Last week I began to tackle the idea of authenticity in social media in general. If you did not see that post, you could read it here. This week I want to explore the idea of what constitutes authenticity on Facebook.
First, let’s discuss why it’s important to have a presence on Facebook. A Facebook page will:
- Build your brand
- Help you to engage with your readers
- Give your readers an opportunity to express their appreciation for your books and share their own insights
- Enable you to run contests and to advertise to increase engagement and Likes.
You probably already have a Facebook profile where you receive regular updates from your friends in your news feed. If you want to use Facebook to market your books, workshops, readings and other events, you need to have a Facebook page. (Facebook profiles are for people, and Facebook pages are for businesses, nonprofits, and products, such as books.)
Some search engine optimization experts recommend that you create a Facebook page for every book you publish. I do not agree. If you are a prolific writer, having multiple Facebook pages can become cumbersome at best to manage if not burdsome. I recommend that writers create one author page, and as they publish each book, they continue to grow their base of readers from that page.
The only time you would want to create more than one Facebook page would be if you published two very different books, such as a romance novel and a book on climate change. In that case, you would better serve your readers by creating a Facebook page specifically for your book on global warming because you will likely be attracting a different demographic to that topic.
What Is Authenticity on Facebook?
Let’s delve into the issue of authenticity on Facebook. When I review my news feeds for my profile, I see images of injured dogs, music videos, a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge shaking hands with a heavily tattooed and scantily clad wrestler, images of sandwiches for children, Memes, and political posts. That’s standard fare for Facebook, right?
When I review the posts from my Facebook page’s news feed, I see personal images, quotes, Memes, pictures of chocolate and food, sponsored posts from various brands, and fun or heartwarming videos. There is little difference.
On my Facebook profile, I’ve learned that images of books and posts about social media fall flat. What’s sad is that reading and writing books and helping others stay informed about social media is what I most enjoy. However, on my Facebook profile if I share that content my engagement drops.
I do not want to be overly personal on my profile because I’m not comfortable with that exposure. I also want to be true to my brand as a writer and social media strategist and manager. I try to remain authentic on my Facebook profile by posting quotes from authors that will speak to a range of people, uplifting Memes, and beautiful ocean or landscape images. On occasion, I’ll post information on dogs available for adoption because I volunteer for a rescue operation and last fall I did post a picture from my surprise wedding.
For the most part, however, I endeavor to keep a professional image.
Balancing Authenticity on Your Facebook Page
Facebook pages can be difficult. I like to say that on Facebook pages you need to balance the meaningful with the mundane. An example of a meaningful post would be a status update about a new blog post by Joel Friedlander or Jane Friedman and a link to their blogs. A mundane post would be a humorous quote from an author, a picture of chocolate cake, or a comic about the writing process.
Yes, images of chocolate and cute kittens perform well on Facebook but what do they say about my brand? The reality is that I’m allergic to cats, and I do not eat that much chocolate. So I try to maintain a balance by posting a link every morning to a blog post by either myself or an authoritative figure in social media or self-publishing. Then in the afternoons, I lighten up and add images that are meant to bring a smile to someone’s face.
A former Yahoo marketing executive once told me that marketing is all about entertainment. I believe that’s especially true for Facebook. But as an author, I do not want to just entertain my fans, I want to inform them as well.
How do you build your brand on Facebook while pursuing authenticity?