The New Facebook Page for Authors

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Today, everyone should be rolled over to Facebook’s new Page features. Why should authors care? Because it gives us new ways to interact with each other and with our readers.

LIKE my Facebook Page: I know there are neat, nifty little buttons you can put here so you can LIKE my Page without going there. Alas, I’m part geek, but not enough to have figured this out YET. Instead, PLEASE CLICK through and LIKE my Brand-New Page! BTW, I went with DarcyPattisonAuthor as the name of my page, so the URL is now http://www.facebook.com/DarcyPattisonAuthor.

Basic Changes to Facebook Page

Here’s a great detailed explanation of the changes. Here’s what authors need to know.

Darcy Pattison

My new 180x540 Facebook Profile Pic.

  • Photos at the top. Some time ago, Facebook Profile pages switched to pictures at the top and the Pages are doing this also. These are randomly displayed, but you can X out the ones you do NOT want to appear. The photos are drawn from those you upload and those you Tag with your PageName. It will NOT include photos posted by those who like your Page.
  • Use Facebook as your Page. When you login you can switch and surf around Facebook AS YOUR PAGE. This means you can LIKE other Pages, post comments as your Page and function as the entity, Author. You can NOT post on profiles, only other Pages.
  • Email notifications. You can choose to receive notifications when people post or comment on your Page.
  • Featured Pages and admins. Hurrah! If you have Pages for each of your Books, you can feature these on your Page, thus linking all your Pages together in a coherent fashion. You can feature your publisher, your illustrator, your favorite organizations, etc. If multiple people are involved in the page, say for an anthology, you could feature each of those authors (if they have pages). It’s a nice networking tool
  • Mutual connections: When someone visits your Page, they will see which of their friends also likes your Page, as well as other Pages that both they and your Page like.
  • Profile picture size. Profile pictures were limited to 200×600 px, but that’s reduced to 180×540 px. What do you think of my new pic?
  • Navigation. Gone are the tabs at the top, replaced by the Links on the left-hand side, exactly like on a profile. Tabs are swapped out for the personal info that used to be under your pic. Make use of your Info to highlight what is important.
  • Custom “tabs”/Links to additional pages on your Page, now) can be created with iFrames. This is important enough it gets its own section below.

IFrames with WordPress

So, what’s the big deal about adding iFrames. Facebook is a clunky interface with no chance for customizing it unless you do some fancy coding. Before you had to use FBML (Facebook Markup Language), a variation on HTML (hypertext markup language).

Note: If you skipped learning all that stuff ten years ago, then you’re one of those who uses a Visual Editor on everything, a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. It’s OK. There are tools out there for you.

Now, Facebook is switching to iFrames, which means that you create content and host it somewhere outside Facebook, on your own domain or server; then you pull it into Facebook, like putting a picture into a frame.

Complicated? Yes, a bit. Now, I’m not afraid to do some playing around with codes, but this iFrames stuff looked overwhelming to me. Fortunately, there are already apps to make it easy.

I use WordPress, which I host on my own domain. When I found this newly updated Facebook Tab Manager Plugin, I was excited. I followed the recommended video and quickly managed to create a custom page through WordPress and pull it into my Facebook Page.

Whatever platform you’re using, see if you can find a new App; wait a month, there will be one!

SEE THE CUSTOM PAGE: To see the resulting page, you need to LIKE my Facebook Page first. Then in the left-hand column, click on What’s New.

Using Facebook to Promote Books and Yourself as Author

So, why should authors care about all this new-fangled stuff?

Pull Together all Your Online Presence

    For the first time, Facebook seems to be a place where you can pull together all your online presences. For example, I talk about writing fiction here on Fiction Notes, including the Novel Revision Retreats that I teach; I talk about book trailers at BooktrailerManual.com; and I talk about my books everywhere, including on some websites dedicated just to them. It’s frustrating because it’s hard to pull it all together in one place. A FB-Page now has that capability.

  • Strategic Linking Use strategic linking on your Page, including Featured links to Pages. Use iFrames to create Links to pages that pull in your info to this one central place.
  • Networked Blogs Use the Networked Blogs App to pull in posts from any and all of your blogs.

Keep People Engaged

Already, folks are pulling together info on how to best use a FB-Page for business. Here’s my best tip:

Tip: Get Hubspot’s Facebook Page Marketing 2011 free ebook. They give many more tips on using the new pages to promote. It’s not geared specifically toward book promotion, but many things apply.

  • Timely Posting Specifically, Hubspot suggests that you post about every other day on your Page. Daily posts are too much for fans, but every other day is about right.
  • Offers. This is hard for authors, but Hubspot says that in a recent survey, a majority said they LIKE a page, so they will get offers from you. I’ve always thought that book signings are a way for people to take home a tiny slice of an author: I’ve touched someone special and have this autograph to prove it. Likewise, the “offers” might be something like a book giveaway; but it might be a tiny insight into how you work; or it might be sharing an emotional moment with your fans, a success or a failure. The “Offer” for us isn’t necessarily physical, it might be an offer of an emotional connection. But it needs to be there.

Read Hubspot’s ebook for more tips.

LIKE my Facebook Page: I know there are neat, nifty little buttons you can put here so you can LIKE my Page without going there. Alas, I’m part geek, but not enough to have figured this out YET. Instead, PLEASE CLICK through and LIKE my Brand-New Page! BTW, I went with DarcyPattisonAuthor as the name of my page, so the URL is now http://www.facebook.com/DarcyPattisonAuthor.

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5 Comments
  • J. Bridget Chicoine
    March 11, 2011

    Wow, what a lot of good informatin to digest! Your posts are always so informative and helpful–I don’t always comment, but thanks!
    …and I’m glad you went with DarcyPattisonAuthor–that was my choice!

  • Natalie Aguirre
    March 11, 2011

    I clicked the like button. I just became blog partners with Casey McCormick on Literary Rambles so am trying to learn all this Network Blogs and blogging stuff. I’m giving away a free copy of Cheryl Klein’s new book if you’re interested.
    http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/

  • E.J. Apostrophe
    March 12, 2011

    Hi Darcy,

    How do you prevent Facebook from being a distraction? Has being on Facebook open the doors for you or closed them?

  • Darcy Pattison
    March 13, 2011

    Thanks! The moral is that if you are NOT on Facebook yet, save your NAME for your Page, not your profile. Shrug. The DarcyPattisonAuthor works, though.

    And thanks for commenting! Nice to know I’m not alone here.
    Darcy

  • Darcy Pattison
    March 13, 2011

    It’s ALL a distraction. All you can do it ignore it. Of course.
    Darcy