I’m preparing a workshop on Social Networking that I am giving on Sept. 8 and so I thought I’d share some of my tips with you. Let me know what you think about this material, which is only part of my presentation, and if you have any more advice to add.
Here is my author page if you want to “Like” me: http://bit.ly/c3YchC
If you are starting out, sign up for a Personal Profile Page. Add a profile picture. In the About section, put your links on top so they show first and then follow with your bio. Put in only the information visible to the public that you want to be seen. Where have you worked? Type in your publishers. Add a Project: List your book titles. Be careful with your contact info. How do you want people to reach you? To make changes on your Profile page, click Update Info.
I advise against giving Facebook access to your email address books. To find friends, type in someone’s name whom you know, and then click on his friends to find mutual acquaintances.When you qualify, and I forget how many friends you need, sign up for an Author Page. Click on Create a Page. Upload a banner or photo for your heading. Keep in mind that when a visitor lands on your page, they may only see the bottom part. Also leave space for your avatar. After you have 25 friends, you can shorten one of your links here: https://www.facebook.com/username
Apps and Tabs on your Author Page: Search for “Static HTML for Pages” in FB. Click Add to my Page. Select your fan page in the pop-up window. You’re allowed 12 tabs. Here are some to include: Author App, Blog, Excerpts, Events, Likes, Newsletter (Sign-Up Form), New Releases, Photos, Videos. Click on the little pencil in upper right corner of each tab to change the image or to swap places with another tab. Author app: https://apps.facebook.com/authorapp/?ref=ts
Import your blog into your FB pages using Networked Blogs: http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog
To edit the Author Page, go to your Admin Panel. Click on Edit Page. Note you can switch users and use FB as your author persona. That’s under Edit Page also.
A word of warning: Facebook doesn’t like you to run contests on its site but you can mention a contest you’re running elsewhere.
Periodically check your privacy and account settings by clicking on the little arrow on the upper right next to the Home button.
Make a post by filling in the box that says, What’s on your Mind? or Update Status. Then click on Publish Now. Use links and include photos when appropriate.
Click on Home to see other people’s posts and to comment on them. You can also “Like” a post or “Share” it with followers on your wall.
On your Author Page, click on one of the down arrows on the Admin Panel to See Your Insights. This will give you an idea of how many people viewed your posts, if anyone shared them, etc.
Link to your FB account from your other social net sites if you wish, but be careful not to flood people’s walls with your posts.
Join Groups. Periodically check through your list to see if you’ve been added to groups without authorization. If this occurs, click on that group. Click the arrow for a choice to Leave Group. Sometimes people enter you into a “Conversation” as well, and you can Leave Conversation as an option. To view your Groups list, click on “See All Messages”, top left middle symbol after “Facebook”. Groups will be listed in the left column. Or click on “Home” on your profile page. You can see your Apps here too.
Periodically remind folks to “Like” your FB fan page and to sign up for your newsletter so you can maintain contact.
Avoid clogging your posts with sale messages about your books. Share other links, newsworthy articles, and friends’ book releases in addition to your own. Be personal. Tell what book you read or movies you’ve watched, what recipe you’ve tried, or what sites you visited on vacation—but mention it after you are home. Don’t tell people you are going away beforehand. Also be careful not to get too personal about your family life. Always be aware of safety and security.
This applies to photos, too. Be careful of posting anything you don’t want strangers or your boss to see.
Tagging: You can create photo albums and tag people in your photos. You can also tag people in your posts by using an @sign before their name.
Successful authors on Facebook hold virtual parties, have interactive promotions, and stimulate discussions. Start a debate, take a poll, get a hot topic going. This shouldn’t be all about you. It’s more about the connection readers feel to you as a person.
I’m sure there’s much more advice out there, but these are the main points I have to make. Does anyone out there have additional tips to offer?
Clare’s excellent post on Monday discussed what not to blog about. I thought I’d add an addendum to that, based on something I read recently about employers Googling prospective employees and checking their Twitter and Facebook feeds. It got me thinking about crafting an online persona, and how the list of “do’s” and “don’ts” is basically the same as our family’s Thanksgiving dinner table commandments.
I don’t know about you, but we have a wide and varied mix of relatives huddled around the turkey every year. There are aunts and uncles who define themselves as Tea Partiers, liberal cousins who spent a significant chunk of the past few months hunkering down at various Occupy demonstrations, and everything in between. To maintain the peace and insure that stuffing doesn’t start flying across the table, we established these groundrules:
- No discussion of politics. This includes snide and offhand references, thinly veiled metaphors, and oblique asides. I realize that at times, this can be a tough rule to follow. After all, we are in the middle of a run up to a major election, and the national discourse has become increasingly polarized. But based on past experience, finding a middle ground for a free exchange of ideas is challenging when everyone has had a couple tumblers full of Aunt Millicent’s Magic Punch. Not everyone might agree with me on this, but I feel the same way about posting on social networks–staking out a soapbox can lose readers, which as an author is not a good thing. Even if you aren’t a writer, do you really want a future boss to reconsider hiring you based on the fact that your political views diverge? If you just can’t resist reposting that link to the latest outrageous act by Congress/police/protestors, do what I do and set up a separate, private Facebook account that is limited to people you actually know and trust (of course, those constantly changing privacy settings still make this a potential minefield, so proceed with caution).
- Ditto for religion. I respect the right of everyone sharing my cranberry sauce to worship whom or whatever they want. But things tend to get sticky (no pun intended) when you try to explain to Grandpa that he’s been wrong all these years, and the true savior is Lord Zod. Again, this is the sort of thing you can put on a private page, if you feel so inclined. But this is another hot button issue that could alienate more followers than you end up gaining.
- Swearing. Don’t do it. I have a friend (in real life, and on Facebook and Twitter) who has been known to put sailors and truckers to shame under the right circumstances. This same friend will instant unfollow anyone who uses offensive language in a post. There’s an impact to words in print that shouldn’t be underrated. And really, it’s generally unnecessary. You can always resort to $%#^&.
- Embarrassing Stories. The worst part of social networking is that these can be accompanied by actual photographic evidence of said embarrassing moments, which is always the kiss of death. So if you wouldn’t tell your five year old nephew about spending the weekend passed out on the floor of a train station, why would you broadcast it to the world?
- Cats. Okay, this one isn’t necessarily on our Thanksgiving tablets, but I’ve learned the hard way that any negative comment about felines will result in an instant loss of roughly 5% of your followers. It’s true–try it if you don’t believe me. So I call this the “Rita Mae Brown” rule. Be nice to the kitties online. You don’t need to go so far as posting adorable photos/videos of them, but it’s also a bad idea to share one of a cat falling out a window.
In a world where we live increasing portions of our private lives online, the line between what gets shared and what doesn’t has become blurred. It’s remarkable that some people tell utter strangers tidbits about their inner thoughts and prejudices that they probably wouldn’t share with close friends. Many people mistakenly believe in the illusion of anonymity, assuming that a post about the awful mistake you made last night will soon be forgotten. The truth is, years from now that same nugget could be unearthed, with embarrassing consequences.
Just for fun, here’s Stephen Colbert’s take on it. Happy Thanksgiving.
By: Kathleen Pickering
I have seen three TV shows in the past week where characters mentioned Facebook. This fact cements in my mind that Facebook as a media tool is here to stay. So, my question is: Are you still not on Facebook?
If you’re like my mother, you are not, and never will be, on Facebook. (That’s a story for another time.) However, if you are a curious planet dweller with a story to tell, Facebook is a phenomenon not to be missed. It is the perfect tool for authors or artist of any sort. The ability to reach millions of people for free, and as personably as humanly possible on the Internet, creates an outrageous boon every author needs: Contacts! Lots of ‘em!
For those of us on Facebook, here are some quick tips I have learned to enhance your “Tribe” of friends:
For making friends:
When you offer and/or accept friend requests always add a note to the request, i.e., “Thank you for the friendship. Feel free to visit me at http://….” (or mention the topic that connects you as friends.)
Build a tribe of your own with chat groups to discuss items relating to your business or areas of interests shared on Facebook. Go to your Message section and click on the “Groups” tab on the RH side. Then, click “Create Group” on the top. Send the group invitation to everyone on your Friends List. Be consistent with your Tribe with regular contact. Use your Group/ Tribe solely for relationship building and providing value to your group. Send them links to your blogs and videos. Note: Only promote business once per month, maximum. Your group is not for marketing; it is to establish you as an expert in your field.
When holding an on-line or on-site event and want to attract attendees, create this link. It is important that YOU be the Event Leader. It sets you apart as creative and reliable. Again, the Events link is found in the Message Section. Be sure to add an email contact for RSVP or inquiries. This is a great tool for building contact information. Tip: If you know how to build a Caputre Page for email captures, do not give the link to the event. Instead, set up a Capture Page for email captures to build your mailing list, then give the link to the event.
Take the time to “Tag” your friends in your uploaded photos/videos. This sends a direct link to their Facebook page as well as posts the photo/video on your profile page.
Create A Fan/Business Page:
Where your Facebook page is your social activity, your Fan Page is your business face. Both pages can be linked. (See Help Section under “Account”.)
Ideally, no more than 30 minutes per day should be all you need–either in the morning with your coffee or end of day before closing down business. If you cannot update daily, set a schedule that will work for you. They key: be consistent.
The more YOU reach out, the more you will attract visitors. Birthday announcements appear daily on Home page (right hand side). Send birthday greetings. (Stand apart from the crowd and use your computer’s camera to send a video and personalize your good wishes!) Respond with a quick reply to others’ posts, as well. You’ll enjoy the interaction as much as your friends.
Bottom Line: Facebook is your chance to shine and be recognized as unique among many by keeping a personal touch in the world of commerce. I have even gone so far as to place a Kathleen Pickering Welcome Video on my YouTube channel inviting folks to visit my Facebook page.
I invite you to visit me at http://www.facebook.com/kathleenpickering. Let’s be friends! If you know any Facebook tips, I’d love to hear them!
It was a day of extremes.
I went yesterday to our local senior center to drop off some books for their library. I had a conversation with the ladies at the reception desk. Neither of them had heard of Kindles, or e-books in general. I directed them toward the Amazon home page, which for years has had that huge Kindle feature that kind of smacks you in the face and almost makes you forget why you arrived at Amazon to begin with. They looked at it, took the electronic tour, and decided that nothing beats a book.
I returned home later and another country was heard from. My daughter walked through the door after a day at middle school and advised that students, who cannot have cell phones with them during school hours (they have to be stored in their lockers), are now permitted to bring Kindles to school to use during study halls. And indeed, her fellow students are taking advantage of this policy Are they reading? Well…yes, reading what they are happily tweeting back and forth on Twitter and commenting on Facebook. I’m sure that this was not what the administration intended. In fact, it is quite possible that the school officials are unaware that Kindle is not just for reading anymore. It can be used for web surfing, listening to music, and yes, tweeting back and forth to keep one’s friends up to date on what is happening (“How R U I m soo bord!”). This hasn’t exactly been trumpeted by Amazon, but if you have a Kindle 2.0 or later, go to the home page, use the menu to go to the “experimental” link, and take a look. If the school thought that their charges would use this tool to catch up on their Cormac McCarthy or Robert Louis Stevenson (okay, or their Stephanie Meyer) they are about to be kissed by the goddess of disappointment.
As someone noted recently, the rate of change is accelerating everywhere, it seems, except at your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office. Take phones, for but one example. Every time that I have been tempted to trade in my weathered but still functional Blackberry Pearl for the cellular equivalent of a trophy wife I have backed off. It seems that each day brings a new phone with a host of new functions. There are things that I could probably do with the Pearl — Jack Bauer used to download schematics of nuclear power plants with his — that I not only don’t know how to do, but also don’t know that I can do. Better to keep the less attractive but comfortable and familiar companion I have than to have to learn the bells and whistles of a new model. My son threatens to buy me a Jitterbug, which would be okay, actually. As far as technology in general is concerned, however, the demographics seem split into three groups: one that does not even know what technology is available; one that is aware of it but underutilizes it; and one that takes the potential to its designed limits, and even beyond. And that is true of the Kindle as well. There are still folks who think a Kindle is something you do to a fire. The majority of people who know it as an e-book reader may be unaware that you can do more with it than read on a sunny beach. And then, of course, there are the younger whiz kids. If that son or daughter of yours has suddenly seemed to acquire a newfound interest in reading which is manifested by taking a Kindle to school you might want to quiz them on what chapter of what book they’re reading. DY feel me?
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What I’m reading: THE FALL by Del Toro and Hogan. Not that it’s scary or anything, but I’m on my second box of Depends.