First things first.
We believe Facebook (or any other social media platform) is a marketing platform first and sales platform later.
Confusing marketing with sales has a higher chance of disappointment for authors in self-publishing – a topic for another day.
For now, just know this. You need to begin your book marketing efforts much earlier to the date you plan to publish your book on Amazon Kindle or any other ebook distribution platform.
And for an unpublished (or even published) author, Facebook is probably the best platform to have in your repertoire.
Why Facebook? Here’s why….
Parse.ly, a NY based digital audience engagement and analytics firm estimated that as of 2016, Facebook accounted for 46% of referral traffic followed by Google.
Facebook, more or less beats every other social media platform on several counts. Here’s some 2017 facebook engagement statistics if you are interested.
Assuming that these stats are correct, as authors we cannot ignore Facebook. In fact, you may want to start putting together and slowly implement your book promotion strategy starting out with Facebook.
And there is help at hand from Facebook. You have 5 key marketing tools in Facebook to use for all your book promotion efforts. These are:
You know them all. You also use them daily.
But you might not know of their potential as a marketing tool. And like me, if you are low on spending power, they can be quite handy.
In this post, we want to talk about these tools, mainly highlighting their importance for your book marketing efforts and when should you use each of these during different stages of promoting your book.
We are keeping Facebook Ads for a future post as it needs a post (more than a couple) of its own to make it worth your time.
Many new or unpublished author don’t know this but your facebook profile is a potent marketing tool.
The reason that matters the most – your friend list.
Assuming you are somewhere around the median number of friends that people have on Facebook. That’s like having a high potential list of 150-200 targeted potential buyers reachable with a click.
Yes, everyone from your friend list may not necessarily buy your book but what stops you from asking them for help share your, say pre-order announcement?
Talking about Facebook friend list naturally you don’t want anyone and everyone to send you a friend invite. Neither will readers who don’t know you want to send you one.
But you want to have a way to allow your profile visitors, and potential fans a way to connect.
In comes the ‘Follow’ button that you should enable on your profile.
This button may not be enabled on your profile cover photo due to one or the other profile settings you may have enable at the time of creating your FB profile.
Steps to enable ‘Follow’ button on your Facebook profile:
- Click that small down arrow next to the ‘Quick Help’ button on the blue top bar on Facebook.
- Click ‘Settings’, the second last item under this menu.
- Once inside the ‘Setting’s page, click ‘Public Posts’ in the left menu.
- Toggle the button under ‘Who can follow me’ to ‘Public’.
This should enable the ‘Follow’ button on your profile and let your fans follow you.
Two other things you can do on your ‘Profile’, which we feel are important for new authors. Your profile picture and your cover photo.
No harm is letting people see your face. A good profile pic with a clear headshot. Need not be formal – have fun if you want to.
Use a tool like Canva to create a Cover photo. Show your personality, highlight your upcoming/released book, reflect your genre – do whatever but let visitors know you are an author. Can’t hurt, isn’t it?
The question that’s doing rounds in your head is probably going to be answered here.
Why do all that with Facebook profile? You should have a page instead since every author, including best-selling authors have one.
Here’s a nice post on why authors should have a profile instead of pages.
We learnt this the hard way that FB algorithm gives the lowest priority to unsponsored posts on pages.
Is that unfair? Maybe or maybe not. We don’t know.
What we do know is that FB introduced pages for businesses (small or large) to have a sort of a landing station for their products or services on the Facebook platform.
Since the intent is commercial, it is natural for FB to give higher priority to promoted content on pages or promoted pages themselves over posts on FB pages.
For an unplublished or first time author we believe the ideal time to have a page is after you have a certain number of followership on your profile but more im.
And the right time to launch your page? We suggest as soon as you are ready to promote your book, including giveaways and pre-orders.
Second, once you setup your page, FB offers you several features shown below:
As you may have already figured out, it is only with Pages you can use FB’s promotion and sales features.
And the best part of having a page is Facebook Insights.
With Insights you get to keep track of several engagement metrics from a single dashboard on different content you post on your page.
Though we suggest you limit the time spent to probably an hour a week or when you are looking to track conversions for your campaigns.
Another important thing you can do with FB page – make it easier for your fans to join your email list.
So, when it comes to getting more fans for your FB Page, you either post engaging content regularly in the hope that it gets likes, shares and comments. And the more fans engage, FB will push it up in news feeds.
Groups is another feature you get with Facebook for your book promotion efforts. In fact it also serves well towards building an author platform.
Groups have an edge over FB Pages.
Posts published to groups are given a higher priority over posts on pages showing up in a user’s feed. I guess by now you have an obvious question in your mind. Let me guess.
Facebook pages vs groups – what’s the difference?
There is enough material out there from experts and Facebook alike explaining the difference between pages and groups.
So, let us try and touch upon other relevant aspects of FB groups to authors.
Think of creating a group once you have a certain number of followers on your profile. That way you don’t have to dedicate extra efforts for promoting your book (as if promoting your book wasn’t a marathon run :).
Facebook groups as you may already know is for like minded individuals (you and your fans) to connect over common interests, discuss, participate and share. Not that you can’t have fun with group members.
The rules of engagement are very simple – interesting, related, occasionally personal content shared not too frequently.
One of the Group features that we really like is how easy it is for you to run a poll.
Running a poll, in our view is a great way to get reader/fan feedback or suggestion on something. For example, you are a fitness author specializing in fitness diets.
If you are working on releasing an online course on fitness diets or healthy recipes – running a poll among your fans can give you great insights into the minds of your target audience.
A downside of Groups, and this is where a page really scores is Ads and Insights.
Groups does have a feature named, “Sell something” but is nowhere near the sophistication of what you get with pages. But here’s the clincher – unlike pages this is free.
And since group posts are higher up the priority order than page posts, you can be rest assured your group members will see the post.
So they’ll be ideal to direct the traffic to either your Kindle book page or a landing page of your upcoming book on your website.
Here are 5 more ideas on using FB Groups we though were really cool. Check them out.
Lastly, we want to repeat here that starting an FB Group is not an alternative for a website. An author website in our view is a ‘must have’.
Live or FB Live is a recently added feature in Facebook’s marketing arsenal for you and me to use.
Depending on your comfort level being in front of the camera, FB Live can be a very useful promotion tool in your hands.
With the growth and preference of video content among consumers, it was only a matter of time Facebook supported video content – live is a step up from your usual recorded video content you can publish as a post.
Naturally, Facebook gives higher preference to Live content (except Ads) over all other content formats it shows in an user’s news feed.
So there is a clear benefit there.
As it is with text or image posts, this is really easy too. Just go the the ‘Create a Post’ block at the top of your news feed and click ‘Live Video’ if you are on a desktop or mobile.
You have the option to go live on your timeline, in a group, in an event or publish it on a page you manage.
So when is the time to go live?
You can just go live at random or plan it as part of your book promotion plans. Here are some of the use cases we can think right of the bat for authors:
- Announce your book going live. A short 15 minute live video telling your friends, a bit here and there about the story in your head. Ask for motivation, questions. Basically keep the conversation going. If you have a website – give them a call to action to join your advance list.
- Midway through your book – free giveaway of the first couple of chapters. Ask them to share the video. Those interested can download a copy from your website – you build your list they get to read.
- Pre-order announcement – a live video might be much more effective than just having a image of your cover.
- Live Giveaways – do a live free giveaway of your book
- AMA with the Author – AMA (Ask Me Anything) are very popular. Best done following the release of your book.
There you have it.
4 marketing tools Facebook gives you for free to promote your book.
With over 2 billion active users, Facebook remains the biggest social network on the Internet today and is likely to remain so for long time to come. There is no where in the world you get access to so many people for free.
But it has its own drawbacks as a promotion tool. There are many stories of failed campaigns out there being discussed on self-publishing forums. They may all be real.
But in addition to trying out ideas we shared above, we invite you to figure out your own creative way in putting these tools to use and give it time.
We are confident you won’t be disappointed.
Author: Jabal Shah
Accidentally ending up in digital publishing while helping his wife publish her book, he now spends his waking hours learning and blogging ideas on book publishing and marketing strategies, digital tools and web 2.0 to help authors including himself find success with self-publishing.