Platform Building 211: The Land of Facebook

Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.

As a writer, you can’t afford to ignore the fact that, with over 500-million active users, the population of Facebook represents a “country” in and of itself.

Interactions within Facebook take on an informal timbre and can provide a writer access to high-ranking members of the literary community, many of whom will accept a friend request without having first met you.

Facebook also provides an opportunity to connect with those on a similar plain in their literary careers. A writer can find, through social networking, a cohesive support group. If you post about a particular challenge or confess to feelings of discouragement, you’ll often be met with prayer and comfort. That’s a huge bonus.

You can also develop online relationships with those a little behind you in the writing journey. Nurturing an aspiring author of promise can be your way of giving back for those who helped you along the way.

If you blog, you can set your blog feed to post automatically to your Facebook profile through the Networked Blogs application. You can also feed your Facebook updates to your Twitter account. This is harder than it needs to be, but an easy workaround is through Twitter Feed. When you post to your blog, it will feed through automatically to both Facebook and Twitter.

There’s usually a slight delay before your blog post will update your Facebook account, and again before your feed will update Twitter, so it’s possible to send blog post notifications automatically to Twitter through FeedBurner.com, which posts right away, and another time through Twitter Feed, which has a delay.

Some writers keep their profile pages for friends and family and use a Facebook Page for all others. An advantage to this is that a Page doesn’t include an email account whereas a profile page does. People who want to contact you can still post to your wall on a Facebook Page (unless you block them), but it’s harder for spammers to reach you on a Page. Your profile page has a limit of 5,000 friends, but that limit doesn’t apply for a Facebook Page. (I’ll discuss the use of a Facebook Page in a later post.)

A disadvantage I find on Facebook Pages is that it’s harder to interact because you can’t see personal wall posts. This is Facebook’s protection from spamming, but does make it harder for you to connect with potential readers. For this reason, I interact with readers on my profile page and network with writers and reading groups through my Facebook Page.

Problems with Facebook include excessive invitations to join groups (and lately the ability for administrators to add you to groups without permission), pages and causes or to use Facebook applications. You can turn some of these off in your Facebook settings. I suggest you take a little time to familiarize yourself with the privacy settings account tab.

Despite its flaws, Facebook is a growing influence online and provides an author with many opportunities.

Homework

Whether you already have an account or want to start one, familiarize yourself with Facebook.

Do you have anything to add to my thoughts? How do you use Facebook?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post appeared March 23, 2010 on Author Haven. Used by kind permission.

Janalyn Voigt writes  novel books.

“Flower of Life” by Janalyn Voigt, in THE BOOK OF SYLVARI, Summer 2011.

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.

Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008.  Visit her website.

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4 thoughts on “Platform Building 211: The Land of Facebook

  1. Judy – I believe that you should market your writing via a Facebook Business/Fan Page (not your personal profile). For many writers, being on FB daily is a challenge, because it takes away from writing time. If you can post once every other day, that’s what the “experts” are currently recommending as something to shoot for.

    And posting to your blog at least once a week is a must (if you have a blog). Hope that brings you some relief.

    Laura

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  2. Janalyn – I should clarify my previous comment, because I realize now it might have come across as offensive to you. The reason why I advocate promoting your writing business via a Facebook business page is because it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to do commercial promotion via your profile.

    I think what you do via your profile works really well, and I agree that it’s more challenging to interact with your peeps via a business page. You can use both, but use them ethically and judiciously.

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  3. Hi, Judy and Laura.

    No, you didn’t offend me, Laura. Actually, I have both a profile and a Page. I’ll cover use of a Page in a future post. I don’t use my profile to promote myself as an author but more to connect with other others and with readers in a fun, personal way. I also channel blog posts through Facebook but not in an annoying way. I also don’t use my Facebook email to annoy others. The Golden rule applies to use of a Facebook profile.

    Here’s what I’ve noticed: Facebook Pages work best on a business-to-business level. That means I can use them to connect with other writers, publishing professionals and reader pages. You can’t interact with profiles from a Facebook Page, and that’s on purpose. You can imagine the spam we’d all receive if it were otherwise.

    Writers are in a unique position because we market not just business-to-business but also business-to-customer. The latter is not easy to do because of the way Facebook is currently set up. I place myself on Facebook where readers want to interact with me, but I respect them enough to let them express interest in my writing rather than to force it on them as so many try to do. I think that’s key to avoiding violating Facebook policies, too. Thanks for pointing out this point, Laura.

    Judy, I visit Facebook daily in a hit-and-run fashion to comment on other’s posts. I use http://hootsuite.com to pre-schedule updates. I might spend 15 minutes tops on Facebook because I don’t play the games, etc. However, each person should determine how much time to give to social networking in the context of your writing schedule. I save it for after my day’s writing is finished.

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. We’ve been buried in home improvement projects.

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