MANAGING A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE
by P. A. O'Neil
Please welcome P. A. O'neil to the Writers Journey Blog this week with her feature on Managing a Successful Social Media Authors' Page. Enjoy!
Managing a Successful Social Media Author Page
Thank you, Elaine-Marie, for asking me to share my “secret” for managing a successful social media author page. I only work with Facebook, but I am sure many of the same methods and ideas can be utilized on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Why do I consider my author page a success? How about earning over 15,000 Followers in just four years when my professional career is not even six years old.
My first story was published a year into my career, but I chose not to create an author page until I had more to share. When the second story was published a couple of months later, I had something to offer the reading public. That might sound conceited, but I consider writing for publication a small business, and no manufacturer bothers with a catalog if they only have one item to sell. About a year into the page, a fellow author asked how I had, at the time, garnished my 3,000 or so Followers and what he could do to make his author page a success.
The first thing I told him he was already doing, was to look at other people’s pages to see what information they share and how it is presented. Are the graphics eye-catching? Are they offering Posts that are interesting enough for the audience/reader to not only Like but want to Follow on a regular basis? Creating a professional page with Facebook is fairly easy, but you should know what you want to present and your expectations of appearance before hitting the publish option. This means you need to consider the page name, your header, your photo, biography, and description of what the page represents.
The page name needs to be the name you write under.
If you write under your own name, add something like “author” to the end to differentiate between your personal and professional page. Many of your Followers will be personal friends, but you’re casting your net into the world of strangers, so you should attempt to keep your private life off the new page as much as possible. My own professional page is titled, “P.A. O’Neil, Storyteller,” where P.A. O’Neil is my pen name, yet it is still possibly common enough to be used by another. I added Storyteller, rather than Author for added distinction.
The photo should be distinctive enough not to be confused with your photo on the personal page. Sometimes things move so fast, recognizing which photo accompanies which page can keep you from posting sensitive information before the public. Remember, all the posts on your professional page are considered Public until you make it otherwise. This also goes for your biography, just how much personal information do you want to reveal? It is a good thing to have several versions of your biography readily available and chose the one you like the best. By several versions, I mean publishers will ask for a biography of a specific length, so a 40-word, 60-word, 100-word option should be readily available to use. You’ll find this is a big time-saver.
You’ve created your page and it looks great, but you need Followers. The first thing is to ask all of your personal Friends, and close Group friends, to become a Follower. Don’t blatantly go begging, make it an exciting announcement—something they don’t want to “miss out on” joining (writing is a small business, remember). If you have been crowing about your writing on your personal page, you could encourage your friends to move their interest in your career to the professional page. This doesn’t mean you’re forever giving up sharing you news, it just means every post won’t be all about your new career.
So, you have a good-looking new page, a few Followers, and a great vehicle for “selling” your writing, but why should anyone other than a devoted fan keep coming back? Be engaging with people who Comment on your posts. This doesn’t mean you have to have lengthy discussions, in fact, those should be moved to private Messages, as everything on the page is considered Public. I chose to Like every comment, I have stated in periodically shared Post, I believe everyone should have the chance to make a Comment. You can count on one hand the Comments I have either removed or hidden, yet, if it is utterly inappropriate I will Block/Ban the person from communicating with the page again. Remember, it’s your page and you’re the boss!
Why is my page gaining Followers? Every time someone “Likes” one of your posts, you have the opportunity to see how they liked it (thumbs-up, smiley face, heart, etc.). It’s at that time you can Invite them to become a Follower. This is a direct invitation, yet when their Friends become aware of their commenting or liking your posts, their names are added to the list for invitation if they Liked the secondary post. Another way to collect Followers is when someone Shares your post. Follow up on who has shared your post and acknowledge the new Post. It shows you take an interest in their interaction and their Friends get a favorable view of you as well.
There are other tricks you can use, but these are the most common and will help grow your professional page audience. One thing to remember, it is never too late to engage with your audience. An example of this is when Facebook automatically repeats your post on its anniversary. There is now an opportunity for others to see it and make comments. This is an excellent chance for you to go back and see who liked it and commented on it and invite them to become a Follower then. I have had a post that within a few months garnished over 14,000 “Likes”. I went back to invite all the new people, catching up with the comments was fairly easy, but after twenty minutes of sending invitations, I had to let the rest pass.
Another way of picking up new Followers is by sharing posts from other writers. If they have a new book out—congratulate them and share the URL. Not only will they appreciate it and post in-kind when you have fresh writing to share, their own Followers will now be exposed to your page and will have an opportunity to follow you.
What I have listed above are some of the methods I have used to bolster my professional page following. Whatever you do, remember this is a business, and like any business, you must not allow being un-followed get to you.
Keep a professional attitude, offer interesting things for your Followers to read, and keep them engaged and looking forward to your posts. Best of luck, if you wish to discuss this more, you can Message me at: P.A. O'Neil, Storyteller | Facebook
Biography: P.A. O’Neil has been writing professionally for six years. Her stories have been featured in multiple anthologies, as well as on-line journals and magazines from several continents. She is twice the winner of “Story of the Month” on the Spillwords.com website. She and her husband reside in Thurston County, Washington. Her book, Witness Testimony and Other Tales is available in paperback and eBook, from Amazon. For links to other books which feature her stories, please visit her Amazon author page: P.A. O’Neil, or her Facebook page: P.A. O’Neil, Storyteller.