Facebook is here to stay. No, you can't change my mind. Although I wouldn't say I'm an active Facebook user, it is important to grow a page on the account as Facebook is best used for building communities and a fan base which is very important to furthering your author credibility and brand awareness.
This article is going to explore some helpful tips on how to grow your Facebook author account specifically.
Please know that I am using the latest updated version of Facebook so my screen, in screenshots, may look different to yours if you are using a different version.
Make sure your author account is filled out and up to date
First things first, you need to make sure your account is filled in as much as possible. That means making sure that;
You have a professional profile picture of yourself
You've filled in the 'about me' section
You've added your website URL to the 'link' section
You've added your other social media accounts to the 'link' section
You've assigned your page to the correct category
You've added at least 10 pictures of you, your book, your work, your desk, etc
You've created at least three or four starter posts
Finally, if you haven't posted in a few months, get posting now! You want your account to be up to date, including your posts, so that people feel that they'll hear from you regularly and that you're actively engaged on your Facebook.
Invite friends to like your page
Did you know that when you invite your Facebook friends to like your page? This should help kick start your following. To do this click on the three dots next to the 'manage' button and then click 'Invite to follow'.
You'll then be able to tick the boxes of those you want to invite, and click 'send invitations'.
Share links to your latest blog posts
You want to constantly keep the following questions in mind;
Why should your followers want to follow you?
What do you bring to the table?
Why should they engage with your posts?
By sharing your latest blog posts, you're providing a hub where your followers can find the latest news and first-hand updates to your blog. This answers the 'why should your followers want to follow you?' question. This will also bring traffic to your blog and website, which ultimately increase your chances of gaining email subscribers, book sales (if there are links on your website) and your fan base.
Post exclusive content to your Facebook page that can't be found anywhere else
This answers the 'what do you bring to the table?' question above. It's easy to fall victim to, but you shouldn't post the same content to all your social media channels as this doesn't give them a reason to follow your other accounts. Instead, you want to post exclusive content to certain channels.
For example, your Twitter account could be used as an 'updates' page where you provide updates on what you're working on, how your day has been, etc. Your Instagram account could serve as your 'look book' that allows others to get a sense of who you are and provide visuals whereas your Facebook could serve as your main page where people can directly communicate with you, engage with the community you're building, find exclusive content that they can't find anywhere else, and so on.
To add, you should rarely do a Facebook post without an accompanying image, graphic, video, poll or link to support it as, generally, these posts tend to do better and more visual and engaging, meaning you'll start to build a fan base of followers who want to engage with your posts.
Give something to your Facebook followers
Y'all know I LOVE an incentive as it's such an effective way to increase your post reach, brand awareness and fan base, all by giving a little something away. You could announce on your other social media channels that you're giving away something to all those who like your Facebook page. You should then get a fair amount of likes come through, depending on how great the gift is.
You could choose to give away a physical gift and restrict shipping to certain countries, almost like you would for a preorder gifting campaign, or you could give something digital away. Here are some ideas of both physical and digital items:
Letter from the author
ARC of your latest novel
eBook of your novel
Share a welcome/about you post and pin it
If you're going to focus on building your Facebook following, you want to help your followers get to know you better as this helps build you a loyal fan base. Remember, just because someone follows or likes you, doesn't mean they're necessarily a fan. It doesn't mean that they will interact with your posts and boost engagement, which is what you should always focus on.
To help your followers get to know you, put up a welcome/get to know me post and share links to your book, share photos of yourself and share some fun facts about yourself. Where is your favourite place to write? Why did you get into writing? What are your plans for the future?
Lastly, make sure you pin this post to the top of your profile so that it's the first thing people see. To pin a post, all you have to do is click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the post and then select 'pin post'. It will then be moved to the top of your feed so that it's the first thing people see when clicking on your profile.
Join author and reader groups
A great way to increase your online presence is by joining author and reader groups on Facebook and then sharing your posts with those groups. This allows you to target new people who may have not been able to find your posts (seeing as hashtags don't work as well on Facebook).
To join a group, all you need to do is search for something in the main Facebook search bar. Groups of a similar title will then appear and you'll be able to join them.
Here are some of the Facebook groups that I have joined:
Aspiring Writers United
Writers and Authors Promotions
The Book Stop: Authors & Readers Welcome
For Writers, By Authors
Books And Authors
Authors' Networking Group
Author & Book Promotions
A Home for Writers
Goodreads Authors/Readers (FB)
Fantasy and Sci-fi Authors & Readers
Set up a group connected to your page
Setting up a group connected to your page is a great way of creating a community but also it provides an extra way that users can find you. For example, if you were to build a support group for writers and authors, or build a group for fantasy readers, those who join the group will be able to see that it is connected to your account, which might entice them to want to follow the group's host.
I also gained followers when I sent out ARC reviews, as I created a Facebook group to host a read-along for the book. Those who had Facebook within my ARC team were then keen to also support me on Facebook.
To set up a Facebook group, click the grid icon in the top right hand of your screen and then select 'groups' from the drop down.
You'll then be taken to a page where you can fill out your group name and set whether you want the group to be public or private. Private means that only members who are in the group can see the posts, whereas public means that anyone, even if they haven't joined the group, can see the posts posted to the group. I would suggest setting it as private as it entices a user to want to join to find out what is being posted. It also allows you to invite your own friends and followers to join the group.
From there, you'll be able to fill in your group details such as write a description, change the cover banner, change the settings on who can or cannot post, and get posting! I will be doing a Patreon article on creating and building your Facebook group soon, so stay tuned!
Once you've created your group, people will be able to find it on your page by clicking on the 'more' button in the top bar of your page, and then selecting 'groups'. Here's a screenshot of what that looks like on L J Ross's page.
Use Facebook advertising wisely
Facebook advertising is great for bringing in traffic to your website or for getting messages to your page, however, I wouldn't use Facebook ads to boost your engagement as these tend to be spammy accounts that don't actually end up liking your page. It also makes your page seem less credible as you'll have significantly less engagement when you don't boost a post.