outlines the Facebook Insights page here in his fifth benefit and he makes an excellent point:

“Compare this to running an ad in your local paper. Are you given any such stats as to how many people visited your store/website based on the ad?

No!” -Ayres, Top 10 Benefits of a Facebook Business Page”

Fifth and finally for now, Facebook Live.

Facebook Live is a great way to sit down and have a conversation with your followers or livestream a reading or talk for those who can’t physically be in attendance. It’s a whole new world of direct engagement between you and your followers.

You can post your livestreams to your page for others to view later, and you can also download the videos to post in other places, like YouTube or your own website. This is a marked difference from Instagram Live which doesn’t save your videos to the platform (although, you can now save your IG Live videos to your phone to post later or on other platforms).

Please note that Facebook does have two different phone apps for managing your profile and pages. The basic Facebook app will access your pages and allow you to post on them, but you won’t be able to comment or like on that page as your page (allowing you to engage with your audience). The Facebook Pages app will allow you to access your pages, your page inbox, your Instagram inbox (if your accounts are linked) and like and comment as your page. Also, if you plan on doing a Facebook Live using your phone apps, use the main Facebook app so you can view comments from your viewers during the livestream.

The great thing about using Facebook is that they have a very extensive help section that’s fairly easy to navigate and find information to help with almost any issue you’ll run into with setting up your Facebook page, purchasing ads, or setting up a Facebook Live.

Elizabeth Evans is a journalist-turned creative writer who loves nothing more than curling up with her laptop to write fiction and poetry. When she’s not writing, she’s painting, cosplaying at comic conventions, or trying to catch up on reading from her overflowing bookshelves. She’s a self-professed nerd in love with all things Marvel, Supernatural, science fiction, and fantasy. She currently resides in Huntsville with her cat son, Dean, where she is pursuing a Master’s of Fine Arts at Sam Houston State University.

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