The Power of Facebook, Friendship & Why We Shouldn't Use a Nail Gun to Slice a Pork Roast
Yesterday we started talking about Facebook and ways to make friends and influence enemies. Just so y’all know, the writer who insulted me is now a peep. We kept talking. I apologized for having the skin of a grape and this person told me I was right and they had NO idea the tone of the message was as insulting as it was.
We chatted about social media and WANA ways and had a blast, and it was awesome to make a new friend. This writer felt super bad. But, I mentioned that it all worked out for the better because, had I not been insulted, we would never have talked and gotten to know how much we had in common (though I do not recommend insulting people to make friends).
See, told you guys sometimes tough love is in order ;).
So What’s the Deal?
I believe most of the problems with writers mishandling Facebook stems from a failure to understand how Facebook works. Between urban legends and plain dumb social media advice, writers are inadvertently making social media WAY harder than it has to be because they are fracturing their focus and diffusing all their efforts.
Thus, today we are going to start doing a little myth busting.
My Friends and Family Don’t Care About Writing Stuff
Okay, friends and family, regular people? That is code for “READER.” Writers all create one big happy writer party and talk to each other, but writers can only buy so many books. And frankly?
We are oversold and worn out.
If we only include writers, our platforms can easily become inbred and then all they do is drink cheap beer and listen to Tammy Wynette….then start firing a shotgun in the air. Keep it up and your platform will bring home a bass boat.
It’s estimated that as much as 75% of the population believes they would one day love to write a book. This means THREE-FOURTHS of the population believes they are writers….even though they aren’t writing. So if we cut out regular people, we are actually just cutting out people fascinated by writers and writing. They LOVE writers, even if it is to be a fly on the wall and maybe catch on to how we create the magic.
Sure friends and family might give us a hard time about deciding to write, but often this is birthed by jealousy. They believe they have stories to tell, they just haven’t found the bravery to do it. They will often be the best salespeople we have, even if they don’t read what we write.
Okay, Even If They Don’t Care
Humans are a helpful bunch. How do we show love? We give unsolicited advice, provide solutions, and answer questions. If Aunt Lola doesn’t like vampire books, but a lady in her sewing circle complains that she needs to get a gift for her granddaughter who is slap-happy in LOVE with vampires? Who will Aunt Lola INSTANTLY think of?
This is called “word of mouth.”
But I Will Fill Up Their Feed With Stuff They Don’t Care About
Remember I said you need to understand how Facebook works? Facebook wants you to have as pleasant of an experience as possible because…um, then you show up and get addicted and let dinner burn because you’re too busy quoting Bruce Campbell on an Army of Darkness thread on Kristen’s wall.
Newsfeeds will only show content from people we have engaged with. So if your family or coworkers could give a flying patooty about writing? Odds are they are never “Liking” or commenting on those threads, so guess what? Your stuff eventually won’t appear in their news feeds (and never underestimate the modern human’s ability to ignore stuff that doesn’t interest them).
This is why fan pages can be a serious sticky wicket. We can’t engage with a monument to someone’s ego.
If all I am posting on my fan page is information about my book or signing events or promotions, it’s more of the advertising we are all scrambling to escape. Modern humans are BOMBARDED with ads and can’t even go to the BATHROOM without an ad shoved up our nose. For more on this, read my post:
We don’t like ads. We don’t share them and we cannot connect with them. We are also in an age of information GLUT. How many of you woke up this morning and thought, “You know what I need? More crap to READ!” I hear social media experts tell writers to provide information. Be experts. Post links to articles.
For the love of chocolate, NO!
No offense, but novelists are not experts, you are storytellers.
The blunt truth is that if we need to know something we will google it. But aside from that, I want to point out something VERY IMPORTANT. Information connects on the LEFT side of the brain, the analytical side. FICTION, however, is emotional.
***This works for NF writers, too, btw.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT TO SELL A RIGHT-BRAIN PRODUCT WITH A LEFT-BRAIN APPROACH? That makes no sense. Even home insurance commercials try to connect with emotion. They don’t pay for a thirty minute commercial about statistics. They post THIS:
Let Us CARE
This is why it is especially important for fiction authors to engage. Connect emotionally. You have an emotional product. People can’t connect emotionally to yet another DBW article about how Barnes & Noble’s stock is tanking.
They CAN however connect to kittens, Sharknado, tales of missing socks, superheroes, kid stories, pet stories, Mayhem and Grumpy Cat. They have more to say about bacon than Smashwords or our book being free on KDP.
There are writers who seriously believe that Facebook is out to get them because their fan pages are being hidden. NO. It’s just that, in the Digital Age, there is a steep price for being boring.
It isn’t your job to visit my author page to pay homage to Kristen’s ego.
Engage us, talk to us, stop selling to us and guess what? We will like coming to your page. And we will have fun and “Like” stuff, comment and SHARE your content. Then guess what?
And this is the cool part.
Since people will enjoy hanging out and talking on your page? Your fan page (or personal page) will show up in their news feeds. You won’t have to pay to promote. Awesome, right?
How many of you loooooove hanging out with people who won’t stop talking about themselves? What? No one? *crickets chirping*
So if this behavior isn’t a good idea for dating, the workplace or a dinner party, then why in the name of marshmallow peeps is this considered a good plan on social media? How many of you have a family member or friend who never talks to you unless she is selling Amway, Avon or vitamins?
Do we like those friends/family members? Or do we filter their calls?
Use the Tool, Don’t BE One
Facebook has over a BILLION active users so it is highly advantageous for authors to use it, but it’s a tool. We need to use tools properly or we will wear ourselves out and look stupid…like using a nail gun to slice a pork roast. Makes a mess, is ineffective and renders said
victim pork roast inedible.
In my new book talk a lot more about Facebook and the advantages and disadvantages of both the personal page and fan page and how to manage them without ending up on a roof armed and shouting, “This is my BOOM-STICK!”
Lisa-Hall Wilson, our WANA Facebook expert will also have classes up at WANA International sometime today. Her classes are FANTASTIC and she is super generous with Facebook tips every Friday on the WANA International fan page.
So any AH-HA! moments? Thoughts, observations? Tales about using a nail gun to slice a pork roast? (Please include pictures).
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE.
At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!