5 Tips To Optimize Your Facebook Page

Long ago I declared that 2012 would be the Year Of Facebook (FB) for me. Well, better late than never – I’m just now spending more time on the mother of all social media platforms. But here’s the problem: Facebook is a challenge, isn’t it? The functionality changes constantly, and it’s difficult to figure out what to do. Yet so many authors have connected with readers as a result of their FB time, I bit the bullet and began.

Now that Facebook changed the rules and fewer posts (from both Fan and personal profile pages) are showing up in reader’s timelines, I’ve discarded the goal of creating my own Fan page (for now) and decided to simply continue polishing my personal Facebook page. One drawback to using a personal page is that you’re limited to 5,000 friends. With a business (a.k.a. Fan) page, you can accrue unlimited Fans.

Facebook iconAlthough we often balk at mixing personal with business on social media, the line is blurring and many authors use their personal Facebook accounts as a tool to grow relationships. Note that last line: grow relationships. It’s clear authors should avoid posting extensive flat-out sales pitches (buy my book!). Instead, we can use FB to showcase our writing, accomplishments and blog and connect with friends and readers.

My FB education began with Susan Salluce’s guest post, Does Facebook Work For Authors? and now I’ve made a few small changes to my postings and my page. In this article, I’ll share the basics of what I’ve learned so far. Future posts will cover more in-depth FB stuff as I figure it out.

1. Add A Custom Banner
Banners are a wonderful way to use your page to advertise your work, or whatever else you want the world to know about you. Facebook has a few restrictions on banner images you need to be aware of, but a book cover or cascade of cover images should not invoke their wrath. (Link here to check out Bette Lee Crosby’s cool “cascade of covers” banner.)

According to FB, “To get the fastest load times for your Page, upload an RGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes.” I finally succeeded to place a slice of my Mark of the Loon book cover image. Wish I was a better graphic designer, but this will do for now. Link here to check it out.

2. Take Full Advantage Of Your Profile
A Facebook profile is your first business-building opportunity. If you’re an author, writer, book reviewer or editor, you should display this news proudly so visitors can see it. Your entire network of FB friends should be reminded about what you do so they can ask if and when they need your expertise or have questions or comments about your novels!

To complete your basic Facebook information, click on the “Update Info” button under the cover photo above your timeline. Click the Edit link in the top-right corner to edit each of these sections. I added a link to my blog, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn pages in the “website” block.

3. Enhance SEO With Keywords
Search engine optimization can be complicated, but using proper keywords and phrases will help you rank well in Google search results. (Link here for more info about SEO). Although I’ve read articles that say search engines don’t catalogue personal FB pages, mine is displayed when I Google myself (I know you do it, too). So I’m going to assume that SEO principles also apply to Facebook personal pages. In that case, make sure your page contains the appropriate search terms, such as your book titles, and/or that you’re an author, freelance writer, editor, or whatever. The best place to use them is in the “About” section, see above. Can’t hurt!

4. Use Facebook Lists To Separate Personal From Business
Facebook has provided a method to separate personal from business in your account. If you want certain posts to appear only in certain timelines, you can create segmented lists of friends, then use them to manage which group(s) get which messages. There are a couple of methods to add friends to lists. Link here to learn the basics about Facebook lists.

On a friend’s timeline:
• Hold your mouse over the Friends button at the top of their timeline.
• Your list names will appear. Select one. If the list you’re looking for isn’t there, click “Show all your lists.”

On your home page:
• Your lists should appear in the left hand column of your Home page. If you don’t see them, click the “More” link next to Friends.
• Select the list you want to edit, or click “Create a List.”
• Look for friends using in the search bar at the top of the page, or add people from “List Suggestions” on the right.

Once you set up lists, a small “lock” icon appears each time you post to Facebook or modify your status. When you click on that icon, you can choose the lists or people you want to share that post with.

5. Posting Etiquette, Content and Timing
Since my readers are the classiest group I know, I don’t have to remind anyone to respect social media etiquette and refrain from using offensive language and questionable photos in posts. If you’re mixing business with personal on Facebook, anyone who lands on your page should get the best possible impression of you. If you’re not sure if the post is appropriate, just say “no!”

Studies indicate that it’s best to post on your wall 3-5 times a day. I’ll have to work up to that. Right now my goal is to post once a day (hahaha). I’ve been told that a great way to get people to interact with posts is to add a personal comment at the top of every link that explains a bit about the content and what readers stand to gain from it. Then be sure to respond to feedback.

Here are a few post ideas:

  • Share great info: Post a cross-section, anything from photos and links to your various fun activities to industry-related articles.
  • Represent the writers’ community: Support your colleagues by sharing their blog posts, achievements and events.
  • Interact: Ask questions. Reply to questions. Comment on other’s posts. Build relationships. It’s that simple.
  • Share achievements in your timeline: Share your wins, but don’t overdo it. Too much “me, me, me” might turn people off.
  • Write on friend’s walls: I’m not a big advocate of writing on each NEW friend’s wall, as I think it’s better to message them – but this is a personal choice. One way to support peers is to post congratulatory messages on their walls, such as: “Congrats Terri Giuliano Long! I just read your wonderful Indie Reader article that was picked up by the Huffington Post. Well done!”

Additional Resources:
Facebook Help Center, Facebook Tips page

Facebook changes so often it’s hard to keep up with new developments, but it’s worth it, and time spent will pay off. If you don’t have an active Facebook page, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.

Because I’m such a newbie, I’d love to hear how you’re using Facebook and if you’ve learned any tricks or have tips you’d like to share. How do you feel about using personal vs. Fan pages? Leave a comment and share!

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22 Responses to 5 Tips To Optimize Your Facebook Page

  1. Anne R. Allen January 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Another great, super-useful post, Molly. I usually read it in my email, so I don’t always comment, but I appreciate them all. This one is especially helpful. So many authors don’t know how to use FB and they end up spamming everybody’s wall, or broadcasting info about their latest medical exam or grandkids photos to everybody.

    Rule of thumb: don’t post anything about yourself on anybody else’s wall. It should be about THEM: Happy birthday, Congrats, or whatever. And absolutely no book promos

    I’ve seen several complaints about the grandkids photos–warnings, too. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but you don’t really want to broadcast those to anybody who friends you. Send them ONLY to your list of “close friends”. You never know who might be out there.

    • Molly Greene January 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

      Anne, thanks so much for your comment! I’m really a FB novice but it seems as though we should treat it the same as Twitter in a sense – not a huge amount of book talk unless some great news to share, etc. I find FB even more of a distraction than Twitter because of all those kitty photos :-O

  2. Pamela Beason January 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I find Facebook completely unintuitive, a little frightening, and just plain confusing because I have a personal page and an author page. In other words, I need all the help I can get. Thanks, Molly!

    • Molly Greene January 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      I agree, Pam. FB is HARD!! I’m keeping to the simple stuff. You can teach me how to create an author’s fan page someday, I know you’ll love that!

  3. Elizabeth Ducie January 15, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Great article, Molly. I think we tend to forget that the whole social media thing is relatively new. One issue I’m still wrestling with is that my personal page carries my real name whereas I write under a pen name. I have a ‘books’ page at present, but not an author page. I was going to set one up, but having read your piece, I may just concentrate on emphasising the link between the two names.

    • Molly Greene January 15, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      Keep in mind that I’m not an expert! Seems as though you should set up a Fan page with your pen name as well so your readers can find you all three ways? Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, Elizabeth!

  4. cindy January 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Thank you Molly, You continue to shine a light on social media for me. I have been on FB for a few years and only because my grown kids live thousands of miles away and they post pics and info. Then people who read my blog or books and students ask me to “friend” them & I can’t say no. I have way too many friends, don’t want to offend anyone with an “unfriend” or request to visit my (non-existent) fan page. I’ve learned enough from this post so that I think I can manage to see only my kids and very BFFs when time is short!

    • Molly Greene January 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks Cindy! AND I think you should also get assertive about asking peole to Friend your Fan Page!!

  5. Jeri January 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    What I find most frustrating about Facebook is the way the user no longer sees every status update by their friends or followers.

    • Molly Greene January 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      … unless you pay for a “promoted post,” and even then only a certain percentage see it. FYI, the AMAZING Amy Porterfield is offering a free FB webinar Wed. Jan 16, “How to Build Your Email List with Facebook Marketing.” http://www.amyporterfield.com/webinar

  6. Susan Wingate January 16, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Great post. Thanks for all the ideas. 🙂

    • Molly Greene January 16, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      My pleasure!

      • Laura Zera January 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

        Hey, nice to ‘see’ you on Molly’s blog, Susan! I gather you guys met on Twitter? Molly, Susan is from Seattle and I took a writing class that she co-taught back in 2011.

        Anyhoo, another helpful post, Molly. I have actually created a Fan page, mainly because don’t want to have to try and be careful about what I post on my personal page. I just can’t seem to get motivated to use it very much, though. It kinds of feels like a useless appendage (third nipple?) rather than an integrated part of my online presence. I have noticed that Galit is a master of FB engagement, and she is *always* asking questions.

        • Molly Greene January 20, 2013 at 8:52 am #

          It’s such a small world. I really “met” Susan when she guested on Terri Long’s blog. As for a Facebook Fan page, I think we all need one, I’m just into taking baby steps. Rachel Thompson and Laura Conant Howard are also great writers to “watch” on Facebook – total engagement, 100% of the time!

  7. Kerry Hartjen January 16, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Molly, Thanks for a lot of great and useful information. It’s very encouraging to see that I’m not the only Facebook-challenged author in the universe trying to figure it all out. Yes, it IS hard, but this post is very helpful indeed. Also thanks to Susan W. for tweeting me about this!

    • Molly Greene January 16, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      So happy if it helps, Kerry … and yes, I am definitely Facebook challenged!

  8. Lauren Rader January 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Thanks for the article Molly. I’m about done with my first book (!) and have just started using twitter. I’ve been using facebook for a while but am stepping it up. Thanks for sharing.

    • Molly Greene January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Hi Lauren! If you’re new to Twitter you might want to read the posts on my blog, “0-4000 in a Snap,” and “How to Succeed With Twitter.” You can learn from all my mistakes. Best wishes and congrats on your book project!

  9. Andrew Toynbee January 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    A great post packed full of content. I’ve now updated my FB page as per your suggestion, although I coulnd’t get it to accept a link to Twitter.

    My first FB page was an author page, but my family kept ‘friend requesting’ that page as they knew who I was.
    So I calved off my friends and family onto a brand new ‘me’ page by firstly ‘friend requesting’ them from the new ‘me’ page and gradually ‘unfriending’ them from the author page. No-one was offended. Now I have two entirely separate accounts with no crossovers (except I might pass myself pictures of kittens to share with family now and then).
    For anyone just starting out, they may want to follow your suggestion of having separate lists as you suggested, but if the idea of lists baffles you, just set up two accounts as I did and keep your friends and your fans well apart (you will need two email accounts to satisfy FB though).

    • Molly Greene January 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Andrew! Great idea to create two pages. Now I’ve already confessed that I am not a FB expert, but re: adding the Twitter link, FB only seems to allow 3 links in the “About > Website” section. Are you trying to sneak in a fourth? –> (that’s me trying to be funny)

  10. Richard L Wiseman January 23, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Great advice, Thanks for that.

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, Richard!