Facebook is kind of annoying.
Let's just get that out of the way. Especially if you are running any sort of a page other than a personal one (to promote a blog, your books, a business), they are a royal pain. My author Facebook page has a moderate following of 388 folks. My average post is seen by maybe a tenth of them. . .unless I boost, but I'm not going to boost unless I'm doing a full-scale ad which I do somewhat rarely. My Facebook page is not for promos so much as it is to interact with people who read my books and enjoy them (if you want to be one of the people with a 1 in 10 chance at seeing my posts, you can follow me on Facebook here.) . . .
However, the character limit on Twitter and me don't get along and the Tsu and G+ turned out to be ghost towns, so I do spend a bit of time on Facebook.
One of the best ways to have fan interaction and maybe meet some new potential readers is with a Facebook Event. You can arrange one yourself or hop on an existing one with multiple authors. Usually if you are doing an "On Your Own" author event it should be around a specific purpose, like a new book release. A lot of the "multi-author" ones have fees. There are two sorts of fees. Fees that go to pay for door prizes and fees that go to pay the event organizer. I have on several occasions donated towards a door prize, but I haven't tried one with a flat fee for the organizer. I would only personally pay for an event if I had a good accounting of where the money was going and I don't think I'd pay much more than $10.
But here are some general tips I've found to get the most of the events:
- Give away ebooks! Yes, it may seem counter intuitive to give away what you are trying to sell, and (unless you have multiple books on the market) I wouldn't give everyone who attends a free book, but from my experience readers who interact with you and then win a book are more likely than other readers to leave precious reviews or tell their friend about your books. If you have a series, giving away the first book in the series is also a great way to get people hooked to buy later books.
- It can be helpful to have a promo running at the same time as the event, something that makes people think they are getting a deal. I don't consider this a requirement, but it definitely helps.
- If you are doing a loner event, consider having a contest where people get entries by inviting their friends. Chances are all your friends/fans already know about your book. Your friends' friends, however, probably don't, so if you can get your friends to invite their friends (and the incentive of something like $10 to Amazon or Etsy doesn't hurt) you'll reach a whole new audience.
- If you do a multi-author event try and have it be one specifically catered to your genre. If you're a fantasy writer sandwiched between two romance writers, their fans may not be particularly interested. If a fantasy writer goes before you, their fans might stick around for your time slot. I'm not saying don't do multi-genre events, but try and see if the organizer is willing to put you close to other authors in your genre.
- Ask questions. If these people haven't read your books yet, they probably don't have a ton of questions for you. They may not even be all that excited about your book (yet), but if you lead off with a question about them that relates to the book, wait for them to answer, and then respond with your own. . .it generally works out and people interact and have fun.
- Don't over do it. The average author slot for these events is a half hour to an hour. As a participant, the events I have left early, I usually left because the person running it posted every thirty seconds, and it was just too much to keep up with. One post every five to ten minutes is more than enough, if they are well planned posts.
- Make some cool looking image ads. I personally like Canva.com to make them. (You can see one I made for Lands of Ash below) You can use them to share cool quotes from the book, your tagline, things like that. Having an image makes your posts stand out in what is usually a constantly moving feed.
- If doing a multi-author event, it's polite to stick around for the other authors' segments but not required that you stay for all of them. You can pop in and out if it is a longish event or just hit the one before and after you.
- Plan ahead, but be flexible. I usually plan out a certain amount of posts and have all my links and images in a file so I don't have to dig for them during the event. However, it's good to be able to improvise on the fly. If you find your group is receptive to a certain sort of interaction but ignores another, don't be afraid to adjust.
- Make sure you share multiple ways that they can connect with you (Facebook, Twitter, Website) and if possible give an incentive for them to do so (an entry in a drawing for a door prize).
- If you are doing giveaways watch for Facebook's rules. They change every so often, but it is good to do some sort of legalese "Facebook isn't responsible for this contest" post . . . you can also run your giveaways through a third party ap. I use Rafflecopter and link to it off site. It has the added benefit of linking them back to my blog or Facebook page.
- Don't assume people have read your books. I don't know how many times I've gotten invited to an event for a "new to me" author and found that all the giveaways hinge on answering questions about books I haven't read.
- If you are doing prizes, make sure you are clear as to how the winners will be picked (I personally like to do random.org to select a winner) and when the giveaway closes (I suggest editing the post to say, "WINNER SELECTED!).
- Have fun! People want to see that YOU are excited about your books. If you are, they get interested.