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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Facebook Tips

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Social Media is like writing. You have to work at it through trial and error before you figure out your voice and discover what works best for you, your personality, your goals, and connections. Plus, keep in mind that goals change, so your social media will go through stages, just like your writing.

Here are some perceptions that we are going to have to accept and figure out how to work around:

1) People prefer to friend personal profiles over liking fan pages. The word "friend" sounds better than "fan" or "follow". I think this is why Facebook changed "fans" to "likes".
2) We can ask FB friends to like our author page, but we can't force them as you have probably discovered.
3) People can "unlike" a page just as fast as they can "like" it.
4) Readers do want a glimpse into our personal lives. They like praying for us, connecting with us, and knowing all the news. I consider them my online church family, but I don't share everything. 

I started out trying to keep my personal profile separate and luring everyone to my author page, but I gave up. I couldn't change other people's perception, so I had to change mine--the way I think about FB and my place/role there. I'm on FB to network and make connections to people. Being able to see and communicate with my family are an extra bonus. FB isn't private. They own every piece of content and photo we upload onto their site, regardless if it is on a profile page or a public page. If a hacker wants my info, he/she can get it. If we are careful and don't upload anything I wouldn't want people to see or know on my personal profile or my author page, then it doesn't matter

Here are some suggestions that have worked for me. These suggestions will
not work for everyone, so please keep that in mind.

1) I recommend my author page to every person who friends me. Over half of them have not liked my page. I don't know why, but I do know that I don't want to lose my connection to them, so I've made the decision to sacrifice my profile page to accept others. Some people who have NOT liked my author page did buy my books. I don't understand it, but I stopped trying to analyze it a long time ago.

2) For those who have both friended me and liked my page, I make sure I post different things on each so it doesn't feel repetitive to them. I'm so used to it by now so it doesn't seem like extra work. It's merely part of my job.

3) The social culture of FB and Twitter are so different, that I don't link them. I tried this, and I started losing likes because FB people don't like as many posts as Twitter people. Therefore, I use Twitterfeed and I've set certain blog posts to go to FB and others to Twitter. That way some of it is automated and does free up time for me to post things I want to generate discussions on and to do other things.

4) If you want to generate discussions, ask a question. People love giving opinions and sharing ideas. Be careful not to get too political or controversial.  

5) I give a glimpse of my personal life, but I don't share anything I wouldn't want anyone on the Web to see or know. I post fewer family photos on my author page, but I do post some. I post more on my personal profile. I'm careful not to post images of my teenage daughter in her swimsuit or talk about vacation until we are back home. I monitor her FB page and I don't allow her to accept people she doesn't know. Other authors have sent her friend requests, but I don't let her accept them unless there is real viable connection. For instance, some of my author friends she has met, others had something in common with her, and I personally know them and trust them after having met them several years at writing conferences.

6) I screen each friend request and the profile of anyone I send a request to. If someone doesn't have anything about themselves on their About section, then they aren't being transparent enough for me to accept their friend request. I realize that some people are private, but FB is a "social" network, and if I don't know you, I need to know why I would want to know you. What do we have in common? If their timeline is available, I check to see what kind of posts they have. If it is nothing but games, I don't accept. If a man sends me a friend request and everyone of his friends are female, something is wrong and I don't accept. If someone sends me a friend request and their entire page is in a language I don't understand, I don't accept. I won't be able to communicate with them and I am not interested in having to click on translation options. 

7) When I reach my 5,000 friend limit, I'll have the perfect excuse to send people to my author page, and they will know it isn't because they didn't pass muster to be my friend. It puts the blame on FB's rules, not me. Plus, I won't have to screen people anymore.

8) I don't worry about keeping up with 3,800 friends. I create my friend lists and use them as needed and I don't worry about it. I have enough pressure. I don't need to add more to myself. If I happen to see a post on my newsfeed and I want to comment, I do it and I forget about it. I don’t worry about trying to comment on everyone’s post. Based on some of the comments I've seen from others, I'm concerned that many are putting too much pressure on themselves to try and keep up with everyone. Don't do that. Just relax and let go.

9) I've set all my social media on an email address that is NOT my main email and I've turned off notifications that I don't want. That way, I'm not annoyed by tons of alerts. I don't need to know that 20 people commented on a post after me. Also, if one of my social media accounts is compromised, they don’t have access to my main email. This has happened to me before and I had to start all over creating a whole new FB account, so I know what it's like to build it up from scratch, TWICE!

10) I place ads on FB every so often and they have worked--ok, but not great. You can set a daily cap and target people who are not already a friend or fan. My husband and I have set up a separate credit card just for online purchases such as this so that it isn't linked to anything if it were to be compromised or stolen.

I hope these Facebook Tips are helpful to you! What other tips do you have?


I've wondered how authors handle this! Thanks

Julie, Thanks for stopping by!

This is how I handle FB, but not all authors work this way. Hope my tips were helpful.

This was very helpful. I've kind of muddled my way into the same conclusion. At first I had a personal page that uses my maiden name in the middle, and then an author profile page that uses my legal name (with a middle initial instead of maiden name). Then I added a fan page. What a mess. I'm down to my maiden name personal page that I post family stuff on and an author page. I hope with time the author page will work out. Thanks for the good tips.

You're welcome, CM. Glad it was helpful. It can become quite a mess before we know it.

Thank you, Jennifer! This explains a lot and will help me keep my social media life under control!