The next post in our Facebook series is about how to interact and build community on your Facebook Page. As with all social media, building a community takes time and effort, and a good deal of transparency.
Why do you join a Facebook Fan Page? Usually it’s for insider tips, coupons, exclusive promotions, free giveaways. Authors and writers can only give so much away, we’re not a business with several product lines – and most of us can’t afford to finance big ticket giveaways with iPads and the like. Fans join author and writer pages because they are fans looking for a behind the curtains peek at the writer’s life, or they’re writers who are looking for tips and advice on the craft of writing – generally.
Ted Dekker – A Case Study
I am a big Ted Dekker fan and have been following him on Facebook when he was still using his personal profile as a fan page. His Facebook journey is one worth studying. He began using his personal profile as a gathering place for fans, and I lurked through his family photos, his daughter’s wedding, etc. (Because this is what Facebook is about.) But one of the big problems with doing this is that personal profiles have a 5000 friend limit. He reached that fairly quickly and had to switch to a Fan Page.
What Dekker does really well is connecting with fans. He posts fun videos, inside scoops about his next book or WIP. He asks for fan input on selecting book covers, character names, even feedback on moral dilemmas, exclusive details and advance tickets to various events and book signings. Fascinating stuff. And he posts personally. Obviously he pays someone to manage his Facebook page, but he takes the time to personally connect with fans. When his Facebook admin posts, each status makes that clear “Kevin here”.Transparency is important!
Ask questions, ask for input, invite sharing, be genuine, be transparent, be friendly. These are the ingredients that build community on Facebook. Try to ask fans questions that avoid yes/no responses. Did you find an interesting link your fans would be interested in? Post it – ask for feedback. Invite fans to share from their own experiences, to post their website or blog address as a way of mutual sharing – there’s limitless possibilities here. When fans post on your Facebook page with questions, answer them promptly. That doesn’t mean hovering over Facebook 24/7. Just make a point of checking at lunch and before bed – whatever works for you. Invite them to share photos and videos that relate to the community you’re building. Remember, your Facebook Page isn’t about you – it’s about your fans. This is why editors and agents are constantly chanting: who’s your audience? Knowing your audience is just as important with Facebook – don’t neglect the fans!
When you reach the magic 25 fans mark, Facebook gives you insights to your page. These are measured results of demographics and interactions. Use this as a tool to judge what kinds of posts fans interact with the most, and tailor your posting to those tastes. One page I managed, I learned that fans loved the Bible verses I posted from people helped by the non-profit. I began doing that twice a week, and our community doubled.
How Often Do I Post?
It depends. Generally, you want to post twice a week. Big businesses who employ people to manage their Pages 24/7 can post more often. Non-profits can post more often because there’s a virtually limitless supply of content. Fans aren’t concerned with what you ate for breakfast, unless it’s remarkable (photo caption: the bistro I found on my first morning in Paris). Be sure to use video links (Youtube is probably the best) because fans want to see you, know who you are.
Remember Your Social Media House
My post on building your social media house is important here. Remember, Facebook is the back door, but you want people in the living room. If Facebook is not the main place you want people to land, be sure to find ways to point them to the living room. Use the Networked Blogs or RSS apps to point people to blogs or websites where you want the main body of your traffic to land.