Please welcome guest Meryl Evans to WU. Meryl was one of our quarter-finalists in our search for an unpublished contributor. When we asked Meryl what she could bring to WU that would be uniquely her, she wrote:
A writer who happens to be missing a major sense (hearing) has made a successful career out of writing in technology-driven times. I doubt I’d be as successful 20 years ago without the ability to make phone calls for myself.
We loved her technology focused post and its empowering angle. And it’s a great post to read in conjunction with Jane Friedman’s comprehensive Facebook post that ran just two days ago. Enjoy!
To Have or Have Not a Facebook Page
Every week I see another article hyping the benefits of having a Facebook Page, better known as a Facebook fan page. These articles don’t just talk about big companies with known brands. They also recommend freelancers, sole business owners and writers set up a Facebook page. Writers? Really? Oh, and they’re not just for the Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowlings either.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. When you receive an email suggesting you join someone’s Facebook page, the message says, “So ‘n so suggested you become a fan of such ‘n such on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too.” These cringe-worthy emails scare many writers because they fear giving the impression they think they’re hotshots with fans when they do not believe that. Agreed, this is a problem that I’m not alone in wishing Facebook would drop the “fan” talk. Uncringe.
Also, finding time to update Facebook pages doesn’t count as an issue. You can automatically pull Twitter tweets, blog entries and other content into the page. Automation sometimes bugs people, but it works for many Facebook pages.
Questions to Ask
So, should you create a Facebook page? If you want a straight answer, I can’t give you that because social media has no rules. Every so-called social media rule has unwavering opponents and proponents. Seek the answer you desire by asking these questions.
- Do I blog or tweet in Twitter? If you have a blog or use Twitter, Facebook can import every new entry and tweet into your profile as soon as you publish it.
- How often do I blog or tweet? Many Facebook users have no interest in Twitter and they complain or unfriend when they see too many tweets showing up in their Facebook news feed. If you update often, a Facebook page may be a better place for updates instead of your profile. If you don’t update often, your profile may work better. A rarely updated Facebook page looks dead.
- Do I attend events or speak? Facebook pages come with an “Events” section.
- Do I have media to share? You and your fans can share videos and photos.
- What will my page cover? You can create a page for your book, a series (as in Harry Potter), web site, topic or in your name. Before you create a page, search for other pages to see if anything already exists and its activity level. A dead or empty page isn’t a competitor.
- Do I have support from colleagues and friends? They can help spread the word about your page so you don’t have to do it alone.
- Do I have a web site, newsletter or blog? Market your page by mentioning it or adding a Facebook widget. Refer and link to your Facebook page wherever you can in your email signature, newsletter, web sites and bio.
Examples of Facebook Pages
Search Facebook for existing pages with many fans to see what makes them tick. Here are a few writer-related pages to get you started.
Book: The Backchannel
Writer: Celia Ribenbark
Web Site: WOW! Women on Writing
Topic: Children’s Books
If you plan to start a Facebook page, what will it focus on? If you already have one, what have you discovered that works and doesn’t work in maintaining a successful Facebook page?
Flickr photo courtesy Oversocialized