When I set out to grade five author Facebook Pages, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find.
Mostly, I expected a vast treasure trove of disappointment. Mostly, I wasn’t disappointed in discovering that disappointment.
Until I took a look at the Facebook Page of E.L. James, author of 50 Shades of Grey.
Now, I’m not really convinced that Facebook is a useful tool for a self-promoting author who hasn’t published anything. After all, you can’t market hype about something no one has ever heard of before.
But once your book does come out, there are ways you can create an interesting, exciting Facebook Page for it.
Let’s take a look at how the 50 Shades of Grey team does it:
1. Personal Photos
Sharing photos of yourself on Facebook may seem creepy, but it builds a connection with your potential audience. If someone sees your book on Amazon and you put a Facebook URL there, there’s a good chance that they’ll click it.
These kinds of photos can help deepen your book, too, and immersing your readers is the main thing you want to think about when marketing on Facebook. Explain how this photo of you relates to a scene in the book, a character, an inspirational quote, anything.
2. Inspirational Photos
Here’s where you can start getting fancy with Facebook: photos of things that are in your book, kind of, can add a whole new dimension to it.
The bonus of really powerful photos is that they can be shared beyond your book’s Facebook Page, in other contexts, and then friends of fans may track back to your Page to check out the book.
Case in point:
3. Author notes and designs
Again, you want to find ways to immerse your readers in the book. This intriguing glimpse into the one-and-only Christian Grey’s apartment doesn’t just entertain readers of the book, it can serve to intrigue prospective readers.
4. Content with other Pages
Sure, not all of us can aspire to having cupcakes crafted in honor of our books, but every author can root through other Facebook photos from similarly themed Pages and share them onto their Pages.
So what does a “similarly themed” Page mean?
That’s easy: if your book has orcs in it, share things about Lord of the Rings and World of Warcraft.
Is it about a woman trying to find her family? Share everything from articles to comics about family issues and relationships.
The main question is what is my potential reader going to be looking at on Facebook?
Because it’s certainly not going to be your book’s Facebook Page… unless the Page has other stuff on it that they already use Facebook for.
5. Highlight parts of your book that stick out
There’s no harm in a little self-promotion here and there, either. This can be a little less shareable across social media, unless it’s a particularly poignant piece of writing.
In particular, quotes and descriptions should be pasted over a relevant image. Confusing, right?
Well, if your setting is a little desert island, write a description of the island and put that onto an image of the island. Beautiful!
Are you writing a scathing satire about modern-day American politics? Post a paragraph of that wholesome goodness onto the face of an unsuspecting politician who’s recently been in the news. That’s more likely to get shared.
Welcome to the world of periphery marketing
You have to remember that your target readers, whether they’re on Facebook or somewhere else, aren’t looking for your book.
Instead, your book needs to be that thing that they catch out of the corner of their eye when they’re looking at something else.
1. Strategic psychology is the writer’s main tool when creating an active, vibrant Facebook Page. Think carefully about what your potential readers will be using Facebook for — other than trying to find your book — and then create a strategy about how that content can build up to your book.
2. Book-first Pages are failures (that’s why I graded J.K. Rowling’s Facebook Page a ‘D’). Your book should be the organic core of an apple with a shiny, glossy skin of fun, visual, exciting, daily stuff that ever so loosely relates to the content of your book.
4. Periphery marketing is some term I made up, but it’s probably a common term in the marketing lexicon. Always remember that your future readers won’t be looking for your book on the internet, they’ll be looking for material that is in your book. It’s up to you to show them that material, then convince them that even more of it is in your book.
Looking for more help? I’m working on a guide and a curriculum to Facebook & content marketing for early 2013.