I enjoy connecting with people on my social networking sites. I love hearing what my readers love and want. As authors, we are all short on time and some days our brains are fried but we know we need to stay connected. So what is a simple, free and quick way to keep our readers and potential new readers engaged? Thankfully that is not a rhetorical question.
Amy Porterfield was recently a speaker at the 21st Century Book Marketing Event and she presented an interesting idea I wanted to learn more about. Amy kindly agreed to sit down with me and share the details of how authors can increase their exposure on Facebook.
Arielle: There's no denying that Facebook is hot and to build a platform, gain media attention, or land a book deal, Facebook must be a part of your marketing mix. Because there is so much competition on Facebook, what do authors need to do to get noticed amongst all the online noise?
Amy: These days it's not enough to put up a Facebook page and hope potential readers find it. Unfortunately the Field of Dreams model of "build it and they will come" doesn't apply here. With over 500 million active users on Facebook today, you need an edge, something extra that will create viral exposure and set you up as the go-to expert to potential readers and publishers.
The fact is that fans want an experience they can't find elsewhere when they visit your page. They want to be acknowledged, taken care of and entertained. (A tall order, but very doable!)
Arielle: How can authors create an edge on Facebook as well as set themselves up as an expert in their niche?
Amy: One way you can stand out from the rest and also strengthen your connection with your fans (and not spend a dime doing it) is by creating "signature experiences" directly on your Facebook page. A signature experience is something you create inside of Facebook that offers massive value and sets you up as an expert or trusted source. To create an experience, first think about your fans. What interests them? Do they want to be entertained? Educated? Perhaps both?
Arielle: Can you give me some examples of signature experiences on Facebook?
Amy: Sure! There are a several types of signature experiences that I think have worked really well.
One of the best examples I have personally been involved with is "Expert Fridays."
I'm a regular contributor for SocialMediaExaminer.com and I'm also the Community Manager for their Facebook Page. Within about six months we've grown to almost 20,000 fans. How did we do this? Beyond showing up daily, delivering great content and listening to our fans, we also created our own signature experience called "Expert Fridays."
Every other Friday we feature a social media expert and they answer our fans' questions, directly on our wall, for one full hour. Fans post questions and the expert posts their answer in real-time. Fans love it!
It's a win/win for everyone involved. As the Page owners, we are able to add immense value for our fans, the guest expert gains exposure to a new audience and our fans can reach out and get support on the areas that interest them most. Here's a link to a recent Expert Friday post.
Another great example of a signature experience is a "Member of the Month" campaign. The key here is to choose an active member from your fan base and spotlight him/her on your Page, preferably by creating a special tab and dedicating a space for their bio and photo. When people are acknowledged, they want to share it with their friends. This is word-of-mouth marketing at its best! Check out his example of a "Member of the Month" experience.
Arielle: Those experiences sound like a fantastic way to stand out on Facebook and also give great value to your fans in the process. I can see how authors can really carve out their own space on Facebook by using this strategy. For authors interested in creating a signature experience, do you have any tips to help them get started?
Amy: Yes, I have 3 great tips to share:
1. Be consistent and do them regularly. This will keep your fans coming back for more.
2. Make these experiences unique to your brand and also of great value to your fans.
3. Keep them simple. If you add too many bells and whistles, you might make the experience too complicated and lose your audience.
Overall, signature experiences are so valuable because you are increasing your viral visibility and strengthening your relationships with the people who matter most. After all, that's what Facebook is all about!
Arielle: Great tips, Amy. I can see why a Facebook page is a fantastic tool for authors to grow their platform while showcasing their content. Thanks for sharing your insights with my today.
I'd love to hear from our readers as well. What great ideas come to mind that you could implement this week? What have you seen on Facebook that grabs your attention on a regular basis? Please share your comments.
Amy Porterfield is a social media consultant and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (March 2011). Her passion is helping people find their "sweet spot" in the social media world to turn their brand into viral gold. To get more Facebook strategies, visit www.amyporterfield.com.
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com.