Friday, December 26, 2014

Advertising In The Age of Social Media - 10 Tips

This is not really a timely post. Facebook is about to change their rules for business pages, and I'm not sure what that means yet.

However, I want to go on the record for saying that my social media skills up until now, sucked. I found it tedious and not at all effective. But now that I've got at least a vague notion about how it should work, the rules are going to change.

Drat that!

However, I've managed to put together 10 tips for Facebook usage.

1) If you don’t have a Facebook for specifically for your author page – I recommend that you create a page. I’ll explain more as we go along.

You don’t need to open a new account. You can go over to the right and under ‘pages’ you can ‘create a page.’ There are a few things you need to tell Facebook about your business. What this does for you is simple, and powerful.

When you have an author page, you can like the pages of businesses and they can like your page back. Right now, Facebook allows the Icy Road Publishing page to ‘like’ a personal page. This might change on the first of year.

2) Visibility is the key to Facebook advertising. We ALL need people to find us, and the way to do that, without spending any money, is to network with local businesses. Yes, local to you, dear writer. Because local authors and their books are interesting to the people who live near us. I've seen this every time we do a local festival or on Second Saturday.

The more local Facebook pages I connect with, the more people see my posts. The people who ‘like’ our posts show our posts and pages on their newsfeeds. So their friends see us, our page, and you, and your page. We're looking for READERS, after all, so start with the library closest to you and branch out from there.

3) Taking advantage of extended “reach” by posting or commenting on that page’s posts. This will make your author page show up on the timeline of that page. “Likes” on posts don’t have the same impact, but they get counted in the overall statistics for your page.

4) Cooperation is the key to success. Once you "like" a local business, comment and "like" their posts. Your activity will show up on the business pages, making it likely they comment and like the posts you publish.

5) Measuring progress. When you have an author page, you also have access to a page called “Insights” that will show you how your page is doing over time. This will also give you an idea of which posts and photos are working the best for you. 

6) What to post? This can take some thought and planning. At work we get the most activity on photos of merchandise. This generated more page “likes” which extended the reach of our page a little bit more.

7) How does this help everyone? Facebook is a powerful tool for promoting your business. The more networked you are to your community, the more people will be aware of your work. We’ve all heard that word-of-mouth is the best advertising. Currently Facebook is one way to get people aware of your existence, and ours, without paying thousands of dollars for advertising. Hopefully this won't change.

8) Facebook ads. For those who do have even a modest budget for advertising, Facebook can promote individual posts or ads. You can spend as little as $5 to promote one of your posts for up to 3 days. However, the number of people who will see the ad is limited by the number of people you can “reach.” So unless you can “reach” several thousand people, it is not in your best interest to pay to promote your posts. You will be better served by ‘liking,’ ‘commenting’ and ‘sharing’ the posts of other people as your author page for free.

9) Keep pages active with posts and ‘Likes’ for best results. This doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time on Facebook. I know you have better things to do, so I recommend scheduling posts. This is a function Facebook provides on all pages.

Take a few minutes to scan your author page newsfeed every other day if possible.  Share anything that catches your eye. Like posts or comments that amuse you. Comment or reply to any posts that interest you.

Once a week, sit down to write a few brief posts concerning your business. Is there a new project you can photograph? Did something great happen that you want your business to share? Do you have a pet that likes to watch you work? Don’t stress out if you can only think of one or two posts for the week. Type them up, upload any photos and schedule the post for later in the week.

Check the Insights tab on your page to see what activity your page has generated. Which posts generated the most activity? How many overall ‘likes’ has your page generated? How many people follow your page? Can you tell where  the most activity came from?

10) Don’t stress over the daily numbers. Activity will rise and fall during the day, and over the course of the month. You are looking for TRENDS over a MONTH of activity. Modest changes of less than 1% are common on a weekly basis, which is what Facebook looks at. A 0.1% rise in a week is a 0.5% rise over the course of a month. This is a respectable increase in the world of Facebook.
I'm sure there are plenty of authors who do this already. However, are they targeting other authors, or targeting your local community?
I've spent four years targeting other authors. The results have It wasn't until I started doing this for a local business that I got it. One of the first pages I had my work page "Like" was my author page as an experiment. The numbers didn't rise by much, but my author page got a few more hits the first week and every week thereafter. Just a couple, but a couple more than before.
Meanwhile, the reach of my work page nearly exploded.
That's when the light dawned. I can do the same thing.
Stay tuned, we'll see how well it works.