Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: Facebook for writers

Finding it hard to stand out from the crowd?

Years ago, when I decided to branch out and teach virtual classes regarding craft and social media, I knew I needed to live by my own mantra—We Are Not Alone. Sure I could kill myself learning every platform and maybe even do a passable job, but I am way too Type A for that. You guys deserved the best. So I reached out to those around me who were far better than I was, the experts I looked to on various subjects.

Sure, I do a good job on Facebook and am an expert on the basics, but if you REALLY want to up your game? Really want to know how to get the most out of Facebook, particularly the fan page? There is no one I could recommend more than journalist, columnist, speaker Lisa Hall-Wilson. She taught me what I know and I have a lot more to learn so believe you me, I am taking her class.

Lisa is here to talk about a subject we all face—being invisible. It does no good to be on Facebook or create content if we don’t know how to play the game. And trust me, a lot of it is a game. What is the best content? How do we use it? Grow it? Maximize it? How can we get a fantastic ROI off Facebook without living there?

Well, Lisa is going to talk about that today, so this is me shutting up now…

Take it away, Lisa!

Meme via nuevosmedios.mx

I haven’t been around for a while. Life. Stuff. *shrug* Kristen and I have been chatting for a while about me teaching again, so I’m back! I miss W.A.N.A, and Facebook has changed SO MUCH since I last taught a class. How are you feeling about Facebook?

Finding it hard to stand out from the crowd?

Yeah, there’s a lot of people using Facebook to sell something. They’re all clamoring for attention and Facebook has to keep changing the rules to stymie the spammers and cheats. It’s harder than ever to get noticed. Hits you right in the feels. I get it. So lemme ask you…

How’s Your Organic Reach?

Is that too personal? Listen, I don’t teach people how to use ads on Facebook (though I run ads myself), because there’s lots of other people out there already doing that. Ads are awesome, and Facebook has one of the most targeted ad systems on the interwebs. There’s great bang for your buck, if you know your audience. I teach writers how to reach readers organically using Facebook.

Here’s the problem with writers and Facebook ads.

Ads only amplify what you’re already doing.

If you can’t get people to click through to your blog, comment/share/react to your content organically, your ads are unlikely to do well.

Ads only amplify what you’re already doing!

Facebook is S L O W

I know. It can be disheartening and frustrating. It’s also easy to get sucked in and lose hours of time you should have spent writing. Be strong! However, if you can get 5% or even 10% of your Facebook friends/followers to respond to a post organically, you’re onto something.

If you follow the W.A.N.A. way of building platform organically, the changes and tweaks Facebook makes to the way things look or the algorithm, won’t affect you. You’ll have the kind of platform that will grow your readership. With that skill in hand, when you can afford to pay for ads, you’ll already know what your audience is interested in, what they’ll respond to, and what value they’re looking to you to provide.

2 Reasons To Try Video

  • Facebook has tweaked the algorithm to give extra organic boost to videos. So, either a Facebook Live video (where you live stream from your phone to your Facebook Page, Profile, or to a Group) or you upload a video created elsewhere to Facebook. (Videos shared from other sites are considered links and won’t get the extra organic boost) 135% more organic reach than photos according to Social Media Today.
  • Facebook Live videos are watched 3.5x more than non-live video. This “serves to illustrate the importance of authentic, ‘off-the-cuff,’ and in-the-moment content with audiences worldwide.” (source here)

Now, I know that since Facebook rolled out the auto-play feature on videos, view stats can be deceiving. The salient point here is that Facebook really wants people to publish videos and they will reward you by showing your content to more people than usual organically.

Video is simply another storytelling platform. Don’t get freaked out. So, what should you post? I spent a couple of hours with Facebook and Google and checked out the video offerings from the biggest trad and indie published authors.

What Seems To Be Working?

Facebook Live videos have the most views (relative to the audience size on the Page). Fans seem to really love these videos. I wouldn’t say there’s an optimal length (based on my unscientific collection of data), but having something of value to say is important.

Most of the authors with the highest views were announcing a new book, meeting with someone their audience found interesting, offering value (non-fiction authors answering questions or giving advice), or glimpses of whatever locale the author found themselves in.

Brene Brown has this fun video of a full-out marching band she ran into at an event she was speaking at. Nora Roberts shared a live video of a giant ad her publisher created with her book cover projected onto the front of a building in New York.

Laurel K Hamilton posted a video of her opening a shipment of hard cover books of her newest release that had just arrived at her home “Book number 25” she says.

Marie Force shared a video with her behind-the-scenes team. Hugh Howey… He continues to tease readers with videos of dolphins swimming around his boat, jumping off cliffs (nearly naked), as he cruises the world writing remotely… We’re not going to mention Hugh Howey again. Agreed? His content can’t be duplicated.

None of those videos were professionally done. They were captured on a phone and posted without any editing. They were personal, behind-the-scenes, glimpses into the writer or the writer’s life. Fans love that. Instead of taking a photo, take a 16second video of that crazy rainstorm that held up your plane, those ruins you’re visiting for research, or an author you ran into at a conference.

James Patterson’s publisher created a splashy series of videos for his newest release. I have a feeling there was a lot of money spent on those videos. The video that got the most views? James Patterson spends 16 seconds telling readers why they should read his new book and the cover flashes on the screen at the very end. It was short, simple, engaging, intriguing, and well received.

Did it directly translate into book sales? I can’t say. But at only 16 seconds long, combined with Facebook’s autoplay feature, chances are good that a lot of people saw that video straight through and came away knowing the title of his newest book.

The plain fact is that all content is not going to be equal on Facebook, but the key is, the more we learn, the more we know, the easier it is for us to keep pace with and take advantage of this powerful platform. Facebook is slow, I already mentioned that. It has a lot of potential energy, sort of like a boulder sitting on the edge of a cliff. But we rock that boulder enough ways the same direction and over time? Once it gets rolling? That sucker is tough to slow down.

I have two classes coming up in May and I’d love to have you join me.

Growing An Organic Platform On Facebook – May 6th

How To Write In Deep POV: Method Acting For Writers – May 6th

Take Your Writing To The Next Level by learning the advanced writing technique of Deep POV guaranteed to pull your readers into the story (and it works with any genre), grab them by the throat and not let go! This deeply personal emotive style of writing resonates with contemporary readers, if you’ve got the guts to “go there” with your characters. This is a difficult skill set to master, but it’ll change how you write forever – for the better.

THANK YOU, LISA! I’ve known Lisa since forever. She was one of the very first W.A.N.A.s and she is an excellent instructor. I hope you enjoyed this and remember that comments for guests count double in the contest.

What are your thoughts? Questions for Lisa?

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

****The site is new, and I am sorry you have to enter your information all over again to comment, but I am still working out the kinks. Also your comment won’t appear until I approve it, so don’t fret if it doesn’t appear right away.

Also know I love suggestions! After almost 1,100 blog posts? I dig inspiration. So what would you like me to blog about?

Talk to me!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of APRIL, 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).

SIGN UP NOW FOR UPCOMING CLASSES!!! 

Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! All you need is an internet connection!

Be a Better Hooker (How to Write a Compelling Newsletter)

April 29th $45

In this class, learn how to compose a newsletter that is entertaining and compelling—and all without stealing most of your writing time. Learn how to get your hooks in your readers and keep them until the end.

With a mailing list of over 15K subscribers, mystery/thriller author Jack Patterson will share some of his tips that will spice up your newsletter and get your subscribers opening it up every time you send one out.

BUNDLE DEALS!!! 

Book Bootcamp  $99 ($130 VALUE)

Book Bootcamp GOLD $269 ($430 VALUE) This includes the log-line class, antagonist class, the character class AND a three-hour time slot working personally with ME. We will either plot your idea or, if your novel isn’t working? Fix it! Appointments are scheduled by email. Consults done by phone or in virtual classroom.

Individual Classes with MOI!!! 

Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter and Synopsis that SELLS! $45 May 25th, 2017

Blogging for Authors $50 April 27th, 2017

Your Story in a Sentence—Crafting Your Log-line $35 May 4th, 2017

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist $50/$200 (Gold) May11th, 2017

The Art of Character $45 May 18th, 2017

NEW CLASSES/INSTRUCTORS!!! 

Growing an Organic Platform on Facebook $40 May 6th, 2017 Lisa Hall-Wilson is BACK! She is an expert on Facebook so check out her class!

Method Acting for Writers: How to Write in Deep POV $85 for this TWO WEEK intensive workshop with editor and writing instructor Lisa Hall Wilson.

Shift Your Shifter Romance into HIGH Gear $35 May 19th with powerhouse editor Cait Reynolds.

Researching for Historical Romance (How to NOT Lost 6 Hours of Your Life on Pinterest) $35 May 20th

 

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

 

Original Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri
Original Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

This week, I am taking a much-needed break, but I am leaving you in VERY capable hands. Hey, who do you think taught me to love and ROCK Facebook? One of the biggest fears we all have when getting on Facebook is we will bore our audiences to death. We feel the need to be clever and interesting at all times. Yeah, not necessary, so breathe….

Lisa is here to help!

WANA Facebook Maven Lisa-Hall Wilson
WANA Facebook Maven Lisa-Hall Wilson

One of the most common questions I get asked concerning Facebook is ‘What Do I Post?’

My advice is: ‘Let Them See Oz’

Your content strategy (yes – that dreaded word usually followed by a wide-eyed stare and a writer mumbling, I need a plan? Nobody told me I needed a plan. I’m telling you – you need a plan) must be varied, and there are a few key components to it – but something readers are always looking for is a peek into your world.

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Lisa – My life isn’t that interesting.

Whatever. Writers who shun the spotlight like Salinger, Harper Lee and Cormac McCarthy are the exceptions. Listen, to readers authors are these secluded exotic individuals – celebrities. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. lol – Well, mostly. Readers don’t understand the creative process, they fall in love with our voice, our wit, our insights, our quirky way of seeing things, the questions we ask. They beg for more from the characters they love, the worlds they want to jump into.

And they want to see Oz.

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I know Kristen’s into Star Wars and Star Trek and Zombies – but let’s not overlook the classics here. When Toto pulled back the curtain for the very first time, what were you expecting? That ordinary looking man was not what I had in mind – but I loved him even more because he was ordinary.

Readers want to see behind the curtain. They want to see Oz. Fans are tired of marketing’s smoke and mirrors ‘buy my book’ ‘look at me’ bravado. They want to see the real person behind the brand. People want to connect with people – not brands, which is why so many fans send a friend request instead of liking an author page. They don’t care that you’re balding, overweight, or have crooked teeth. You’re A Freaking Wizard!!! That’s still cool. So, give them what they want.

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Let your readers into your world (and I’m not talking about putting a shot of your breakfast bowl on Instagram). Readers are dying for a peek behind the proverbial curtain into the writer’s world and the writer’s mind. Whether this is a literal peek – a shot of you in your office or on location researching, or maybe sneak peeks on upcoming work, deals/coupons/sales, insights or editorials on links or events. What makes you happy? What makes you shake your fist at the sky?

But Lisa, I’m a private person. I don’t like to post about personal stuff.

Kristen’s written about that A LOT like here Why Pen Names Suck & Can Make Us Crazy. If you can write like Salinger or McCarthy then maybe you’ll win the author lotto and get to remain hidden in your cave. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Yeeeeah – we know how that worked out.

Seriously – nobody wants to know what you ate for breakfast, or – being totally honest here – that your toddler finally figured out potty training. You don’t have to be THAT personal. Be yourself. What would you tell a group of friends about yourself in a local coffee shop?

Fans are tripping over themselves for this kind of stuff:

George R.R. Martin says the HBO’s version of the Iron Throne is WRONG

George R.R. Martin, author the Game of Thrones tales now a hit series on HBO, recently posted on his blog about his vision for the actual Iron Throne used in the TV series. He says the show got it wrong! I’m hooked. How did HE envision the actual throne? What did they get wrong? And he has an artist’s rendering of the throne as he sees it – almost.

I’m not even a fan and I clicked through to read this. I’ve never watched the TV series, and I only read 1.5 books in the series because I threw the book across the room the third time he killed a character I had fallen in love with. But I wanted to know what the director/producers got wrong. I wanted to know what HE saw in his head.

This is exactly the kind of thing readers are eager to consume. Above, I inserted a few random examples from best-selling authors using Facebook to connect with readers (not directly sell books). Find an author on Facebook who writes the same genre you do. What are they posting? How often are they posting? How are they ‘pulling back the curtain’ for readers? I’m not suggesting you copy what they’re doing, but use what they’re doing as a jumping off point for content specific to your brand, your writing, your fans.

THANK YOU, LISA!

Make sure you check out her classes over at WANA International. Facebook Start to Finish covers everything and it’s only $30 (it’s a PDF class). She is also teaching Advanced Techniques for Your Writer/Author Facebook Page.

I LOVE hearing from you and I know Lisa will too!

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 novelor 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.