Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Blogger -- Cheryl Michael

Marketing doesn’t have to feel dirty. Try Facebook!

Facebook allows you to reach an exponential amount of people you don’t know, yet. Remember that old shampoo commercial from the 80’s?

They told two friends who told two friends and so on and so on? Well, on Facebook, when you tell two friends you tell 130 friends. That’s what Facebook says is the average number of friends that each FB user has. Wow. Forget two friends, telling two friends and so on and so on. On Facebook two friends will tell 260 friends, and it will happen automatically. That is why you should use Facebook to promote your business or book. Facebook is good clean referral marketing that can be fun!

Not convinced you need to fool with FB? Well, according to Facebook one third of all Americans have a profile on Facebook, and Facebook has a total of 750 million users worldwide. It is the world’s largest online social network. And it is FREE! You can have a profile (a page for a person) and even a FREE business page. Heck, multiple pages if you want. Why would you not take advantage of something with so much reach that is FREE?

It’s not hard to get started.

If you want to see what successful authors are doing on Facebook. Just type their name in the search box on the top of your FB page. Check them out and copy their tactics. They probably have a full-time, social media marketing person doing this for them with lots of sneaky know-how. Learn from them. I’ve been in marketing for over ten years, and I always copy something that works. It saves time and money.

Who should you friend? Besides the obvious answer (as many people as possible.)

Think. Which successful author has an audience similar to yours? I must confess, I love to write sassy, adult humor about dating. Now you know, whether you care or not, this caused me to search for Chelsea Handler on FB. She is the author of My Horizontal Life among other books, in addition to being a stand-up comedienne and late night TV show host. On her page she has sponsored questions posed by a vodka brand. For example, “Some people want their martini shaken, not stirred. How do you want yours?” (Extra dirty is my answer!)

What does that have to do with selling any book? And what’s my point? Two fold, my potential FB friend. Actually vodka plays a prominent role in many of Ms Handler’s one-night stand stories. Oh, and one of her books is titled Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Ah ha! What? Exactly! FB is not about you giving a hard sell about your blessed book every post. (Point #1) Plus, this vodka company, who can pay me to say their name in this blog post, sponsored that question. She made money from them. (Bonus idea.) She seems clever, and entertaining maybe I should be her friend so these fun tidbits are automatically delivered to me on my page. (Point#2) Post about another writer or a book you like, (you have to be their friend on FB), use the @ symbol before their name, and guess what? It will post on their wall, and all their friends can see it. Now they see you! There are security and visibility settings that we won’t get in to here that people can adjust but, in general, this works. You helped them and now they automatically helped you. If you wrote something entertaining or useful they won’t want to hide you, and if you help them they should reciprocate. We are all friends here, right?

Facebook is a SOCIAL media.

Can you imagine being at a cocktail party where you are cornered by a car salesman shouting at you to buy a car or buy his book about buying cars? You might leave the party (or in Ms Handler’s case, drink more vodka and check out mentally.) Your FB friends will feel the same way. They are real people you know. Be engaged with your audience on your FB page, and they will stay at your party. Keep the party fun and interesting. Ask them questions. Post content they might like because you know what they like. You wrote with them in mind, didn’t you? Remember, when they ”like” your page it posts on the newsfeed on their wall for their130 friends to see. When they write on your Facebook page, a.k.a. comment, that also shows up on their wall. Now the party is rockin’ and people are talkin’!

There is more to celebrate about FB marketing and using social media ( twitter, LinkedIn and more) to spread the good news about your writing but knowing MY audience, I know a few points to digest is enough to get you thinking and you are a busy person. If you want to learn more you will. You are smart. You are reading this blog, aren’t you?

Last point this post, I promise! (Point#3) Be true to your brand. In the case of a writer this is your voice, your purpose. Post with this in mind. Let this principle drive your content.

Here are a few ideas for page content.

(1) Post questions to open discussion – Let it flow, good or bad. Respond to the Bad in your best caring professional tone. Encourage and feed the Good. Delete the Ugly – porn posts, swearing, you get the idea.
(2) Take polls – People like to be asked their opinion.
(3) Run contests – Give away a copy of your book or something related to your brand story (not vodka!), something legal to give away. For example, movie passes to someone selected out of the comments for the day. Rules can be found here.
(4) Be creative! Maybe create profiles for your characters. Have mini stories play out on their FB pages. Or let fans help decide who lives or dies or gets married or hooks up in your next book. They will need to buy the book to see what you did with their feedback.
(5) Sell your e-book or self-published book on the FB page. So the accepted rule in the social media expert chatter is 80/20: 80 percent of your content is your friends talking, 20 percent is you making offers or broadcasting your message. If you are engaging people, and they are enjoying your brand they may want to just click and buy. One free app you can try is Payvment E-Commerce Dashboard.

In summary, remember to make your page worth visiting. Give your friends and fans content that they will like, let them speak, listen, reward the them for visiting, and be true to your voice. Chelsea makes no secret that she likes to be in your face like a no-tear shampoo, and she likes vodka. And BTW Chelsea has 1,844,411 friends.

Additional Facebook Resources

Start here to create a page.

Educational resources about marketing on FB

Cheryl Michael is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Journalism. She majored in advertising and has worked in various marketing positions including Distribution Marketing Manager at ADTRAN, Marketing Director at Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville. She is currently a free-lance social media gun for hire. She spends way too much time playing on Facebook and gets crazy excited talking about social media marketing. You can reach her at


Playground Monitor said...

Thanks for joining us today. I think that old Faberge ad is a great example of the growth potential on Facebook.


Smarty Pants said...

Welcome Cheryl.

I really like Twitter, too, which feeds into my Facebook. I like that I can see where my stuff is going. When I sold my first book, Desire Editors retweeted my announcement to their 800 followers and Harlequin retweeted to their 15k followers. I was floored. I went from 40 followers to 120 overnight and now I'm over 170. Good news can travel fast.

I also have 70 fans on my FB fanpage. Not bad given I don't have a book out yet, but when I do, it will be all setup to share the good news. In the meantime, I try to share info about the road to the release so its not a constant flow of "BUY MY BOOK". I hate that.

Problem Child said...

These are awesome ideas!

411 Mom said...

Good Job Smartypants! Look for a future post about Twitter! Everyone should set up a twitter account and at least link FB posts to tweet automatically. The biggest pain is in setting up the twitter account.

Angel said...

This is great, Cheryl! I have a great deal of difficulty trying to figure out what to post on my page, because I feel like I'm boring. :)

Can you talk a little more about "branding" on Facebook? How do I keep people interested without boring them? (besides what you've already posted)


Katherine Bone said...

Thanks for sharing this today, Cheryl! This was great! ;)

411 Mom said...

I really enjoyed sharing this information. I am enjoying putting it in to practice too! Branding...hmmmm...I'll think of some ideas and submit those to the Blog. ---Cheryl Michael