What is with this whole Facebooky thing?
Facebook is a social networking service that originally started as an invitation-only networking site for college students. It has since become a cultural phenomenon, boasting more than 845 million users stretching worldwide (source: wikipedia). Of all the social networking websites, Facebook is the undisputed leader.
Authors and screenwriters often rely on word-of-mouth or private blog sites to promote themselves but overlook the most obvious social media outlet, using Facebook only for personal gratification and networking rather than self-promotion and social advertising.
This is a huge mistake.
Most blogs are difficult to find without giving someone the IP address, and – sometimes – a person doing a Google search for the writer can lead to unforeseen consequences. You might have a squeaky-clean blog and present a professional image to the world … but there could be cases of M.I.I. (mistaken internet identity) where someone with a similar name may have done something either naked or newsworthy. For example, I was apparently shot to death by police outside a nudie bar the morning before my wedding (which, if you know me, isn’t that far outside the realm of possibility) Although I’d still prefer my death to be at 90 years old, in my office, at my desk, slumped over the back of my 18 year old personal assistant after suffering a massive heart attack while doing what I like the most).
Facebook provides an excellent platform that allows authors and screenwriters to (positively) promote themselves without having to allow thousands of people they don’t know into their private lives to farm their friends or see how well the author does at Gardens of Time: Facebook Pages. Unlike a personal Facebook Profile, Pages are pages (duh!) created by an entity – like a band, corporation, organization, brand or product – to share news and information with their fans. A Profile is a page created by an individual to share information with friends. Both the former and the latter have a similar look and feel, but their functionality is significantly different.
Facebook’s Pages offers the professional author or screenwriter a way to promote themselves to the public at large without having to expose the writer’s personal life to the world. A Page is significantly different than a personal Profile in a number of ways:
- Security of your personal information. Unlike a Profile where people share photos or intimate details of their personal life, a Page will give anyone who ‘likes’ the page access only to the information that is put on the Page – your personal life, friends, photos, etc. will not be exposed to everyone, and there aren’t any ‘public’ or ‘close friends only’ settings to worry about.
- Unlimited ‘likes.’ There is currently a limit to the number of ‘friends’ you can have on a Profile (I believe the limit is 5,000). There is, apparently, an unlimited number of ‘likes’ available to a Page; the Facebook and Texas Hold’em Poker Pages both have well over 50 million likes.
- Anyone can see your content. This means Google can, too. Want to promote your blog? You can link to it through your Facebook Page. NOW you’ve got visibility!
- Fans instead of Friends. Once someone becomes a Fan of your Page, they will see all of the content you want them to see; your posts on your Page are disseminated to your fan’s live stream instantly, and your public content is also immediately up on your Page.
- Blog visibility. Your writing should be your lifeblood. You should be writing a blog post at least once a month (more often, if you’re serious!). NetworkedBlogs is available through Facebook as an app that will pull content from your blog website and put it up on your Page. Rather than posting twice, with a properly setup Page and NetworkedBlog link you can automatically promote yourself on your site and on Facebook at the same time.
- Page Insights. Insights provide Page administrators with metrics on the performance of their Page. You’ll be able to see trends, what content users are viewing, and more – which will allow you to tailor your Page to your fans. Wouldn’t it be great to know what your fans like the most about you and your writing?
- Multiple Admins. Every writer wants to be successful. If you’re spending all of your time managing your advertising, blog, and website then you’re not a writer anymore; you’re a webmaster (like your nephew’s kinds slow, socially awkward kid who lives in a basement like a troll. Is that how you want to end up?). Pages allows you to assign additional administrators who can tend to your Page, which leaves you more time to write.
- A better way to promote yourself through Facebook Ads. With a Page, you can more effectively tailor a campaign to get more fans. By promoting directly to your Facebook Page, you’ll gain more Facebook users who can become fans and who will then receive information about your Page directly through their live stream. You’ll have to rely less and less on people bookmarking your blog or receiving email from you.
- Twitter. Link your Page to your Twitter feed through the integration of either service, and you’ll have an even greater draw. Put a blog post up on your site, it feeds to your Facebook page, which updates your fans and all of your Twitter followers.
There are many more benefits, but I’m particularly fond of the centralization and simplification of workflow that a Facebook Page offers.
How do you create a Page to promote yourself and your work? It’s ridiculously simple:
- You must have a Facebook Profile in order to create a Page. If you don’t have a Profile … why not? Now is as good a time as any to create one! Go to www.facebook.com and get started!
- Once your Profile is set up, go to this page: www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.
- Click on the “Artist, Band or Public Figure” button.
- Choose a Category. If you’re an Author, you should probably choose “Author.” If you’re a screenwriter, you might want to choose “Writer” since there’s no “Screenwriter” category.
- Enter your name in the “Name” box (duh!).
- Click on the “Facebook Page Terms” link to read Facebook’s terms.
- Check the box next to “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms” by clicking on it.
- Click the “Get Started” button and your page is created!
Viola! You’re on your way!
Populate your page with a cover image, a picture of yourself, and information like your bio or press kit. Invite everyone you want to be a fan to like your page and you’re up and running!
Creating a Username – Brand Visibility
One other thing you’re going to want to do is set a username for your page. This will allow people to find you easier. To do this:
- Go to www.facebook.com/username.
- Select your Page name from the dropdown box.
- Enter the Username you’d like to use.
- Click the “Check Availability” button. If your username is available, select it and you’re done. If not, check on alternate usernames.
Odds and Ends
There are a few other things you’ll want to do to draw people to your Page:
- Put a link to your Facebook Page on your blog.
- Put a link to your Facebook Page on all of your ‘professional’ outgoing email.
- Twitter your new Facebook Page to your followers, and link your Facebook Page to your Twitter feed.
- If you want your friends to support your Page, add a link to your Personal page inviting them to join.
- If you want to link your blog to your page, go to the NetworkedBlogs app on Facebook and get started.
Good luck with your new page, and feel free to invite me to become a fan!