by Shirley Crowder
I was very late joining the Facebook (FB) bandwagon. I had to have some of the youth in my church help me set up my account and teach me how to use it! So, I am by no means a FB expert, yet I know a few things that may help you, and thankfully, I have great friends who are willing to share their knowledge with you via me!
I love the way so many Christian writers are eager to help each other, which points to disciple-making—but that’s a topic for a different article!
Help your author friends publicize their books and blogs and they will do the same for you!
After deciding whether you want to create a FB account, you need to determine if you want to use one account for personal and writing author posts, or, if you want to separate those. I only have one FB account. My friend, Harriet E. Michael, with whom I do a lot of co-writing, has both personal and author accounts. Everything you find online says an author needs an author account. If you are uncertain, contact some of the authors you know and talk through why they do or do not have an author account. The foundation you must remember as a Christian author—non-fiction or fiction—is that everything you say in books, blogs, social media reflects on Jesus Christ.
Prayerfully consider everything you post through the lens of God’s Word so that you do not reflect Him badly.
Prayerfully consider what image you want to portray and design your FB page and posts in line with that image.
Don’t forget to ask your friends and followers to pray for you as you write!
Here are some things I hope will be helpful—not that I do all of them!
Friends and Followers and Reactions. Be careful that you know those whom you friend on FB. In the same way, be careful about whom you follow or what posts to which you react.
What is the best day/time to post? You can do research online, however, my friends and followers don’t react and comment when the “experts” say they will. Do some tests and discover your own best time-slot.
Guests posts/bloggers. Ask fellow authors to write a post for your blog and share it through your social media. Use this as a way to introduce their followers to you.
Enlist a couple of friends who follow you on FB and ask them to let you know immediately if they find any typos, etc. I have many friends who help me with this! Sometimes we are so familiar with what we type or are doing it so quickly we do not catch our errors.
Ask your FB friends to share your posts. Don’t be afraid to study and write about a subject on which you are clueless (i.e. me writing this article).
Try to keep up with how FB changes will affect you as an author. This is where joining Christian writers’ groups will help. There are always some who understand these things better than me and are able to give me the “bottom line” of what I need to know.
FB Live. I have several friends who use FB Live. Author Ruth Buchanan attended a “social media” workshop and was told, “Just do it!” Ruth learned to schedule the FB live event in advance and advertise, and ask people to leave comments. And, to keep it short (2-3 minutes).
FB Ads. I suggest you look at other FB ads to glean some good ideas. The results for those whom I have heard from who have used FB ads are mixed—everything from “total waste of time and money” to “excellent results, will definitely be posting more ads.” Harriet and I have used FB ads with limited results, and we will likely use them again. Author friend Lisa Mayer has used them in the past and commented that she’s had “some mild success, but they did not get many reviews.” Another friend was very frustrated because “there was very little guidance” on how to set up the ads and how they work. Consider earmarking money for advertising through various venues.
Writing Prompt: Outline a plan for announcing a new book on Facebook. Begin writing FB posts to fit into that plan.