Book Marketing Mondays: Top 10 Mistakes Authors Make When Promoting a Book on Facebook

Guest Expert: Dana Lynn Smith

Facebook can be a terrific way to promote your book and yourself, but you may be wasting your time (or worse) if you don’t learn how to use it effectively. Below are ten common mistakes authors make on Facebook, along with tips on how to avoid them.

1. Diving in without a plan. Before you start using Facebook (or any other social network), think through your goals first. Are you using it primarily for business? Should you separate your business and personal identities? What are you hoping to accomplish through social networking? How will you measure your success? How can you monetize your efforts? How can you tie Facebook to your other networks? How much time will you budget for promoting your book on Facebook?

2. Setting up a Profile the name of a book or business. There’s nothing wrong with using your personal Facebook profile to promote your book, but Facebook’s rules require that Profiles be set up in the name of a real person and they limit each person to one profile. If you set up a Profile under a business name, you risk having your account cancelled by Facebook. To create a presence in the name of your book or business, you need to set up a Facebook Fan Page.

3. Not using a professional looking author photo. You may want to use your book cover as your Facebook image sometimes – for example during your book launch. But most of the time I recommend using a photo of yourself. Facebook is a social network and people want to befriend a person, not a book. Don’t sabotage yourself by using a fuzzy shot of you with someone’s arm draped over your shoulder. On all your networks you should use your standard author publicity photo. See this post for tips on creating an effective author photo.

4. Being too aggressive. We’ve all seen people who use social networks solely to promote themselves. They post a constant stream of promotional messages and even make purely promotional posts on other people’s profiles and pages. Don’t forget that Facebook is a social network – you need to develop relationships with people first. If you interact with others, post useful comments, help others out, and participate in the community, most people won’t mind if you make some promotional posts. Just be somewhat subtle about it and don’t overdo it.

5. Being a wall flower. On the other hand, some authors never mention their book anywhere, even on their own profile! Writing and publishing a book is a major accomplishment—list it prominently in your profile. Mention it in the info box beneath your photo and include a link to your book’s website or Amazon page on your information tab. Mention your book promotion activities or articles regularly in your status updates. If you’re still working on your book, say so in your profile and talk about your progress in your status updates.

6. Missing out on Groups. Facebook groups are one of the most important ways to promote a book on Facebook. Use the search box at the top of the screen to find groups that cater to your book’s topic, genre, or target audience, and then become active in those groups. Don’t forget groups geared to authors and publishing. Join in the discussions, comment on wall posts, post your own discussion question, or send a message to the group leader with a suggestion. You can even start your own group. For more tips, see Promote Your Book With Facebook Groups.

7. Failing to use Fan Pages. In addition to setting up a Fan Page for your book or business, it’s a good idea to join (or “like”) other relevant pages. Some fan pages have discussions or allow fans to make wall posts. Drop by occasionally to make a comment, without appearing too promotional. Check out the fan pages of well-known authors who write books similar to yours.

8. Waiting for friends and fans to find you. Once you become active in Facebook, you will start to receive friend requests and fans. But don’t just sit and wait for people to find you. Include a prominent link to your Facebook profile and other pages on your own website, blog and email signature. As you visit other blogs and websites, actively look for the Facebook icon on those sites so you can connect with them on Facebook. Also, look for new friends in the Facebook groups that you join—the people in relevant groups probably share some of your interests.

9. Ignoring your privacy settings. In their efforts to generate revenue, Facebook continues to look for ways to use the personal data on their site. As a result, Facebook has made a number of changes to their privacy policies and default privacy settings over the past few years. Make time today to review your privacy settings. Click on the Account link in the upper right corner of your Facebook screen and select Privacy Settings. Review each of the privacy pages and think about how to best adjust the settings to protect your personal information, while still making information accessible for business purposes. And be careful about revealing too much personal information anywhere online.

10. Spending too much time on Facebook. Social networks like Facebook can be addictive, and it’s easy to get sucked in and spend way too much time there. I recommend scheduling a set amount of time each day for networking.

When you plan for success on Facebook and other social networks, they can be an enjoyable and effective way to promote your book and yourself. Have fun with it!

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of several marketing guides, including Facebook Guide for Authors. For more book marketing tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana’s free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit The Savvy Book Marketer blog.

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9 thoughts on “Book Marketing Mondays: Top 10 Mistakes Authors Make When Promoting a Book on Facebook

  1. Thanks so much for this info, Dana.

    I am an author with several published books out – active in blogging and on Twitter. But I have been reluctant to join Facebook for several reasons:
    – user agreeement, which requires signing rights to anything posted over to them (I know it’s softened from a few years ago, but it is still not ideal)
    – privacy issues (worsening!)
    – and, especially, the fact that it’s a “private club” so I cannot check it out before deciding whether or not to sign up; I have to sign up first, before seeing what it’s all about.

    So your info posted here is very helpful. I wouldn’t sign up to FB for personal social reasons, I’d do it for professional reasons, and you have answered a lot of the questions I’ve had. So I probably will sign up, after all… not in time for the book I’m launching now, unfortunately, but in plenty of time for the next one.

    Many thanks!

  2. I’m on Facebook as Michele Poet – I joined quite recently and have found it so much fun that I am seriously in danger of being totally in the trap of spending too much time there.

    I love Facebook now, as well as Twitter and blogging – but I find them all very inspiring places too. Thanks for that article Dana – helpful and informative. :)

  3. Great post. I have gotten a lot of traction on Twitter, but have been foundering a bit on Facebook. I have a Facebook page that I need to learn to breathe life into, and the tip on checking out groups is invaluable. I believe there’s a way I can post on groups as my Fan Page, right, in order to draw people to the Fan Page rather than as my personal profile?

    Thanks for your help!

  4. Michael, I think you can join a Group as your Page. Before joining, click on the “Use Facebook as Your Page Name” button on the right side of your page to switch your persona to your page name.

    Unfortunately, the recent changes at Facebook have made the groups function harder to use. They have taken away “group” as one of the search filters when using the Search function, so now it’s more difficult to find groups by doing a keyword search. They have also completely changed the structure of newly formed groups, making them not very useful for promotional purposes.

    Thanks for your note and good luck with your book!

  5. I completely agree that too aggressive promotion is not only off-putting but downright annoying! While I dislike constant link only posts, it’s a fine line to walk between too much promotion and not enough as you pointed out for the “wallflowers.” Promotion can be a full-time job and I always tell other authors that writing is the easy part–promotion is the killer!
    Nice article!

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