There’s a number of ways you can use Facebook to enhance your marketing efforts, if you determine that Facebook is an avenue you want to invest time and money into. Now that Facebook and Instagram are part of the same company you can use one easy suite of software to control your content on both platforms from your Facebook account. There’s even ways to monetize your content but as this isn’t a feature I’ve used I won’t be discussing that at this time. What I will discuss is how you can use Facebook’s Publishing Tools and Creator Suite to your advantage.
In case you are not familiar with Facebook, as with most social media platforms it allows you to post visual and textual content. Facebook allows you to have a private profile as well as “pages” which can be utilized for a number of applications from Fan Pages to Business pages. As an author you could focus on either, depending on how you want to engage with your audience. Do you want to be seen as an entertainer or influencer? Or do you want to approach the market from a business perspective? These questions will inform your choices. Your page can allow you to interact with your target audience without giving away too much of your own personal information. Some authors use it simply for marketing, others use it as an extension of their approach to life, sharing memes, tidbits from their life, and more.
Facebook allows you to post videos, and now even has a dedicated section of the platform called Watch (which is a bit like YouTube). I haven’t used this feature myself, but if book trailers, or video content is in your skill set this may be something worth investigating for you.
Facebook Creator Studio was something I used a lot when I was marketing heavily on the site. With it you can control your Facebook and Instagram content uploads, create advertisements, create events, and more. Utilizing the content library feature you can publish posts/pictures, schedule posts, and even draft content if you need to. Scheduling posts was my number one way to ensure I engaged with the platform and still had time to write. I would schedule the majority of my posts for the week on a Sunday, and then when I felt like it, I could add in additional content on the fly.
Creator Studio also offers “insights” which gives analytical breakdowns of page, post, and other content performance. This information can critically inform your approach to your marketing strategy. By knowing exactly what type of content is attracting your target audience you can cultivate a feed that appeals to your audience and increases engagement, as well as marketability. Additionally, using their cross-posting feature you can ensure one upload goes direct to both your Facebook and Instagram accounts without spending time duplicating your work on both platforms.
Facebook gives you the option of paying for ads for your content/product and creating events. This can also be managed from Creator Studio. I won’t go into much detail here as I’d like to save that topic for next week.
As an author I’ve found the best way to utilize the Events option is to send invites to physical events (book launches, author talks, workshops etc) and to host digital events. When I launched The Horn of Gabriel, I was living in the middle of the bush with no way to host a physical event. So, I did an online launch party. The attendance was low, but those that did attend were engaged. An engaged audience is much better than a large audience who isn’t interested. We played games, I discussed inspirations for the book, and more. The event flew by and I’d really like to do another one.
I’ve created several groups on Facebook, from social to business, but for the purpose of this article I’ll focus on my business group. I created a group associated with my author page with the express intention of drawing readers in for a sense of community and for the opportunity to exchange ARC (Advance Reader Copies) of my books for feedback. I’ve discussed in another article the importance of ARC Copies and BETA readers, so I won’t go over that again now, but I had hoped to engage with my readers through my group. So far it hasn’t had the results I was going for, but I also haven’t invested as much time into it as it possibly needed. It may be a case of “you get out what you put in”. Additionally, if I can make an aside, I started the group in the hopes of giving out free books for feedback as I’d had trouble getting feedback in my previous approach. I had less engagement than ever with the Facebook group approach, and I don’t know whether that was a reflection on my activity or whether it was because of the trend of younger users away from the platform. You could use the Group feature in anyway you’d like to interact.
Facebook also has a dedicated Business suite. I didn’t know what this looked like until recently as I hadn’t used it. However the last time I logged in to my business page it immediately took me into Facebook Business Suite. I’ll play around with it for a little while before I make any comments on it. Tools like Facebook Creator Studio help consolidate your social media efforts to save you time and energy – leaving you more time to do what you really want to be doing: writing. As I now have four social media handles (between private, business, witchsona, and public service) across at least seven platforms (that’s a total of eleven individual accounts I think) I’m looking to invest in a social media managing software such as Hootsuite to control everything from one place.
Once I’ve investigated the options and played around with them a bit I’ll do an article on how to further consolidate your marketing efforts. It can get really out of hand really quickly. When you run your own business you do not have time to mess around so do not underestimate the importance of organisation and consolidation. This was especially clear to me this year when I moved house, something I’m going to have to do again before the end of the year, I’m still living out of boxes and won’t be able to settle in properly for some time yet.
I’m going to leave you there for now. Next week I’ll discuss my experiences with Facebook Ads including what worked for me and what didn’t.