Author Resources - 5 Ways to be More Engaging on Facebook
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I'm sure you've heard, probably quite a few times, about the importance, as an aspiring author, of creating engaging relationships with fans and supporters via social media like Facebook.  Right?  

 

"But Vanessa," you might ask, "what does that exactly mean - to be engaging - and how do I get more of it?"

"Great question" I'd say!

Well, what I have come to understand, through trial and error over the last year, is being engaging means being your authentic self and creating a connection between you and your readership.

Now there are literally thousands of ways to accomplish this. And no one way is better than the other. But listed below are 5 ways that I have learned that help me connect with people more authentically that I think might help you too. And here we go...

#1. Ask questions:

I cannot stress the importance of asking people questions...period. Weather it be other authors, readers, casual passer-bys or other...it it imperative to ask questions. Not only will you find out what people really think and feel, you will learn a lot about yourself as well.

Here are a few author/book related examples:

Fill in the blank:

1. ________ is the best villain ever.
2. The greatest novels are _________.
3. ________ is my favorite book of all time.
4. The best book to movie adaptation I have ever seen is _________.
5. If I could have lunch with one protagonist from a book, it would be _________.

Open ended questions:

1. Who is your favorite hero of all time?
2. What is your favorite quote from a book?
3. If your life was a book, what would the first sentence be?
4. Are traditional “good” heroes as interesting as antiheroes?
5. If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you want with you?

Now, how do you find more questions? Try brainstorming a list of twenty (and feel free to use the ones listed above,) post a few and see what happens!

#2. Reply to as many comments as possible:

Weather you have one or two comments or a thousand...it is advisable to reply to as many as possible - as your time and schedule will allow, of course. When people take a moment out of their day to interact with your site, it's a gift! So interact with as many people as possible, especially when you are at the beginning of your author social medial platform-building process.

Weather it's a quick hello, a thank you or just a "like" click, the value of your interaction with your audience, for the right reasons, will build a strong, reciprocal relationship. And it's awesome too because friends are being made too!

#3. Use people's names (and spell them correctly.)

There's nothing worse than getting a message from an author or writer and knowing it's a generic cut/paste/send.

"Hi! Would you like to read a great story today?"

Ugh! We all do it and it's just an inevitable part of the process. But when commenting or sending messages, I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see my name at the top...addressed to me, personally! And because I feel all warm and fuzzy in the inside when that happens, I want to give my readers the same experience too...so I always make a point of using the name of the person I am contacting.

"Hello Vanessa! How would you like to read a great story today?"

It literally takes only a moment or two to look at someone's name and profile picture and type it.

Advantages?

It instantly connects you to that person and creates a stronger bond. It also connects them to you too. It's being engagement at its best! So use people's names...and spell them correctly!

I can tell you honestly...it's totally embarrassing when someone tells you you've misspelled their name. I did it once with an author whose first initials were "SB." I turned their initials into "BS." True story. They were cool about it and understood (I'm dyslexic) but the point is...totally embarrassing! Apologize asap when you realize the snafu, learn from it and do your best the next time.

#4. Post engaging content:

Unless you're already a superstar or have written an incredible book and Oprah is knocking down your door, no one cares what you've eaten for breakfast this morning. Period. Or what you are wearing or what kind of coffee you drink (mostly.)

Let's face it, there are thousands of struggling authors and writers out there trying to accumulate an audience too. And when it comes down to it, unless you've already done something incredible and new, no one really cares about your day to day activities. Sorry to be so blunt.

So what can you do to create engaging content?

First, brainstorm a list of ideas that are based on your books, genre or public persona. Then create posts about them. Try imagining yourself as one of your readers and think "what would be appealing to me?" Then make content based that.

Second, look at your FB stats and see who's visiting your page. (It's under the insights section.) Check out the demographic information. Ask yourself "who's looking at my posts and what age group am I reaching?" Then, once you have answered that question, post content and information targeted to that audience.

Third, try a variety of different posts based on your content. Here are a few examples of different types of posts:

Status Updates

Blog posts

Web-links

How-to's

Short stories

Drawings

Photographs

Quotes

Any and all of these types of posts are great to utilize and try.

Of course, once you begin posting, pay attention to the reaction of your audience members per each type of post. If questions seem engaging, ask questions. Are your pictures getting attention? Then continue posting them.
Figure out what works for you and your genre.

On my page, I have a wonderful following of authors. So one of the things I do is ask questions (generate content) that I hope will be interesting for both established authors to answer and for the aspiring authors who watch my page to read and learn from.

Symbiotic relationship for all.

I also post writing prompts (with pictures,) quotes, thoughts of the day related to creation and empowerment and confidence and creativity challenges. My thought process is basically thus: as an author, what do I want to see when I visit an author's page. I then think about my personal strengths when it comes to appropriate subject matter and brainstorm ideas till I have a few things I can post.

A word of caution:

Just because one thing is engaging one day does not always mean it always will. Times change and Facebook changes with it. Posting pictures may be interesting for a while, then plain text posts will replace it. The point is, always be willing to change your strategy.

Also....remember, too much of a good thing can be too much too. Posting one or two pictures a day can be tasteful. Posting 20 a day can be tacky (and overwhelming.)

Use your best judgement and do what you think will be appealing.

#5. Show up:

Huh? What does that mean? Well, one of the most important things I have learned is to show up and have a presence on my Facebook page consistently. Period. What that means is checking my page at set intervals over the course of a week and constantly posting, commenting and engaging with my supporters and fans.

Does that mean you need to check in all times of the day every day? No, absolutely not. Everyone has work to do and Facebook can be a time-suck. However, it does mean taking the time to check your page often. Of course, often is subjective, but stay consistent. For example:

If you post top 10 lists on Monday afternoons, then check for comments with said post within 24 hours (most of the time.) If you post a picture or a link or quote, again, give it some time but still check it within 24 hours.

Now, does that mean you always have to check in within 24 hours? No. That's just not plausible. But it's a good idea to create a rapport with your supports and fan-base by doing so most of the time. And when I say most of the time, I mean about 80% of the time.

In conclusion:

Does this sound like a lot of work? Well yes...yes it is. But in a matter of time, you will see your audience grow. And with that so will your relationships. And then, over time, you might even make some new friends with great people. So in the long run...yes...yes it is hard and time consuming. But the rewards, of becoming a better, more engaging person and, perhaps, selling a few books, it as awesome as it gets!

"So Vanessa," you ask...how long can I expect to see some major changes?

"Well," I'd say. "That all depends."

"On what?"

"What you're trying to accomplish."

It takes a lot of time and effort to build up an engaging FB page. Unless you already have an established community of die hard fans, it can anywhere from months to years. Yes...I said years. I have read up on the subject and many professionals state it takes 3-5 years to create a solid and engaging readership.

And is that a problem?

Nope!

I think that's right on par! And the reason I think so is because the average time it takes to achieve "overnight success" is approx. 5 years! So really...it all just depends on you, the time you have and how you go about working on becoming more engaging.

So take heart, my aspiring author friends! We're all in this together! So let's get out there and become more engaging!

You can check out my Facebook site here:www.facebook.com/vbbernard

Please join me next Monday for Tips and Tricks about Finding More Daily Writing Time.

Till then...Good luck & happy writing!
-Vanessa

 

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