After we published our first book in 2005, we attended a conference where Penny Sanseveri was the keynote speaker. She spoke about being on social media. At the time, she listed these as the basics:
- Website (We already had our site www.lornalarry.com.)
- Blog (I already had one and posted erratically. Your blog can be connected to your website.)
- LinkedIn (We each had a profile here for work, and it’s important to add your author status on this site www.linkedin.com.)
- Twitter (I had created an account, but I didn’t have a clue about what it was about. I still don’t, but I finally linked this to my LinkedIn account, so all my posts to that site automatically post on Twitter as well.)
- Facebook (I had a profile but only used it to find old friends and family. I had no idea how powerful a marketing tool it could be.)
Lately I have been talking to quite a few people who’ve said, “I just don’t get Facebook.” Since I now have over 1700 friends and spend quite a bit of time on the site, I think I’m prepared to help you understand what it is and how to use it.
Facebook is primarily about communication. Some of my fellow authors joined Facebook solely to promote their books. A few only posted about their wonderful tome to the point where I skipped over what they had to say every time I saw their names. (There is a Hide option, and I have used it so I didn’t have to see the endless promotion. More about this feature later.)
So, how does Facebook work?
Facebook has three different kinds of sites, and each serves a different purpose: Profile, Page, and Group. This week, I’ll talk about your Profile. Next week, I’ll cover Groups and Pages.
The profile is the basic way to begin using Facebook. When you go to www.facebook.com for the first time, a Sign Up button appears in the upper left section of the screen. The next screen asks for additional information like your email address and other basics, including a photo. Professionals should always include a good, recent headshot. You must create a password. Make sure it contains upper and lower case letters, numbers, and another character like: !@#$%&.
Once you create a profile, you can find the link to your profile page in the dark blue strip at the top of the Facebook page. The link will be your first name.
Complete your profile by using the Update Info button. On the next screen, you can add information about your work, your relationship status, your birthdate, schools you attended, your current location, etc. These details will allow others to find you more easily.
Now you can begin to add friends. Locate the search bar (the white stripe with the magnifying glass on the right side) at the top of the page. The easiest way to connect with friends is to go to your email address book and copy the email address of someone you know. Paste it into the search bar and click the magnifying glass. For people with somewhat common names, this is the best way to locate the correct one. However, you can also type in the person’s name. You will be given several suggestions. I usually select: Find all people named “whatever.” When you locate the right one, click the name.
This will take you to the other person’s Profile page. Hopefully, they have a photo so you can verify their identity. If the profile is for the correct person, click the Add Friend button. This sends an email message to the person. They can choose to accept or ignore the request. If they accept, you will receive an email telling you they are now friends.
Some of the kinds of folks you may want to consider as friends for Facebook:
- Family members - I found several long-lost cousins this way, and we’re all thrilled to be back in touch with each other.
- School friends - I am currently preparing for a high school reunion and have spent the last year hunting for classmates. Many of them are on Facebook, and it has been fun reconnecting there ahead of the event.
- Work friends – I have Facebook friends from nearly every job I’ve ever held, and I enjoy staying in touch with them.
- Fans – As authors, we really love when people who enjoy our books become our Facebook friends.
Once you have a few friends, begin posting. This can be tricky. Some people love to post every small detail about their daily lives. Others only post the most basic information. Still others just share the photos other people post. You need to decide how much and how often to post, but in order to have visibility, I’d suggest once a day at a minimum.
You can post from your Profile or from your Timeline.
The Timeline is your Home page. It’s where you see your friends’ posts. This location allows you to engage with your friends. You can Like their posts, Comment on them and Share them. You can also Hide the post or all their posts by clicking the small downward arrow at the top right of the post. Select your preference from the dropdown.
If you Like a post, your friend will see your name when they look at the post.
When you Comment on a post, you will receive an email every time someone else adds a comment. Feel free to delete these as they arrive in your inbox, but occasionally, you may want to add something to the conversation. (It’s all about communication, remember.)
If you like something someone else has posted, Share it. It will then appear on your own profile and show up on your friends’ timelines.
DOS AND DON’T’S
1. Do share exciting news in your life. Your friends will celebrate with you.
2. Do post milestones like the publication of a new book, a good review, a new cover, etc.
3. Do take a hint from what others post. If you like something they do, don’t be afraid to do the same. Just make sure the content is your own.
4. Do wish your friends a happy birthday.
5. Do NOT troll your friends’ friends list and invite everyone to be yours! It’s extremely bad form, and your friends will catch on if you do this. You can look over their friends to see if someone you know appears on their list and extend an invitation, but Facebook frowns on people who send friend requests to lots of folks they don’t know. I can honestly say I know who all 1700+ of my Facebook friends are and how we are connected.
6. Don’t write overly long posts UNLESS you are posting an update (like during a health or other crisis) and you want to reach all your FB friends at the same time.
7. Do enjoy the give and take and treat each post as a conversation.
Any questions so far?
Next week: Groups and Pages