Facebook can be a useful marketing and branding tool for authors. Learn useful tips on social media etiquette and strategies for success to help grow your brand as an author.

Facebook Etiquette

The rules of social media apply as much to Facebook as they do to Twitter and other social media platforms. Be respectful, positive, and responsive. Avoid degrading or verbally abusing readers who give your book bad reviews or leave negative comments—it’s not worth the trouble, and may actually end up hurting you and your author brand since the public can see your responses.

Respond with sincerity and strive to avoid negativity. Here are a few guidelines to help ensure smooth interactions between you and your fans.

Don’t Post More Than Once a Day to Start

Facebook has an algorithm in place that will make your posts compete with each other—unless you pay to boost your posts. That’s why it’s recommended to post only once per day. As you grow your community, you’ll have a better chance of one post being shown to more of your fans who might decide to like, comment, or share the post.

The Facebook algorithm is also why you don’t want to post all of your links and content at once. Not only will all your posts be competing with each other, but they’ll also only be shown for about a day and a half in other people’s News Feeds. Spread your content out so you’ll be able to have a constant presence in your fans’ News Feeds.

More frequent posts are only needed if you’re running a promotion, or if you have special news and have already posted that day. You don’t have to post daily, but one post a day a couple times a week is a good place to start.

Respond to Fans’ Wall Posts and Comments—Preferably within 24 Hours

Facebook users appreciate a timely reply, and doing so shows your fans you value their input and time spent on your Page.

Self-Promotion Posts Should Only Account for About a Third of Your Posts

If you constantly promote your book without sharing other content, it may seem like you’re spamming your audience. Try to find articles, photos, or quotes to post that you think your community would find interesting.

Review Your Posts to Avoid Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Errors

Your posts should communicate your legitimacy as a writer. If you catch errors after you’ve posted an update, use Facebook’s edit feature to make corrections.

Don’t Post Twitter Updates to Facebook

While both Facebook and Twitter are useful social media sites for authors, they should remain separate. If you have Facebook and Twitter accounts, share unique content on both sites so your fans have multiple ways to interact with you.

Finding Your Audience

When you first set up your Facebook Page, you may find that you have to put in a bit of legwork to attract new followers. There’s no one guaranteed way that will work for every author, but you can begin attracting an audience to your Page in several ways:

1. Ask Your Friends and Family

A great place to start building your Facebook Page is with your friends and family. You don’t want to spam your profile with requests to like your Page, but posting a request a couple times a year to your profile is just enough to snag new likes without annoying your friends.

2. Post a Link to Your Facebook Page on Your Author Website

This goes for your Twitter account and other social media sites you’re active on, too. Cross-promote your social media platforms as much as possible so people know where to find you.

3. Add a Link to Your Facebook Page in Your Email Signature

When you use email to market your book, people will see your signature. If you include links to your website and social media accounts, it should look something like this:

Jane Smith, Author of [Book Title] [www.BookWebsite.com] Find me on [Facebook] Follow me on [Twitter]

4. Like Other Facebook Pages of Authors or Related Writing News

Not only will you see how other authors manage their Pages, but it’s possible that they’ll like your Page, too.

5. Consider Purchasing Facebook Ads

Facebook ads allow you to target a group of people most likely to buy your book. You can set a lifetime or monthly budget and target users with specific interests, or those who read similar books.

Strategies and Tips

What to Post

Your Facebook posts should be a mix of self-promotion, images, text posts, links to articles, and anything else you find interesting and think your community would enjoy. While no hard-and-fast rules about what you should post exist, you have a number of options to keep your audience engaged:

1. Post about things related to your book, writing, or publishing.

This can include pictures, quotes from famous authors, or new developments in your writing.

2. Share other people’s photos and videos.

Share posts from relevant Pages. Spreading their content is a quick and easy way to network, and a great way for you to keep up on posting great photos and videos for your followers.

3. Host contests.

The prize could be a free copy of your book. Entering the contest should be fairly simple: filling in a blank or answering a question.

4. Have a fan-of-the-month feature.

Once you have more than a couple hundred fans, choose one and give them a prize or post a photo of them with the book.

5. Announce book signings.

Use Facebook events to invite fans to signings in their area.

6. Show your fans you care.

Involve them in the writing process of your next project. Hold a poll for character names, let them choose their favorite book cover, or ask them what book to read next. Fans want to talk to you, they want to contribute, and they want to feel involved.

When to Post

It’s always a good idea to post when most of your fans are online because you’ll have a higher chance of engagement. Facebook has built-in analytics that give you valuable information about your community—including popular times they’re on Facebook.

When you’re on your author Page, click on Insights right under the Facebook search bar. Then, click on Posts to see what time most of your fans are online. It may differ each day of the week, but if you hover over specific days, you can see that information, too. Posting during high-traffic times can increase your visibility on Facebook.

Will Facebook Page Likes Translate into Book Sales?

The overall goal of promoting yourself on Facebook is to raise awareness for your work and for yourself as an author. The larger your following, the more chances you have to spread the word about your book.

That being said, more likes or followers doesn’t necessarily equal more sales. Tracking sales leads through Facebook is complicated, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of building a Facebook presence. If you establish this presence and keep your followers engaged, people will be more likely to share information about you and your book.

Final Thoughts

Your approach to Facebook should be quality over quantity. A higher level of interaction is always favorable to a greater number of fans. Focus on the human aspect of Facebook rather than on the statistics. Users will stay on your author Page if they think your content is valuable or entertaining.

While your Facebook Page is meant to be professional, remember that you can and should have fun promoting your work.

Have questions? Let us know on Facebook.

How Mill City Press Helps

Our marketing department will help you create a professional-looking Facebook Page and provide you with a social media planning template to kick off your new Page. We can also assist with Facebook advertising to get your book in front of the people most likely to buy it.