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These could be your fans

You’ve never used Facebook before, but everyone keeps saying it’s so good for your online presence as an author. But you don’t really know the first thing about it. This post is for you.

There is a profile page and there is a Fan Page. This post is meant to help you distinguish between them.

When you go to facebook.com, it will prompt you to sign up. All you need is a name, email address, and birthday. Your name should be your real name (or you might be able to get away with your valid pen name) because Facebook will delete your account if they find out that your profile is not a real person. You have to give your birthday only because they want to make sure you’re twelve years old or older–you can select not to display your birthday to anyone in your privacy settings. Your email address has to be your valid email address, but it doesn’t have to be the main one you use. You can set up Facebook to email you whenever someone writes on your wall, sends you a message, etc.

Congratulations. You’ve created a profile. You do not have to add anything else to your profile, but you’re certainly welcome to. If you are concerned about privacy, then don’t put a photo of yourself or tell Facebook anything you don’t want people to know. It can’t invade your privacy if you don’t offer up your secrets. Everyone who joins Facebook automatically gets a profile. But not everyone has a Fan Page–you have to create one yourself.

The real way to get fans isn’t from your profile. It’s from your Fan Page. Your Fan Page will have all the content you want to give away about your book, you as an author, your other projects. Remember to be transparent without losing your privacy. Here, you should add a photo of you or your book. You should add tabs to display exclusive content. Make the wall a platform for conversation among you and your fans. (To create a Fan Page, after you log in, go to facebook.com/pages and click Create Page in the upper right.)

“A Fan Page is searchable in google. A profile is not.” –Cindy Ratzlaff

A Fan Page looks like this: http://www.facebook.com/plainketchup

Your friends are connected to your profile. Your fans are connected to your Fan Page. You get friends by searching their names in the search bar, clicking request friend, and waiting for them to accept (they may also search for you and request to be your friend). A friend is someone you have allowed see your whole profile page. You can change your privacy settings so that only friends see your whole profile, friends of friends, or everyone. (Friends is recommended.) You get fans by accumulating people who have clicked the “like” button on your Fan Page. You do not have to invite or confirm their fan-ship. You can, however, invite your friends to also become fans by clicking “suggest to friends” under your picture on the Fan Page. Here is another post I did on how to best use your Fan Page.


Okay, so you have all the default tabs set up, but your Facebook Fan Page is lacking spark, no? Don’t worry. You can add as many custom pages as you want. Think of it like building your own website. Whatever you want on it, can be on it. Many people have actually deleted their websites in favor of just having a Facebook Fan Page. I don’t suggest you go that far, but it shows you how powerful this interface can be.

Welcome Tab
Probably the most important tab you can create is the landing page or welcome tab. You can title it anything you like, but the function of this page is to introduce new people to what you’re all about. Give a brief hello message and say exactly what this page is and what people can expect from it. Why should they bother “liking” your fan page? What’s in it for them? Mention a couple of your most important tabs, such as “Visit our WATCH TAB for book trailers and video interviews with [insert name].” Include a graphic or video to spice things up. If you have any sort of contest going right now, this is a great place to plug it. That alone could win you some fans.

There are two ways to create a Welcome Tab. One is to take Facebook’s template, which you can find here. You just click “add to my page,” select your page, and then on you page you click the + tab and select “Welcome.” On your page, when you click “edit my page,” you will have a box that says “Welcome.” You can choose to “edit” it to create your own custom content.

The other way to do it is when you have clicked “edit my page,” at the bottom of the page, you will see the option to add an FBML application. Click that, click “add to my page,” select your page, and then on your page you click the + tab and select “FBML.” On your page, when you click “edit my page,” you will have a box that says “FBML.” You can choose to “edit” it to create your own custom content including the title of the tab. FBML means that you can type words, format with codes like “<BR>” for line break, etc. You can add photos, videos, links, anything. See my post on FBML for details.

Here are some examples:
Sony
BBC World News
Campbells

In order to make this the default landing page for people who do not already “like” your page (the people who do “like” your page will go to your Wall), when you are on your page, click “options” (under the share button) and then “settings.” Change “default landing page for everyone else” to “Welcome” or whatever you’ve named you tab.

Free Stuff
A good tab to have is a “Free Stuff” tab. You will want to use a code that allows only people who “like” your page to have access to this content, but you want to make sure people know why they are looking at a blank page. Make it so people who don’t “like” your page yet get a message that says something like “Can’t see this page? No problem! Just click the “like” button up top and you will have access to [exclusive photos, excerpts, prizes, etc.].” How do you do this? Easy-peasy. In your FBML box, type this (and obviously replace the blue with what you want it to actually say):

<fb:fbml version="1.1">
<fb:visible-to-connection>
Fans will see this content.
<fb:else>Non-fans will see this content.</fb:else>
</fb:visible-to-connection>
</fb:fbml>

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Other Pages
Anything else is fair game. Have a page of interviews, some links to reviews or quote blurbs from reviews. If you’ve got a novel with lots of characters, maybe you want to have little character profiles. You can add a page that directly feeds from your Twitter account (see link below). You can have as many FBML boxes as you like. After creating the first one, you can add more by going into edit your first FBML box and at the bottom of your page, you will see the option to add another FBML box. Click that, and then an “edit” link will appear. Click that to edit your next FBML tab. That’s it!

Useful links:
How to add a custom tab to your facebook fan page (HighEdWebTech)
A Twitter Tab For Your Facebook Fan Page (Lynn and Justin)
Customize your fan page with a welcome tab (Make Use Of)
Show Content to Fans-Hide content from non-fans (HyperArts)
Reveal Tab (All Facebook)

Build Your FB Wall

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So, you’ve set up your new Facebook Fan Page. Way to go. But there are all these – to your Fan Page marked as tabs. What are they? I have a separate post for teaching you how to add new custom tabs and what those tabs should be. This post is an introduction

By default, you get these tabs: Wall, Info, Photos, and Discussions, with the option of adding Links, Events, Notes, and Video by clicking on the + tab and choosing the additional tabs you like. (But you can create custom tabs which I’ll get to in another post.)

. Tip: Make sure your URLs in your page description are complete (with http:// and all so that your links are live and people can click on them and not have to copy-paste.

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Wall
The Wall is where most of the action happens. It’s where your fans will land when they go to your Fan Page. You can post any announcements complete with text, photos, links, videos, or events. It’s best to add something to the wall at least once or twice a week. It’s like a mini blog or a twitter account. You can post links to reviews, tell people about contests and excerpts, things like that. Unlike Twitter, it’s not the best platform to dish out random bits of information on how you’re doing with your book etc. Think of it as the News page of your website.

Note: If you click “Options” under the Share button, you can decide if you want the default for everyone to only see what you’ve written, only what fans have written, or what you and fans have written. My suggestion is that if you don’t have a lot of activity from your fans on the wall, choose to have both you and fans. If you do have a lot of activity and your important posts are getting lost in the discussions, then choose just you. Fans can view any of these options–this is just to set up the default.

Info
The questions the info asks you varies on what kind of page you chose. You probably chose something like product or brand. It’s important to fill out the information here, but isn’t terribly useful because it’s not customizable.

Photos
Definitely upload some photos if you have them. Do your book covers, photos of events, author photos, etc. You can create separate albums if you’d like to stay organized.

Discussions
To be honest, most of the discussions are going to happen on your wall. But if you want to create organized discussions like a message board, the discussion tab is a good place to start. You can post a few discussions there and announce to the Wall that they’re there. Maybe you’ll get some bites. Questions might be: What’s your favorite book? or Who’s your favorite character in my novel? or Has anything like xyz (that happens to my main character) happened to you?

Links
Links are a great way to share any relevant links like other book blogs, references where you got your research, useful online writer tools, and of course your own links like your website and blog. Some links will be added automatically as you share them on your Wall.

Events
A great way, aside from booktour.com, to post events online is the Facebook Events. You can create one as yourself or as the moderator for your Fan Page. If you create one here on your Fan Page, it will post to your Fan Page Wall automatically, and you have the option of “updating” your fans, which will send them a message. Your events can be bookstore readings, radio interview broadcasts, etc. Some people also might want to use this feature to include stops on their blog tour. It lets you put in a photo (your book cover is a good idea), date, time, location, and description. You can also personalize invitations to your Facebook friends.

Notes
This might be a post that’s a little longer than the character limit on your Wall. Maybe you want to copy one of your blog posts here. Look at Simon & Schuster Careers to see what they’ve done with Notes. You can also tag friends in notes so that they get personal messages to let them know that a note has been published on a topic that may interest them.

Video
Personally, I don’t care for the video tab because I believe that means you have to upload your video to Facebook, which you’re welcome to do. Alternatively, you could create a custom video page which allows you to embed a video you uploaded from YouTube. Then you can put the videos where you want on the page, add photos, text, etc. along with the videos to make it look nice. I will talk about custom pages in the next post.

(Disclaimer: This post assumes prior knowledge of Facebook terminology such as “like” and “fan page.”)

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Maybe you’re a late adopter who hasn’t joined Facebook or are skeptical about it. Maybe you are on Facebook, but you use it for personal use, not as publicity for your book. Here are some quick tips to start building your brand through Facebook.

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Why Facebook?
Facebook started as a simple tool for college kids to connect, but has since then absorbed every brilliant idea invented by other social networking sites. By doing this, it makes it almost unnecessary to need to ever leave Facebook–it has everything (well, almost). That’s why people gather here. And you need to go where the people are.

Start a Fan Page
It’s easy. There are plenty of video and written tutorials out there on how to do it step-by-step. But the baseball rule isn’t true here: If you build it, they won’t come unless you give them reasons to.

Offer Good Content
The number one thing that will give you fans on your fan page and keep them coming back is to provide engaging content and to do it regularly. Offer excerpts, hold contests for giveaways, start discussions. Do not be passive! Use graphics and video. You can add tabs to make this page really your own.

Tip: Create a welcome page that all non-likers will see before they see your wall. This should be a simple page with a photo or maybe video. It should quickly tell the user exactly what this fan page is and what they can expect from you.

Tag Pages and People
Like with Twitter, you can tag people and ideas. Start “liking” other fan pages related to your book. When you post on your fan page Wall, you can tag those pages by putting a @ symbol and typing the word (it then lets you pick one from a dropdown menu). The word will turn blue to let you know you’ve tagged them. Now this post will not only show up on your fan page wall, but theirs as well! It will help drive traffic to you.

Tip: You can only tag 6 pages or people per post.

Add Friends
Don’t just start a Facebook account to create a fan page. Add your friends. Then invite them to “like” your face page by clicking on “suggest to friends” under your logo. Encourage them to invite their friends too. Your friends and connections are the big drive behind word-of-mouth. If you’re worried about people getting your personal information, this is a myth–don’t put anything on Facebook that you don’t want to go on it. All you really have to display is your name (or pen name).

Interact
And don’t be a hermit, living on your own fan page. You want to interact with those people, of course. But you also want to interact with fans of similar pages. Get chatting with them, and when the time is right, mention that you have a book on that subject too, and look, you have a fan page, and would they like to join?

How’m I doing?
Facebook has made it easy for you to see the success or failure of your fanpage. Invisible to other users, the left column displays the stats of how many people are interacting with your posts and the increase and decrease in fans and their activity.

In another post, I will get into specifics like how to add tabs, the best applications to use, how to use Facebook Markup Language (FBML), and more of the technical details. This is just to get you thinking about the possibilities.

And just for fun, a little song from internetainers Rhett and Link on the subject of Facebook…

Useful links:
7 FB marketing tips from pros (Social Media Examiner)
How to get the most out of your business facebook page (Mashable)
7 Reasons You Need a FB Fan Page (Book Marketing Maven)
3 Ways Facebook is Killing Your Website (Convince and Convert)
21 Creative Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fanbase (Social Media Examiner)

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