Secrets of Facebook: PR Notes

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Help! I Can’t Find Any Help on Facebook

Of course, you know by now that for author promotion, you should be on Facebook. But frankly, I find it to be confusing. Yes, I easily figured out how to sign on and create an account. I figured out how to upload pictures and how to post on someone’s wall.

Is that all there is?

No. When you think about using Facebook as a tool for book promotion and publicity, you need to go deeper. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t have good Help. It’s hard to figure out where to go. You’re faced with a wall of posts and, what? I’ve found some of the important pages for you.

Individual Account v. Fan Page v. Group Page

My Facebook Avatar

My Facebook Avatar

The first decision you should make what you want to do on Facebook: Promote a book, hook up with friends/family, hook up with colleagues.

  • Individual Profile: Just sign up.
    • Pros: Easy. Privacy controls allow you to set who sees what, and who can comment. For example, several editors have their pages set to No Comments. If you have some popularity and get too many comments, you have options.
    • Cons: You can only have 5000 friends. If you have some popularity and think it will grow, then you should opt for a Fan Page.
    • Tips on keeping business/family separate: You could create two accounts, using two different emails. That’s what I did, because no one told me there was another option. Instead, you just create Friends/Lists. On your home page, left hand navigation, find the Friends Link and click. Then, in the middle of the page, at the top, look for the Create a List. There, you can create a List of Friends, a List of Writer Friends, etc. When you upload or post, you can decide WHO gets to see what. For posts, there’s a tiny link at the bottom of the posting box. For photos, look for these privacy controls when you upload.

      Unfortunately, Facebook is not forgiving. You make an ill-advised decision early–when you know so little about how it works–and you’re stuck. I’m keeping my two separate accounts; but I wish I’d know about the Lists so it was easier.

  • Fan Page: Go here for information.

    • Pros: Unlimited friends. You can customize the page with any sort of app you want: discussion board, calendar of events, etc. There are tons of apps available, check them out.
    • Cons: People must LIKE the page first and you have to get them to do that. Once they do, your posts here will show up on your friends’ walls. But what they post on their individual walls will NOT show up here. It’s more of a one-way street.
  • Group Page: Go here for more information. These pages are more like clubs. A group page is still tied to YOU as an individual, while a fan page is operated as something very separate.

Obviously, these aren’t exhaustive comparisons. Here are some great comparison charts.

Create a User-Friendly Name

One thing that Facebook allows you to do is to create a user-friendly name. For example, my Facebook address is http://www.facebook.com/DarcyPattison (Hey, Friend Me while you’re looking.) Sounds great doesn’t it? But before I give you the link to do this, be warned: you can only do it once.

That is, since I changed my individual account to DarcyPattison, I can never create a Fan Page with that name. ARGH! I didn’t realize this when I changed my name, or I might have done it differently. Maybe DPattison. Then, later when I’m rich and famous I’d make my Fan Page DarcyPattison.

Plan for the future, in other words, when you create your user-friendly name and don’t use up all the good names at first. In fact, you can survive a long time without changing the name; I just like things neat and easy to remember.

Here’s Facebook’s info on creating a User Name: Proceed with Caution.

Facebook Events

Finally, you can also create a Facebook Event. This is an page devoted to a certain event that takes place on a certain day(s). Book launches are great times for an Event page. For example, I created an Event Page a couple weeks ago for the Random Acts of Publicity Week. 730 people officially responded and participated.

I’ve seen this used to invite people to a birthday party, a book launch, a conference, etc. One of the nice things is that others can invite people to the event. For the Random Acts of Publicity Event, there were a couple thousand invitations sent out, and I only did a couple hundred of those.

Have some FUN on Facebook

I offer here just one of the many fun ways you can waste time making your Facebook page/profile/image better. I love the image here of the guy hanging by his fingernails.

Need other help on Facebook? Look at the very bottom of the screen, on the right hand side. There’s a tiny Help link. Good luck finding what you need, they don’t make it easy.

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3 Comments
  • Natalie Aguirre
    September 29, 2010

    Thanks for all the tips. I’m still at the stage of just needing one page. But I’ll remember to search for all these great tips when I get published and have more friends.

  • Amy Fellner Dominy
    October 1, 2010

    This is so helpful, Darcy! Thank you. I just discovered some of this when I set up my fan page with the same user name as my personal page and now I have to delete it and start over!! I didn’t know about FRIENDS/LISTS. One thing I wonder: I want to “friend” my fans, but I don’t want them to see family stuff I might post on my personal page. Does the LIST option allow me to say YES to their request without allowing them total access to my family posts? I’ll try and figure this out, but in the meantime, can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge. As you say, Facebook isn’t very user friendly.

  • Darcy Pattison
    October 1, 2010

    If I understand it right, when you post or upload, you can check who will see your information. You use the FRIENDS/LISTS option to allow only certain groups to see certain posts/uploads.

    Darcy