People hate it when Facebook changes anything – but not all change is bad. I posted a series about Facebook for writers in June, but decided that with the new Timeline profile rolling out this week, it was time for an update.
If you missed my earlier posts about Facebook, you can find them here:
Top 5 Reasons For Authors To Join Facebook
Pimp Out Your Facebook Page – Tips and Tricks for creating an author fan page
Carpooling With Fans On The Facebook Freeway – Attracting fans, and keeping them interested
Because of a number of factors, like Facebook limiting personal profiles to 5000 friends, authors/writers were advised to get a Fan Page where marketing tools and stats were built in. And this is still true. But, a few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a subscribe feature on personal profiles.
This is super! For people, like me, who like to share things and have conversations but don’t really have anything to sell yet or the interest in managing another page, allowing subscribers is the perfect work around. Anyone can subscribe to your public posts without affecting your 5000 friend limit, comment and share your statuses as they pop up in their newsfeeds – but depending on your privacy settings don’t have access to everything on your profile. I think this is a more authentic way of demonstrating the ‘level’ of relationship instead of friending everyone.
3 Principles of Facebook Fan Pages via Jane Friedman
Should you use your personal profile to attract readers? A little dated, written in January of 2011 – but still lots of great stuff (this was written before you could subscribe to profiles)
To learn more about the subscribe feature, check out this post from Facebook.
Facebook has always had a list feature where you can organize your friends into various lists and set the privacy for each list. Rumors say Facebook has made this feature much easier to navigate due to G+ *shrug* – don’t know that it matters. Now, with built-in list suggestions such as close friends, acquaintances, and family, this is a fairly painless process. I had a strict friends only policy for my profile, but when people I’d connected with online started friending me, I created lists and tweaked the privacy for each list. Now, I can post to everyone, friends (close friends and acquaintances), close friends (excluding acquaintances), just family, public, etc. This is a time consuming prospect, I won’t lie to you, but worthwhile. (Have I started reorganizing my G+ circles? Not a chance 🙂
For those who have allowed subscribers, you’re faced with tweaking your locked down privacy settings. Changing your default privacy setting to public makes everything you’ve ever posted or been tagged in public. Instead, keep your default setting at friends only, and choose which statuses to make public going forward.
*It just makes good sense to double check your privacy settings every 6 months or so with Facebook.*
6 Must-Do Facebook Privacy Tweaks via PC World
Timeline – The New Profile
About 6 months ago, Facebook rolled out a new profile and page look with the photo banner across the top. Timeline is the newest profile overhaul, with a forced roll-out this week. Facebook is very visual. According to Mashable, 250million photos are shared on Facebook every day making it the largest photo sharing site. Timeline, with its magazine blog style, caters to this visual audience in a big way.
Timeline catalogs every status update, photo share and tag, and places it on a linear timeline. So all those photo tags, and status updates you’ve been glad cycled out of everyone’s newsfeeds are about to revisit your profile in a big splashy way. If there is anything there that doesn’t put your best foot forward, you may be wise to update to Timeline early and sort through it all because lurkers everywhere are ecstatic about Timeline (future employers among them).
For a great example of how an author is utilizing Facebook’s new Timeline profile and the subscribe feature check out YA author/former editor Nathan Bransford.
Timeline Tips and Tricks – A quick survey of the different features new to Timeline.
GalleyCat does it again with this fabulous post on how writers can utilize the new Timeline to promote their work.
Timeline features that benefit writers
The cover photo is a really great opportunity to showcase what you’re about. Be aware that the cover photo does not replace your profile photo, and if you have your profile privacy locked down it won’t be visible to the public. Why not use the cover photo space to highlight your blog or website address, your twitter handle, your facebook vanity url? Share a favorite quote, or use Photoshop to create something that really reflects you as a writer – or an upcoming project?
Creative uses for cover photo designs – Some of these are truly clever – fabulous art.
And here’s a post that gives you all the exact dimensions for creating your own custom cover image.
In the status bar, you can now add life events under a few different categories. This is optional. You don’t have to add any life events if you don’t want to, (the Facebook police won’t care) but why not post the articles or books you’ve published? Been to a conference, why not put that on your timeline? Shortlisted or won a contest – add that too. If agents and editors are lurking anyway (and if they’re interested in you they are) – give them something worthwhile to look at. Life events are automatically highlighted by Timeline so anyone scrolling through your history will be sure to see it.
Fan Page Rabbit Trail
Developers are constantly creating new apps for marketing on Facebook. Odyl has a specialized app to promote your books on Facebook – they claim some Big 6 publishers, and best-selling authors like Janet Evanovich , Bret Easton Ellis, James Rollins, and Ted Dekker as clients. This app helps promote books by offering interactive puzzles, quizzes, polls, sneak peaks, excerpts and other things. (don’t know if it costs anything)
What do you think of the new Timeline look? Have you already upgraded? What creative ideas do you have to make use of this to help market yourself as a writer/author?